Written by Gregg Brekke
First Radio Parish Church of America minister, the Rev. Peter B. Panagore, has released a collection of his televised daily devotions in "Two Minutes for God: Quick Fixes for the Spirit."
Shown during the morning news on two NBC affiliates in Maine, the show, called "Daily Devotions," is the televised ministry of First Radio Parish Church of America. Broadcast on radio since 1926, and television since 1954, "Daily Devotions" has now broadened its reach through the Internet and its website <dailydevotions.org>.
Panagore, an ordained UCC minister, took the post at First Radio Parish of America in 2003 after serving churches in Connecticut and Maine for 18 years. His devotional is a collection of stories – all true on some level he says – that each represents a spiritual value or promise.
"I try not to give answers," says Panagore of the content in his daily message. "I try to give leading questions that nudge people into thinking about how they see themselves through their faith, and why they see themselves that way."
"Two Minutes for God" spent six weeks on the Maine bestseller list and has found success in national distribution. The devotional contains over 350 reflections, with the final sections devoted to special occasions and holidays. A prayer and "Today's Thought" conclude each entry as they do each broadcast.
When asked about his inspiration for the entries, Panagore says, "The stories are sometimes about my life, but they're never about me. They're often about my neighbors, but they're never about them either."
"It always aims to the soul and the mind – but the soul primarily – and the idea that God is in the world and we are in the world. And the sacred surrounds us if only we have eyes to see," he says.
This theme – that divine encounters are always near – permeates Panagore's stories. Whether it is an observation of the natural world, a chance encounter with gracious hospitality or the ironies found in daily living, "Two Minutes for God" points readers toward their own discovery of spiritual connections.
"Were uniquely positioned to reach into the homes of 100,000 plus people per day, just in Maine, and to be their church for them," says Panagore. "Whatever their religious stance is, we become their spiritual portal – their connection to God."
First Radio Parish of America is an ecumenical Christian organization, funded in part by foundation support, individual donations and over 30 congregations. Panagore says they are working on expanding their broadcast technology to better embrace Internet capabilities for streaming of audio and video in addition to helping regular listeners "congregate" via a Facebook group.
"I wish I had three minutes," says Panagore of his spot during the morning news. "But were not going to have it. Two minutes is enough … because God is timeless."
"Two Minutes for God: Quick Fixes for the Spirit" by the Rev. Peter B. Panagore from Simon & Schuster (Touchstone), 2007. Paperback, $14.95. ISBN: 978-1416538264.