Archive for Saturday, December 31, 2011

Faith Forum: What are your hopes for the new year?

December 31, 2011


The Rev. Tom Brady, senior pastor, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt.:

Let’s see? How about winning the lottery, a national championship for Kansas University and world peace?

Well, maybe not? I don’t buy lottery tickets. I think I’d settle for the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. And I’m not sure that world peace is even a possibility. So, maybe I’ll hope for something else.

On a more serious note, I hope to see some positive changes in our economy. I’m not an economist, and I don’t fully understand the fluctuation in things like gas prices and interest rates, but I do know that many individuals and families are struggling financially. My hope for the new year is for the jobless to find meaningful employment that will sustain them and their families. I hope that we can continue to find ways to respond to the causes of poverty and offer more help to those who are suffering from the effects of poverty. I hope that everyone in our community can have adequate food, shelter, clothing and access to all the other resources required for health and happiness.

While world peace may be an impossibility, I do hope for (and pray for) peace within families. I see way too much conflict among family members. There needs to be a greater exchange of forgiveness and unconditional love. I hope that the new year brings peace into families who are fighting with each other. Supportive family relationships are a true gift. Bad habits, grudges, resentment and unmet expectations can keep families from appreciating one another. If you find yourself in a conflicted relationship, take the initiative and make some positive changes in the new year.

One of the phrases we say a lot is “have a happy new year.” It may sound a bit idealistic and simplistic, but that’s what I hope for the most, for people to be happy. So, have a happy new year!

— Send email to Tom Brady at

The Rev. Gary O’Flannagan, pastor, Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church, 802 W. 22nd St.:

My hopes for 2012? I thought about this question as I re-read Longfellow’s poem “Christmas Bells.” Written in 1864 during the Civil War after his son had left to enlist in the Union Army and while struggling with the loss of his wife, Longfellow wrote this poem as way to deal with his sorrow. The poem speaks volumes today.

So here we go: I hope our men and women come home from our wars. I hope those wounded in body and soul find peace at home. I hope my fellow countrymen learn to live at peace with each other, regardless of personal beliefs and convictions. I hope America discovers the true “Prince of Peace,” the one the Bible calls “Immanuel, God with Us.” Maybe I’m a foolish idealist, but as a follower of Jesus Christ who struggles to live my faith as best I can, I too want this “Prince of Peace” every day, the one the Bible describes in the gospels.

Luke 2:8-11: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Let me quote for you the last stanza of Longfellow’s poem: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! The wrong shall fail; the right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men!”

I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and I hope you have peace with God through Immanuel in 2012.

—Send e-mail to Gary O’Flannagan at


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