Your Missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
I’m writing to you on Thursday instead of Friday because tomorrow will be too intense of a day to be posting. We will host our first “Preachers’ Circle” at the "O. House." It is designed as an intimate, but exhaustive experience for the pastors of our supporting churches, so they can gain exposure to all the elements of our work on Capitol Hill. This time some 16 ministers and their spouses will spend an entire day with us, doing what we do , seeing what we see and experiencing what we experience day in and day out! At the same time, they’ll have unique access to unique people and places. Here’s an overview:
We’ll begin our day with a discussion in the Wright Parlor of the O.House featuring Dr. Jim Hutson, the premiere American historian on the so-called “separation of church and state.” Here’s Jim’s bio from the Library of Congress website:
“James H. Hutson received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 1964. He has been a member of the History Departments at Yale and William and Mary and, since 1982, has been Chief of the Library's Manuscript Division. Dr Hutson is the author of several books among them: John Adams and the Diplomacy of the American Revolution (1980); winner of the Gilbert Chinard Prize, 1981; To Make All Laws: The Congress of the United States, 1789-1989 (Washington and Boston, 1989-90; 4th edition, Washington, 1990); The Sister Republics: Switzerland and the United States from 1776 to the Present ( Washington, 1991; 4th edition, Washington, 1998); Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (5th printing, Washington, 2000).”
It doesn’t mention Jim’s latest book, Church and State: The First 200 Years (Cambridge University Press). It’s the best treatment of this subject on the market. I highly recommend it to you. Don’t be afraid of it; Jim writes comfortably for the layman. “Church and State” is one of the most contentious fault lines in our American civilization, so we’ve got to get it right. That’s what this session for preachers will be all about.
After the discussion, we’ll go over to the Library of Congress itself and get a special VIP tour of areas not generally accessible to the public. (I can say no more!)
From the Library of Congress, we’ll go to the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, near the White House, where each guest minister will be invited to mount the famous pulpit where Peter Marshall once preached—and where Dr. George Docherty delivered his famous “Under God” sermon while Dwight Eisenhower was in attendance. It was that sermon, atop a years long petition drive by the Knights of Columbus, that gave us the phrase “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance.
After New York Ave Pres, we’ll make a brief stop at the White House for a group photo, then, go on to the U.S. Capitol for lunch and a prayer meeting led by U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black. You read it right: There is a prayer meeting held under the dome of U.S. Capitol! Senate Chaplain Black is a good friend and precious Man of God. (I had the pleasure of conferring the honorary doctor of divinity degree on Chaplain Black during a joint convocation of the National Clergy Council and the Methodist Episcopal Church USA.)He loves the Lord and has faithfully served Him since a teenager. Chaplain Black is the first military man to occupy this post (he's a retired Navy admiral and former Navy Chief of Chaplains) and the first African American congressional chaplain.
Following the prayer service, we’ll go across the street for an officially escorted VIP tour of the US Supreme Court. As you know, this is our primary mission field, and I want these ministers to get a good look at it—up close and personal!
Finally, we’ll gather for debriefing at the ministry center and enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of the nearby Capitol Hill haunts. It’ll be a full day!
If you think your pastor would enjoy one of these “Preachers’ Circle” events, please put us in touch. Have your pastor write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request information.
Watch for my End-of-Week Round-Up tomorrow. It’s been a very full five days—wait till you hear what’s happened. We are anything but bored!
Thanks for all you are to us--and all you do for us. You are God’s lifeline from heaven to this ministry!
Your grateful missionary to elected and appointed officials,
Rev. Rob Schenck
109 2nd St, NE
Washington, DC 20002