Miracle of Innocence takes appeal online in virtual gala


The man whose organization helped set the Rev. Darryl Burton free after 24 years in prison for a crime Burton didn’t commit praised the work of Burton’s group during Miracle of Innocence’s “Turning Dreams into Reality” virtual gala. 

The gala premiered with a 45-minute video on Oct. 28. 

Centurion founder Jim McCloskey speaks at the virtual gala. Screen shot

Burton, wrongly imprisoned for murder in the St. Louis area, is now an associate pastor at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Three years ago, he formed Miracle of Innocence with Lamont McIntyre, who suffered a similar fate for 23 years following a double murder in Kansas City, Kansas. 

They were both helped thanks to Centurion, a pioneering organization in freely those who were wrongly imprisoned. 

“We have spawned through Darryl and Lamont another organization that has followed our lead, but is their own particular calling,” Centurion founder Jim McCloskey said in the video. 

McCloskey called the imprisonment of Burton and McIntyre, among others, an example of systemic racism in a “deeply flawed system.” 

“The system doesn’t want to admit it made a mistake,” McCloskey said. 

The virtual gala was an online fundraiser for the organization, which Burton says needs $200,000-$300,000 over several years for each person it aids, plus after-release assistance including finding transportation, employment and sometimes housing. 

“Getting people out is a no-brainer,” Burton says in the video. 

Miracle of Innocence founders Lamont McIntyre and the Rev. Darryl Burton.

During the video interview with McCloskey, Miracle of Innocence learned of its first success story: Ralph McElroy, who served more than 33 years in Missouri for a crime he didn’t commit, was released. The group provided him with a cellphone and fitted him for new glasses, and he meets with a social worker several times a week. 

One of the early proponents of Miracle of Innocence was the Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of Church of the Resurrection, who called Burton a “beloved friend and co-laborer in Christ” before giving the invocation. 

“You’re setting them free,” Hamilton said of Burton. “You’re setting the captives free.” 


Listen to a podcast featuring Miracle of Innocence and the stories from Lamont McIntyre and the Rev. Darryl Burton. 

Contact David Burke, communications content specialist, at dburke@greatplainsumc.org.

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