News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mark Bennett Opinion

December 12, 2009

Mark Bennett: Rising waters of 2008 produced a flood of enlightenment for Terre Haute Ministries

Vince McFarland understood what the mayor envisioned.

Several years before, McFarland and a group of local clergy tried to organize an alliance of the more than 200 churches and places of religious worship in Terre Haute. That effort failed.

Now, they were being asked to try again. Then-mayor Kevin Burke invited an assortment of ministers to meet at the Vigo County Public Library. Burke thought by joining together, the churches could enhance their community outreach — a strength-in-numbers concept. Collectively, they could better respond to the needy, disasters and emergencies, in addition to their spiritual mission.

“He challenged the pastors in Terre Haute to basically rally and unify, and start working together, and not each on their own course,” McFarland recalled of that meeting a few years ago.

Burke also saw an opportunity to build camaraderie in the ministers’ ranks, rather than competition. “I felt like they needed to feel more confident, and like they’ve got more comrades in arms,” the former mayor remembered last week.

Walking out of the library after the meeting, McFarland — senior pastor at Maryland Community Church for the past 23 years — polled his colleagues. “I looked at those guys and said, ‘I know we tried to do that several years ago, and it didn’t work. But would you be willing to sit down and rehash this?”

They agreed. Today, Terre Haute Ministries is more than a year old, with more than 40 member churches from numerous denominations. Last Monday, Ike Randolph — director of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives — met with some participating ministers. Their association’s growth and activities impressed Randolph.

“I think they’ve figured out the whole dynamic of the faith-based community working together,” Randolph said.

That enlightenment came at a disastrous moment. Just as Terre Haute Ministries was organizing, the flood of June 2008 hit. The newly bound churches wound up assisting civic emergency-response agencies as rising waters destroyed homes and businesses, and left hundreds of people without a place to live, food and transportation.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Mark Bennett Opinion
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Fighting Rages Amid Mideast Truce Push Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Typhoon Brings Heavy Wind, Rain to Taiwan Raw: Secretary of State Kerry in Israel 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Raw: Massive Explosion in Gaza City NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity