I distinctly remember the day when The Rev. Barbara Nixon came to me with a great idea.
Nixon, of Corvallis' First United Methodist Church, said she thought it would be terrific if the Gazette-Times' religion page on Saturday featured a locally produced column that rotated among eight or so Corvallis religious leaders.
Here was my response, and I think this might be pretty close to verbatim: "That is a great idea." (In fact, I had been trying to figure out ways to get more local content on that religion page.)
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But then came the kicker, and, again, this might be verbatim: "But you, Barbara, will have to do all of the work" — in particular, rounding up the writers and hounding them to meet their weekly deadlines. Because, as you know, pastors and ministers and rabbis lead insanely busy lives, and I knew that I didn't have time to track them down each week. I've seen plenty of other well-meaning efforts like this stumble shortly after they leave the gate for lack of someone who handling those minor details — like making sure the columns are turned in on time.
Barbara readily agreed and has more than fulfilled her part of the bargain. Each week on Tuesday, the next installment of "Interfaith Voices" arrives faithfully in my inbox. The columns don't require a lot of work on my part, as Barbara promised. They have added distinctly local voices — eight of them — to our religion page. And my sense is that the pieces are getting read, although the eight authors in the regular rotation will be better judges of that.
So I was pleased when Barbara said she was interested in organizing a live event featuring all eight regular writers. The event, dubbed "Interfaith Voices Live!" because I insisted on the exclamation point, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church, 1165 N.W. Monroe Ave. in Corvallis. Each writer will speak a bit about his or her religious tradition and will be available to answer questions. Refreshments will be served.
And if you're not familiar with "Interfaith Voices," I invite you to check it out, every Saturday on the G-T's Religion page.