Saturday, December 6, 2008
Brother Bryan, Religion in Shoes
Times are hard everywhere right now , and Birmingham is no exception. Every time I turn on the news, I hear that the homeless shelters are experiencing record numbers. This week even here in the deep south we have had freezing temperatures. I wonder and worry about my friends that I have met at the church breakfasts. I think today is the perfect day to introduce you to a very special Birminghamian, fondly known as Brother Bryan. He is one of our hometown heroes. The pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church , he is best known for being an outspoken supporter for civil rights and racial reconciliation and his selfless service to the poor in Birmingham. Maybe I should mention that this was in the early 1900's! It is said that often he arrived at home at night without his coat because he had given it to a needy stranger during the day. This tribute to Brother Bryan can be found in the Five Points South district. It has been moved several times and I personally regret that it now rests next to an outdoor seating area for a local cafe. I think Brother Bryan's statue by artist George Bridges, deserves a more dignified resting place. On the other hand, it is in close proximity to an area where many of our city's homeless can be found. Perhaps it's the perfect place for Brother Bryan. This holiday season when you are out purchasing gifts, please remember those that for whatever reason need a hot meal and a place to rest their head. Brother Bryan set a wonderful example for each of us.