Prisonist.org: Edited by Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Executive Director of Family ReEntry, serving the CT Criminal Justice Community & Co-Founder of Progressive Prison Ministries, the First Ministry in the U.S. Created to Support Individuals, Families & Organizations with White-Collar and Other Nonviolent Incarceration Issues.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blog: The Nantucket Project, Days 6 & 7, Jeff Grant

Progressive Prison Project
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Greenwich, Connecticut


Our Week at The Nantucket Project 2013


Jeff Grant

Day Six: Nantucket, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013:   

It happened again.  I have no rational explanation for how or why this has happened to (or perhaps for) me now twice at The Nantucket Project.  I'd have to call it a "pentecostal,"  experience or something, because the closest I can come to explain what has happened now twice is that I was speaking in tongues - babbling.  I literally have no memory of what came out of my mouth.  I do know that I threw out the prepared speech that I wrote (and published as a blog post here yesterday) and tried my best to just tell the truth. To speak from my heart. It was messy.  I was nervous.  

About ten minutes before it was my turn to present, Kate Brosnan squeezed my hand to comfort me - she reminded me to "Bring God Into It." Her smiling eyes were really saying it all.  Ten minutes before I was to go on, Tom Scott pulled me aside and asked me if I was going to "Go For It."  He reminded me what I was there for - to be of service to people, to be a channel.   To be "In Him."  Tom and I are great friends, we counseled each other into and through our Divinity School journeys - I listened intently.  I decided to throw out my script. I prayed.

After Tom took introduced me as "the guy he had met in Starbucks in Greenwich," I started to talk.  I started to tremble. There were over 500 people there and I told them that I was there because the year before a magical and mystical experience had occurred when I told my story at The Fellows Academy Luncheon - I had confessed and confided things in the Fellows and guests that I had never said before in public.  I trusted them and asked them to trust me.  In those seven minutes at the Fellows Luncheon I was transformed in front of strangers and we became a community.  

I told this crowd of 500+ that the speech to the Fellows was one of the most memorable days of my life, but unfortunately I didn't remember a thing about it.  I was taken over, absorbed, in a state of grace or something not of my doing.  Afterwards, I was rushed by people in the room who had borne witness to what had happened who were crying and thanked me for doing that - who thanked me for giving them so sort of permission to be honest about what was going on in their lives too.  We became friends - friends that have lasted since.  Friends like Kristen Kellogg, with whom I tweet many days.  And Brent Tartamella, who put us up at the Westmoor Club over the winter.  And Marc Skvirsky, who became a dear old friend in one day, and who has offered to put our whole family up if my stepdaughter Skylar is chosen to row in The Head of the Charles. 

So with my dear wife Lynn sitting in the front row yesterday afternoon, I explained this to the entire Nantucket Project audience - and explained to them how Kate Brosnan called me up a few weeks later to ask me if I could do it again?  That she invited me to be a Presenter on the Main Stage at TNP2013 and that I told her that I would be honored - but I admitted to her that I didn't remember a thing.  She told me the same thing then that she told me yesterday.  She told me to turn it over to God.  

Yesterday I did so again.  I honestly have no idea what happened. 

________________

Day Seven: Nantucket/Greenwich, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013:   

Neil Phillips.  Two words to describe what The Nantucket Project is all about.  In a weekend of incredible presentations (p/c alert: I loved every presentation), Neil stood head and shoulders above the rest, literally and figuratively.  Neil Phillips (and his Visible Men Academy) is the man!

Gratefulness.  Lynn and I are grateful for so many things that God has offered us over the past decade - none more than to be in the company of our companions at TNP to share the portion of Louie Schwartzberg's film "Gratitude," and to hear his words of hope and life renewal.  Louie has offered to make hard copies available for prison showings.  It has been that kind of weekend. 
 
Thankfulness.  To each of you who has shared with us over the past few days your personal and family stories of pain, suffering, hope, faith and/or renewal - thank you for being with us and for trusting us.  We know it is a deeply profound and personal act of trust and love to share our pain and suffering with one another, to find that we are bound by our brokenness, and that we can only heal if come out of isolation, speak our truths and live together in community.  We know that we have been blessed in getting to know you and we want to keep in touch with you.  Our prayers are with you and your families. 

We are especially touched by Greg and Kathy LeMond, and their honesty, compassion and willingness to share how they've overcome adversities through courage and faith. They've proven that true champions put others first - we are so glad to be able to call them friends. 

Clothing crisis poll results.  I wouldn't dream of ending this week of TNP blogging without something fun :).  If you want to see the results of my clothing crisis poll, and see what I wore to my TNP presentation, please go to our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/progressiveprisonproject.org.

To TS & KB,
A special thank you.  It was a blessing beyond our wildest dreams.  May God bless you & keep you always. You know. 
Lynn & Jeff

___________________


Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Director, Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Greenwich, Connecticut

Assoc. Minister/
Director of Prison Ministries
First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

(203) 339-5887
jgrant@progressiveprisonproject.org
jg3074@columbia.edu

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