A ‘peace Mass’ this Sunday to remember Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains — an activist church on all sorts of “progressive” causes — will have a special “peace Mass” Sunday morning at 10 a.m. to remember the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A flyer explains:

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Sunday, August 9, is a very special Sunday at Memorial United Methodist Church. Our worship service will be like a “peace mass,” led by the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus and we will unveil the 2009 Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibitions in the USA, an exhibit of over 60 pictures, historic and more recent, from the Hisoshima Peace Memorial Museum. Worship is at 10 a.m. and our Peace Exhibit opens right after worship at 11:30 a.m.

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What might such a service look like? Here’s the program:

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Entrance:    Sword & Shield
Confession:   I Ain’t Afraid
Penitential:    Music of Healing
Gloria:    This Little Light/Glory Glory
Old Testament:    Turn, Turn, Turn
Gospel Acclamation:  Alleluia
Creed:    Simple Faith
Offeratory:    Siahamba
Holy Holy:    Bugle Call of Peace
Sign of Peace:    Peace, Salaam, Shalom
Sermon:    Christmas in the Trenches
Lamb of God:    Healing River
Communion:    Trilogy
Recessional:    Peace Must Come
Postlude:    Strangest Dream

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The program also explains:

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For the sermon Bruce Taylor, who makes guitars for Pete Seeger, will sing John McCutcheon’s Christmas in the Trenches. It is a moving story of a truce which began on Christmas Eve 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas Carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

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The Rev. Joe Agne, pastor of the church, told me: “I was a member of the (Fellowship of Reconciliation) delegation that went in 1995, the 50 anniversary of the bombings, to apologize to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Peace Memorial in Hiroshima in an incredible experience. These pictures, all part of that experience will be up at our church all of August. They are exhibited in a part of the church where parents can decide whether their children should have access.”

Studying the Mormon role in the marriage debate

We’ve heard about the strong role that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had in promoting California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between man and woman (and not man and man or woman and woman).

Now the Wash Post writes that gay marriage advocates around the country are studying the Mormon Church’s involvement — both out of respect for the church’s commitment and to defeat the church down the road.

The article notes:

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Mormon officials have tried to stay out of the controversy that followed the California vote, when the church’s prominent role in the marriage fight became clear. A spokeswoman in Salt Lake City declined to say whether the church is involved in debates going on in states such as New Jersey and New York, except to say that leaders remain intent on preserving the “divine institution” of marriage between man and woman. The faith holds that traditional marriage “transcends this world” and is necessary for “the fullness of joy in the next life.”

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By the way, the Rev. Joe Agne, pastor of Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains, is being honored as “Person of the Year” by the Westchester County LGBT Advisory Board.

Agne recently invited the Loft, Westchester’s main gay and lesbian community center/advocacy group, to move its HQ to Memorial United’s church building.