Religion

Broken Spectacle troupe brings “The Christians” to First Presbyterian

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Broken Spectacle Productions has staged plays in a bar, a lounge that served as a hookah lounge, and an empty storefront with one electrical outlet. The troupe makes it work. The company is peripatetic by design. Making it work is part Broken Spectacle’s mission statement. As Jonathan Chambers, who launched the theater company in 2014 with his wife Sara Lipinski Chambers, explains “It’s always about the plays and the spaces.” “We identify projects we want to do, then find spaces that are suitable,” he said. Chambers said Sara Chambers is always ordering and reading new plays. Last summer they came across “The Christians” by Lucas Hnath. He read it and knew immediately it was a play they should produce. “It ticks a lot of our boxes for us. It’s a new play that’s dealing with issues we’re interested in.” “The Christians,” which is structured around a sermon, “treats the issue of faith and people of faith with integrity, so it’s not making fun of belief,” he said. “In some respects the play is an argument that’s very old. If God is all loving, how can he send people to hell?” Chambers said they also realized “this is not a bar show.” Broken Spectacle will stage “The Christians” at First Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green, Thursday, Jan. 12 and Friday Jan 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets at the door are $20 and $15 for students. Tickets in advance are $15. Visit brokenspectacle.com. Knowing they wanted…


Community lifts voices in First Presbyterian “Messiah” sing-along

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The season’s first snowstorm couldn’t stop music lovers from gathering Sunday to sing-along to holiday music for the ages. A sing-along performance of G. F. Handel’s “Messiah” drew a few dozen to the First Presbyterian Church to listen and sing-along on the choruses. They were joined by the church’s chancel choir, soloists, organ and an 11-piece orchestra. Inside they all found the warmth of the festive atmosphere, and beloved strains of music. As musicologist Christopher Williams, who was singing in the choir, noted in his introductory remarks, “Messiah” is associated with both the Christmas and Easter season. That means its strains, especially the climatic “Hallelujah” chorus, are familiar both to listeners and to singers. The sing-along is intended to bring those two groups together in a spirit of harmony and in literal harmony. The Rev. Gary Saunders, the church’s co-pastor, said that the event fit well into the church’s belief in fostering community and creativity. Josh Wang, the church’s choir director, credited co-pastor Mary Jane Saunders with first suggesting the church stage the performance. She had attended such performances in the past and felt it would work in Bowling Green. Wang, in his first year in his position, was already contemplating a program for the Christmas season, and this fit the bill. “It’s so popular, really beloved music,” he said. So many people have sung it and having them sing the choruses “makes it a more meaningful experience for everyone.” Also, the sing-along makes…


‘Come to the Stable’ features hundreds of Nativities

(Submitted for ‘Come to the Stable’) New church construction is not halting Bowling Green Alliance’s annual display of Nativities, “Come to the Stable.” For the 16th year, hundreds of Nativities and creches from around the world will be on display Dec. 8-11 in the church’s current sanctuary. A new sanctuary and an all-purpose room are being built just to the west of its current site, and while that has limited parking by a few spaces, it did not stop planning of the Nativity show. The free event opens Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.  Guests have all day Dec. 9 (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and 10 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) to see it before it concludes Dec. 11 from noon to 3 p.m. Bowling Green Alliance will hold two shorter worship services Dec. 11, at 9 and 10:30 a.m., because of limited space in the sanctuary. “Come to the Stable” also features free refreshments, live and recorded Christmas music, and drawings for Nativities.  Food items and donations to the BG Christian Food Pantry are welcomed. The church is handicapped accessible. “This event is our free gift to the community, and anyone from far and wide, to help remind us all what the season is truly about,” explained Sherrie Binkley of Perrysburg, who has been involved in the event since its founding.  “It’s like a labor of love that we are pleased to do this for the community.” She noted the ambiance of the votive candles, miniature…


First United Methodist spreads the Gospel with rousing “Godspell”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News “Godspell” turns the good news into happy talk. The musical, directed by Janine Baughman, is on stage at the First United Methodist Church Thursday through Saturday. The 34th annual dinner theater is sold out, but there will be about 20 tickets for show and dessert only available each night. Tickets will be $15 at the door. This after dinner seating will be at 6:45 p.m. With a book by John-Michael Tebelak and most of the music by Stephen Schwartz, the musical’s take on the Gospel is very much in the spirit of  1971 when it was created, free-spirited, free-wheeling. The show opens with a gaggle of philosophers, each spouting fragments of their philosophy creating a cacophony of abstraction. As “Tower of Babble” proceeds, they each take turns climbing a tall ladder center stage. Then John the Baptist (Will Baughman) enters, carrying a water gun, skirting the audience as he approaches the stage. He sets about baptizing the cast who have now shed their personas as philosophers. Now they are just folks, wide-eyed and happy. Baughman brings a big goofy charm to John, and then to Judas. The last to arrive is Jesus (Michael Barlos). Barlos conveys a charisma that instantly captivates the crowd and the audience. He exudes a warmth and tolerance, like a favorite teacher. He loves the rambunctiousness of his disciples, but knows when to firmly but lovingly draw the line. The cast is a team of individuals. They all have their own…


