Christianity

Black seminary grads, with debt higher than others, cope with money and ministry

February 17, 2022

The Rev. Melech E.M. Thomas attended two seminaries and graduated from the second, a historically Black theological school, in 2016.

That academic journey has put him in the pulpit of an African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Carolina.

But his pursuit of a Master of Divinity degree also left him about $80,000 in debt.

Source:...

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Health care provider pays $75,000 in 'scrub skirt' religious bias suit

February 2, 2022

A Tennessee-based health care provider will pay $75,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit involving an Apostolic Pentecostal nurse who wanted to wear a “scrub skirt” to work. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the company denied the nurse’s right to religious accommodation.

Wellpath LLC hired Christian nurse Malinda Babineaux in 2019 to provide health services at Central Texas Correctional Facility in San Antonio. After accepting the Texas job offer, Babineaux informed the company’s human resources team that her religious beliefs required her to...

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Streaming online has been a boon for churches, a godsend for isolated

February 1, 2022

For a small church, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, has a surprising reach.

Most church members live in and around Downingtown, a small town about an hour west of Philadelphia. Some live as far away as Bermuda.

“But that’s one of the beauties that has come out of the pandemic,” Downingtown pastor Ivy Berry said. “We can meet in the sanctuary, but still maintain a worship presence via Zoom and on Facebook Live, so members who may not be able to travel to the sanctuary can still receive the same worship service.” 

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Ahead of midterm elections, interfaith 'revival' links voting rights, climate

February 1, 2022

With the 2022 midterm elections looming 10 months away, faith leaders in the South are preparing a "revival" effort to reinvigorate voters around what they see as two crucial issues: climate change and voting rights.

The Southeast Faith Leaders Network kicked off its first-ever "climate revival" on Jan. 20. The yearlong campaign is targeted on four states — Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina — that organizers say are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change as well as efforts to suppress voting access.

"Those two issues are just...

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Episcopal bishops' Sacred Ground circle inspires Alabama pilgrimage to Montgomery, Selma

February 9, 2022

Eight Episcopal bishops, including the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the former presiding bishop, are in Alabama this week on a racial justice pilgrimage to civil rights landmarks, museums and memorials in Montgomery and Selma.

The bishops began developing the pilgrimage after participating in a Sacred Ground discussion circle that met on Zoom and concluded in mid-2021. Sacred Ground is The Episcopal Church’s ...

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Are today's seminarians tomorrow's corporate leaders?

February 10, 2022

Some corporate culture experts point to Black Lives Matter. Others say it is the soul-wringing work-life decisions forced on CEOs during the pandemic. Still others date large companies’ engagement with social justice issues back to the early days of the #MeToo movement.

Jeff Stoner, an executive coach in Minneapolis, said he has been fielding deeper questions from his corporate clients for years about purpose and priorities. “I was finding in so many of my coaching engagements that we were talking about things that could be defined as spiritual or faith-centered,” said Stoner...

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Emanuel AME Church massacre inspires guide to help mass shooting survivors

February 10, 2022

South Carolina agencies have announced a guide on how to support victims and family members of mass casualty events.

The 95-page guide’s creation was spurred by the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting, in which nine people were killed in 2015.

“The office learned that the coordination of multiple entities – prosecutors, victim services staff and their allies in the community, including mental and behavioral health professionals, and multi-faith communities – was essential to ensuring that survivors and community members were treated with dignity and respect,” an...

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Study: Clergy feel ill-equipped to help Black and Latino congregants with mental health

February 9, 2022

Black and Latino Christians often turn to their pastors for mental health care, even when those clergy have limited expertise in working with those who are mentally struggling, according to a new study by the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University.

Daniel Bolger, a doctoral candidate at Rice University who co-authored the report, says pastors, whether they want to be or not, “are on the front lines of this...

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Kentucky's new archbishop has led the Catholic Church's fight against racism

February 9, 2022

A Louisiana bishop who has led efforts against racism was named on Tuesday as the archbishop for the Archdiocese of Louisville in Kentucky.

The Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre has served as bishop of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux since 2013. His appointment was announced by Pope Francis.

Fabre, who is Black, serves as the chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee...

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Black Baptists Discover Lost Cemetery in Virginia

February 8, 2022

They needed a John Deere Gator to reach the perimeter. Then, in the forested area behind a power plant in Williamsburg, Virginia, Colette Roots and her small expedition had to jump over ditches full of rainwater, where they could see tadpoles and mosquito eggs. They went in.

The plot of land belonged to a Black congregation in the 1940s. The historic church, Oak Grove Baptist, is still active. Roots grew up in the congregation, and as a child, she helped her mother maintain the graves at the church’s main cemetery—a much larger plot roughly a mile from this one, with about 150...

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Religious Organizations Collaborate To Combat Effects of Gentrification

February 7, 2022

Amid Black History Month, a group of D.C. religious organizations–comprised of various pastors–  have recognized that in order to secure Black futures, they must invest in Black homeownership.  

The Black Equity Through Homeownership (BETH) program is an initiative of the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) that seeks to help Black homeowners and long-term D.C. residents negatively impacted by housing...

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Suds in the sanctuary: Craft breweries populate vacant US churches

February 1, 2022

Bruce Lindsay never expected to own a church. But when his mother died shortly before the pandemic, he wanted to use his inheritance to do something extraordinary.

“My mother, if she were alive today, I think would have a great chuckle at what I’ve purchased,” said Lindsay. “I found myself surrounded by a church when it was the last place on earth I wanted to go to as a kid.”

In August, after purchasing a 900-square-foot-Methodist church built in 1876, Lindsay and his business partner, Anna Cronin, opened Dirt Church Brewing Co. in East Haven, Vermont. It’s one of...

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First rabbi chosen to lead Essex County social justice group

February 3, 2022

For much of the past two decades, Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin has worked on the front lines of campaigns to secure fairer treatment and greater opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Now, the veteran activist has a new opportunity to put those organizing skills to work as the next leader of the Essex County Community Organization.

ECCO, a faith-based grass-roots organization that fights for racial and social justice, named Ronkin its new executive director effective Jan. 15. The Jamaica...

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For tornado-ravaged churches, rebuilding means rethinking

February 3, 2022

Mayfield First United Methodist Church, a century-old temple with stately columns and stained-glass windows, has long been an anchor in the life of Kathy O’Nan, the city’s 68-year-old mayor.

She directed the children’s choir for 42 years and attended countless worship services and ceremonies, from weddings to funerals to the baptisms of both her children — before a massive tornado tore off the church’s roof and covered the front entrance in rubble.

“It was just my home,” O’Nan said. “For all of us, it was our home.”

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Tenn. pastor, first African American, named to key SBC post

February 1, 2022

Tennessee pastor Willie McLaurin has been named interim president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, becoming the first African American to lead one of the denomination’s ministry entities in its more than 175-year history.

McLaurin’s appointment as one of the top administrators for the largest Protestant church body in the United States was announced Tuesday in Baptist Press, an official SBC news outlet. He will lead the day-to-day business of the committee, which acts on behalf of the convention when it is not holding its annual two-day...

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