Dr. Steve Davis, pastor at First Baptist Church of Carrollton, has used the traditional service as a way to help his church members learn about people of other faiths.
“We have a series called RSI (Religious Studies Institute), which I call ‘seminary for church members,’” Davis said. “Over the years, we’ve had speakers from various churches as our guests.”
He said it was recently that he contemplated a series of talks about various religious groups that most people may not know.
“We have a woman in our church, Marjorie Snipes, who has done a lot of studies about Shakers,” he said. “I thought about a catchy title, From Quakers to Shakers.’ I decided to find someone with the local Quakers to begin.”
Davis scheduled the series for each Wednesday in September, with each meeting in the church’s fellowship hall.
“We’ll have dinner from 5 to 6 p.m., then around 6 p.m., I’ll have a prayer time for the sick,” he said. “Then the speaker will have about 45 minutes, from 6:15 to 7 p.m. to give a brief overview of his/her religion and answer questions.”
He said the services are free and the public is invited to attend.
Marty Bray, who leads the Carrollton Friends (Quaker) Worship Group, will speak about Quakers on Sept. 5.
Dr. Beheruz Sethna, president of University of West Georgia, will speak on Sept. 12 about Zoroastrianism.
The Rev. Michelle Kuhlman, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Carrollton, will speak on Sept. 19 about the Lutheran religion.
The final meeting will be on Sept. 26 with Dr. Marjorie Snipes, an anthropology professor at the University of West Georgia, talking about the Shakers.
Bray leads the Carrollton Friends Worship Group, which meets every Sunday at 12:30 p.m., at the St. Andrew United Methodist Church Youth Center, on Hay’s Mill Road, just behind St. Andrew, located at 1106 Maple St., Carrollton.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was founded in England during the 17th Century by George Fox. Many Quakers came to America after suffering persecution by the English. Quakers believe in a direct, unmediated communion with God and believe in living lives that reflect that inner experience.
There are four different branches of Quakers in the U.S., some practice the unprogrammed “silent” meetings, while others have traditional pastor-led services, similar to other Protestant churches.
Bray, an Indiana native, grew up in North Carolina with parents who were educators. He holds a B.S. degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., and a Ph.D. degree from Indiana University in instructional systems technology. He has worked as a teacher, media coordinator and computer coordinator.
Sethna is a professor of business and has been president of the University of West Georgia since 1994. He recently announced that he will retire as president next summer.
A native of Bombay, India, Sethna holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, an MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Management and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York.
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster. It was once among the world’s largest religions and was probably founded in the 6th Century in the eastern part of Iran. It served as the national religion of Iran for many years.
In Zoroastrianism, good and evil have two distinct sources, with evil (druj) trying to destroy the creation of Mazda (asha) and good trying to sustain it.
The Rev. Michelle Kuhlman is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Carrollton.
Lutheranism is a major branch of western Christianity that dates back to the theology of Martin Luther, a German religious reformer. Luther launched the Protestant Reformation in an effort to reform the theology and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification “by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone,” which went against the Roman view of “faith formed by love” or “faith and works.”
Snipes, a professor of anthropology at University of West Georgia, will have the final week’s program.
She holds a B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include cultural anthropology, Latin America, Andes, anthropological theory, animals and culture and anthropology of religion.
The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, known as the Shakers, is a religious sect originally thought to be a development of the Religious Society of Friends. Founded upon the teachings of Ann Lee, Shakers today are mostly known for their cultural contributions, especially their style of music and furniture, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they institutionalized in their society in the 1780s.
Because the group’s religious worship including shakings of the body and motions of the head and arms, they came to be called “Shaking Quakers” and this, in time, was shortened to “Shakers.”
Additional information on the “From Quakers to Shakers” program is available by calling Davis at 770-832-6359, or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
People planning to attend the 5 p.m. dinner before the service should let Davis know in advance.