segunda-feira, 10 de março de 2014

Judy Russell: Clergy, science and those meteorites from the Vatican

Did you hear the one about the Presbyterian minister who got up close and personal with a piece of a meteorite from the Vatican?

It’s not a joke, it really happened to Pastor Tom Willadsen of First Presbyterian Church in Oshkosh when he was one of 25 pastors in the United States invited to a “Clergy Contributions to Science” program.

The event, hosted by the Adler Planetarium in Chicago on Feb. 18, was to show ways in which science and religion can co-exist. Programs dealt with “how clergy and religious institutions have participated in scientific discovery.”

One of the speakers was Brother Guy Consolmagno, an astronomer and curator of the meteorite collection at the Vatican Observatory in Rome. He is just one of several astronomers on the Vatican staff, Willadsen said. Brother Guy brought along a piece of the meteorite that landed with a bang in Russia last year.

There are theologians who have careers in faith and in science, such as a Lutheran pastor who holds astronomy retreats for people of faith, and a retired Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Chuck Ruehle, and his wife Susan, of Racine, who founded Telescopes to Tanzania, a non-profit organization that works with teachers in Tanzania to educate students about science and astronomy.

Grace Wolf-Chase, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium, said many clergy have made central contributions to science: “This doesn’t have to be what you hear, which is science versus religion as opposed to the communities working together to the benefit of everybody.”

• The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Oshkosh will be the host for the second annual Muhammad the Messenger of Peace Conference in Oshkosh. Open to the public, the event will be on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 202 at Reeve Union, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Ahmed Khan of the Muslim Community said this event is “to share in this scholarly exhibition of the most influential person in the history of mankind – mentioned in ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’ by Michael H. Hart.”

Register for this event Questions? Contact Ahmed Khan at (410) 858-6757 or Umair Ahmed at (920) 216-3407, or email to:

• Trinity Episcopal Church of Oshkosh is offering an Anglican Prayer Beads Workshop on Saturday, March 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The $10 fee includes materials and lunch. Participants will make a set of prayer beads for themselves and will receive a book about how to use them. The workshop is open to all, regardless of church affiliation. Registrations are due now by calling the parish office, (920) 231-2420 or at:

• A St. Patrick’s Day Festival featuring Irish dancers, music and food will take place on Sunday, March 16, at the Sacred Heart site of St. Jude Parish of Oshkosh. Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. and the festival will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in Leannah Hall. Featured will be the Kinsella Irish Dancers and the Irish folk music of Frogwater, featuring Susan and John Nicolson.

• Representatives from the Oshkosh Area Humane Society will present a program at 9 a.m. Sunday, March 16, for the Adult Education session at First Congregational Church in Oshkosh. They will explain how to become a shelter volunteer and how to get a pet certified as a therapy animal.

• St. Joseph Parish in Wautoma welcomes the public to its annual St. Joseph Day Chili Supper, which will be served on Wednesday, March 19, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall, 364 S. Cambridge St. The parish Fellowship Committee will serve homemade chili with all the fixings.

• As part of a Circuit Pulpit Exchange that has been taking place for several years, four area Methodist churches have a Sunday morning pulpit exchange at certain times. This year the exchange will be on Sunday, March 16. The Rev. Kristen Lowe, pastor at Waukau United Methodist Church, will preach at all three services at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church in Oshkosh.

• During Lent, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Oshkosh offers lunch after its 10 a.m. service on Wednesdays and offers supper before its 6:30 p.m. services on Wednesdays. Suppers begin at 5 p.m. Various groups will be the hosts for the meals. Donations will be accepted.