Movement hopes to bridge the gap between evolution and creationism
By Steve Eighinger
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
January 21, 2006
More than 10,000 pastors nationwide have signed “The Clergy Letter” of support for Evolution Sunday Feb. 12, a day designed to bring attention to a movement that believes there is a way to bridge the gap between the theory of evolution and creation theology.
At least two local pastors are known to have signed the letter, the Rev. Wally Carlson of Melrose Chapel United Methodist Church and the Rev. Bob Morwell of Union United Methodist Church.
“Evolution can only go so far, and that is where faith comes in,” Carlson said. “No one really knows what is in that gray area in between the two.”
Carlson said there are members of the Melrose Chapel congregation on both sides of the debate, and that does not present a problem.
“There are people on both sides of this who are so narrow-minded in their vision they can’t see any truth from another direction,” Carlson said.
Morwell said he has addressed the subject via previous sermons in the past.
“(This movement) is an effort to enlist the help of clergy who do not find belief in evolution incompatible with the Christian faith,” Morwell said.
Michael Zimmerman, dean of the college of letters and sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, coordinates a Web site devoted to this subject. On the site, it says 10,183 pastors had signed the Clergy Letter as of Wednesday, and that 303 congregations from 47 states have signed up to take part in some sort of Evolution Sunday dialogue.
“Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries,” Dean writes. “And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.”
There are 12 churches of varying denominations in Illinois taking part. None are near Quincy, with most located in the northern and northwest parts of the state.
Both Carlson and Morwell will be out of town that day and said no formal program or discussion is planned at either of their churches.
“Whenever we think we know all of the answers, we’re wrong,” Carlson said. “Because we don’t.”
For information on Evolution Sunday, go to www.uwosh.edu /colleges/cols/clergy_project.htm on the Web.