An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  - Gandhi

Coalition Announces New Board Co-Chairs

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has announced the election of its new Board Co-Chairs, Rev. Adam Leathers, Director of the Criminal Justice & Mercy Ministries in Oklahoma City and Marilyn Knott, OK-CADP’s Oklahoma Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Faith In Action Commission’s Representative.

Oklahoma City attorney and former Board Chair Collin Walke has regretfully had to step down due to other personal commitments.

Walke said, “I’m sorry that my time constraints prevent me from maintaining my role as OKCADP chair, but I am excited that Adam Leathers and Marilyn Knott are taking over the reins. OKCADP will be in good hands.  The coalition is dependent on community support, and I believe Adam and Marilynn can reach out to the community and get them more involved in this important organization.”

Adam Leathers, OK-CADP Co-Chair
Adam Leathers, OK-CADP Co-Chair

Born in Colorado, Rev. Adam Leathers graduated Adams State College with a B.S. in Marketing and B.A. in Advertising. He attended Saint Paul School of Theology, in Kansas City, and earned a Master’s of Divinity. While there he served as student pastor at Grand Avenue Temple United Methodist Church, a congregation comprised of mainly homeless individuals.

Leathers soon developed a passion for working with the marginalized. Appointed to Wellston, OK, he began work with Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries (CJAMM) of the Oklahoma Annual Conference.

Today, Rev. Leathers is senior pastor of Penn. Ave Redemption United Methodist Church and Executive Director of Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries of the Oklahoma Annual Conference.

Leathers is committed to the belief that the death penalty is contrary to God’s purposes for humanity and maintains that faithful Christians have an obligation to oppose it.

“I am happy and blessed to be serving as the new co-chair for the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty,” Leathers said. “This is a critical issue for our state and it needs to be at the forefront of peoples’ minds and our leadership’s agenda.”

As co-chairs, Leathers and Knott join the team of the 2013-2014 OK-CADP Board Officers, which include Secretary, Susan Bishop, a member of the Social Justice Committee of Oklahoma City’s First Unitarian Church; and Treasurer, Mary E. Sine, an educator at Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Co-chair Marilyn Knott is an Oklahoma native, former social worker and assistant minister at Crown Heights Christian Church in Oklahoma City.

“My faith guides me to take a stand against the use of the death penalty,” said Knott. “I believe that we do not have the right to shorten anyone’s life before they can receive forgiveness and we must remember that all who are sentenced to death are not guilty of the crime for which they were convicted.  My Savior was wrongfully convicted and crucified.”

Susan Bishop’s involvement with the Coalition began through OK-CADP member, Anne Murray, First Unitarian Church Social Justice Committee Chair.  In January of this year, Bishop filled in for Murray while she was on hiatus with OK-CADP and has since become a self proclaimed Coalition ‘faithful scribe.’

“I support OK-CADP because the idea of state sponsored homicide offends me both personally and spiritually,” said Bishop. “This is the 21st century and we still feel the need to kill people.  I find that thought rather barbaric and it is a wonder we have not advanced any further on the civilization scale.”

Originally from Rhode Island, Bishop came to Oklahoma City in 1972. Before retiring in 2005, she worked for the V.A. Medical Center for over 30 years where she served as a Kinesiotherapist and as Chief Therapist in the Therapeutic Recreation Section of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Also an Oklahoma native, Mary E. Sine graduated with Bachelors degrees in Education from Oklahoma State University and in Spanish from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked tirelessly to abolish the death penalty as a member of OK-CADP since 2001.

Sine said, “As Treasure since 2011, I have been impressed with the generous financial support of people from all over the State of Oklahoma. Their contributions to the cause of ending the death penalty has allowed the Coalition to expand its work.”

Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is a grassroots membership organization working to end the death penalty in Oklahoma. OK-CADP engages in outreach, education, and advocacy aimed at raising awareness of issues related to the death penalty and mobilizing Oklahoma citizens – and their elected officials – to support abolition of the death penalty.


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