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Story by Walker Knight
Oakhurst Baptist Church – Decatur, GA
In 1978, Oakhurst Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA became involved in the case of Mosie Harriell, also known as Charles Harris. Harris had served 25 years of a life sentence before escaping from prison. He was found and re-arrested in Atlanta ten years after his escape. Convinced that he was a changed man, the congregation offered their building as security for his bond and became instrumental in the events that followed.
The Video Documentary Task Force, at the request of the Church Council, will show an important 23-minute documentary, "45 Days, A Story of Redemption," during the worship service on November 9, 2014.
This film about an important time in Oakhurst's history tells the story of Mosie Harriell, alias Charles Harris, and the church's involvement in his life during 1978 and 1979. The church's action became national news and eventually involved other DeKalb churches and various public officials.
More than a year in the making, the film involves on-camera interviews with Oakhurst leaders Louise Griffis, Mike Weaver, and John Nichol, as well as public defender Billy Spruell, who hopes to attend the worship service November 9.
After the premiere, the documentary will be released for other showings and distribution.
The council and other church leaders feel that this video carries important messages for today's membership, especially for those who did not live during the period or were not members then.
Mike Weaver sent this message as part of his reply: "Our daughter Haley, a restorative justice lawyer, was deeply touched by your film. She didn't know Charles' story and was moved by it. Wants to use it in her work." In addition, in reviewing the film, former pastor John Nichol wrote, "Once again you folks have hit the ball out of the park. I appreciate so much the professionalism with which you have presented the story and preserved an important chapter in Oakhurst's history."
Click here to watch the video.