Christianity

At protests, some clergy pray, others put their bodies and souls on the line

June 2, 2020

 

Many religious traditions call on believers to stand with the marginalized, an axiom often interpreted as a broad command to defend the rights of others.

Sometimes this means pushing for new laws or marching in streets to demand action. 

Other times it means getting pepper-sprayed in the face. 

This past weekend the Rev. Laura Young said she decided to take the edict literally, which is why she spent most of Saturday afternoon (May 30) recovering after police sprayed her in the face with noxious chemicals.

“I had it...

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Faith leaders in 50 cities observe day of 'mourning and lament' for victims of COVID-19

June 2, 2020

 

Interfaith clergy as well as civic leaders in at least 50 cities nationwide declared Monday the National Day of Mourning and Lament for the over 100,000 people who have died in the United States from coronavirus. They also took the time to grieve the deaths of the recent victims of racial injustice.

“Today, prayers of mourning and lament are taking place around the country in over 50 cities, which have organized their own events and prayer services,” said Sojourners Executive Director Adam Taylor during an hour-long ...

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Supreme Court Rejects Church's Challenge To California's Coronavirus Rules

June 1, 2020

The Supreme Court has rejected a California church's attempt to overturn the state's coronavirus restrictions on in-person religious services. 

In a 5-4 decision issued late Friday, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's liberal bloc in upholding the state's right to impose limits on congregations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"Although California's guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment," Roberts said, in an ...

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Amid Riots and a Pandemic, Church Attendance Resumes in ‘a Very Broken World’

June 1, 2020

With their most vulnerable members at home, their community in the streets, and their nation wracked by a pandemic, riots and political polarization, Pastor Samuel Rodriguez’s congregation went to church here on Sunday, at times violating state health rules in the interest of unity.

“Outside the confines of these walls we hear the sound of a very broken world,” preached Mr. Rodriguez, an evangelical minister. “Outside these corridors of worship we hear the sound of desperation. Throughout America today we hear the sounds of a nation torn apart by the devil of racism.”

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Amid pandemic, the Wichita Kenyan community unites virtually through food and family

May 29, 2020

 

Mirriam Oyugi planned on having her two sons at home for Easter and was eager to make all of their favorite Kenyan dishes. When their travel plans were hindered due to the pandemic, Oyugi said, her sons opted for cooking lessons instead.

“I taught my boys how to make chapatis on Easter,” Oyugi said. “We did it on video and went through the whole process together. They made theirs and I made mine. I think they had a great time!”

The Kenyan community in this Midwestern state is a close-knit group, with most of its members sharing in common their...

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Emptied by coronavirus, churches convert their sacred spaces into food pantries

May 29, 2020

The soaring sanctuary of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, in the District’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood, bustles daily in normal times with parishioners — predominantly immigrants, many undocumented. But the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered communal worship for the church, as with most congregations across the country. It has also cut off many parishioners and neighborhood residents from work and unemployment benefits. And thus from food...

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Despite Green Light, Many Mass. Houses Of Worship Won't Convene In-Person

May 26, 2020

 

Episcopalians in Massachusetts are saying no church before July 1.

The United Church of Christ in the state is saying nothing before the end of summer.

The Unitarians want to wait until next year.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston expects less than 20% of its 280 churches to be open this weekend.

And the Baptists are still trying to figure out how to safely do baptisms in the age of the...

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Washington Bishops Continue To Suspend Masses Out Of ‘Respect For Human Life’

May 25, 2020
All five Catholic bishops in Washington state have issued a statement in response to comments by President Donald Trump which explains that public masses were suspended “out of our deepest respect for human life and health” amid the COVID-19 crisis.
 
The statement was a stunning rejoinder to Trump’s demand Friday that all houses of worship be reopened “right now” for religious services, which he has deemed “essential.” He called it an “injustice” that churches, synagogues and mosques aren’t open.
 
Trump vowed to “...
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When Quakers Become Takers

May 20, 2020
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was not mad; he was disappointed. Several of the nation’s wealthy private schools—including St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Maryland, where President Donald Trump sends his youngest son, and Brentwood School in Los Angeles, which at least two of Mnuchin’s children attend—had received loans earmarked for small businesses to keep paying their employees during the coronavirus crisis. On Twitter, Mnuchin softly chided the schools; they did not have to return the funds, he suggested, but they should.
 
In response, these...
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Four young people of different faiths move into a home together, then a pandemic happens

May 20, 2020
Hadar Cohen, Ala’ Khan, Maya Mansour and Jonathan Simcosky arrived as strangers, ready to embark on a new interfaith journey.
 
The four roommates moved into a five-bedroom, five-bath house in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood earlier this year. They come from different faiths: Baha’i, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Cohen came from Jerusalem but had already lived in the Bay Area for a few years. Simcosky made the trek from Salem, Massachusetts, to L.A. Khan and Mansour were already in Southern California.
 
They...
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Where Group Prayer Meets Group Fitness

May 20, 2020
At first glance, the streaming fitness class looks like any other: blue yoga mats against a neutral background, with ambient music and candles to set the mood. Two athleisure-clad instructors, flanked by hand weights, introduce themselves.
 
The giveaway is the flash of a wooden crucifix.
 
“Surrender all and prepare yourself to go on this journey with us through the stations of the cross with Jesus,” one of the instructors says, her hands in prayer position.
 
Many such classes are...
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Priest Draws Squirt Gun in Fight Against Coronavirus

May 20, 2020

A Roman Catholic priest in the Detroit area has taken aim at his parishioners in a bid to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, using a squirt gun to shoot holy water.

Photos posted on social media by the St. Ambrose Church show the Rev. Tim Pelc shooting water into a car window as it stopped by the steps of the church on Easter. He wore a mask, face shield and rubber gloves as further precautions against spreading the coronavirus.

The photos of the priest at the church in Grosse Pointe Park have inspired memes online. One shows the 70-year-old...

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German churches stopped singing to prevent virus’s spread. Should Americans clam up, too?

May 8, 2020

 

Preparing to reopen his church on Sunday, Florida pastor Doug Sides feels heat from two sides.

Some of his Southern Baptist parishioners have sent him pictures from the beach and restaurants, while others are remaining isolated in their homes. One person was horrified that he did not wear a mask when he preached during drive-in services, even though he stood far away from vehicles as people listened on FM radio.

Sides is preparing a list of precautionary measures he plans to give parishioners before Sunday....

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Nuns vs. the Coronavirus

May 4, 2020

Until last month, Florence Facciolo and Karen Malzone were the dining-hall queens of their Catholic nursing home in Newark, Delaware. Karen, a mirthful woman in her late 70s, would use a walker to shuffle over to their assigned table, which was adorned with a fresh tablecloth for each meal and a new centerpiece every season. The two women would pass several hours laughing about nothing. When they got in trouble for being too raucous, 87-year-old Flo would give a “Who, me?” look and point at their third seatmate, Pat Klevence, the quiet one, who would just shake her head and smile from...

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As states ease lockdown restrictions, churches must decide when — and how — to reopen

May 4, 2020

 

The Rev. Jim West was feeling terrified as the state of Tennessee — and the church he pastors there — prepared to reopen after a month under stay-at-home orders.

But he was also looking forward to it.

“I just hope everything goes okay and nobody gets sick because that would be a nightmare,” he said on Tuesday afternoon (April 28).

West’s church — Petros Baptist Church in Petros, Tennessee — planned to reopen in phases in May, starting with Wednesday...

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