Met. Nicholas on Michigan’s Economic Crisis

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit discusses Michigan’s severe economic decline — caused by the state’s close ties to the auto industry — and its effect on the state’s parishes in an interview with the Greek-American newspaper National Herald (available on the Orthodox Christian News site with free registration).

To tell you the truth, our people have been affected in some ways, but not as strongly as some other communities because the majority of our people our educated people. There are scientists working for the auto companies and also people working in the lines, but many of those people have retired so either they received a buyout or pension. Most of the young people are working as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists.

Interviewer Theodore Kalmoukos also asked Metropolitan Nicholas about the direction of the Church in America. The Metropolitan answered:

I hope we are going to God’s kingdom, but in order to get there, we have to strongly proclaim the gospel message. There was a proposition in our ballot here to increase embryonic stem cell research and I, along with Roman Catholic leadership of this area and some other Churches took a stand. We did not think it was appropriate. It was interesting because it was one of the first times where we made a short statement for the clergy to read in the parishes of Michigan and we had a number of people that came and said thank you. We wanted a statement from our Church and we had a few people asking why the Church was talking about moral issues. If we are going to be effective in this community, then we have to engage the community more strongly. I think we have to be able to witness who we are and what we are and why we have something to offer, by offering the people the words come and see.

Michigan’s Proposal 2, which voters passed 53 percent to 47 percent in November, allows the use of human embryos for research permitted under federal law.

As for the parishioners who questioned Metropolitan Nicholas about the church “talking about moral issues,” a simple reply would be — Isn’t that what churches do?

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