In early April, nearly 150 lawyers, judges, law students, and law professors from the eastern Congo gathered at the Fifth International Christian Lawyers Conference in Beni, North Kivu, DRC. It was an amazing time of fellowship, discussion, prayer, and planning.
The lawyers gathered on the campus of Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo ("UCBC"), the only bilingual Christian University in the DRC. UCBC was founded by Congo Initiative under the guiding vision of Dr. David Kasali. This year, UCBC admitted its first class of law students to its new law school, founded in part on the inspiration and work of the lawyers gathered on campus.
Ben Chappell, a practicing lawyer in San Antonio, has been involved with these gatherings from the beginning, when Dr. Kasali asked if he would be willing to come to the Congo to spend time with Christian lawyers in Beni. The conferences have grown, in large part, due to Ben's work in recruiting teams from the West to participate, funding the events, and organizing them until they could be passed on to a Congolese steering team. In April, 2017, Ben's team included Cross & Gavel host Mike Schutt, who travelled to the DRC as a representative of Regent Law School's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, & the Rule of Law.
Ben Chappell is Mike's guest on this episode of Cross & Gavel. Listen in as they talk about God's work in and through Congolese lawyers in this seemingly remote part of the world. You will be inspired by the vision of Dr. Kasali, the dedication of the Congo Initiative staff, and the faithfulness of Ben Chappell and his family.
Dr. David Kasali
Ben Chappell is a board certified family practice lawyer in San Antonio, TX at Bray, Chappell, Patterson, & Olsen. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and Southern Methodist University. He and his wife JoAnne have been married for 47 years, and they have three children and numerous grandchildren. They worship and serve at Covenant Baptist Church. He is on the board of Congo Initiative-USA and serves as coordinator for its Justice Initiatives.
Mike Schutt is associate professor and global recruiter for Regent University School of Law. He travelled to the Congo on behalf of Regent's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law. He also directs Attorney Ministries and Law Student Ministries for the Christian Legal Society.
Cross & Gavel podcasts are a project of Regent University School of Law and CLS.
The Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law was founded by Regent University School of Law in 2010 to equip Christian advocates to (1) promote the rule of law and seek justice for the oppressed and (2) serve and support those already engaged in such advocacy.
In this episode, host Mike Schutt interviews CGJ directors Ernie Walton and Jeff Brauch to discuss how the CGJ fulfills its dual mission. Hear about the CGJ’s programs for Regent law students and its philosophy of how to effectively engage in human rights advocacy. The discussion ranges from practical ways this generation of law students are working for justice to the connection between the rule of law, human rights, and moral anthropology. It's great fun! Listen in.
Ernie Walton serves as the Academic and Administrative director of Regent Law's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law. He also serves as a lecturer on the Regent Law faculty. Outside of his work at Regent, Ernie served as a law clerk to the Honorable D. Arthur Kelsey of the Virginia Supreme Court, practiced law in southern California, and served as an associate attorney for a non-profit law firm that specializes in protecting religious freedom.
Professor Jeffrey A. Brauch joined the Regent Law faculty in 1994. He served as the school's interim dean from 1999-2000 and as dean from 2000-2015. Professor Brauch has taught numerous courses, including International Human Rights; Foundations of Law; Torts; International Criminal Law; Negotiations; and Human Rights, Civil Liberties, & National Security. In 2010, he helped found the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law, and he now serves as its Executive Director.
Host Mike Schutt is director of Attorney Ministries & Law Student Ministries for Christian Legal Society and Associate Professor & Global Recruiter at Regent University School of Law.
Leah Boyd did not take the straight path to a career in human rights work in Africa. She graduated from a good law school, went to work at one of Texas' largest law firms doing commercial litigation, and was laid off. After a fellowship with International Justice Mission, a trip to Antarctica (of course!), and a gentle reminder from God, she became the Director of Justice Initiatives at ALARM -- African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM), encouraging lawyers in Africa and the West to live out their faith with their legal talents.
Leah takes teams of lawyers to Africa, encouraging and equipping local law enforcement, lawyers, and judges to fight human rights abuses in their communicates. Listen in as Leah tells a small piece of her story and of the story of ALARM, and some stories of those who have been blessed through their work. You'll be encouraged and challenged as you listen!
You can learn more about the work of ALARM at www.ALARM-inc.org and you may contact Leah Boyd at Leah@ALARM-inc.org. We pretty much guarantee that she is willing to get you involved in serving Africans with your legal skills.
Contact Cross & Gavel host Mike Schutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On January 11, 2010, Jim Gash, then Dean of Students at Pepperdine Law School, met Henry, a Ugandan boy accused of two murders, in a Ugandan "Remand Home," a sparse jail for juveniles awaiting trail. Henry had been held there since 2008, awaiting a hearing. This meeting, by God's grace, changed Jim's life. It also helped change the criminal trial court system in Uganda and bring justice to hundreds of children awaiting trial without hope. As Jim says, "I took a step of faith, and it changed everything."
Listen to Jim tell his story and Henry's story-- ultimately God's story of grace and mercy and justice-- as he talks about his new book, Divine Collision: An African Boy, An American Lawyer, and Their Remarkable Battle for Freedom (Worthy 2016). Jim talks about how God brought about justice for Henry, how He used American lawyers to effect legal reform, and how He can overcome our "fear of success" to take us where He wants us to go. Jim admits that had he known the plans that God had for him, he might have stayed at home-- but he is forever grateful that he did not.
This is a beautiful and compelling story for anyone interested in justice-- or for those who long to hear God's call to "do" His work in the world.
Jim Gash is Professor of Law and Director of the Global Justice Program at Pepperdine University School of Law. He graduated first in his class at Pepperdine Law in 1993, clerked with a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and practiced at Kirkland & Ellis in Los Angeles. When Jim argued Henry's case on appeal, he was the first American lawyer to argue in a Ugandan court.
Learn more about the book at DivineCollisionBook.com
Cross & Gavel Audio host Mike Schutt is Director of Attorney Ministries, Law Student Ministries, and the Institute for Christian Legal Studies (ICLS) for the Christian Legal Society. Cross & Gavel Audio is a project of ICLS, a cooperative ministry of CLS and Trinity Law School in Santa Ana, CA.