Real Men Follow Jesus: The Lutheran Reporter announced that on February 1 and 2 Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana will host a men's retreat titled Real Men Follow Jesus.The purpose of the retreat is help men "re-engage" with their local congregations. Topics will include masculinity, spiritual leadership, and the future of men in the church. The retreat will feature "meaty" Bible Study, three-on-three basketball, and time set aside to watch Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday, Feb. 1.
The retreat is led by Rev. Dr. Gary Zieroth (pictured) of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Kingsville, Md. The Lutheran Reporter quotes Pr. Zieroth:
The restoration of a balance in the church between the sexes can be developed with a right [Scriptural] understanding of the meanings of masculinity and femininity. The present emphasis [on the part of some] in church and society to establish feminism and the toleration of homosexuality can only drive men further from the church.

Inaugural Prayer Scorecard: If you're among the many who are confused over who is scheduled to pray at which Presidential Inauguration events, we offer this helpful scorecard.
The Presidential Inauguration "opens" on Sunday January 18 with We Are One, a giant party staged on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire and (according to Wikipedia) "the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate", will offer the invocation before the stage is turned over to a host of musical performers. HBO will televise the event.
Inauguration Day is Tuesday, January 20. Dr. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church will deliver the invocation. According to Wikipedia, Dr. Warren has been an opponent of gay marriage.
At the end of the proceedings, Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery (United Methodist Church) will offer the benediction.
And finally, on Wednesday, January 21, the inauguration festival comes to an end with the traditional National Prayer Service:
The Invocation will be offered by Reverend John Bryon Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington. Reverend Otis Moss Jr., Senior Pastor Emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio will deliver the opening prayer. Reverend Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia will offer a prayer for civil leaders.
Among the lectors are Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Atlanta, Georgia, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, New York City, the Most Reverend Francisco Gonzalez, S.F., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, and Rabbi David Saperstein, Executive Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, D.C.


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    Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins (pictured at left), General Minister and President of the Christian Church(Disciples of Christ), will preach.
    Leaders of responsive prayers include Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America, Hartford, CT, Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship, New York City, Rabbi Jerome Epstein, Director, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, New York City, Rev. Carol Wade of the Washington National Cathedral, Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President, Hindu Temple Society of North America, New York City, Rev. Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners, Washington, D.C., Rabbi Haskal Lookstein, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurunm, New York City, Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church, Houston, TX.
    The Prayer for the Nation will be led by Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C. The closing prayer will be delivered by Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church USA.
    Reverend Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America.
    ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson will attend the service. Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick, President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, offered a statement which reads in part:
    We pray for the safety and health of President Obama and his family. And we place our trust in our everlasting God, who will continue to reign as Lord over the nations (Is. 46:8-10), even when all human governments have vanished.

    No Injunction: The Washington Post reports that on Thursday, January 15, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton (pictured) refused to issue a temporary injunction that would have prevented prayers and references to God during the swearing in of President-elect Obama on January 20.
    A group of atheists, led by California attorney Michael A. Newdow, sued Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., officials in charge of inaugural festivities, the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, and Dr. Rick Warren. The atheist group complained that the use of prayer in the inauguration ceremony and the words "so help me God" in the oath of office violated their Constitutional rights.
    In refusing to issue an injunction before the inauguration, Judge Walton declared that he did not have the authority to prohibit the references to God in the ceremony. The complaint has not been thrown out and may yet be litigated.

    Key Topics for CORE: Under the auspices of The Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) representatives from the Lutheran Coalition for Reform (CORE) will present on a course on CORE's foundational issues. Topics include the Authority of Word, the Great Commission, the Naming of God, Marriage and Family, and working for change in the ELCA. The sessions will also give learners an opportunity to explore how to become involved in Lutheran CORE activities.
    The course is offered Monday evenings, January 19 to February 23, 2009 at 7:30 pm Central Time.

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