January 23, 2013
By DAVE HELLING
The Kansas City Star
The Rev. Adam Hamilton looked down from the soaring marble pulpit at Washington’s National Cathedral on Tuesday and saw most of the nation’s political leaders — including President Barack Obama — looking back at him.
He had prayed to find the right words for his sermon, the Kansas City-area pastor began.
“To be a leader is to invite criticism,” he said. “If you’re a Sunday school teacher, they’ll criticize you. If you’re a supervisor at McDonald’s, they’ll criticize you. If you’re a pastor, they’ll criticize you.”
Then the preacher with the almost-too-perfect political name looked at Obama.
“I don’t know how you’re still standing,” Adam Hamilton said, to knowing laughter from Washington’s elite.
Half a continent away, more than 1,500 congregants at the pastor’s United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood chuckled too.
They watched their clergyman’s sermon, via Internet connection, on three giant screens inside the church’s sanctuary. They applauded when Hamilton first appeared on the screen. They clapped after hearing spirited gospel music and joined in on the national anthem.
And they, too, had prayed — that their friend and religious leader would find words to equal the solemn occasion of the National Prayer Service, a tradition dating to back to George Washington.
They weren’t disappointed.
“It was definitely Adam,” said Tiffany Smith of Kansas City. “Adam spreads the message of unity — what Christ is about is helping others, and treating others the way they want to be treated.”
Hamilton’s sermon was the highlight of Tuesday’s 90-minute interfaith service, which included Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, their spouses, and scores of other dignitaries. The service is meant to provide a spiritual boost to the newly sworn-in president. Prominent national clergy — from the Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh traditions — offered prayers.
Hamilton was invited for his work with the Kansas City-area church he founded in 1990. It has since grown to become the largest United Methodist Church in the nation, with more than 18,000 members spread across four campuses in the metropolitan area.
Read the full story.
The United Methodist Reporter: United Methodist of the Year – Adam Hamilton’s influence felt in various ways in 2012
# # #