I never asked for it, but at some point atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman put me on his Clergy Letter News mailing list. The September newsletter announced the dates for Evolution Weekend 2015. On Evolution Weekend, Zimmerman urges churches to preach the compatibility of microbes-to-man evolution and religion from their pulpits and Sunday school lecterns. Actually, this year he might settle for a whole lot less, but I’ll get to that.

First, let’s see what Evolution Weekend’s founder had to say:  

“Over the past nine years, a conservative estimate is that Evolution Weekend events have reached approximately three-quarters of a million people! We’ve reached that number in person and many, many more have been educated by our events through media coverage. What an amazing thing we’ve accomplished together!

“Evolution Weekend 2015, 13-15 February 2015, our tenth anniversary, will allow us to expand our reach even further. Already, more than 165 congregations and institutions from eight countries and 39 states have signed up to participate. Check out our list by going to our Evolution Weekend 2015 web page.

“If you’re not yet on the list, please let me know and I’ll get you added immediately.

“Please remember a couple of things. First, even if you’ve signed up to participate in previous years, you must sign up this year to be listed. That’s the only way for our list to have integrity! Second, participation can take any form you deem most appropriate to raise the level of discourse about the relationship between religion and science. Third, if you can’t participate on that exact weekend, you can do so on any other! What’s most important is the discussion that you facilitate.

“So, please sign up now!” [emphasis mine]

So after a quick pep talk, he immediately begins asking for folks to sign up foe Evolution Weekend. I expected that.

I didn’t expect his three-fold reminders:

1. Participants have to sign up each year, for integrity’s sake.

That one is probably my fault.

In the days leading up to Evolution Weekend 2012,  decided to call all of the congregations from right here in West Virginia who were slated to participate in atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s infamous Evolution Weekend to confirm whether they were in fact participating. The results were a bit surprising, to say the least. Of the seven churches and synagogues listed NOT ONE was actually doing anything for Evolution Weekend. One had been listed in error. One had a schedule conflict but said they might do something the following week. And then there was the curious case of Cross Lanes Baptist…

When I contacted the pastor of this church, he was surprised to say the least. Rev. Gregory Hayes said his church had never participated in Evolution Weekend and that the contact person on the Clergy Letter Project website was merely a deacon. Regarding evolution, he stated, “That’s an argument we’re simply not interested in.”

I contacted Dr. Zimmerman regarding the error on his website and also provided him with a number to reach the church’s pastor. He responded with the following:

“I’m shocked and troubled by the information you’ve provided.  In the interest of being as conservative as possible, I’ve removed Cross Lanes UMC from our list of participants for 2012 and I’ve copied Reverend Lacaria so he can respond.  I’ll make a decision about how to proceed once I hear from him.  Again, though, in the meantime, I’ve removed Cross Lanes from our list.”

I did confirm that Cross lanes UMC has been removed from the Evolution Weekend 2012 list, but I find it odd that Zimmerman would not contact the church’s actual pastor for confirmation; instead, he says we’ll have to wait on word from the fellow who misrepresented the church he attends as a participant! Again, Cross Lanes United Methodist has been listed on the Clergy Letter Project’s website every year since Evolution Weekend 2009 as:

Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, WV
The Rev. J.F. Lacaria

Well, I spoke to the Rev. Dr. J. F. Lacaria and I asked him if Cross Lanes UMC was participating in this year’s Evolution Weekend. He replied that he wasn’t doing anything specific this year, but that he had participated in the past. When I noted that this claim oddly contradicted the pastor’s denial that Cross Lanes UMC had ever participated in Evolution Weekend, Rev. Lacaria, admitted that he did so through his adult Sunday School class and that he doubted his pastor knew about it!

2. Participation can take any form.

Seriously? So a mention in the church bulletin counts? How about simply saying, “Oh, and today is Evolution Sunday”? Would that be enough? Would that be enough to raise the level of discourse about the relationship between religion and science?

3. If you can’t participate on Evolution Weekend, you can do so on any other weekend.

Yeah, but he’s not counting those as Evolution Weekend participants, right? Because he mentioned integrity and… Nevermind. I’m sure he’d never do that (but I might make a few calls just to be sure).

Anyway, here we encourage you to celebrate a Creation Sunday instead of an Evolution Sunday. If you’re interested in adding your church to the list of Creation Sunday participants this year, send an email to with the following:

_____ Yes, I want to be part of Creation Weekend 2015. Please add me to the growing list of participants.


City, State (Country if not USA):

Your Name:”

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