Orange is the New Black in Cleveland

by Tina Walker-Morin


My two worlds are colliding: ministry and pop culture. I am continually amazed at God’s work. This month was the release of the third season of Orange is the New Black, a television series on Netflix, and today I head to Cleveland, Ohio, for the United Church of Christ General Synod 30.

While attending Synod as a delegate I will be part of two resolutions of witness: 1) Dismantling Discriminatory Systems of Mass Incarceration in the United States; and 2) Dismantling the New Jim Crow. These two resolutions are interesting in and of themselves but what really makes them interesting for me is the fact that this past year at Andover Newton Theological School, I participated in a prison ministry program. This program partnered with Partakers, a Massachusetts organization that provides mentors for men and women who are incarcerated and in a college behind bars programs. Being a mentor and visiting a gentleman at MCI Norfolk as well as all my learning for the class I feel extra prepared to participate in this Mass Incarceration resolution. All I can say is “God is working!”

My 4:00 AM wake-up call this morning has me tired but reflective. As I sit on the plane heading for Cleveland, eyelids heavy, brain spinning 100 MPH, I am reflecting on readings, my experience visiting the prison, and Orange is the New Black. I am wondering: does the popular TV series help or hurt our country’s growing prison epidemic? Right now I am unsure and look forward to asking others at Synod their thoughts and opinions. I anticipate Synod being a spectrum of experiences from busy meetings with agendas to worship and celebrations. And like the spectrum of experiences, I am mentally excited and overwhelmed. Already on my flight to Cleveland I have connected with some old classmates and I am excited to see who else I might meet and what I will learn. Some former delegates say Synod is the UCC at it’s best, so bring it on Cleveland!


Tina Walker-Morin

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