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Clergy appreciation event honors leaders

POSTED: February 21, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Tom Reed /The Times

The Rev. Bruce Fields, a minister at First Baptist Church on Green Street, leads the singing Thursday at the Lanierland Civitan Club's Clergy Appreciation Day luncheon. Every year Civitan International encourages a public acknowledgement of men and women of the clergy.

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A Gainesville civic club paused Thursday to thank religious leaders in the community for their efforts.

The Lanierland Civitan Club held a Clergy Appreciation Day, which coincides with a weeklong observance honoring those in the ministry.

The tribute is also tied to the Feb. 3 anniversary of the death of four military chaplains aboard the USS Dorchester in World War II.

According to accounts of the event, Army Chaplains George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington moved about the sinking ship calming frightened men, directing bewildered soldiers to lifeboats and distributing life jackets with calm precision.

The four gave up their own life vests and perished with the 675 who were killed in the waters of the icy North Atlantic.

"This time is set aside each year to remember this heroic deed and pay tribute to those who dedicate themselves to making this a better world.

The Rev. Bruce Fields, minister of pastoral care at First Baptist Church on Green Street, led the audience, which included a number of local pastors, in a medley of traditional hymns.

The Rev. Dr. Hugh Cauthen, keynote speaker for the event, said for those who serve God, the instructions are relatively simple. "The Lord requires us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God," Cauthen said.

Cauthen, a native of Griffin, is a retired United Methodist minister.

The Gainesville City Council passed a resolution this week declaring Feb. 10 through 16 as Clergy Appreciation Week.



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