Religious Diversity News

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One week after Fresno is rocked by a mass shooting, faith communities unite in prayer

A week after a mass shooting devastated the city of Fresno, a gathering of all faiths happened at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno. More than a dozen different religious backgrounds took part in this annual Thanksgiving prayer service.

The service has been organized by the Interfaith Alliance of Central California for at least five years. The organization’s co-chairs say it’s all about building relations no matter your religious beliefs.

Source: One week after Fresno is rocked by a mass shooting, faith communities unite in prayer | YourCentralValley.com

Regulating holiday decorations a seasonal struggle for metro cities

A request from a resident to put up a Nativity scene at city hall set off a month-long debate in a metro Atlanta community over the government’s role in regulating religious symbols in public spaces.

The conversation among neighbors and officials in Dunwoody has exposed the difficulty governments face during the holidays: respecting the legal separation of church and state, while offering inclusive decorations.

Source: Regulating holiday decorations a seasonal struggle for metro cities

Trinity Episcopal holds Native American worship service

On Sunday in commemoration of Native American Heritage Month, Trinity Episcopal Church of Redlands held its 11th annual Native American Worship Service.

As the program stated, the unique service was designed to “reflect the respectful integration of elements of Native American culture and tradition within the context of the Episcopal Church’s liturgy.” The service was well attended; colorful in both flavor and proceedings.

Source: Trinity Episcopal holds Native American worship service | Religion | redlandscommunitynews.com

Celebrating religious and cultural holidays at work, inclusively

Every late October/early November, my family celebrated Diwali. My mom would draw rangoli patterns on our front steps and light little candles with cotton wicks all over the house. We had friends over, played three-card poker and ate rice, dhal, paneer and alu with cucumber raita and mango chutney.

Christmas is when I get time off, but I don’t overlook Eid, Hanukkah, Nowruz, Juneteenth and the Lunar New Year. I follow the simple rule that just because it’s not a paid holiday, doesn’t mean it’s not worth celebrating. I mentioned this to someone once and got a puzzled look, “Why? You’re in America now.” The message was clear: Give up who you are and become one of us. I don’t want to see this happen in the workplace.

Source: Celebrating religious and cultural holidays at work, inclusively | The Seattle Times

For Ohio priest, bilingual Mass is in English and American Sign Language

Fr. David Cornett, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Barnesville, Ohio, celebrates the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass at Assumption Church in both English and American Sign Language at the same time.

In addition, he serves as an interpreter during the readings and hymns at the Mass.

Cornett, who also is pastor of St. Mary Parish in Temperanceville, Ohio, said he knows there are deaf people everywhere and that there is a need for interpreters in all communities. He said deaf people are often hidden because you cannot just look at a person to know they are deaf, explaining how you must see them signing to know they are deaf.

Source: For Ohio priest, bilingual Mass is in English and American Sign Language | National Catholic Reporter

Houston’s police to allow Sikh officers to serve with their articles of faith

The police department of Houston, Texas has adopted a policy that allows officers to wear articles of faith on duty, which is prohibited by many law enforcement agencies in the United States.

According to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the department will accommodate Sikh officers by allowing them to wear their articles of faith during their service.

Source: Houston’s police to allow Sikh officers to serve with their articles of faith | New Europe

‘Voodoo Is Part of Us’

In a dark club in Downtown Brooklyn, surrounded by more than 100 people, Agathina Ginoue Nozy took a sip of Haitian rum. She stood near an altar stacked with skulls, lit candles, cigars, rum, coffee and bowls filled with charred salt fish, boiled plantains, cassava and piman (spicy peppers).

“You typically drink white liquor during Fet Gede, but if there is none you drink rum with no ice to feel the heat,” Ms. Nozy said. “Gede is a hot thing.”

Her face was painted to look hollow, like a skull, and she wore a dark skeleton bodysuit and a black veil. With her fingers wrapped around a smoking pipe and an austere look on her face, Ms. Nozy had become the embodiment of Maman Brigitte, a Haitian lwa (or goddess) of death.

Source: ‘Voodoo Is Part of Us’ – The New York Times

In rural Pennsylvania, shrinking synagogues find strength in smaller numbers

A rusty black pickup truck with a whitetail deer sticker in the back window sat parked, illegally, on the sidewalk outside the Sons of Israel synagogue on a Friday night. No one was around to complain. The plain brick building is wedged between typical, four-squared Pennsylvania homes, still decorated for Halloween in this rural Clearfield County town that lost nearly half its population over the last century.

With minutes to spare, Rabbi Bruce Gottlieb pulled up in his minivan for the monthly 7 p.m. Shabbat service. The synagogue runs on “Jewish time,” one congregation member joked. But it’s a miracle that Sons of Israel runs at all — with fewer than 10 active families.

Source: In rural Pennsylvania, shrinking synagogues find strength in smaller numbers