Saturday, December 23, 2006

Why Not Here.....

As I waste time this morning on here, instead of finishing sermons for Advent 4 (tonight) and Christmas Eve (tomorrow) and Christmas Day (Monday - but it will definitely be a wing-it-as-you-go sermon), I am struck, once again, by the faith of Mary and of how she was "already blessed" by her belief, before Jesus even made the grand entrance in a stable.
Which brings me to prayer request, part two!
Thanks for all of you who have been praying for St. Patrick's and our continued recovery. Those prayers have been answered in an amazing way! I cannot really yet give out too many details, but this week our vestry accepted the recommendation of our site committee to pursue one particular piece of property that we all feel is a FANTASTIC location for the new St. Pats. It is in the heart of town, near schools, residential neighborhoods, highly visible, high traffice, pretty land, land that is above Katrina flood levels, the list goes on. The process of arriving at this decision was hard yet wonderful, prayerful, and faith filled. I cannot applaud loudly enough the work of our site committee, our planning committee, our consultant, and our vestry. I am PUMPED UP about this decision.
Which brings me to your prayers.....please don't stop.
The only hurdle yet to cross to obtain this property is the price. We have begun negotiations, and the starting point of the land owner is too high. Our task is to convince him how we will care for this land, how we will offer so much to the community from there, how we had previously given over to the city a large part of our property for a city park, how we are committted to that same kind of presence at our new location. It is our hope and prayer that appealing to his sense of civic duty and our intentions will help us in the negotiations.
Can we claim this in God's name? Can we dare to rejoice in God's providence, even before it happens? Sounds kinda like Mary to me. Will you join me and our people in praying for this kind of miracle for our church?
Why not here? Why not claim God's blessing on the process we have followed and the prayers we have said? Why not look for the unexpected and use it to give God glory?
Will you join me?

5 comments:

Jane Ellen+ said...

My prayers continue... and St. Pat's will be on our prayer list here in Big Sky Country this week, as well.
(o)

David Bailey said...

David,

We will raise up your prayer request at Eucharist tomorrow, as we always pray for St. Pat's and Trinity (Pass Christian) on Sundays and through the week . .

David Bailey
St.Stephen's - Cincinnati

Bethany said...

If it's God's will, it will happen! If MDA grant checks can happen so can our churhc! I think we should have a sound proof nursery attached to the sanctuaty like that church in fairhope. That was awesome!

Michael Zimmerman said...

I apologize in advance for making an extended comment that has nothing to do with your post, but I hope that my note is something that you and your readers will find interesting. Thanks in advance for reading on:


Celebrate Evolution Sunday – 11 February 2007

By Michael Zimmerman

The Second Annual Evolution Sunday will occur on February 11th 2007. Your help is needed to make this day a success. This date is an opportunity for congregations across the country (indeed, around the world) to join together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. Evolution Sunday is being sponsored by The Clergy Letter Project, a collection of more than 10,400 members of the Christian clergy who have signed a letter asserting that Christianity and modern evolutionary science need not be at odds with one another.

In a two paragraph plea (reproduced below), these Christian clergy members assert that they “believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests.” They go on to urge that modern evolutionary theory rather than any form of creationism or intelligent design be taught in our country’s public schools and conclude by requesting that “We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.”

One of the main goals of The Clergy Letter Project is to demonstrate to the broad spectrum of Christian believers that, unlike what is being shrilly shouted by many fundamentalist ministers, a choice does not have to be made between religion and science. Because the two are compatible, congregants should feel comfortable accepting both. Additionally, the signers of The Clergy Letter want to go on record making it clear that those fundamentalist ministers are not speaking for the majority of Christian clergy.

Last year, in an attempt to further this message and to elevate the quality of the national discussion on this topic, The Clergy Letter Project sponsored the First Annual Evolution Sunday event. On this day, 467 congregations from every state, the District of Columbia and five countries participated by hearing sermons, having an adult education class or a children’s Sunday school class, or joining in a lunch discussion group. While each participating congregation chose an event that made the most sense locally, together a major international statement was made.

Last year, Evolution Sunday received a great deal of very positive national publicity with articles in virtually every major newspaper in the country. Indeed, the one in the New York Times was the most e-mail article for the week it appeared. Additionally, it is clear the event hit a nerve with creationists: both the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis issued press releases condemning Evolution Sunday.

The Second Annual Evolution Sunday event has now been scheduled for 11 February 2007. If you are a part of a congregation, please think about having it participate. It is only by broadening the base in this way that we will be able to reach out to a growing number of people and, hopefully, improve the understanding that people have about the interrelationship between science and religion.

Signing up is easy. Simply send an e-mail to Michael Zimmerman at mz@butler.edu indicating your congregation’s desire to participate along with the name and location of your congregation and its leader. Your congregation will be immediately added to the growing list.

The Clergy Letter Project’s web pages provide more than 50 sermons delivered by clergy last year on this topic. Check them out at www.evolutionsunday.org. So, if you or a member of the clergy you know are in need of ideas, this is a good place to start.

Additionally, if you are a member of the Clergy and have not yet signed The Clergy Letter, please think about doing so. A note with your name, congregation (optional) and address to mz@butler.edu will get you signed up.

Most importantly, please help by spreading the word about The Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Sunday to others who might be interested in participating. Please forward this note to friends and colleagues and ask them to do the same. Please post this note on as many list serves as you can. In short, please help us reach more people as quickly as we can. Efforts like this will make a positive difference for both religion and science around the country.

Michael Zimmerman, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana, is the founder of The Clergy Letter Project.

Visit The Clergy Letter Project on the Web at www.evolutionsunday.org


The Clergy Letter
Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.
We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.
Signed by 10,418 Christian clergy member as of 19 December 2006

Oh, The Joys said...

You know I was only Episcopalian for 17 minuts, right?