Evolution Week 2009 in Texas
Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow, presenters

report by Connie Barlow, February 2009




  • February 8, Unity Church of North Houston, TX | Attendance: 170
       (Michael: Sunday morning 2 services and evening illustrated lecture)

  • February 8, Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Stafford TX | Attendance: 50
       (Connie: Sunday morning Forum and church service)

  • February 11, Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church, The Woodlands TX | Attendance: 70
       (Michael: evening illustrated lecture)

  • February 12, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Huntsville, TX | Attendance: 105
       (Michael: evening illustrated lecture)

  • February 13, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio, TX | Attendance: 53
       (Michael: evening illustrated lecture)

  • February 15, Unity Church of the Hills, Austin TX | Attendance: 730
       (Michael: Sunday morning 2 services and evening illustrated lecture)

  • February 15, Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, Austin TX | Attendance: 250
       (Connie: Sunday morning intergenerational service)

  • Press Coverage

  • FEB 05 - Montgomery County Courier: "Religion v. Science Debate Coming to The Woodlands"

  • FEB 09 - Houston Press Blogs: "Evolution-Loving Evangelical Comes to Houston"

  • FEB 10 - The Huntsville Item: "Evolutionary Evangelist Brings Message to Huntsville"

  • FEB 17 - San Marcos Daily Record: "Rev. Michael Dowd Shares Insights Behind 'Thank God for Evolution'"

  • FEB 17 - ABC News: "Preaching Gospel of Evolution"(VIDEO)

  • Michael Dowd at Sam Houston Museum, Huntsville Texas
    on Darwin's 200th birthday, 12 February 2009

    ABOVE LEFT: Statue of Sam Houston just south of Hunstville TX
    ABOVE RIGHT: The museum where Michael gave his illustrated talk, "The Gospel According to Evolution: Evolutionary Good News"
    BELOW: Photos during the presentation. Note: The presentation was sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntsville, Texas.

    Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow were filmed for a documentary on the evolution debate in Texas, morning of 12 February 2009

    Michael Dowd at Unity Church of the Hills
    Austin, Texas, 15 February 2009

    Michael Dowd at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio
    13 February 2009

    BELOW: Items for sale on Michael's book table. Because his evening programs are free,
    sales of books, dvds, and other items are crucial for supporting their itinerant ministry.

    Connie Barlow's "We Are Made of Stardust" intergenerational Sunday service
    at Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, Austin TX, 15 February 2009

    ABOVE RIGHT: An example of "Great Story Beads" made in the religious education program
    to help children learn their story of creation by way of cosmic, planetary, and life evolution

    BELOW: Because this was an intergenerational service, Connie projected
    digital images onto a screen during the sermon part of the church service.

    BELOW: Connie concluded the sermon by singing a capella a song she had created exactly a year earlier
    to teach the science of stardust at the first evolutionary revival, held in California.

    For the closing hymn, Connie projected onto the church screen an in-progress copy of a MUSIC VIDEO she is creating, in collaborationn with singer-songwriter Peter Mayer. The congregation was encouraged to sing along softly to the song, "Holy Now", as Connie had placed text of the lyrics over the images. Click here to PREVIEW a draft of the music video.

    Other Activities during February 2009

    For a full list of presentations, visit the ITINERARY page on our website. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow presented in other churches during February 2009. Connie's contributions included engaging a Sunday morning "Forum" at Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Congregation near Houston TX. There she called for volunteers to join with her in reading the dramatic script of an evolutionary parable she had written, "Startull: The Story of an Average Yellow Star", which led to a lively discussion.

    At Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, Michael presented the sermon at both Sunday morning services (click to listen online). Meanwhile Connie guest taught our sacred story of evolution in the religious education wing. During the first service, Connie led 20 elementary-age kids in her playful and informative, "River of Life" program, which included projected images, song, and dramatic scripts for children to volunteer to read. For the second service, Connie guest taught her "Your Brain's Creation Story" for 15 teens attending the church's youth program. She gave a button representing our evolved brain to each of the teens. (Click image to purchase a button online.)    

    Bay Area's minister, Rev. Matt Tittle, then invited Michael to write a guest blog for Rev. Matt's regular blog site, "Keep the Faith," which is published regularly on the blog pages of the Houston Chronicle. The blog Michael posted is "God Is Not a Supernatural Terrorist", and it has generated many comments.

    PHOTOS BELOW: The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco TX turned up a crowd of 87 attendees for Michael's evening program on February 19, and there we overnighted in the church parking lot, sleeping in our van.

    PHOTOS BELOW: Michael Dowd was interviewed at the Austin affiliate of ABC News for a national program, "Faith Matters." Click here to view the interview. (Bottom row, America's "evolutionary evangelist" chooses clothing to wear for the interview on the clothes rod inside our van. He adjusts his tie in the reflection of a window.)

        A high point of February was a private tour of NASA's Johnson Space Center, which allowed us to go behind the scenes, including in the room that is now a National Historic landmark: Apollo Mission Control, which guided the astronauts during the moon walks and, even more significant, the first photos of the whole Earth taken from space. (Left: Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow inside Apollo Mission Control.) Connie has posted online a photo-essay of this Pilgrimage to NASA's Apollo Flight Center.

    Other accomplishments during the month of February can be accessed on TheGreatStory.org website, as follows:

  • EVOLUTIONARY TIMES E-ZINE 2nd issue on Darwin's 200th birthday
        The second issue of the e-zine was published on the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. A free online publication supporting a sacred understanding of mainstream science. (posted 12 February 2009)

        On February 6, Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow made a pilgrimage to a Sacred Site of the Epic of Evolution. Johnson Space Center in Houston is where Earth first directed the launch of a piece of itself, off of itself, in order to see itself in its entirety, through the eyes of the human: the Apollo missions. (posted February 11, 2009)

        Connie has done a number of things to commemorate Charles Darwin's 200th birthday on February 12. The compilation of "26 Evolution Projects and Proposals" immediately below is one. So was the February 8 "Evolution Sunday" sermon Connie delivered at Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Congregation near Houston TX. Finally, the day before his birthday, Connie posted this photo-essay of her 1994 pilgrimage to one of the premier sacred sites of the epic of evolution: Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, and where he wrote On the Origin of Species. (posted February 11, 2009)

        2009 is Evolution Year, thanks to its being Charles Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his landmark book, On the Origin of Species. Connie Barlow, Michael Dowd, and colleagues have posted a pdf that outlines all 26 projects and proposals they are engaged in that would promote a sacred and practical understanding of evolution in many different venues. (posted February 2009)

        Jon Cleland-Host, a scientist and lay leader of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland MI, has developed a list of worship resources with evolution as the theme that can help a minister or worship leader flesh out an order of service for any evolution-theme service, notably what has come to be known as "Evolution Sunday" to commemorate Darwin's birth each year on February 12. (posted February 2009)

        Loren Acton flew on a 1985 NASA mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger. After reading Michael Dowd's book, Thank God for Evolution, Acton contacted Michael to let him know that the book inspired him to preach this sermon in his Methodist church in Montana. We then posted the sermon audio on this website. (posted February 2009)

        Draft of an 8,000 word chapter by Connie Barlow, contributed to a forthcoming book edited by Unitarian Universalist minister Fred Muir. The book is titled, Sleeping with the Fishes: Charles Darwin and the Spirit of Liberal Religion, and it will be published (by Skinner House Books) just in time to commemorate the 150th anniversary of publication of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in November 2009. This chapter is Connie's summary of her work and philosophy in bringing the Epic of Evolution into religious education for children. (posted February 2009)

  • WWW www.TheGreatStory.org