Big rally set for Saturday

Posted by : admin | On : December 16, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – The biggest event in Henderson County this Christmas might be the one nobody expected.

Christians of all denominations are being invited to the Courthouse Square in Athens this Saturday, Dec. 17, to “come together in love, to unite and show the world the true spirit of Christ and Christmas.”

The rally will run from noon-1 p.m. and will include Christmas carols, prayers, a few short speeches by area pastors, and patriotic songs.

There will also be a food drive to try and stock up the shelves of county food pantries before Christmas. Cans and other non-perishable food will be collected at the square.

The event, called the “Henderson County Nativity Rally,” came together after an out-of-state group demanded the county remove the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn last week. The reaction that followed – including local government officials declining to remove the scene – has generated national media attention.

In the end, though, the rally has grown to be more than about a nativity scene.

“This is not about defending a symbol of our faith, this is about defending our faith,” said pastor Dr. Nathan Lorick of FBC Malakoff. “The reason is to unite believers for a spiritual awakening and rally.”

Lorick is one of the rally organizers, along with Robert Welch of Rock Hill Baptist in Brownsboro, Eric Graham of Sand Springs Baptist Church in Athens and Derek Rogers, a county resident who pastors a church in Corsicana.
Lorick said the reason for the rally is “to proclaim the word of God in a way that’s not seen in our nation. For some reason, that’s no longer OK.”

The pastors also want their fellow Christians to realize that there is a lot of pain in the county – poverty, drug abuse, domestic abuse – and that it cannot be ignored.

“We must back our faith up with action and service,” Lorick said.

But always, the pastors came back to taking a stand correctly.

“There is a whole lot of rhetoric out there,” said Lorick. “The point is getting across, but maybe not getting across with the light of Christ. We want to be loving and merciful, but bold in our faith.”

Welch added, “Though we are passionate, we are people of love and peace.”

In the end, the pastors are hoping this is the start of something bigger than a set of nativity figurines.

“We are always talking about revival,” said Lorick. “Why not here and why not now?”

Comments (3)

  1. Ms Cox said on 17-12-2011

    December 17, 2011

    Athens Chamber of Commerce
    201 W. Corsicana St.
    Suite No. 1
    Athens, TX 75751

    Dear Athens Chamber of Commerce:

    Subject: 2011 Citizen of the Year

    I nominated Michael Hannigan, reporter at the Malakoff News for his excellent coverage of the Freedom From Religion Foundation request to remove the Nativity scene from the public square. By posting timely articles on the issue and opening the articles to a public commentary forum, I believe he evenhandedly changed the FFRF position to inclusion and ultimately rescinding their decision entirely. It was a great debate on several Constitutional issues as well as Federal speech laws. All of the views were eventually posted in what was a spirited exchange of ideas, preservation of the observance of Christmas and united belief in the citizens of Athens to stand up and be counted no matter their point of view. The inclusion of all people in the correct manner is probably the greatest gift this man inspired the citizens of Athens to give to each other.

    I hope the citizens of Athens as well as my fellow bloggers share my opinion and make the same nomination by written letter to the Chamber of Commerce by the deadline of January 3, 2012.


  2. Ms Cox said on 17-12-2011

    Thank you Michael Hannigan for doing such a great job of reporting on this issue and allowing all of the comments to be posted. It is through this public forum that I believe many saw the errors of their ways and both sides of the argument.

    Wishing you and your family the best of holidays!

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