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Archive for Sunday, January 1, 2012

No surprise to pastor religion tied to community engagement

Debbie Nall, left, gives a tour of her home to Christ Community Church lead pastor Jeff Barclay, center and Dot Fernandez, church director of  women's ministry, right. The church is considering purchasing the home as a halfway house for women in trouble. Fernandez is just one of many church members who donates her time to the Lawrence community.

Debbie Nall, left, gives a tour of her home to Christ Community Church lead pastor Jeff Barclay, center and Dot Fernandez, church director of women's ministry, right. The church is considering purchasing the home as a halfway house for women in trouble. Fernandez is just one of many church members who donates her time to the Lawrence community.

January 1, 2012

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Forty percent of Americans are actively involved in some form of religion, and that might be a good thing for the 60 percent who aren’t.

That’s because religiously active Americans are more likely to be involved in their communities than their nonreligious peers, according to a recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The study’s authors say their findings contradict the view that religious Americans are an insular bunch, primarily concerned with the inner workings of their own places of worship.

Those findings don’t surprise Jeff Barclay, lead pastor at Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive.

“I think it would be hard for me to find somebody who wasn’t doing something,” Barclay said of his congregation.

After the church made community service its official theme for 2011, Barclay discovered many of its members had been quietly volunteering throughout the community for years. One woman counsels prisoners, while other congregation members lead a Boy Scout troop and organize food drives.

Hilda Enoch said the connection between faith and service goes to the essence of what religion should be. As a member of the Jewish Community Congregation and a fixture in Lawrence social justice movements for decades, Enoch has seen that connection in action.

In the 1960s, she helped found Children’s Hour, a program for preschoolers that evolved into the local Head Start chapter. In the 1970s, she was involved in founding Small World, which continues to help families who have moved to Lawrence from other countries integrate into the community. Both programs were held in religious facilities, rent-free. Without the use of those spaces, the programs would never have gotten off the ground.

“I think the best of religion is in meeting the basic, unmet needs of the community,” Enoch said. “I think all religions have that in common.”

The Pew study noted that 38 percent of religiously active Americans said their actions could have a major impact on their communities. That’s 11 percentage points higher than nonreligious Americans. Religiously active people were also more likely to rate their communities as excellent places to live, all of which could help explain their motivation to be involved in them.

Matt Hertig, a Christ Community Church member, coaches youth basketball and soccer. Hertig said that service can be anything and doesn’t need to be related to the church. For him, coaching is about seeing children’s eyes light up when they begin to grasp the game, not from any desire to preach to the kids.

“I think sometimes churches can become like a country club, where we’re very adept at taking care of the members,” Hertig said. “What gets lost is what God calls us to do, which is to go out and serve.”

— Reporter Aaron Couch can be reached at 832-7217. Follow him at Twitter.com/aaroncouch.

Comments

ShePrecedes 1 year, 11 months ago

Meanwhile, things as seldom as they are sold to us by the religious brainwashes.

Highly religious people are less motivated by compassion than are non-believers April 30, 2012 in Psychology & Psychiatry "Love thy neighbor" is preached from many a pulpit. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-04-highly-religious-people-compassion-non-believers.html#firstCmt

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Cccmember 2 years, 3 months ago

By the way, that's Homers Iliad. Not Himers. Dang spell check! Thanks.

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Ragingbear 2 years, 3 months ago

Please provide this supposed historical evidence. It will need to be more than "Jerusalem was in the bible and it is still here today" argument. Stories won't count either.

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Cccmember 2 years, 3 months ago

Hi all. My name is Matt from the article and was just curious to see the article online. After reading through all of the comments, I felt compelled to provide some context and comments.

For those who are atheists that have commented, I am sorry you feel disrespected or that the article is centered on bigotry towards atheism. The intent of the article was to merely respond to the survey and how our church, Christ Community Church, is trying to as an organization serve our community in some way and better than we have in the past. It is not to say that others in the community aren't serving in someway or that only the "religious" should be recognized for any service that may be going on.

