For People Podcast: Faith, Justice, & Public Service

The following collection of episodes focuses on justice and public service, featuring special guests such as a Chief Justice, State Representative, Governor, State Senator, and individuals affected by our systems of policing and incarceration.

Justice Episodes

A Story of Redemption with Special Guest Lawrence Bell | Part 2 of 2
July 16, 2021

Redemption is an important theme in the Bible and in the world. It teaches us that people can come out of tough situations and that Good News can prevail. It can make brokenness new.

In this episode, Bishop Wright continues a conversation with special guest Lawrence Bell, who served 30 years and 1 day in prison. In it, they discuss how Lawrence found and kept his faith in prison, his supporters that stood alongside him as they fought for his release, and what his life looks like now as a redeemed man of faith standing for truth and justice in a world in desperate need.

Arrested at 14 years old and sentenced to life plus 50 years with a 55-year parole disqualifier, Lawrence Bell won his release in June 2020, after having served 30 years in prison. He graduated, Summa Cum Laude, Rutger’s Newark with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Studies in December 2020. He works as an Honorarium for Swarthmore College and the Lang Center for Human Values, lecturing on African religions in the Antebellum South as well as the History of American Penological System. In addition, he is a frequent contributor and guest lecturer for Critical Conversations – a Princeton University run social awareness forum. Lawrence is an active member of the Transformative Justice Initiative, based out of Camden, New Jersey, and a member of The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s RACE Counsel for Change. He is committed to criminal justice reform, particularly as it relates to Adult Charged Juvenile Offenders and community empowerment.

A Story of Redemption with Special Guest Lawrence Bell | Part 1 of 2
July 9, 2021

Redemption is an important theme in the Bible and in the world. It teaches us that people can come out of tough situations and that Good News can prevail. It can make brokenness new.

In this episode, Bishop Wright has a conversation with special guest Lawrence Bell, who served 30 years and 1 day in prison.  He began his sentence at the age of 14. They discuss Lawrence’s life from his young years until his arrest. His is a story of neglect, darkness, and pain. What we know is that Jesus is there and is always a road from darkness into light; where brokenness is made new.  Listen in for the full conversation.

Arrested at 14 years old and sentenced to life plus 50 years with a 55-year parole disqualifier, Lawrence Bell won his release in June 2020, after having served 30 years in prison. He graduated, Summa Cum Laude, Rutger’s Newark with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Studies in December 2020. He works as an Honorarium for Swarthmore College and the Lang Center for Human Values, lecturing on African religions in the Antebellum South as well as the History of American Penological System. In addition, he is a frequent contributor and guest lecturer for Critical Conversations – a Princeton University run social awareness forum. Lawrence is an active member of the Transformative Justice Initiative, based out of Camden, New Jersey, and a member of The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s RACE Counsel for Change. He is committed to criminal justice reform, particularly as it relates to Adult Charged Juvenile Offenders and community empowerment.

Justice Work with Supreme Court Chief Justice David E. Nahmias
July 2, 2021

There is no argument that the work of justice is hard, important, and meaningful. But how do lawyers and judges improve laws, and justice?

In this episode, Bishop Wright talks with newly installed Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice David E. Nahmias. Chief Justice Nahmias shares his faith story, the connections between his legal service and faith, and his personal call to serve young people by doing what is necessary to ensure their future.

On the importance of how we treat children in our juvenile justice system, Chief Justice Nahmias says, “we live in a world with enormous division, but the world can agree that we must take care of the lives of our children.” Listen in for the full conversation.

Chief Justice Nahmias has served on the Georgia Supreme Court since August 2009. He was installed as Chief Justice of the Court on July 1. Before becoming a justice, he was a federal prosecutor for almost 15 years, including as a line prosecutor and as the United States Attorney in Atlanta, where he prosecuted and supervised many high-profile cases. Nahmias was also a senior Justice Department official in Washington, where he oversaw terrorism cases for three years after the 9/11 attacks. Chief Justice Nahmias is a graduate of Briarcliff High School in DeKalb County, where he was the state’s STAR Student in 1982; Duke University, where he finished second in his class; and Harvard Law School, where he served on the Law Review with former President Barack Obama. He was a law clerk for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Nahmias has received numerous local, state, and national awards and honors for his public service, and he serves on several committees and boards that work to improve the legal system and the community. His late wife Catherine and he have two sons.

Public Service Episodes

Public Service with Ga State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver
May 7, 2021

What does faith look like for a person working in politics? And what about tough issues that divide people?

In this episode, Bishop Wright and Ga State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver discuss these very questions and other relevant topics.  It is a tall order in doing the tough work of reaching across the aisle to those we disagree with while remaining faithful to the higher call in serving the one we call Jesus. Listen in for the full conversation.

Mary Margaret Oliver is a parishioner at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta. She is a lifelong resident of District 82 in DeKalb County and has served in the Georgia General Assembly in both the House of Representatives (1987-1992) and 2002 – present, and the Senate (1993 -1998). Her past legislative accomplishments have included authoring and passing significant legislation for the protection of children and consumers, including Georgia’s anti-stalking law, along with legislation to protect neighborhood activists from intimidation. Prior to her elections, she practiced law, was an administrative law judge and an Associate Magistrate Judge.

GA Voting Legislation with GA Governor Brian Kemp
April 20, 2021

In this episode, Bishop Wright has a conversation with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, an Episcopalian in the diocese and member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Athens, GA. They discuss being a person of faith as a public servant, how Georgia has responded to the pandemic of COVID-19, and the new voting legislation passed in Georgia just recently and the impact it will have on elections to come.

Brian Kemp is a husband, father, businessman, and public servant. On November 6, 2018, he was elected as Georgia’s 83rd Governor.

GA Voting Legislation with GA State Senator The Rev. Kim Jackson
March 31, 2021

In this episode, Bishop Wright talks with Georgia State Senator Kim Jackson, who is an Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Atlanta. Their conversation focuses on recently passed state legislation that made big changes to Georgia’s voting laws. Changes that drew applause from some and anger from others.

Given the age of information overload and fake news we live in, they search for what is really at the heart of these new laws. Their discussion includes a controversial provision prohibiting water and food being handed out to voters – something people of faith struggle with given the biblical significance of giving people water in Jesus’ name being a Godly act.

Bishop Wright and Senator Jackson also discuss other aspects of Georgia’s new election law and how they impact access to voting in this special edition of For People.

Links to learn more shared by Senator Kim Jackson during the episode.

Fair Fight – Democracy works best when we put in place the guardrails that ensure every American has an equal opportunity to make their voice heard and be fairly represented.

– Read the new election law discussed in the podcast.

For People with Bishop Rob Wright

Explore more episodes and subscribe to stay up to date.