Actor Frank Runyeon to present “Acts of Mercy” at St. Aloysius, Oct. 9-11

Submitted by St. ALOYSIUS PARISH St. Aloysius Parish, 150 S. Enterprise St., Bowling Green will present “Acts of Mercy” with veteran TV actor Frank Runyeon, Oct. 9 through 11 at 7 p.m. each night. “Acts of Mercy”presents, in dramatic performance over three nights, classic stories of our faith, highlighting the theme of God’s mercy, featuring selections from The Gospel of John, The Gospel of Luke, and The Letter of James. The performances are: “JOHN: Signs of Mercy,” Sunday, Oct 9, proclaims how God has shown mercy to mankind in the life of Jesus. Adults and school-aged children sit on the edge of their seats as the action unfolds in the darkness and candlelight… “LUKE: Stories of Mercy,” Monday, Oct. 10, enacts famous stories from Luke’s Travel Narrative (Chapters 9-19), interwoven with stories from Frank’s own life– to help us hear these parables as stories about our lives here and now. “JAMES: Works of Mercy,” Tuesday, Oct. 11, is set outside Caesarea in an early house-church filled with characters, after the stoning of Stephen. James calls the people in his church to become a People of Mercy who “do the Work of God,” and know the joy of living in God’s love. The mission concludes with a Conversation with the Actor. Frank reflects on our experience of God’s Word as drama these three nights, and discusses why oral performance is an appropriate way to hear God’s Word: as spoken by a Person who is present, addressing us personally, in love. Runyeon has received…


Presbyterians to dedicate church windows

(As submitted by First Presbyterian Church in BG) On October 2 at 2:00 p.m., First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green will hold a special service dedicating the newly restored stained glass windows.   The windows, created by the Henry Keck Glass Studio of Syracuse, NY, were installed in 1938, and have been restored by the Bigelow Glass Company of Findlay as the crowning piece of an all-church capital campaign in 2012.  The project took 20 months with a cost of $150,000, involving over 20,000 pieces of glass. The restoration will help anchor the role of the church as a historic religious and community center in downtown Bowling Green. Co-pastor Rev. Gary Saunders says, “We are a church deeply committed to our city and our downtown neighborhood.  It is our profound hope that the restored windows will be a gift to the entire Bowling Green community as the light shines through them to beautify our town.”  The city council has been invited, and the service will feature special remarks by Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards. The dedication ceremony will also be the debut of the book “A Bible in Glass” that describes the windows in detail and tells the history of their installation.  The layout of the book was done by Ethan Jordan, with the introduction by Marcy St. John and the text by co-pastor Rev. Mary Jane Saunders.  The books will be available for purchase following the service. Each of the twenty-four windows includes a scene from the life of Christ,…


Pastors Mary Jane and Gary Saunders honored for working to make BG better for everyone

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News On receiving the I Love BG Award with his wife, Pastor Mary Jane Saunders, Pastor Gary Saunders sounded what could have been the keynote for the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Meeting and Awards Program. “We’re better together,” he said. And that in one way or another was a message that came through in all the award presentations. Fitting for the award that she and her husband were receiving, Pastor Mary Jane Saunders said that when they first moved to Bowling Green to  assume the pulpit at First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, they “immediately fell in love with the community and wanted to become involved.” “We were called by a church dedicated to justice and inclusion,” she said.  “This church has been supportive, not just supportive but encouraging. It’s because of First Presbyterian that we’ve been able to be active.” Sheilah Crowley, last year’s I Love BG award winner, detailed that involvement in her introduction. They have been leaders in the BG Ministerial Association, the campaign to stop the repeal of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, Not In Our Town, the city’s Human Relations Commission, the interfaith breakfast and the Presbytery of Maumee Valley. Gary Saunders said that guiding “our life journey together” has been a belief that “diversity is an opportunity not a problem.” “To the extent we can grasp that and live it out, we can all step forward together,” he said. After the luncheon, held at Nazareth Hall in Grand…


Lisa Chavers taps into love of relationships for first book

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Lisa Chavers holds onto friendships. She’s still is in touch with her best friend for first grade. Her 87-year-old mother says that Chavers, who turns 57 on July 4th, I “the most relational” person she knows. That’s not just because Chavers keeps in touch with people, but also because she thinks deeply about those relationships, what sustains them and how they shift over time, and sometimes how to discard them. The retired Bowling Green State University administrator has put those thoughts into a book “The Rhythm of Relationships.” She’ll have a reception and book signing for the book Saturday, July 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. “Over time, relationships can develop their own rhythm, pace, cadence, and unique sound,” she writes early in the book, and through its spare 105 pages, she explores how this happens. It’s told through the lens of her own life, growing up in Cleveland, both in the city and often visiting extended family in rural Twinsburg. A major aspect of her life is being a devote Christian. That’s how she was raised. “I know what I am and what I was trained to be from youth, a God-fearing young lady,” she said. Her acceptance of Jesus Christ as her savior in 1978 is so crucial it is in the first sentence of her introduction. She cites the Bible. But, she said, the Bible is a book, the Lord is…


Earth Week opens with Creation Care Celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Creation Care Celebration, which marked the beginning of Earth Week activities in Bowling Green, focused on the possibilities. Honored by the Black Swamp Green Team, the event’s sponsors, were those who were already making a difference locally, and statewide. The keynote speaker spoke about what churches could do to preserve the environment. And a series of workshops were offered on household options for taking action. Stumbling blocks were mentioned – the state’s renewable energy standards are on hold. But the two state legislators in attendance State Senator Randy Gardner and State Representative Tim Brown, both Republicans said they were in favor of lifting the hold on them and letting them take effect. The keynote speaker Greg Hitzhusen of Ohio State University’s School of Environment & Natural Resources, spoke of a pastor in Idaho who took the initiative to put saving the environment at the center of his church’s mission. He discovered, Hitzhusen said, less resistance than he expected. Now 10 years later he’s experiencing fierce backlash to his efforts. “How do we overcome these obstacles?” Hitzhusen wondered. The speaker, who is involved in the Interfaith Light and Power movement, focused his talk on what works. “Build on your strengths,” he said. That means finding what expertise is within the congregation that can spearhead efforts. The United Church of Christ in Sylvania used the expertise of Al Compaan, a leading researcher in photovoltaics, to initiate a solar project. “Do what makes sense for your…