Duke Chapel: Responding to Violence with Justice and Mercy


Streamed live on Oct 20, 2014

A Duke Chapel Bridge Panel discussion moderated by the Rev. Dr. Luke Powery, dean of the chapel.

The conversation, "Responding to Violence with Justice and Mercy," is part of the Chapel's Bridge Panels series that seeks to connect people from various walks of life to discuss issues of shared concern.

The panelists include: The Rev. Melvin Bullock, retired chaplain of Polk Correctional Institution; the Honorable Marcia H. Morey, chief district court judge of Durham's 14th Judicial District; Joslin Simms, a member of the Durham chapter of Parents of Murdered Children; and Professor Simon Partner from Duke's history department.

"Violence - and healing from it - is almost always a matter of communal concern because it affects our families, neighborhoods, faith communities, legal system, health care system and government," Powery said. "One prayer of mine is to see bridges formed among people in these different areas in order to discover pathways toward the peaceful reality of the beloved community of God."

Each of the panelists has been involved in constructive responses to violence in its various forms.

Bullock ministered for many years to the young men being held at Polk Correctional Institution. The prison includes a high security unit that houses violent offenders.

As chief district judge, Morey regularly adjudicates cases involving violence. When she was an assistant district attorney in Durham she helped create the Teen Court and Restitution Program, in which young, first-time offenders are tried by their peers for misdemeanor offenses.

Simms is speaking in honor of her son Ray Simms, who was 30 years old when he was fatally shot May 21, 2005. In addition to her work with Parents of Murdered Children, Joslin Simms has also spoken on behalf of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham and other groups for common sense gun laws, repeal of the death penalty and fair compensation for victims.

Partner is the author of "Bull City Survivor," which chronicles the life of a Durham woman whose son was murdered. In the book her personal story is told against the backdrop of the city's social and economic changes. 

The discussion is being organized in partnership with the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham.