In observance of Clergy Appreciation Week, Sunday through Saturday, area clergy have been invited to a meal in their honor by the Fort Dodge Civitan Club.
A chili supper will be held Monday at the Beacon of Hope, with Steve Roe, shelter director, speaking on the ministry.
The idea for Clergy Week is to promote world brotherhood and religious understanding among all people, regardless of religious persuasion - a time to reflect on individual religious beliefs and to promote an understanding and acceptance of the rights of others to participate in a different religion.
On Feb. 3, 1943, the USS Dorchester of the U.S. Navy carried four men of God - one a Catholic, one Jewish and two Protestant - along with 905 American servicemen bound for Greenland. A Nazi submarine torpedo struck amidship, exploding in the boiler room. Many on board died instantly; some were trapped below deck. Others, jolted from their bunks, ran to the decks of the stricken vessel.
The ship, taking on water rapidly, began listing to starboard. Because security reasons prevented use of distress flares, escort vessels, still close enough to assist, pushed on into the darkness, unaware that the Dorchester was sinking. Overcrowded lifeboats capsized; rafts drifted away before anyone could reach them.
On deck, the four Army chaplains - George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington - moved about calming frightened men, directing soldiers to lifeboats and distributing life jackets. When the supply of jackets was exhausted, four young soldiers were still without vests, so the chaplains stripped off their own vests and forced them upon the young soldiers. Arm-in-arm, the chaplains went down with the ship.
To honor those four men and clergy everywhere, Civitan International has declared the week of Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 as International Clergy Appreciation week and urge all citizens to thank their clergy for the work they do.
The local Civitan club meets at 7 a.m. Wednesdays at Zakeer's, 425 Second Ave. S. Club information is available from Nancy Leo at 576 4249.