Wrapping Up the Weekend Open Thread

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Notre Dame Is Still There

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There Are Other Congregations Whose Churches Have Burned in Need

Right now everyone is paying attention to the Cathedral of Notre Dame as it smolders. And to a certain extent that makes perfect sense. It is a historic marvel and a major tourist attraction both because of its historic and its religious significance. President Macron has unequivocally stated that the cathedral will be rebuilt. And the organizations that were set up to raise funds for its renovations will now quickly switch over to fundraise for the rebuilding effort. But even as those funds are raised, there are other churches, specifically some African American churches here in the US that were deliberately burned down in acts of domestic terrorism whose congregations need some help to rebuild their houses of worship.

From the GoFundMe link:

Three historically black churches have burned in less than two weeks in one south Louisiana parish, where officials said they had found “suspicious elements” in each case. The officials have not ruled out the possibility of arson, or the possibility that the fires are related.

“There is clearly something happening in this community,” State Fire Marshal H. Browning said in a statement on Thursday.

The host of this campaign is the Seventh District Baptist Association, a 149 year old non-profit religious organization.  We are working with the Governor of Louisiana, local leaders, elected officials, the impacted churches and their pastors, other faith organizations and the community to ensure 100% of all funds raised will be evenly distributed to the three churches affected.

Please donate here and look for upcoming opportunities to help these churches and communities begin to heal.

The Seventh District Baptist Association lead by President Freddie Jack,  is comprised of approximately 60 Baptist churches from seven parishes in Southwest Louisiana, which includes the three churches affected by the recent fires.  The District meets on a quarterly and annual basis emphasizing Christian Education, Evangelism, Discipleship and fellowship in the Body of Christ.

The District’s annual session is held the first week in June  where we celebrate our legacy and plan continual ministry events to reach the lost and edify the Saints.  The District will be holding its 149th Annual Session in Lake Charles, Louisiana the week of June 2nd.

President Jack requested that a Go Fund Me campaign be initiated to show our support for our church families and the communities affected.  We are unequivocally committed to aiding our Sister Churches.  The donations received are earmarked specifically for the Seventh District’s member churches – St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.  All of your generous donations will be disbursed equally among all three churches for not only rebuilding their sanctuaries, but for the purchase of all necessities lost in the fires, including pews, sound system, musical instruments, etc.

Seventh District and the Pastors and congregations of the St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church thank you and solicit your continual prayers and support as we will overcome this tragedy together because we are ONE BODY IN CHRIST!

Ruth V. Jack, Finance Secretary
Seventh District Baptist Association

I know we hit you all up for money all the time here, especially Doug who has now raised enough money to put his baby through grad school with these ActBlue fundraisers he tells you are going to political candidates…  with the ActBlue drives for political candidates and the pet blegs, but if you’ve got some spare change this month, these good folks could use a little TLC.

Open thread.

Open Thread: Notre Dame Has Suffered Before…

The Guardian‘s got a live feed here. Per that story, construction of the cathedral officially started in 1163, and wasn’t finished for almost 200 years. As I recall, it was a site of worship long before that — every time repairs have been done in the lower levels, prehistoric artifacts are unearthed. It’s a terrible loss, to France and the world, but the cathedral will be rebuilt again.

Not to go all Sally Sunshine, but even in the quick clips posted by Cheryl below, you can see there was work being done. My first thought was that some unfortunate worker took a shortcut with an acetylene torch… or, worse, ‘improperly disposed of smoking materials’, which seems to be the cause of half the multi-alarm fires in the Boston area.

Which won’t stop the rumors / conspiracy theories, of course…

Sunday Morning Open Thread: The Groundhog Is A Lie

Me, I prefer to trust the old proverb:

If Candlemas is bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year;

If Candlemas has snow and rain, old winter shall not come again.

It was *delightfully* bright & sunny here north of Boston yesterday… but of course we all knew we’d pay for it later.

[Candlemas is the ‘cross-quarter day’ halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. In the Christian tradition, February 2 is the Feast of the Presentation, and parishioners would bring their household’s candles to be blessed to ensure good fortune. But the cross-quarter day ceremonies all involve fire — candles in February, bonfires for May Day, hearth fires (for bread-baking) on August 1st, and lanterns for Halloween.]

The groundhog’s got a lousy track record anyway, according to actual meteorologists:

In the past decade, Phil has predicted a longer winter seven times and an early spring three times. He was only right about 40% of the time, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which says the groundhog shows “no predictive skill.”…

So, what do the experts say the next month or so will actually feel like?

Well, the past week spread record cold across the United States. More than 200 million Americans experienced temperatures below freezing. The polar vortex killed at least 23 people and left others with lasting frostbite injuries.

Next comes the thermal whiplash as the bone-chilling cold is expected to melt away through early next week.

As for the rest of winter, temperatures over the next six weeks look about average — if not below average in most of the country, Jones said, nodding in the direction of a bit more winter.