Christianity

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 on the third pole...

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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.”

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Under tents and with folding chairs, Catholics resume First Communions and baptisms outdoors

August 31, 2020

It’s been tradition for Annmarie Juarez’s children to receive their sacraments of First Communion at St. Frances X Cabrini Church in San Bernardino County, where dozens of their family members gather for the celebrations.

This year, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, things were a little different for her fourth and youngest son.

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Bipartisan network of Christian groups launches police reform initiative

August 19, 2020

A network of more than a dozen Christian groups is launching an initiative to address police reform.

The Prayer & Action Justice Initiative — bringing together Black, Hispanic and Asian organizations along with groups focused on prisoners, prayer and public justice — will advocate for greater equality, accountability and transparency in the criminal justice system.

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Online prayers, social distancing in the pews: Christian leaders debate how to do church amid pandemic

August 18, 2020

On a recent Sunday, Rod Loy, senior pastor at the First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, Arkansas, delivered the message of the Gospel through his computer screen.

"It's easy to live out your faith when everything is going good," he preached to his...

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Worship during COVID-19: How Cheez-Its, ZOOM and blue tape are the new norms in faith

August 14, 2020

Each Sunday, Ray Smith and his family go to their living room for church, which they've watched online since the coronavirus pandemic caused most places of worship to close earlier this year.

His wife knew how to prepare unleavened bread from her time at a small church while growing up and soon she was providing the bread for their home communion. 

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Virginia shines as solar hot spot in Catholic Energies expansion

August 12, 2020

A quick scan of the parishes and groups partnering with Catholic Energies reveals a noticeable geographic pattern: Virginia is a growing hotbed of solar activity.

Last month, three parishes in the Arlington Diocese powered up new solar installations, each developed and financed through Catholic Energies, the burgeoning program of the Catholic Climate Covenant that helps church institutions find outside funding to take on energy...

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Harris brings Baptist, interfaith roots to Democratic ticket

August 12, 2020

Kamala Harris, tapped on Tuesday as Joe Biden’s running mate, attended services at both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple growing up – an interfaith background that reflects her historic status as the first Black woman and woman of South Asian descent on a major-party presidential ticket.

The 55-year-old first-term Democratic senator, whose name means “lotus” in the Sanskrit language, identifies as a Baptist as an adult and brought another faith into her life in 2014 when she married Douglas Emhoff, a Jewish attorney. Their wedding featured the breaking of a glass, a...

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Phoenix area religious communities return to worship as COVID-19 data stabilizes in Arizona

August 10, 2020

Though places of worship are largely exempt from coronavirus restrictions, much of the Valley's religious community transitioned to virtual worship as infection rates skyrocketed in the state in the late spring and summer.

Major holidays such as Easter were celebrated in living rooms instead of sanctuaries. Ramadan fasts were not broken in a large community celebration. The trial-to-triumph story of Passover came to life.

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Southern Baptists confront the church's history of racism and slaveholding. For some members, it's not enough.

August 10, 2020

The Rev. Rolland Slade says it is humbling to be the first. 

For more than a century, a white man has led the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee — the board of leaders who manage the day-to-day operations of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. 

But that changed in June 16.

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COVID-19 outbreak at Independence church infects 30, hundreds more possibly exposed

August 3, 2020

The health department estimates more than 300 people may have been exposed to COVID-19 between July 19-24 at Old Paths Baptist Church and learned about the connections from the 30 confirmed coronavirus cases through its contact tracing process, said Kayla Parker, the health department’s communications coordinator. 

Robert Alexander, the church’s pastor, said he has worked with the health department since learning about the first positive coronavirus case to inform his community about the outbreak and testing resources. Church services have been moved online indefinitely...

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An Orthodox synagogue and a Black church search for shared history with a walk through a once-integrated neighborhood

August 3, 2020

Half of the students in the Zoom class were from Liberty Grace Church of God, a Black Baptist church in Baltimore. The other half attended the Jewish day school affiliated with Beth Tfiloh Congregation, in the Baltimore suburbs.

One teacher was Black and Christian. The other was white and Jewish.

Over a week in July, they gathered together on Zoom to plan an iPad-guided historical walking tour of the city’s Forest Park section, which in the 1950s and early 1960s was integrated — Black and Jewish.

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The Closure Of Catholic Schools Is 'Devastating,' Advocates Say

July 31, 2020

Catholic schools in urban neighborhoods, often seen as an attractive option by low income parents and families of color, are facing an unprecedented crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the country, at least 100 urban Catholic schools will close in the fall as a result of declining tuition revenue, and school administrators say the number could double in the next two months.The economic downturn caused by the pandemic is leading to widespread unemployment, and with the subsequent income...

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