News

Clergy laugh off bloopers as the coronavirus forces churches online

March 27, 2020

 

The Rev. Megan Castellan has been livestreaming morning prayer from home every day through the coronavirus pandemic for her parishioners at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, New York.

But Thursday’s prayer (March 26) was an “epic disaster,” Castellan told her followers on Twitter.

Both the rector’s dog and cat decided to participate in ...

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COVID-19 pandemic may affect Ramadan

March 27, 2020

 

The Islamic community is concerned the COVID-19 pandemic may interrupt Ramadan. Local Imams and Muslim community leaders said depending on the masjid, Ramadan services could be canceled, altered or remain as planned.

“We are looking at April 24 being the first day of Ramadan on this side of the world. We are hoping this has [ended] by then but we are preparing for the worse,” said Aliya Khabir, principal consultant, AZK Communications, LLC. “What I’ve seen is that Imams and their boards have been meeting daily by phone to discuss next steps because the...

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Stay-at-home faith. There’s a podcast for that.

March 27, 2020

While the doors at many houses of worship are closed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, there are still ways to access spirituality online. Houston is home to a number of locally made podcasts, dedicated to exploring faith. These digital audio files can be downloaded and listened to whenever and wherever is convenient.

Interfaith Podcast Project

If Houston could tell its story, it would include a tale of diverse religions thriving in one city. That’s a challenge “Interfaith Podcast Project” accepted — exploring different faith traditions in a way that...

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Coronavirus’ Toll on Weddings and B’nai Mitzvah

March 25, 2020

Chicago native Debbie Steinberg never imagined she’d have to cancel her dream wedding celebration and move it to the living room of a friend’s house. But that’s exactly what she and her fiancé, Jordan Kagan did on March 16, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Within a few hours, they had gathered close friends, brought out a chuppah, dresses and suits, and filmed the ceremony on Facebook Live for family and friends.

“Everything was basically planned,” Steinberg told the Journal of her original dream wedding. “It’s devastating at first to put so much into something like...

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How the coronavirus could change America’s religion of sports

March 25, 2020

More than 90 years ago, on a cold and stormy December night in Kansas, a Christian minister named Charles Sheldon walked into a crowded gymnasium to take in a college basketball game.

Sheldon is best known as the author of “In His Steps,” the 1896 book that popularized the “What Would Jesus Do?” phrase.

But in 1929 Sheldon was not wondering what Jesus would do; he was wondering what his church members were already doing.

As he watched the basketball game play out in front of him, Sheldon began to reflect.

“I couldn’t help wondering, while...

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Sikh volunteers prepare 30,000 free meals for people in isolation

March 25, 2020

If you know anything about Sikhism, this news will not surprise you. If you don't, you're about to learn about a religion with a long history of humanitarianism. 

Sewa, or "selfless service" is a way of life for Sikhs. It means helping others with no expectation of anything in return or hope of gain in any way. Through sewa, Sikhs demonstrate the equality of all people, show love and respect towards others, and protect themselves from selfish vices.  ...

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As offerings dwindle, some churches fear for their future

March 23, 2020

As in-person worship services are canceled or downsized amid the coronavirus outbreak, some churches across the U.S. are bracing for a painful drop in weekly contributions and possible cutbacks in programs and staff.

One church leader, Bishop Paul Egensteiner of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Metropolitan New York Synod, said some of the 190 churches in his region were unlikely to survive because of a two-pronged financial hit. Their offerings are dwindling, and they are losing income from tenants such as preschools which can no longer afford to rent church...

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The new sound of worship services: ‘Can you mute your mic? Amen.’

March 20, 2020

It was the last day of a 19-day period of daytime fasting for Baha’i believers all over the world. The Washington area’s Baha’i community would have ordinarily been looking forward to joining at night to feast in celebration and welcome in the Baha’i new year.

Instead, alone in their kitchens and bedrooms and living rooms on Thursday afternoon, they opened up a Skype window.

The sounds of religious worship these days are intermingled with the vocabulary of conference calls: “Try to mute your microphone.” “You’re frozen.” “I can...

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