Saturday, February 20, 2010

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo, Miss., Hearers Of The Word column: Religious diversity shapes a week in Tupelo

From Mississippi-

Once in a while, amid the random assignments I follow each week, a pattern emerges. During a five day stretch I might interview a rodeo cowboy, a priest and city official. It almost sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it? But, sometimes, the narrative thread emerges in bright brilliance, like the Aurora Borealis.

I started last week by opening a conversation with Tupelo's first formal gathering of Muslims.

I'd known for two months that they were here, and I'd been looking for a chance to get out and meet them. As this week's feature indicates, they received me with open arms and even invited me to pray alongside them.

A few days later I was invited behind the scenes at the 183rd Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.

Before the opening of the council, Bishop Duncan Gray III was holed up in a quiet room deep in the arena, going over his notes and trying to avoid being hassled by media types like me.

He was very gracious, and when I saw him leading his diocese later that night during the opening service I was thankful to have spent some quiet time with him. We talked about everything from football to the philosophy of Friedrich Hegel.

A week later I was once again in the arena for the 47th Annual Charity Ball. My friend Scott Morris had done most of the heavy lifting for the story and all I had to do was go and enjoy myself and get a little scenery for the article.

More here-

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