Rectors of two parishes called the Church of the Heavenly Rest have placed a friendly bet, payable in food, over the outcome of the American League Championship Series. One parish is in Texas and the other in New York City.
Reporternews.com of Abilene, TX reports:
Two clergymen have gone where few politicians have dared to tread: placing a friendly wager on the outcome of baseball’s American League Championship Series.
The Texas Rangers are battling the New York Yankees in the best-of-seven series, which now returns to Arlington after the Yankees won 7-2 Wednesday in New York. Texas, however, holds a 3-2 edge, with the winner advancing to the World Series.
Rector Jim Burns of Church of Heavenly Rest in New York City and Rector Luke Back of Church of Heavenly Rest deep in the heart of Texas have a bet on the outcome. The wager was food, of course.
Back offered tenderloins from Perini Ranch Steak House if the Yankees win. Burns came up with an equally unique New York offering.
“If Texas wins, I will be sending Luke a NY Nosh basket,” said Burns. “That is what we call the treats of bagels, lox and other Yankee munchies.”
The two churches have a deeper connection than baseball:
“Our church (in NYC) was founded in 1865 by survivors of what we up north call the Civil War. I believe you guys in the South refer to it as the War of Northern Aggression,” Burns joked.
In 1883, according to Burns, the New York congregation was instrumental in building the Abilene church and as a result, it carries the same name.
Back added detail to the story.
“The costs of the new church in Abilene — $3,000 — was shared by the New York church and the local parish. The unnamed benefactor in New York insisted that the Abilene church have the name changed from St. Paul’s to Church of Heavenly Rest.”
Back, who has been rector of the Abilene congregation for just six weeks, sought to reconnect with the founding church and thought the wager would be a fun way to do that. So he contacted the pastor in the Big Apple.
“When I announced the bet to our congregation, they laughed, as I expected,” Back said. “Then they applauded. When the wager was announced in New York, their congregation did the same thing. We are, after all, citizens of the same kingdom in heaven.”
Back said: “For us, the wager is an opportunity for our churches to connect across many boundaries and cultures, and for the New York church to see the results of their planting a seed many years ago. They can see that our church has been very blessed because of them.”
We assume the Suffragan Bishop of Baseball approves.