I have enjoyed the recent stories on baseball by Stuart Shiffman.  Regarding his story on Harry Caray (“Baseball’s salesman,” May 30), I heard many a broadcast by Harry, first with the Cardinals and later the Cubs.  While I’m also a White Sox fan, I didn’t hear him broadcast Sox games since, to my knowledge, there was no local station that broadcast their games at that time, nor now for that matter, sadly.

The joy of watching the Springfield Sliders play, the feature of his most recent IT story (“Baseball contrasts,” June 6), was right on.   While I like watching major league baseball as much as anyone, I can’t say enough about my enjoyment watching the Sliders play.  While the caliber of play may not be that of major leaguers (but look out for some of the Sliders in a few years), they sure play baseball better than me, now or in my youth. 

Also, while taking in a game at Busch Stadium is an all-day event, with the drive down and back, watching the Sliders play usually can be accomplished in less than three hours, including driving to Robin Roberts Stadium and back.  Plus, you can watch a Sliders game for under $10, including a refreshment, with free parking a short walk to your seat.  Compare that with the cost of driving to St. Louis and back and the higher ticket, parking and refreshment costs there!

Dick McLane

As the minister of a local congregation that has long welcomed and affirmed members of the LGBTQI community, I was encouraged to see the huge crowds at the recent Springfield Pridefest (“PrideFest draws thousands,” May 23).  The presence of so many thousands, including Governor Pritzker and Mayor Langfelder, underscores that our LGBTQI family members, neighbors and friends have finally earned a fuller acceptance within society. Thank God for that. 

On the other hand, even today, there are a few faith leaders who cannot conceive that an LGBTQI person is also made in the image of God.  Some refuse memorial services and burial rites to LGBTQI individuals. Personally, I cannot think of a less compassionate response to a family that is already grieving.  I am reminded how, when I first arrived in Springfield, a woman called me and asked if I would conduct her brother’s funeral.  Her brother had committed suicide and the family minister had sternly refused to offer any assistance, pronouncing that the man “was in hell, so why bother?”  I officiated that memorial service and refused payment. 

With respect to those LGBTQI individuals who might face a similar rebuff from their home churches, I and several other local clergy have agreed that we will conduct a memorial service, celebration of life, or burial – per the family’s wishes – free of charge for their loved one.  So far, my colleagues who have endorsed this proposal include an ordained minister within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and a priest within the Roman Catholic Women Priest tradition.  I expect that many more will follow soon.

Rev. Martin Woulfe
Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation

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