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Crump's Expressway

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~ a column from our Minister, The Reverend Steve J.  Crump

Invite and bring friends to church in April~ We’ve made it easy for you.  Use the enclosed yellow card. (It needs a 28¢ stamp.)  We’ve indentified some popular topics for the month. Plus, there’s a good cup of coffee and lunch bunch each Sunday.

 Our congregation gathers to meet on major issues at least twice each year.  The Annual meeting, now set for May 15, is a required meeting according to our bylaws. Please attend at 12:45 PM to VOTE on a slate of officers, to VOTE on an assistant minister proposal, and to receive the Sr. Minister’s annual report.  (See President’s column.)

 A piece of Japan on our campus ~ The UUA and our church have long-standing relationships with people of Japan.  (including Rissho Kosei-kai, Tsubaki Grand Shrine, the Konko Church of Izuo, the Tokyo Dojin Church, and the Japan Chapter of the International Association for Religious Freedom.)Our hearts are broken as we try to comprehend the loss of life, shattered families, and destroyed property.  The Peace Stones in our church meadow (I call them Love More andFear Less) were placed in the meadow in 1995 after the tragic death of Yoshirhiro Hattori in 1992. They were dedicated in September of 1996 after the congregation voted to receive them in sanctuary at a congregational meeting in October of 1995.  These cultural gifts from Nagoya arrived in huge shipping crates for the people of Baton Rouge –symbols to reduce fear and violence.  People frequently gather in our Peace Meadow for joys, meditation, sorrow, the scattering of cremains, and remembering.   An effective way of making an online gift for those now suffering in Japan is to go to UUA.orgthen click on UUA/UUSC Japan Relief Fund.

 Nothing would please the Director of Religious Education Search Team more than to announce soon that we have a promising candidate for the DRE position in our church.  The Personnel Committee plus Shannon Cavell, Diana Dorroh, Marla Elsea, and Danielle Gurt are the members of the team who reviewed surveys from the congregation and gathered input from a February open session of church members.  We are seeking someone with an education background and program administration experience.  We have no announcement as we go to press, but I am pleased to say the team is communicating almost daily on some aspect of our national search.  Several of our interviewees are particularly qualified and virtually all have approached our program with enthusiasm.  The candidate will be recommended to the Board for final approval.  Thank you, congregation, for your patience and support.

 The Longest War in U.S. history is the war in Afghanistan.   With the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 coming in September, we can anticipate an involved replaying of the story with visuals and punditry.  “How would you assess the American psyche if our country were attacked again,” I asked author Peter Bergen when he spoke recently in our state.  “Would our country show restraint?  Would we be reactive?”  Bergen, CNN analyst and author of a new book, The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and al-Qaeda, said he thought our country would probably succumb to another terrorist attack again someday; however, Bergen thought it extraordinarily unlikely that anything on the scale of 9/11 could be accomplished because al-Qaeda has become far more isolated, marginalized, and discredited internationally, especially in the Muslim world.  Bergen was the first journalist to interview bin Laden and, as far as I can tell, the first author to explore so thoroughly “the war on terror” from so many view points, mistakes and all.

 Want to schedule in April or May a dedication ceremony for your infant?  Call or send me an email with all the details: time and place of birth, grandparents, godparents, etc.