Bahai News - Farewell dinner honors Baptist pastor's 50 years of service

Farewell dinner honors Baptist pastor's 50 years of service

December 8, 2000

BY CATHLEEN FALSANI RELIGION REPORTER

Religious leaders and political power brokers will gather tonight in the International Ballroom at Chicago's Hilton and Towers to celebrate the retirement of one of the city's most respected religious figures.

The Rev. Clay Evans, senior pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side, will retire this Sunday after 50 years in the pulpit.

In 1950, Evans started his Baptist congregation with five people in a funeral parlor at 49th and State. Today the influential church draws several thousand congregants on Sundays and reaches tens of thousands more people through weekly radio and television broadcasts.

Evans, 75, has been a fixture on Chicago's religious and political landscape. His congregation has hosted religious leaders and future presidents. It also was one of the first in Chicago to welcome a then-little-known Southern preacher: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Among the guests expected at tonight's sendoff are Mayor Daley, Cook County Board President John Stroger, County Clerk Dorothy Brown, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, gospel legend Albertina Walker, the Rev. Arthur Brazier and Brother Leonard Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.

Keeping track: Need to know exactly when the Zoroastrian New Year falls in 2001? Can't remember if the Baha'i 12 Days of Ridvan happen in the winter or the spring? Or which comes first, Rosh Hashanah or the Cherokee Green Corn Ceremony?

A Chicago organization has the answers. The National Conference for Community and Justice released its 2001 InterFaith Calendar this week.

For a dozen years, the NCCJ has compiled wall calendars that list major religious holidays and observances for 14 religious traditions.

The $18 multireligious calendars also include historical background for each religious tradition, explanations of each holy day or event and photos of houses of worship from around the world.

"Prejudice is based on the irrationality of fear because we don't know people who are different than we are," said the Rev. Stanley Davis, executive director of the NCCJ in Chicago and Northern Illinois. "The basis of the calendar is to say, `Look, there is this rich religious diversity around us, and just because your neighbor is a Buddhist doesn't mean they have a pitchfork and a tail. They just operate in a different way than you do.' "

Call the NCCJ at (312) 235-9272.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Cardinal Francis George and more than 100 Roman Catholic pilgrims from Chicago plan to travel to Mexico City this weekend for a five-day pilgrimage celebrating the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe next week. The cardinal is expected to celebrate the mass with Mexico's Cardinal Norberto Rivera Tuesday at the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe outside Mexico City.


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