Christianity

Hilary Decent: How Naperville’s faith communities are operating under phase 4 of Illinois reopening

July 27, 2020

Naperville’s faith communities are taking a cautious approach to eased restrictions now that Illinois has moved to phase four of its coronavirus recovery program.

Members of the First Congregational United Church of Christ have been meeting online since March. Rev. Mark Winters said: “Since the middle of March, we have been live streaming our services from our sanctuary. We recently switched to a pre-recorded model which allows us to include more readers and musicians (recording from their home), which is closer to how we would normally worship.”

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Black Catholics’ history: Will US Catholic schools teach it?

July 27, 2020

The history of Black Catholics in the U.S. is a dramatic mix of struggles and breakthroughs, but it has been largely ignored in the curriculum of Catholic schools. That may soon change. 

Amid the national tumult over racial injustice, there are high-level calls for the schools to teach more about the church’s past links to slavery and segregation, and how Black Catholics persevered nonetheless.

In the archdioceses of Chicago and New Orleans, top leaders are encouraging their schools to place a new emphasis on teaching about racial justice, as well as the...

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Houses of worship get creative in time of COVID

July 24, 2020

With COVID-19 concerns still front and center, houses of worship across the North Shore are moving forward with very different approaches — from traditional indoor Masses to meditations on kayaks to online-only services. Some are worried that the pandemic and economic downturn will have damaging, long-term effects.

“We need your help now more than ever,” the Rev. Jim Achadinha with the Catholic Community of Rockport and Gloucester wrote in a recent blog. “Our parishes depend solely on the generosity of our fellow parishioners to pay bills, make ends meet, and help to ensure...

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Valley’s religious turns to faith without framework as virus ravages

July 23, 2020

During times of turmoil, many people turn to their respective places of worship for comfort and guidance.

With COVID-19 ravaging much of the Rio Grande Valley and new orders reissued to mitigate the disease’s spread as hundreds more are infected and dozens die daily, many local faith leaders are faced with something of a conundrum: how to provide hope during what many feel is a hopeless time.

For the Valley’s spiritual leaders, the answer lies in social media.

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How Taiwanese death rituals have adapted for families living in the US

July 23, 2020

Taiwanese people living in the United States face a dilemma when loved ones die. Many families worry that they might not be able to carry out proper rituals in their new homeland.

As a biracial Taiwanese-American archaeologist living in Idaho and studying in Taiwan, I am discovering the many faces of Taiwan’s blended cultural heritage drawn from the mix of peoples that have inhabited the island over millennia.

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As seminaries welcome openly transgender students, church lags behind

July 21, 2020

When Austen Hartke arrived at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, he knew it was the only Lutheran seminary that didn't participate in his denomination's LGBTQ+ welcoming program. But as his awareness grew that he was transgender, so did his conviction that Luther was the right place for him. 

Hartke, who had come out as bisexual years before applying to seminary, had specifically picked the school, he said in a recent interview, so he would learn to navigate his identity and ministry while being exposed to “the Midwestern attitudes I lived with every day.” ...

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Despite heat and COVID-19 restrictions, St. Mary's Feast continues tradition

July 20, 2020

The soaring temperatures didn’t stop the 115th St. Mary’s Feast in Cranston on Sunday, but the coronavirus pandemic forced it to change some of its plans.

The celebration, which is held every year in July, was scaled back significantly.

It’s an integral part of the Italian-American community in Cranston’s Knightsville section.

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'A dangerous environment': As churches reopen, outbreaks are sprouting and some are keeping doors shut

July 20, 2020
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Racial justice a long-time concern for Roxbury parish

July 17, 2020

Conversations about racial injustice are nothing new at St. Katharine Drexel Parish, a black Catholic community whose members hail from the United States, the Caribbean, and various African countries.

Even before nationwide protests began in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody, St. Katharine Drexel Parish's social justice committee had been discussing and raising awareness of systemic racism for years. In addition to running ministries within the parish, such as its food pantries and Advent giving tree, the committee regularly has a table at the archdiocese's Social...

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In Los Angeles, Catholic schools plan to resume in-person classes, while public schools go online

July 16, 2020

While Los Angeles public schools will remain online this fall, Catholic schools in the county still plan to reopen their doors for in-person classes.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Wednesday (July 15) told Religion News Service it would continue with plans to resume in-person instruction for its Catholic schools throughout Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

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Bingo ban hurts religious community

July 15, 2020

Religious institutions in our community are not immune from the impact of the pandemic. While places of worship have been allowed to reopen with limited services, many fundraisers have been either cancelled or postponed.

There's one particular tradition that's on hold for now according to Bruce Corris, the congregation president for Temple Shir Shalom in Amherst. 

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Mormon leaders ask church members to wear face masks in public to defend against coronavirus

July 14, 2020

Mormon church leaders are imploring followers to wear masks in public to defend against the coronavirus as temples reopen and church activities resume. 

The Utah Area Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which consists of local leaders who preside over the church's...

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Months into COVID-19, funeral directors and clergy continue to innovate death care

July 13, 2020

Norman J. Williams has been in the funeral industry business long enough to remember how the HIV epidemic changed not only the way they cared for bodies, but also for those who lost loved ones to the deadly virus.

"We wanted to be compassionate. We wanted to be professional. We wanted to be understanding. We wanted to be nonjudgemental," said Williams, president and funeral director of Unity Funeral Parlors in Chicago, a family business operating for more than 80 years.

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Churches Are Building Housing Developments ‘in God’s Back Yard’

July 13, 2020

The Arlington Presbyterian Church in Virginia was dealing with declining Sunday attendance, and fewer donations, before deciding to turn to an affordable housing developer for help. In 2016, with membership down to about 60 from a height of 1,000 in the 1950s, the church sold its century-old sanctuary to the nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable...

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Jehovah’s Witnesses cancel in-person conventions globally, first time in religion’s history

July 10, 2020

For the first time in the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization, they will be holding their worldwide annual conventions virtually.

Last year, more than 14 million people attended these conventions. In the US alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses typically hold 800 conventions with an attendance of nearly 2 million.

Global attendance spans 240 lands, making it the largest convention organization in the world. ...

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