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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

10-06 Newark, The Advocate

Dialogue sought for ‘Journey of Hope’ visit
By: Drew Bracken

    GRANVILLE – Political debate is not the goal.  Expressing personal feelings about the death penalty is.
    “The purpose of bringing ‘Journey of Hope’ to Granville is not to spark a political debate,” said Gini Lohmann Bauman, one of the organizers of the tour’s visit at First Baptist Church.  “It’s more to engage people personally in a dialogue about how they feel about the death penalty and what’s involved.
    “We’re talking about issues that go far beyond the political realm,” she said.  “They have to do with issues of forgiveness and reconciliation in this context.”
    Sam Reese Sheppard and Suezann Bosler will be among the featured speakers in three separate programs in Granville.
    The son of Dr. Sam Sheppard, who was found guilty of the murder of his wife in the 1950s but was later acquitted, will be among the speakers Oct. 8-9 when the “The Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing” group comes to Granville as part of its 17-day Ohio tour.
    “I’m aware there are two sides, at least two sides, to this issue, as with all issues,” said Mark Orten, the director of religious life and chaplain at Denison University.  “But this happens to be an organization that has been to Denison a couple of times before and has been well-received by students and others, and there was no good reason not to have them come again and make their case.”
    The third program will be at Centenary United Methodist Church, after church officials adopted a resolution at the annual Western Ohio conference that they would support the tour as it came through Ohio.
    “The official stance of the United Methodist Church is against the death penalty,” said the Rev. Angie Sherer, the coordinator of the event for the area United Methodist Churches.
    “As a church, our official stance is life is sacred and we should work on reconciliation and forgiveness and healing.  That was one of the reasons we decided to support the Journey as it came through Ohio.  This is to create awareness that not everyone who has been victimized by violent crime is out for revenge.”
    Sheppard and Bosler will join former death-row prisoners and other death-row family members who are part of the tour.