Christianity

War in Ukraine is testing some American evangelicals' support for Putin as leader of conservative values

April 11, 2022

In February 2022, evangelical leader Franklin Graham called on his followers to pray for Vladimir Putin. His tweet acknowledged that it might seem a “strange request” given that Russia was clearly about to invade Ukraine. But Graham asked that believers “pray that God would work in his heart so that war could be avoided at all cost.”...

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Centro Islámico, a hub for Latino Muslims near and far, breaks ground on expansion during Ramadan

April 15, 2022

Jessica Disla committed to Islam in May 2020 through a livestream from her home in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was the last week of Ramadan, just two months after the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Mosques and houses of worship shut down as Disla — a Latina raised Catholic in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City — sought to better understand the Islamic faith. That’s when she learned about ...

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For churches hit by disaster, Easter brings promise of hope

April 14, 2022

Easter’s message of renewal will be especially poignant this year for four U.S. congregations rebounding from disasters.

Their churches were destroyed by a tornado in Kentucky, gutted by a blaze in New York City, shattered when Hurricane Ida hit the Louisiana coast, and filled with smoke and ash by the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. For the pastors, Easter’s promise of hope couldn’t be more timely as their resilient congregations come to terms with what happened and prepare for what’s next.

KENTUCKY

Members of Mayfield First United...

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For many, Easter Sunday marks a return to in-person worship

April 17, 2022

For many U.S. Christians, this weekend marks the first time since 2019 that they will gather in person on Easter Sunday, a welcome chance to celebrate one of the year’s holiest days side by side with fellow congregants.

The pandemic erupted in the country in March 2020, just ahead of Easter, forcing many churches to resort to online or televised worship. Many continued to hold virtual services last spring after a deadly winter wave of the coronavirus and as vaccination campaigns were still ramping up. But this year more churches are opening their doors for Easter services with...

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Episcopal Church mulls changes to Holy Week readings seen as antisemitic

April 14, 2022

When the Cathedral Church of St. Mark in Salt Lake City hosted dialogues last year on the Episcopal Church’s Sacred Ground curriculum, wrestling with issues of race and white privilege in the United States, it didn’t entirely resonate for Daniela Lee.

Lee, a student at Bexley Seabury Seminary at the University of Chicago, had been born and raised in Romania. What she needed to reckon...

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Churches played an active role in slavery and segregation. Some want to make amends.

April 3, 2022

Two and a half years ago, Episcopal Bishop of New York Andrew M.L. Dietsche reminded a group of clergy of the ugly history of their diocese.

Not only was slavery deeply embedded in the life and economy of colonial New York, but Episcopal churches across the state often participated in it. Church founders, churchgoers and even churches themselves had enslaved people. The abolitionist Sojourner Truth had once been enslaved by a church in the diocese. 

“The Diocese of New York played a significant, and genuinely evil, part in American slavery,” Dietsche said...

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Catholic author of Black Lives Matter book sees hope amid ongoing struggles

April 3, 2022

When journalist Olga M. Segura initially set out to write a book on Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church, she intended it to be more of an overview that might prompt white Catholics to get more involved in the work of racial justice.

That was back in early 2020, when she first started writing. Then, the pandemic hit, followed soon after by nationwide protests after George Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody.

Her book, published last April, essentially took on a new life. As she puts it: “I thought, ‘OK, it’s not about gentle accompaniment anymore...

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Across US, faith groups mobilize to aid Ukrainian refugees

April 4, 2022

As U.S. refugee resettlement agencies and nonprofits nationwide gear up to help Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion and war that has raged for nearly six weeks, members of faith communities have been leading the charge to welcome the displaced.

In Southern California, pastors and lay individuals are stationing themselves at the Mexico border waving Ukrainian flags and offering food, water and prayer. Around the country, other religious groups are getting ready to provide longer-term support for refugees who will have to find housing, work, health care and schooling....

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As Afghan refugees celebrate Islam's holy month, church gives Ramadan lessons

April 1, 2022

Even before the family of 10 Afghan evacuees arrived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, earlier this year, volunteers from eight local churches pitched in to prepare a home for them, painting and sanding and ripping out old carpeting. When the family arrived, the volunteers drove them to medical appointments and helped the children sign up for sports and the parents set up utilities.

But as Ramadan, Islam’s holy month of prayer and fasting, approached, the volunteers of Gettysburg’s Refugee Resettlement Partnership weren’t sure what they could do to help their new neighbors, who are...

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Religious groups prepare for busy in-person services as pandemic improves

April 1, 2022

For more than two years, Jehovah's Witnesses congregations have held their bi-weekly meetings virtually rather than at Kingdom Halls, but that is changing this week as they return to in-person worship for the first time since the start of the pandemic. 

"Over the past couple of years, it's been a challenge to maintain that closeness, so I really look forward to greeting everyone again," Randall Larson, a Jehovah's Witness who lives in Sun Prairie, said. "This has been a very exciting time when we received word that we will be going back in person. [There is] some...

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Three-quarters of Black Catholics say fighting racism 'essential' to faith

March 15, 2022

Black Catholics are more likely than their white or Hispanic counterparts to say that opposing racism and sexism is essential to being a faithful Christian, according to a Pew Research Center survey released March 15.

The survey also finds that Black Catholics rely more on daily prayer and Scripture reading, engage in charismatic-style worship at Mass more often, drive longer distances to attend religious services, and are less likely to hear sermons about abortion than their white and Hispanic coreligionists.

The new study, a follow-up to Pew's February 2021 report...

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Cara Quinn wants Christians to get to know the mothers of their faith

March 28, 2022

When Cara Quinn became a Christian in her early 20s, she still felt like there was something missing.

Where were all the women, she wondered.

It’s not that they were missing from the pews. Women generally outnumber men when it comes to church attendance. But they never filled the pulpit. And Quinn wasn’t sure where to find them in the Bible, either. They were rarely discussed in the sermons she heard on Sunday mornings at...

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Russian American Pastors Combat Propaganda in Their Churches

March 15, 2022

Michael Cherenkov, a pastor in Washington state, has relatives on both sides of the fight between Russia and Ukraine. And as wartime propaganda makes its way into immigrant churches around him, he has spiritual family on both sides too.

Evangelical pastors in the US, leading churches where Russian Americans and Ukrainian Americans worship side by side, see the stark but quiet tensions between those who believe Russian president Vladimir Putin’s justifications for the invasion and those who are decrying the injustice of the war. Many have ties to both countries, but the war has...

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Prayers for peace in Ukraine

March 14, 2022

A variety of religious traditions assembled Sunday evening to pray for one thing: peace in Ukraine.

The meeting at North Presbyterian Church was assembled by the Williamsville Interfaith Clergy Association and was led by two Ukrainian clerics, one Catholic and one Orthodox. Joining them were Presbyterians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'i, Sikh and Unitarian Universalists.

North Presbyterian Pastor Bill Hennessy said the array of clergy was deliberate.

Source:...

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