Tuesday, August 7, 2007

In Memory of Harmon Wray A Tireless Crusader To End The Death Penalty

Harmon Wray died Tuesday, July 24, 2007 from complications of a massive stroke. Harmon was an organizing member of
Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing, and has been relentless in his work to end the death penalty in Tennessee.

Harmon was a champion for prison reform and upholding the dignity of those who are incarcerated. As a teacher and author, he educated countless numbers of people concerning the myriad problems with our current criminal justice system. As adjunct faculty of Vanderbilt Divinity School , Harmon created and coordinated a class at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, comprised of both Vanderbilt students and inmates. Harmon was also a founder of the Restorative Justice Coalition of Tennessee , seeking to transform the current criminal justice system from a system primarily focused on punishment to one which facilitates healing and restoration. Most recently, he authored Beyond Prisons: A New Interfaith Paradigm for our Failed Prison System.

Harmon was formerly with the Tennessee Conference Correctional Ministries staff of the Methodist Church and the General Board of Global Ministries. Harmon continued to be an active member of Edgehill United Methodist Church.

Harmon Wray followed the way of Jesus to the end, still giving of himself, even in death as an organ donor. He took Jesus' call to visit the prisoner to heart and spent his life as a fierce advocate for those who are incarcerated. I count him as a mentor and a friend, and today my heart is very heavy as I cannot imagine the world without him. Still, I know that Harmon's spirit will remain with us and will continue to inspire all of us as we struggle together to end the death penalty in Tennessee.
You can read more here

Stacy Rector
Executive Director
Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing
Wray has written and published on criminal justice issues, religion and society in the South, and Christian faith and economic justice in a wide variety of periodicals, and has spoken, taught classes, and conducted workshops on such subjects in many settings.
He is the author of Restorative Justice: Moving Beyond Punishment (New York: General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church, 2002), and co-author with Laura Magnani of Beyond Prisons: A New Interfaith Paradigm for Our Failed Prison System, published by Fortress Press for the American Friends Service Committee in the spring of 2006.
Particular foci of his organizing, teaching, writing and speaking in criminal justice have been capital punishment, the privatization of prisons for profit, the growth of the prison industrial complex, racism in the criminal justice system, and the meaning of restorative justice as an alternative to the dominant retributive justice system in the United States.

The Harmon Wray Fund has been set up at Edgehill United Methodist Church which will be used to continue Harmon’s prison ministry life work. Please write checks to Edgehill United Methodist Church noting that the gift is for The Harmon Wray Fund and send it to:

Edgehill United Methodist Church
The Harmon Wray Fund
PO Box 128258
Nashville, TN 37212

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