News

In Massachusetts, more houses of worship are turning to solar power

August 3, 2020

 

by Sarah Shemkus

Houses of worship in Massachusetts are increasing their adoption of solar power, a trend that advocates say can both influence community attitudes toward renewable electricity and help more low-income households take advantage of the benefits of clean energy. 

At least 64 houses of worship in Massachusetts had solar installations in operation last year, a 14% increase from 2017 and second only to California, according to a ...

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COVID-19 outbreak at Independence church infects 30, hundreds more possibly exposed

August 3, 2020

by Andrea Klick

 

The health department estimates more than 300 people may have been exposed to COVID-19 between July 19-24 at Old Paths Baptist Church and learned about the connections from the 30 confirmed coronavirus cases through its contact tracing process, said Kayla Parker, the health department’s communications coordinator. 

Robert Alexander, the church’s pastor, said he has worked with the health department since learning about the first positive coronavirus case to inform his community about the outbreak and testing resources. Church...

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An Orthodox synagogue and a Black church search for shared history with a walk through a once-integrated neighborhood

August 3, 2020

 

by Ari Feldman

Half of the students in the Zoom class were from Liberty Grace Church of God, a Black Baptist church in Baltimore. The other half attended the Jewish day school affiliated with Beth Tfiloh Congregation, in the Baltimore suburbs.

One teacher was Black and Christian. The other was white and Jewish.

Over a week in July, they gathered together on Zoom to plan an iPad-guided historical walking tour of the city’s Forest Park section, which in the 1950s and early 1960s was integrated — Black and Jewish.

And one day,...

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The Closure Of Catholic Schools Is 'Devastating,' Advocates Say

July 31, 2020

 

 

Catholic schools in urban neighborhoods, often seen as an attractive option by low income parents and families of color, are facing an unprecedented crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the country, at least 100 urban Catholic schools will close in the fall as a result of declining tuition revenue, and school administrators say the number could double in the next two months.The economic downturn caused by the pandemic is leading to widespread...

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In its 10th year, the game ‘Pilgrims at Home’ takes on new meaning for Muslim women

July 31, 2020

 

At 4 a.m. in Houston, Afshan Malik wakes up to pray tahajjud, the voluntary night prayers for Muslims. That earns her 5 points. She wins another 20 points for salat al-tasbih and salat al-haja, the prayers of forgiveness and need. Five more for qada yawm, to make up for obligatory prayers missed over the years; another 5 for staying awake until sunrise; 1 for performing the mandatory fajr prayer; and an extra point for doing so just as dawn breaks.

By the time her five children wake up, Malik has already scored nearly half the 100 daily points she can...

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How some Black Americans are finding solace in African spirituality

July 31, 2020

 

Porsche Little, a Brooklyn-based artist, diviner, and aborisha — or someone who serves the Orisha, a group of spirits central to the Yoruba and other African Diaspora religions — says that she has received a huge increase in requests for divinations and readings throughout the pandemic. 

“There’s so much happening right now in the world to everyone, and I know for certain that all of this is happening for a reason,” she says. “A lot of people are stuck in...

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Unable To Travel To Mecca, Muslim Community Holds Drive-Thru Hajj

July 30, 2020

 

At a traffic circle in Maryland, Mona Eldadah watched her father plodding in circles. 

Hadi Rahnama, 77, was walking around a black cube, a replica of the Kaaba shrine in Mecca, to demonstrate the tawaf, or ritual prayer, that Muslims perform when they visit the shrine on the hajj. 

Eldadah corrected her father. 

"No, Daddy, the idea is that the car is actually going to do the tawaf," she said. "It's a drive-through." 

This is the time of year when many Muslims undertake the the ...

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Air Force Special Operations Approves First Beard, Turban Waiver for Sikh Airman

July 30, 2020

 

In a first for the command, Air Force Special Operations Command has granted a religious accommodation waiver to a Sikh airman.

Senior Airman Dominic Varriale was granted the waiver last month, according to an Air Force release. He serves as a geospatial intelligence analyst with the 11th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron.

With the help of his command leadership and the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA), an advocacy organization, Varriale was able to expedite the approval process...

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After 250 years, Native American tribe regains ownership of Big Sur ancestral lands

July 30, 2020

A northern California Indian tribe's sacred land is now back under their ownership, thanks to the help of a conservancy group.

The Esselen Tribe, one of the state's smallest and least well known tribes, inhabited the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Big Sur coast for thousands of years, according to their website. Nearly 250 years ago, their land was taken from then by Spanish explorers, according to the tribe's history. The tribe...

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Faith in protest as young people find fervor on the street

July 29, 2020

“I can’t breathe!’” the crowd chanted, invoking the dying words spoken by George Floyd as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.

Kianna Ruff yelled it over and over along with hundreds of fellow protesters as they marched for hours through New York City, a kind of collective mantra that touched someplace deep inside those present.

“I just started choking and I broke down,” the 28-year-old activist and minister said. “And I do feel like that that was also a spiritual experience that I’ve never experienced before.”...

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