Thursday, November 20, 2008

Clergy lobby schools to eliminate a secular substitute

From today's AP Religion News in Brief: Clergy in St. Cloud, Minnesota, are trying to limit secular competition for some of their religious services. They are not asking for a specific change in law, which could in principle be done but would also probably not be very well received. Instead, they must resort to moral suasion and hope that the schools eliminate the substitute on their own.
St. Cloud pastors want Wednesday nights reserved for church

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Clergy in the St. Cloud area are asking coaches and school activity directors to maintain the longtime tradition of keeping Wednesday nights free for church.

That's the night traditionally reserved for confirmation, youth group and other religious programs. But some clergy say sports and other activities have recently been causing a conflict.

Nearly 50 religious leaders, including St. Cloud Roman Catholic Bishop John Kinney of the Diocese of St. Cloud, signed a letter reminding schools of church events on Wednesday nights.

"It puts our children in a bad spot," said Ginny Duschner, faith formation director at the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit in St. Cloud. "They have to choose between two things that are important."

Duschner said many church leaders are running into more competition for Wednesday programs, which she said have "always been a high priority around here."

Andrea Swanberg, activities director at Technical High School, said that last spring bad weather that postponed games led to more Wednesday scheduling. Playoffs have also been scheduled on Wednesdays, she said.

"We still try to keep Wednesday open. We don't want the students and parents to feel this conflict," Swanberg said.

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