With the help of a group of Lawrence pastors and Richard Norton Smith, director of the Dole Institute of Politics, festivities planned to mark the center's dedication will begin on a spiritual note.
The pastors and Smith have been working for months to organize an ecumenical, interfaith celebration from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday at the Lied Center on Kansas University's west campus.
Ten Lawrence churches have cooperated to plan the "Service Above Self" ceremony, which will commemorate the "Greatest Generation," including those who served in World War II.
It's an appropriate way to begin several days of dedication activities for the Dole Institute, according to the Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.
"The theme will be a celebration of sacrifice and a focus on service above self. That's what we're going to focus on -- honoring and remembering those who gave service to their country 60 years ago during World War II," said Luckey, co-chairman of the committee of pastors organizing the event.
"I think it will be a very traditional service. We'll sing 'Eternal Father, Strong to Save' (the U.S. Navy hymn), 'America the Beautiful' and 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.' We are also saying a prayer for our country that we will say in unison from the 1941 'Song and Service Book for Ship and Field,' used by the Army and Navy during World War II."
The service will be led by the Rev. George Russell Barber, who was one of four military chaplains to make the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.
He also served during the Battle of the Bulge and comforted hundreds of injured and dying soldiers on many European battlefields.
|What: Interfaith, ecumenical serviceWhen: 10 a.m. Sunday. Doors open at 9 a.m. to ticket holders.Where: Lied Center, west campus.|
The service will include performances by the Lawrence Community Handbell Choir; a combined choir from participating congregations; the Kansas Brass; Becky Bliss, Katie Falk and Matt Rice.
In addition to Barber, speakers during the service will be Luckey; the Rev. Sherry Schultz, Unity Church of Lawrence; the Rev. Sharon Howell, First United Methodist Church; Chaplain Bob Owen; the Rev. Jay Gideon, West Side Presbyterian Church; State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence; the Rev. Randy Beeman, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); the Rev. Jim Dunkin, the event's other co-chairman, First Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Rick Burwick, Clinton Parkway Assembly of God.
The service will be simulcast inside the Memory Tent, which will be set up adjacent to the Lied Center and the Dole Institute. Participants are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs.
It also will be broadcast live locally on radio station KLWN 1320-AM.
Free tickets to the service -- 1,200 of them -- have already been distributed to people through Lawrence churches. The Dole Institute has reserved another 800 tickets for World War II veterans and members of the American Legion.
Doors to the Lied Center open at 9 a.m. to ticket holders. At 9:40 a.m., the small number of remaining seats will be made available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.
Parking at the Lied Center will be limited. Free transportation by buses will be provided at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of 10th and Vermont streets and at First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway.
Five buses will be at each location. They will leave for the Lied Center as they fill up with people.
Churches participating in the service are Plymouth Congregational, First Presbyterian, First United Methodist, Trinity Lutheran, First Christian (Disciples of Christ), St. John the Evangelist, Unity Church of Lawrence, West Side Presbyterian, St. Margaret's Episcopal and Clinton Parkway Assembly of God.
'Final thank you'
Smith, the Dole Institute's director, explained the reasoning behind the service.
"It just seemed an appropriate way to launch the three days, which, in a larger sense -- at Senator Dole's insistence -- is a thank-you to the men and women who fought World War II," he said.
"For many of these people, it will be a final thank-you, given the age of a lot of folks involved. What better way to launch that program than on a Sunday morning, to bring folks from different faiths together to recognize and honor the whole concept of service?"