Conversation led to understanding and eventually to compassion. When the young man appeared in court members of the congregation made it a point to attend the hearing and speak about the impact on the congregation of meeting him eye to eye. They asked the court to extend mercy.

Recently the church received a letter from the judge who presided (Judge C. Nichols, Placer County Superior Court) and with her permission we quote from that letter: “It is a rare day when we get to see firsthand the results of victim-offender mediation. The church members are an example of how a group of people committed to social justice puts their beliefs into action. I believe that you all chose to take a very negative situation and, with an open mind and open heart, turned it into a positive, growing experience for everyone. What a tremendous moment that must have been for everyone. I know how the members’ statements impacted me personally in court. I was also witness to the affect it had on (the offender). Rarely do I get choked up, but I certainly did that day. This situation will forever be a shining example of restorative justice.” 

Read the whole article. Tip of the hat to Kris Miner!