July 4, 1976, will fall on a Sunday!
This gives Christians a natural edge for their part in bringing off a meaningful and memorable American bicentennial. It offers a built-in platform upon which to recall and emphasize the spiritual dimension in America’s founding and development, as distinguished from purely political, ethnic, and cultural aspects. Since the country will be undergoing its first post-Watergate presidential election campaign in 1976, the religious community will need all the help it can get to wrest public attention from pure politics.
Now the question is: What will Christians do with the possibilities? How can the potential best be realized?
Already a lot of thought has gone into the matter of religion’s role in the 1976 observance, and some results are visible. Last month, the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D. C., premiered Cavalcade ’76, a presentation by Dr. Caspar Nannes that blends education and entertainment in its treatment of religionists who figured prominently in the independence movement. In Boston, historic Park Street Church, where “America” was first sung, has prepared a multi-media feature to put on for visitors (in the past Park Street has had as many as 25,000 persons a month touring the church).
An inter-religious group headed by Dr. R. H. Edwin Espy, retired general secretary of the National Council of Churches, is planning cooperative ventures focusing upon the bicentennial. The National Association of Evangelicals has been similarly active for the last two years and hopes soon to announce its goals. Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church, a noted evangelical congregation located not far from Independence Hall, is likewise making preparations.
Unfortunately, the ideas and their ...1
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