Brother Nathanael preaches of a great revival in America
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Milton Kapner is standing in front of The Springs Theatre on Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs waving an American flag.It’s around 9:30 a.m. Friday and Kappner, who calls himself Brother Nathanael, is hoping to catch the next bus to Aspen. He is visiting the Roaring Fork Valley to speak his gospel.”I’m preparing for a great revival in America in the next eight years,” he says. “Because all things that are great and momentous take time.”Coincidentally, a movie poster for “Evan Almighty,” a fable about God, hangs in The Springs’ front window.The Springs Theatre owner John Buxman walks by and hands him a cold bottled water.”Here you go,” Buxman says. “You’ve been out here all morning – you deserve this.”Some people who pass are friendly. Some aren’t. There are car horns and shouts. And lots of stares.When those occasional angry words fall his way, he says he offers them a simple smile in return.”Christ led me to the street,” he says.Brother Nathanael is dressed in a black robe and cap, with a small red cross embroidered on the front, and he dons a long gray frizzy beard and wire spectacles. He has two red blinking lights on each hip. An Orthodox Christian, he speaks with a subdued voice about the future and the changes he foresees.”It will start with youth ages 16 to 30,” he says. “Hundreds of youth will come together.”In his street evangelism, Brother Nathanael tells of a “Manifest Destiny in America.” The term was first used in the mid-to-late 1800s to describe the belief that the U.S. was destined to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.For 25 years he worked as a salesman. He says that experience helped prepare him for street evangelism.Kapner speaks of his eight years spent at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Mass., the principal monastery of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America. Carrying religious figurines and the American flag, he refers to himself as a monk as he waits in line to board a RFTA bus.Prior to his arrival in Glenwood Springs, where he’s staying at the local hostel, Brother Nathanael would spread his word through dancing and preaching in Summit County.And he has experienced his share of troubles during his mission.He’s learned that religious tolerance isn’t always a peaceful route – even in the pristine Rocky Mountains.In January, Brother Nathanael was hit with soft-air pellets in a drive-by shooting in Silverthorne. That same month, he was harassed and received verbal death threats from a Dillon man. The man who threatened him was charged and found guilty in June. And he was banned from Copper Mountain ski resort for preaching on the slopes.Back in Boston, he is known for his dancing, singing and preaching for passersby at Harvard Square in Cambridge.But for now, Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley are his posts for peacefully preaching and spreading his word.- Post Independent photographer Kara K. Pearson and Summit County correspondent Ryan Slabaugh contributed to this story.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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