The incarcerated recently held a memorial service for long-time San Quentin resident Kenneth “Musa” Bailey in the Garden Chapel. Although escorts were required because of limited visibility, more than 70 people were in attendance.
Graced Out Ministries, which holds services every Saturday night, hosted the March 11 event. Paula Bates and Aldo Yanney, both volunteer Christian ministers, were also in attendance.
“Although Musa was known as being grumpy sometimes, he loved the Lord and I know he is in a better place,” said Yanney as he gave an emotional farewell to his friend. Musa attended the Greek and Hebrew language class that Yanney has taught at San Quentin for years.
The incarcerated made a memorial for Musa, with a picture of Bailey surrounded by flowers. Time was given for the incarcerated to come up and view the memorial as they said their final goodbyes. Several men got up to speak words of remembrance about their friend and the impact he had on their lives.
Paula Bates told those in attendance that Musa always said he would rather stay in prison for life than to get outand risk forgetting about God.
The “Graced Out Choir” sung three soulful selections which touched those in the audience. Many sang along to the gospel classics, “Going Up Yonder” and “I Shall Wear A Crown.”
Musa served as an usher and a choir member at the Garden Chapel for years under the leadership of Chaplain Jackson.
Tommy Hall, a member of the choir, was reflective during the service, stating, “I really enjoyed the service because it gives us all a time to reflect and pay our respect to those who we’ve lost at San Quentin. I love being at a prison that gives us the opportunity to properly mourn like anyone else in society has a chance to mourn their losses.”
The service was concluded with an awe-inspiring solo performance from Bates, who brought many to tears and to their feet. She also encouraged the men to make a decision for Christ while they still had time.
Musa died from pancreatic cancer and will be remembered for his straight-forward nature, and his love for both the truth and God.