Christianity

How COVID affects religious organizations at UM

September 23, 2020

 

As the University of Miami continues to respond to pandemic, Father Philip Tran the university’s full-time chaplain at St. Augustine Parish says UM’s religious organizations are also concerned about the spiritual health of the student body.

He, along with the rest of the religious organizations at UM, say they are trying to adapt in order to make sure their members can still be a part of their religious communities.

While there have been many setbacks for this upcoming semester, Tran says he believes that UCatholic has been successful. They have...

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For hospital chaplains, navigating patient needs during the pandemic takes a toll

September 22, 2020

 

When the Rev. Tenku Ruff, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, took over as the pastoral care director at Phelps Hospital Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow in June, she knew she was entering uncharted territory: She was taking on the hospital-based position in the middle of a pandemic.

As she spoke to doctors and other staff, she heard about Chaplain Cyril Owambo, who early in the pandemic, was asked to counsel a family whose loved one had just died of COVID-19.

“The family really wanted him to come in and offer a prayer. He was so...

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Religious reaction to COVID-19 mask mandate varies in Ohio

September 21, 2020

 

Although religious groups are exempt from most of Ohio’s COVID-19 orders, at least 21 public-health complaints have taken issue with their coronavirus prevention practices in Franklin County.

Complaints obtained by The Dispatch through Sept. 9 show that people raised a range of virus-related concerns, including a lack of face masks, social distancing and sanitizing. Since early April, 12 complaints regarding religious organizations were made to Franklin County Public Health officials and nine to Columbus Public Health.

Rather than reprimand...

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Travelers Find Refuge In Our Lady Of The Airways, The Nation's Oldest Airport Chapel

September 17, 2020

 

Our Lady of the Airways, the country's oldest airport chapel, is not easy to find.

It’s tucked away near baggage claim at Logan Airport, in between terminals B and C.

But once you’re inside, it feels a world apart.

On a chilly Sunday in January, Father Richard Uftring, the chapel's priest, celebrates mass with a few dozen people.

The rectangular chapel is dimly lit, with red brick walls. There’s a custom-made statue of the...

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Catholic priest’s traditionalist changes face resistance from progressive Cincinnati parish

September 16, 2020

 

Parishioners at St. Anthony’s Church in the Madisonville neighborhood are used to being asked why they do the things they do.

Why do they play African drums and clap to gospel music at a Catholic Mass? Why do they stand for the entire service? Why do dancers in white dresses and colorful sashes lead the procession into church?

For years, they’ve given the same answer to all those questions.

“It’s the St. Anthony way,” said Gloria Parker-Martin, a parishioner there for 25 years.

But now the way is changing, and so is one of...

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Suit: Town should pay for religious school tuition

September 16, 2020

 

Croydon residents Dennis and Cathy Griffin have been sending their now 12-year-old grandson Clayton to Mount Royal Academy, a Catholic pre-K-12 school in Sunapee, since he was in first grade. Now, they say a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision means the town should be paying his tuition.

In a lawsuit that was filed Sept. 2, the family says religious schools should be included in educational choice programs, furthering the same school choice debate that has centered on the town of Croydon in the past.

“What we want to do with this lawsuit is say it...

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Oregon’s fire: Most churches safe, for now, offering shelter

September 11, 2020

 

While the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains have been ablaze, creating red apocalyptic skies and leaving five small towns in ashes, most of the churches in the Archdiocese of Portland have not burned and many have offered shelter to thousands of evacuees.

On Sept. 9, two deaths in Marion County and one in Jackson County were reported, but Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she feared that many more lives were lost.

Ann Brophy, pastoral associate at Sacred Heart Church in Medford, stood on her front porch the night of Sept. 8 and watched the small...

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3 Vermont families sue for tuition for religious schools

September 11, 2020

 

Three families are suing Vermont’s education secretary and certain school districts, saying that denying them a state tuition benefit to send their children to religious schools is unconstitutional. 

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court comes two months after a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Montana case that states can’t cut religious schools out of programs that send public money to private education.

The families live in areas where the school districts will pay tuition for a student to attend public schools operated by...

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Interfaith clergy share tools of devotion

September 10, 2020

 

Johns Creek Presbyterian Church has turned its west parking lot into a spiritual studio.

The worship space is equipped with a public address system, live music and a local FM receiver with enough power to spread the Gospel to cars in the back rows. 

Few institutions face quite the challenges presented by the pandemic as houses of worship.

Gone are the backslapping, the hugs, the handshakes common to many congregations. For the most part, religious observance hinges on internet bandwidth and apps designed for business meetings now...

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Staying spiritual, safe: Campus religious groups adapt to social distancing

September 9, 2020

 

The Hillel Jewish Student Union used to pack hundreds of students into its Forbes Avenue building almost every Friday evening. Although students can no longer gather in crowded rooms, they’re still spending their Fridays with a few friends and a whole lot of challah.

From socially distant Shabbat to virtual Bible studies to international pen pal programs, students of various religions are solidifying their faith and their communities while following public health...

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For Nearly 140 Years, A Seaside Mission Has Offered Ship Workers Small Comforts And Spiritual Support

September 4, 2020

 

On a hot July morning last summer, the Rev. Steve Cushing rummages through the cluttered shelves in a tiny convenience store that sits on a pier jutting out into Boston Harbor.

The 62-year-old is readying his shop, operated by the New England Seafarers Mission, for an oncoming rush of cruise ship workers.

"We’ve got clean, brand new underwear and socks for them to use because...

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Kenosha prayer vigil at ELCA church calls for confession, lament and justice for Jacob Blake

September 3, 2020

 

The message appeared on signs, T-shirts and face masks in the crowd.

Black Lives Matter.

But Sonja Wolfe, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Church Council and resident of Kenosha, Wisconsin, said she was tired of feeling like they don’t. 

“I’m tired of feeling like I don’t matter to some people because of the color of my skin. I’m tired of trying to make others see or hear that this is wrong. I’m definitely tired and fed up with Black people, sinner or saint, being brutalized and villainized out of fear and...

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The Christian flag and the Boston flagpole

August 31, 2020

 

Three soaring flagpoles stand on the plaza outside the entrance to Boston’s City Hall. Two of the flagpoles are almost never disturbed — one always flies the American and POW-MIA flags, and the second displays the flag of Massachusetts. But what flies from the third flagpole varies. The city has a longstanding policy of allowing private groups to hold flag-raising ceremonies on the plaza, when they can replace Boston’s flag...

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Amid virus lockdowns, prison ministry groups had to adapt

August 31, 2020

 

Normally Teresa Stanfield spends her days in prisons talking with inmates about how she changed the course of her troubled life, and how they can do the same. But the coronavirus has locked her on the outside.

“When COVID came and shut down programming, I was extremely disappointed,” said Stanfield, Oklahoma field director with Virginia-based Prison Fellowship. “But I also knew that God had a plan and we were going to do everything we could to continue to encourage our returning citizens and keep our volunteers connected.”

For Stanfield, the answer...

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