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US Church preaches 'the Gospel according to Dolly Parton'

by Premier Journalist
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Church of the Three Crosses

A church in the US city of Chicago has just finished a five week series of sermons based on Dolly Parton's faith.

The Rev. Britt Cox, lead pastor at the Church of the Three Crosses in Chicago's Old Town neighbourhood, told Religious News Service, she decided to use Dolly Parton as the subject of the preaching series "as [a] way to talk about story and our larger story of faith and that all of our stories matter and that God's story is continuing on in us." 

The American country music legend is a committed Christian and has always been very vocal about her faith. 

However, in December 2021, when interviewed by People Magazine after being awarded 'People of the Year' honour she said she did not want to be worshipped. 

"I don't want to be worshiped, because there's a scripture in my Bible that talks about idol worship and I see that happening all the time with movie stars and these celebrities. People literally worship them more than they worship God and I just - I cringe at it sometimes."

But For Rev Cox, Parton's ability to connect with different people, her generosity into causes she cares about, like child literacy and the Covid-19 research, are some of the reasons she thought it would be a good idea to use her as an illustration of some of the Gospel teachings. 

Each Sunday sermon has focused on a different song by Parton, most of them performed by a member of the congregation. 

Rev Cox said she had been inspired by a sermon she had heard at Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. 

One of the sermons was based on her song "Coat of Many Colors", which talks about the biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. 

But Rev Cox changed it to preach on song "19th Amendment", which talks about women's rights based on the biblical story of a Canaanite woman arguing with Jesus to heal her daughter.

Other sermons used songs "9 to 5," "Jolene" and "My Tennessee Mountain Home."

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