Clearly there are differences of opinions when it comes to a belief in God between Christians, other religions, or Atheism. However I think we can all agree, or most of us anyway, that serving others and helping those in need is something that we all should do.

I think that the Christian church could be doing and serving more than it is. Sometimes a church becomes a country club like I referred to and forgets about what our "religion" calls us to do among many things which is to serve. Frankly, it is very disappointing that the numbers are what they are according to the survey.

With respect to the hate groups, Fred Phelps does not represent the general attitude of Christians - nor does the KKK or Hitler for that matter. Those extreme groups preach hate and discrimination in the name of religion. This is not Christianity.

Lastly, I understand that we all don't agree that there is a God or a Jesus. Thats okay. While we Christians have Faith that there is a God and can provide historical evidence to why we would believe, we all need to respect one another. I personally know that Christians have failed in this area causing hurt to those who don't believe in a God as well as those that do. However serving one another is something I think we should all do - even if it's as small as coaching a child's sports team. Thanks.

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Timothy Eugene 2 years, 3 months ago

Typical Lawrence response. Instead of looking at what Christ Community Church and other religious organizations are doing to help people, you attempt to tear them down because of your own fears and shortcomings. I would suggest attending a service at CCC, meet the people, listen to Pastor Barclay speak, and then decide if you want to hate on them or not.

I find it laughable that "verity" claims there is "bigotry toward atheists" when you can turn on the TV or open the newspaper practically every day and find a story where atheists are attacking Christians. Especailly around Christmas time when they want to make sure there are no Nativity scenes in the public eye. Find me one story, just one, where Christians are showing bigotry toward atheists. Just one. Bet you can't find any. I can come back with dozens and dozens of stories about atheists attacking Christians and Christianity.

I applaud the ladies and the Pastor in this story for doing all they can to help people in Lawrence DESPITE the bigotry being showed toward them by this broken community and the people commenting on this.

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dlkrm 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow, lots of hate from Kansasgirl. Massive amounts. And uninformed hate, the worst kind.

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verity 2 years, 3 months ago

Exactly, Bea. There are many holes and assumptions in this story. Too much bigotry in this country towards atheists and/or the nonreligious. How much of this volunteer activity is geared towards proselytization or manipulating people to accept and believe your religious views? As always with a study or poll, I want to know who was studied and what questions were asked and how. This means nothing without knowing that---so I googled the study and found this.

http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Social-side-of-religious.aspx

Whenever I have taken a survey, I have found that the answers I can choose from are often not at all applicable so I end up just choosing something which doesn't really represent me---or the questions are so leading that it's impossible to answer them in a way that represents my beliefs.

I am an atheist and I volunteer in a number of organizations that are church related which are serving the needs of the community without trying to "save" people. Where does that put me?

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beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

"The Pew study noted that 38 percent of religiously active Americans said their actions could have a major impact on their communities. That’s 11 percentage points higher than nonreligious Americans."

Do any of those answering think praying is an action that helps the community? There needs to be some way of determining how we define an action. Praying is an action, but there is no way of proving that it helps others.

I admire those who volunteer and help others. Yet this isn't exactly bragging rights for the religious. 38 percent is still less than half. This article could just as easily have read, "Most religious people do not help their communities."

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Bailey Perkins 2 years, 3 months ago

Now you’ve made the assumption that nonreligious could care less about the community. First off, whom did you ask for the nonreligious response? If you did not focus on those determined to provided humanitarian support (HUMANISTS) then you obviously had no clue about the nonreligious. That is, if you even understood the concept behind the name. Based on this article, I am guessing you did not.

Also: Your article included organizations through which the religious volunteer their time. Sadly, you chose homophobic, Christian focused groups. How do such groups provide anything necessary to the community if they are only misshaping the views of those involved? Take a moment and think about this….

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Ragingbear 2 years, 3 months ago

That bedroom looks like it could be featured in Law and Order:SVU

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Norma Jeane Baker 2 years, 3 months ago

The photos has the correct name of the church, but in the article it's wrong. The church is Christ Community Church.

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

I would like to see an interview each week of a different pastor or priest, his views about life, his religion, and the way his members care for others.

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