Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and forget not his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with mercy and compassion,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
Psalm 103:2-6)

This is a time when all of us should stop and give thanks for all the blessings we have received. I have a lot of reasons to be thankful. And Thanksgiving is a great time to give thanks.

Can someone serving time in prison find reasons to be thankful? I sure can. I am thankful I am serving my 46 month prison term in a Federal Camp and not at the Medium Security Prison here in Atlanta, GA. There are no iron bars at the Prison Camp or 2 man cells with a steel door to keep you locked up. Its dormitory style at the camps. About 50 men housed in a dormitory setting. I am in Dorm D.

Camps are safer than the prisons. This makes me thankful. I have talked to numerous inmates who have served time at other Federal Prisons. Prisons that are housing dangerous inmates. These are usually the High and Medium Facilities. And these facilities are dangerous. Many inmates have related stories to me of attacks that have been made on inmates by other inmates. Some of the reasons for the stabbings or the beatings seem trivial to me. But who knows what goes on in the minds of these men. I am thankful I am not around any of them. I am thankful that I do not have to fear for my safety.

I am thankful I have a roof over my head. Food to eat and a bed to sleep in. Many people on the outside do not have any of the most basic necessities. I am not starving. I know where my next meal is coming from and about what time it will be served each day. And at night I can close my eyes and sleep knowing that I am relatively safe. For these things I am very thankful.

I can use the telephones here at the camp. The computers, televisions, the Leisure Library and the recreation area are also available to me. I am very thankful for these privileges too.

I am thankful for my improving health. I suffered a mild stroke. And that started a downward spiral that led to me facing homelessness, the loss of my savings, no job, no money, and associating with someone that resulted in my guilty plea on a Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud charge. I was homeless for 6 months. The guilty plea resulted in a sentence of 46 months. I am thankful I survived this period of time. And I am thankful God came to my rescue.

During this dark period, this period of adversity God did not abandon me. God took away all the fear I may have had. Thank you God.

God made sure I did not have to remain locked up before my case was decided. I was released without bond. Thank you God.

God made sure my health improved and continues to improve to this day. Thank you God.

God made sure I was sentenced to a Camp and not a Federal Prison. And HE made sure my sentence was short, 46 months. Thank you God.

God provided wonderful friends who have been a great source of love and support during this time. Thank you God.

God allowed me to self report to prison. Thank you God.

God has provided some guards here at the prison who are concerned for the welfare of older and handicapped prisoners. Thank you God.

God has provided me with a new Faith, the Catholic Faith. HE oversaw my conversion and my Confirmation into the Catholic Church. Thank you God.

God provided me special friends who I love dearly. H.L. and John F. and Jean and Steve A. in Knoxville, TN. Thank you God.

God provided me the love and support from Barbara S. in Louisiana. Thank you God.

And God’s blessings continue to mount day by day. God protects me from harm. Thank you God.

What are your blessings from God? Take a moment and think about them. And say; “Thank you God.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his mercy endures for ever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble.
(Psalm 107:1-2)

Comments or Questions can be sent to Or they can be mailed to Bernard Addison, 44863-074; FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D; PO Box 150160; Atlanta, GA 30315


Thanksgiving Blessings

behind the wall

Pastor John:

I was sitting in my cubicle here at the Atlanta Prison Work Camp. It’s raining here this Tuesday morning. And I started thinking about the things that make me thankful. Here are some of them:

1)  I am thankful for the Love of God. And I discovered this Love through his son Jesus Christ.

2)  I am thankful to be alive and (3) for reasonably good health.

4) I am thankful for the Church and especially Lincoln Park Community United Methodist. This includes all its wonderful members and everyone who has supported, sent letters, sent gifts and prayed for me during this period in my life. I truly love all of you. I will be back soon.

5)  I am thankful for a special new friend, Annette Spence, writer for “The Call.”

6)  I am thankful for my special friends in Knoxville and their families in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

7)  I am thankful for KARM (Knox Area Rescue Ministries). It was there when I had nowhere to go.

8)  I am thankful for everyone who does work to help the homeless, the poor, orphans and families in need.

9)  I am thankful for this prison. It’s a safe place to serve my time and return home.

This is my short list. But there is so much more. You might think someone in prison does not have anything to be thankful for. You are wrong. God is doing so much good in my life. And there is so much more to come.

Happy Thanksgiving,