This Friday night is shaping up to be a big one for members and friends of Raleigh's Restoration Christian Church.
"Everybody has been just wide open about it," says Pastor Jesse Mills. "And the men? Their response has been outstanding."
What are the men excited about? A chance to shower attention on their daughters. Restoration is holding its first annual Father and Daughter Dance, which will take place at the Biltmore Hills Community Center. "And I think it's just going to be an awesome night and an awesome opportunity to rekindle the relationship between dad and daughter," the pastor says.
On a personal level, Mills says he's looking forward to spending special time with his own 17-year-old daughter.
"I looked at my own life and I know that my life is busy. Sometimes I just haven't taken the time to pamper my daughter and show her how I think that she should be treated as a young lady."
And that's what Friday night is all about. Tickets for the semi-formal event are 15 dollars and open to the public. Proceeds will support the church’s Youth Ministry. You can find more information on Restoration's Facebook page.
The really neat thing about it? It's open to all ages. "Not just for teenagers or younger children," Pastor Jesse told me. "It doesn't matter. There are daddies that have called their daughters up and they're telling me their daughters are excited about being able to attend."
Demonstrators carrying signs are not an unusual sight in downtown Raleigh. Except perhaps when that demonstrator is wearing a clerical collar – and a yarmulke, or Jewish skullcap. This particular demonstrator walking up and down Fayetteville Street during lunch hour several days last week was none other than the Chaplain of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the Rev. Dennis Stiles.
“This is not a 'gloom and doom' message,” he told me. “This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Raleigh-Durham Airport, or the Airport Chapel. This is about Christian support for Israel. The people of Israel are in a precarious position right now, and they need to know and to understand that Christians are standing with them.”
Stiles’ sign contains Bible verses referencing the land of Israel, a country he has visited seven times. The sign is addressed to President Obama, whom Stiles says he met briefly at the airport when he was running for president in 2008.
“I told him that I was praying for him. And he thanked me and asked me to tell others to pray for him. I really believe that he wants to do the right thing. So, this is why I feel compelled to let him know that if he tries to influence Israel into accepting a Palestinian state within its borders, or if he recognizes a Palestinian state within the state of Israel, this is against scripture.”
But can you really base modern day foreign policy on centuries old Bible verses? And what about the Palestinians’ rights?
“This land (Israel) was promised to the Jewish people,” Stiles says, “the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And that's what these scriptures are for -- for people to read so they’ll get an understanding of what God says and what His word says about Israel and about the Middle East, about us, and about how things are supposed to be done.”
Rev. Stiles says he’ll continue his unusual protest as he feels led to do so.
Drugs. Sex. Peer pressure. Suicide. These are some of the issues facing teenagers today that will be spotlighted in a free movie this Saturday night at Elm City United Methodist Church. The church will be showing the independent film To Save a Life. The movie will be shown at 5:30 and 8:30 pm. Families and youth groups are encouraged to attend. The film is rated PG-13.