Christianity

The American church needs to reckon with its legacy in Indigenous boarding schools

June 24, 2021

(RNS) — Over the last few weeks, devastating news has come out of Canada: Residential schools, also known as boarding schools, often run by churches, have been under investigation, and the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children have been unearthed in the process. The most recent discovery, of 751 bodies in unmarked graves at a former residential school in Saskatchewan, reveals the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism.

While the Canadian government and churches in Canada attempt to respond to this, First Nations peoples are demanding Canada come to terms with its history...

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Religious institutions step up to help after Surfside tragedy, special mass to be held Friday

June 25, 2021

SURFSIDE, Fla. – The South Florida community is eager to help the victims of Thursday’s condominium collapse in Surfside, including religious institutions.

Local 10 News has learned that many people who lived in the Chaplain Towers South building regularly attended temple at The Shul of Bal Harbour.

And just four blocks away from the collapse, donations are pouring in to The Shul Jewish Community cCCenter.

Source: ...

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Archdiocese of Boston gets first Vietnamese parish

June 15, 2021

NEW YORK – After decades of pleas Vietnamese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston can now celebrate the Eucharist in their native tongue with the establishment of the archdiocese’s first Vietnamese parish on Sunday.

About 600 faithful filled the pews of Saint Clement Church in Medford – now a part of the Blessed Andrew Phú Yên Parish – for what auxiliary Bishop Mark O’Connell of Boston told Crux felt like “a big celebration” with a big choir, drums and dancing.

“At the Mass yesterday I was just full of gratitude about the timing and everything,” said Father Phong...

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Southern Baptists Narrowly Head Off Ultraconservative Takeover

June 15, 2021

NASHVILLE — In a dramatic showdown on Tuesday, Southern Baptists elected a moderate pastor from Alabama as their next president, narrowly heading off an attempted takeover by the denomination’s insurgent right wing.

The election of the pastor, Ed Litton, was the result of what was effectively a three-way standoff for the leadership of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. In the first round of voting on Tuesday afternoon, Southern Baptists rejected a prominent mainstream candidate and onetime favorite for the presidency, Al Mohler Jr., who received 26 percent of some...

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‘Transformational partnership’ — LDS Church donating nearly $10M to help Black Americans

June 14, 2021

In the most expansive move of its three-year partnership with the NAACP, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating nearly $10 million for three new educational and humanitarian initiatives.

President Russell M. Nelson said during a Monday news conference in the faith’s Administration Building in downtown Salt Lake City that the church will fund for three years a $1 million annual scholarship donation overseen by the United Negro College Fund that will help young Black students in the United States.

Beginning this fall, it will provide $5,000...

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Spirituality underpins migrant activism in US borderlands

June 8, 2021

Alvaro Enciso plants three or four crosses each week in Arizona's desert borderlands, amid the yellow-blossomed prickly pear and whip-like ocotillo, in honor of migrants who died on the northbound trek.

Each colorful wooden memorial denotes where a set of bones or a decomposing body was found. Over eight years, the artist has marked more than 1,000 locations across public lands dotted with empty black plastic water jugs and camouflage backpacks beneath circling turkey vultures.

“Anything out here can kill you," Enciso said. "A blister, a snake, not enough water.”...

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Houses of Worship Reconsider Their Real Estate During Pandemic

May 28, 2021

MIAMI—The biggest low-profile landowner in Florida is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Salt Lake City. The devoutly private faith is known to have at least 630,000 acres, including the massive Deseret cattle ranches in Central Florida.

The church seems to thrive with for-profit businesses they keep separate from their tax-exempt temples. But they're not typical.

"They've paid prices that other churches would not pay. Most churches have to raise their money on their own, they're not able to operate like that," says John Muzyka, a church real estate...

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Tulsa pastors honor ‘holy ground’ 100 years after massacre

May 31, 2021

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — When white attackers destroyed the prosperous Black neighborhood of Greenwood 100 years ago this week, they bypassed the original sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of North Tulsa.

By the church’s own account, the attackers thought the brick veneer structure was too fine for a Black-owned church. The mob destroyed at least a half-dozen other churches while burning and leveling a 35-square-block neighborhood in one of the nation’s deadliest spasms of racist violence. Estimates of the death toll range from dozens to 300.

Source: ...

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Alabama Lifts Its Ban on Yoga in Schools

May 20, 2021

For the first time in nearly three decades, Alabama will allow yoga to be taught in its public schools, but the ancient practice will be missing some of its hallmarks: Teachers will be barred from saying the traditional salutation “namaste” and using Sanskrit names for poses.

Chanting is forbidden. And the sound of “om,” one of the most popular mantras associated with the practice, which combines breathing exercises and stretches, is a no-no.

Source: ...

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100 years later, Black church leaders seek reparations for Tulsa massacre

May 19, 2021

(RNS) — On the first Wednesday in May, as the centennial of the Tulsa massacre approached, the Rev. Robert R.A. Turner stood outside Tulsa City Hall with his megaphone, as he does every week.

“Tulsa, you will reap what you sow and that which you have done unto the least of these my children, Jesus said, you have done also unto me,” said Turner, 38, the pastor of Historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, captured on a video posted on Facebook.

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Megan Rohrer Elected As 1st Openly Transgender Bishop In U.S. Lutheran Church

May 16, 2021

The Rev. Megan Rohrer has been elected as a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, becoming the first openly transgender person in the U.S. to do so in a major Christian denomination. 

Rohrer will serve as bishop of the Sacramento-based Sierra Pacific synod, which encompasses close to 200 congregations in Central and Northern California and northern Nevada.

Source:...

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Officials grapple with coronavirus vaccine hesitancy among Latino evangelicals

May 5, 2021

EVERETT, Mass. — Sunday after Sunday, parishioners would approach Victor Chicas privately after he delivered his sermon in a small storefront church next to a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Was the coronavirus vaccine safe, they asked their beloved pastor. Would it enable the government to track them? And what, they wanted to know, might the vaccine represent for Christians?

Chicas agonized over what to tell the 80 members of Ministerio Dios Habla Hoy’s congregation, weighing concerns about his own ill health against his interpretation of the word of God and rumors spreading on...

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Religious holidays arrive for the faithful as pandemic restrictions rolled back across U.S.

March 31, 2021

For Christians across the United States, Easter services on Sunday will reflect an extra measure of joy as the nation experiences rising optimism after a year of pandemic. Even if still observing restrictions, many churches may draw the largest numbers of in-person worshippers in months.

It’s a season of major holy days for other faiths as well, occurring in a brighter mood than a year ago. Jews are observing Passover this week, and Muslims will enter the holy month of Ramadan in about two weeks.

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‘Why is Jesus covered in popcorn?’: Memories of Vietnamese Catholic Holy Week in New Orleans

March 31, 2021

One Holy Saturday morning, my mother took me to church to kiss the bloody feet of Jesus. I was 6 or 7 years old at the time. When we arrived at the church, I saw the regular and occasional churchgoers, young and old, also waiting in line to venerate the Lord. Many tied white cloth headbands around their heads, a Chinese tradition that signifies the mourning of a teacher or family member. White, for many Asian communities, is associated with death.

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