Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

December 9, 2011

‘The time is now’

Area pastors meet, discuss rally expected to attract hundreds if not more

ATHENS — The “occupy” movement is headed to Athens, Texas — even if it’s not packaged, as seen on TV.

A group of 73 local and area pastors, ministers and others met Friday at Sand Springs Baptist Church in Athens to discuss a rally on the west side of the Henderson County Courthouse square next Saturday, Dec. 17, beginning at noon.

The event, which is being called the “Henderson County Nativity Rally,”  could draw hundreds of people, if not more. Organizers are hoping Christians of various denominations will gather — just as their leaders did at Friday’s meeting.

The focus, however, will not be on the source of the controversy — the nativity scene located on the southeast corner of the courthouse lawn.

The rally was organized in response to news this week that county officials had received a demand that the nativity scene be removed. The demand was made by Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The organization cites Supreme Court rulings supporting its stance that the display is unconstitutional. The county, meanwhile, released a statement Thursday saying it believes it is within its legal right to let the display remain.

“The reality is that this is not a political fight,” said First Baptist Church of Malakoff Pastor Dr. Nathan Lorick, who is serving as spokesperson for the event. “The reason for this really is to unite believers for a spiritual awakening.... Our main priority is not to defend a symbol of our faith, but to defend our faith.”

Pastors shared details of the rally at Friday’s meeting, and asked those on-hand to communicate the message to their individual congregations. Lorick asked pastors to urge their members to attend in large numbers, and to be “loving and merciful,” and “bold” in their faith.

What organizers do not want, Lorick said, is for the message to get lost in angry rhetoric aimed toward those who don’t want the nativity scene to remain.

“We’ve already won in the courts,” said the Rev. Ken Calhoun of First United Methodist Church in Athens, who attended Friday’s meeting. “It’s our game to lose in the court of public opinion.”

Robert Welch, senior pastor at Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, said the rally will include Christmas music and patriotic tunes, and pastors from various churches will offer prayers after each person speaks.

“In a sense, there’s going to be a worship aspect about this,” Welch said.

There will also be a discussion of many of the major issues facing the county — including drug abuse, child abuse and poverty. Organizers say they are working to provide those in attendance with specific information regarding how they can reach out as Christians, and assist in meeting the needs of those groups.

“We ought to be as passionate about those things as we are about this,” Lorick said.

The rally isn’t the only response planned by the pastors.

At the suggestion of First Baptist Church of Athens Pastor Dr. Kyle Henderson, area congregations plan to stage a “living” nativity scene using people instead of plastic figures. Though details were still being worked out Friday afternoon, Henderson said he hopes the effort can begin sometime next week.

“It’s like the occupy movement at the courthouse, but with the love of Jesus and the message of Jesus,” Henderson said.

The issue regarding the nativity scene has gained nationwide attention. Lorick himself has given an interview on the Fox News Channel, and media organizations from California to New York have reported on it.

Lorick said FFRF officials are invited to attend the rally, and that he is seeking to open a dialogue with the group. FFRF, he said, targeted 30 to 35 municipalities and government organizations last year regarding their displays of nativity scenes, and said this year that it has filed or threatened lawsuits against a dozen more.

“There’s really not been a group of people who stood up, and said, ‘We’re not backing down,’” Lorick said. “This is a chance for us to stand up and say, ‘We believe Jesus is our Lord, and we believe this is our moment to stand, and contend for our faith.

“If we have ever had an opportunity to stand up and make such a statement, that time is now.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ADR logo.tif Third elementary school to replace Athens Intermediate School

    The Athens Independent School District school board approved campus realignment Monday that will go into effect for the 2015-16 school year.
    While full details of the plan are still being discussed, the district unanimously approved adding a third elementary school, while doing away with the intermediate level.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0128.JPG Laying Splash Pad bricks

    Workmen from Rosenberg’s Outdoor Designs of Athens are shown installing bricks purchased by individuals, businesses and other organizations at the Kiwanis Park Splash Pad.  Shown, left to right, are: Nick Rosenberg, owner of the company; Jonathan Perez and Gutierrez Concepcion.
     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Burton’s severance approved

    The Athens City Council on Monday narrowly approved a budget amendment from reserves, to fund a severance package for City Administrator Pam Burton who is retiring at the end of 2014.
    Mayor Jerry Don Vaught and council members Monte Montgomery and Tres Winn entered yes votes, while Joe Whatley and Charles Elliott opposed the adjustment.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Sanders readies proposed budget

    Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders has his proposed budget ready for submission, with the numbers reflecting revenues slightly above last year.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Academically-weighted courses discussed at CRISD meeting

    A concern about how elective courses in the Cross Roads Independent School District are academically-weighted was discussed at Monday night's school board meeting to determine a student's class rank.
    The board of trustees decided to let the issue extend to a further meeting to work on rewording the change in the student handbook.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0127.JPG McDonald’s coming to Mabank

    The corner of North First Street and North Third Street in Mabank is about to look a lot different as a construction crew broke ground Monday.
    A formal ceremonial groundbreaking will be held within the next week to welcome McDonald's to the location just off of Highway 175.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Funeral held for 15-year-old drowned Eustace student

    Funeral services were held on Sunday for a 15-year-old Eustace student who drowned Thursday evening after diving into Cedar Creek Lake.
    The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the drowning. According to reports, a medical emergency call came to 9-1-1 shortly after 5 p.m. from Timber Bay in the Payne Springs area.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 PSCA open house.jpg PSCA seeks new student enrollment

    “Striving to make a difference in each child for eternity,” reads the motto of one local private school seeking new enrollment.
    Payne Springs Christian Academy is looking to enroll new students for the 2014-2015 school year.
    “We are in need of some kids this year,” said Amanda Beets, a mother of one of the school's current students.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Lightfoot-Miller Cemetery to dedicate historical marker

    The Texas Historical Commission, Henderson County Historical Commission and descendants of those who are buried in the Lightfoot-Miller Cemetery invite the public to the dedication of a historical marker at the property.
    The observance is set for 10 a.m. on Aug. 2.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 HCHS.jpg ‘Party for the Paws’ event great success

    The Henderson County Humane Society in Athens as well as  Beckham are continuing to celebrate results of the Party For The Paws fundraiser.  Beckham is a dog that was recently adopted from the HCHS.
    HCHS Treasurer Ellen Barton commends those who were involved in the event’s planning and execution. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo