Dover, PA wary of Repent America evangelism effort!
Some in Dover wary of evangelists' visit
Repent America will be in town to promote a creationism seminar.
By MELISSA NANN BURKE
Daily Record/Sunday News
Mar 6, 2006 ���
With the sting of Christian televangelist Pat Robertson's apocalyptic warning fresh on their minds, some Dover churchgoers wondered Sunday if the evangelical group Repent America would bring more of the same to their doorsteps this week.
About a dozen people associated with the Philadelphia-based Repent America plan to go door to door in the Dover community this week.
They want to spread information about Scripture and a creationism seminar planned for March 17 and 18 at Dover Area High School.
In a community growing weary of the creationism vs. evolution debate, those knocks won't be welcome at every door.
At Salem Lutheran Church on George Street, the Rev. Edgar C. Reed forewarned his congregation Sunday.
"My suggestion is that you be courteous," Reed said. "Don't slam the door on them, but tell them, 'No thanks. We don't want to talk to you.' If that's the way you feel."
If church members want to engage the visitors, that's okay too, Reed added.
"I'm not sure about their purpose here, or why they feel the need to canvass Dover," he said. "We're on track."
After the service, Reed said, "It bothers me that they feel the need to come evangelizing to us."
Repent America does see a need, director Michael Marcavage said.
In December, a federal judge ruled intelligent design is a religious idea, a mere relabeling of creationism, which didn't belong in Dover science classes.
Even before the ruling, Dover voters ousted school board members who supported intelligent design in biology class.
That prompted Robertson's prediction: Disaster might strike because residents "voted God out of your city," he said.
Marcavage said, "If (Dover ministers) are doing such a good job, then why are there pro-evolutionists on the school board?"
He hopes to call on thousands of homes this week.
"We're coming to Dover because we want to be where the enemy is diligently attacking," he said.
Reed and the Rev. John Woods of Calvary Lutheran Church last week considered how to respond to the group.
The pastors concluded no response was best.
"We're going to be lying low," Woods said. "We don't want to give them any credence."
Darlene Brown, a Salem Lutheran member, probably won't talk to solicitors if they visit her Dover Township home.
"It depends on how they present themselves," she said. "Or how mad they make me."
Scott Arber, also of Dover Township, said it depends on the mood he's in.
"They want to come straighten us out," he said. "I think the entire thing has been misunderstood."
Down the road at Lighthouse Baptist Church of Greater York, the Rev. Sterling E. Walsh Jr., had heard of the group.
"They mean well," he said.
Member Carol Vaughn said she wishes creationism was taught in public schools.
Her church is also home to Alan Bonsell, the former school board president who led the push to get intelligent design into Dover's curriculum.
Although Vaughn would welcome a conversation with Marcavage's group, she doesn't open the door to strangers, she said.
"Not unless I know them."
About a dozen people with the Philadelphia-based Repent America plan to go door-to-door in the Dover community Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
They are also planning a seminar March 17 and 18 at Dover Area High School.
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