Another steamy Sunday as another summer draws to a close. Finishing up:
* I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY: Ellen and I paid a neighborly call on Pulaski Heights Baptist Church this morning for its 100th birthday celebration. I’m an admirer of Pastor Randy Hyde and Rev. Carolyn Staley. My mother-in-law went there as a child. Its pillars have included the redoubtable champion of all good causes, Margaret Kolb. In recent years, its neighborhood ministry has been highlighted by the wildly successful Hillcrest Farmers Market, a certified happening every Saturday and truly a labor of the church’s love, given a congregation much, much smaller than in its heyday.
Randy had a good sermon on promise keeping, interlaced with the church’s history as a startup by four women living in the then distant West Little Rock suburb of Pulaski Heights. Its founders included members of Immanuel and Second Baptist Churches downtown, a long streetcar ride from Hillcrest in 1913. You know the rest of the story on leapfrogging population and churches in Little Rock. But Pulaski Heights (and Second) soldier on at historic locations. Both of them, as it happens, are viewed as being from the “liberal” wing of the Baptist faith. (For example, a preaching staff member named Carolyn.)
It was an enjoyable morning. A time capsule was opened for additions and resealed for the 200th birthday. In that ceremony, the participants included my neighbor Edwina Walls Mann, Little Rock lawyer Ralph Brodie (president of the Little Rock Central High class of 1957-58) and Jimmie Lou Fisher, former state treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial nominee who, alas, was defeated for governor by a certain Baptist preacher with somewhat different outlook.
A full orchestra and handbell choir were assembled to join the choir, piano and organ this morning. A piece built around “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” was a rousing accompaniment to the offering. The church has embarked on a $100,000 centennial campaign for building improvements. That seemed modest. It’s probably enough for lightbulbs at some of the megachurches in the western reaches. I was happy to make a contribution to help keep their light shining.
* EMERGENCY LANDING: A Charlotte-Dallas American Airlines flight developed engine trouble that forced an emergency landing today at Clinton National Airport. No mishaps. Passengers were rebooked on later flights.