Second Chance Choir

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If you’ve read, “After This…”, you may remember what a big part my home congregation and denominational family played in my recovery. If I tell people I was raised in church, many people immediately assume it was a hellfire and brimstone, hateful, judgmental and hypocritical system of beliefs. Negative.


Even though I’ve been in Florida for seven years, I still enjoy keeping up with the goings on of my home denom. Today’s newsletter really made me smile. Here it is:

A traveling choir came to the St. Paul United Church of Christ in Old Monroe MO to sing a few hymns. They call themselves the Second Chance Choir.

They are met with smiling faces and standing ovations and the pride is written all over the singer’s faces.


Courtesy of

Lincoln County Sheriff John Cottle says the idea of a jail choir has morphed into now taking the show on the road. “Gives them a little more pride in themselves and also we’ve seen the families show up at some of the services they’ve been in,” says Sheriff Cottle. The choir is made up of 12 volunteer inmates from the Lincoln County Jail. The sheriff says they practice three or four times a week. Even the director is an offender who spoke in front of the congregation Sunday. “He asked to do that and so he is allowed to do it,” says the Sheriff.

“Things happened in my life that made me doubt that the Lord was on my side, when I was younger I went through sexual abuse,” says Jason Russell. Russell shared he went from a boy being raised in the church to becoming a father at 17 and a drug dealer shortly after. Now he’s leading the Second Chance Choir – a hot commodity hailing from the county jail.


Courtesy of

“I’ve seen a change in them from the beginning until now and it’s been just a month and a half,” says the Sheriff.

Word is getting out about the Second Chance Choir and churches are starting to call them, inviting them to come to sing.

If you would like more information or to invite the choir to your church contact


When I was young and dumb, my opinion on criminals was lock ‘em up and throw away the key. With age, knowledge and experience, I know that writing anyone off isn’t a loving nor compassionate thing to do…so I really try not to.

Don’t we all need a second chance?



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