Prison Pete

Friday, May 26, 2006
  Did the Devil Go Down to Georgia?
I was reading the April 17, 2006 New York Times, and I came across two stories. While they are not directly related (one was in the National Section and one in the Metro Section) I found them to present an interesting dichotomy.

The National Section story, "People Stand, the Spirit Walks: Easter at the Georgia Dome." While the article is unclear as to the actual number of people that attended this four hour Easter service but the number is somewhere between 40,000 and 70,000.

There were people from all over the country at this service. The article noted one educator from Boston brought a youth group. The presiding pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Eddie L. Long, said he was unsure how many members the church had. The article quotes him, "After 25,000, I stopped counting."

The second article, "Bittersweet Easter as Parish Fights for Survival." This is the story of St. Paul's Roman Catholic parish in Staten Island (That is a borough in New York City).

The parish does not even have its own church building, it having been demolished in 1963. They have been meeting in the school's auditorium/gym. The parish school serves 190 pupils, and the parish serves around 400 families.

One comment in the article certainly struck me:

"'Look at this. There people of all colors,' said Michael T. McVey, president or the parish council, pointing at the winding Eucharist line with its black, white, Hispanic and Asian congregants. 'There are people of all colors. Isn't that what the church is supposed to be, a place that welcomes all? We are this kind of church, and that's why it's so hard to understand why they want to get rid of us.'"

There you have it, in Georgia a service that has over 40,000 attendees and a church membership of over 25,000. In New York City, a congregation of 400 plus families, and the church is on a hit list of churches to be closed by the New York Archdiocese.

Where is the devil now, one might ask?
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