Christianity

As pandemic's limits ease, palms burn in preparation for Ash Wednesday

March 1, 2022

Among the world's supply shortage, add to it the palm frond.

Rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus limited the number of people attending Holy Week celebrations such as Palm Sunday around the world in 2020 and 2021. That meant fewer palms to burn to provide the ashes smudged on people's foreheads on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

At the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, which was closed to the public for Holy Week celebrations the past two years, friars invited the public to see the burning of fronds...

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'A better future for your children': Black culture in Poconos was built on faith, progress

February 27, 2022

For Bishop Kenneth Pearman, February isn't limited to Black history alone; it is an ever-changing narrative of personal experiences that affect the past, present and future of the community as a whole.

And he isn't alone: Leaders in the Black community across the Poconos stress that understanding that history is integral to knowing where you're going.

An important part of that history is steeped in faith, and within northeastern Pennsylvania, Little Bethel...

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Doug Emhoff highlights Black interfaith contributions as new project launches

February 24, 2022

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff lauded the interfaith work of Black religious communities for “saving lives” through distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations and for continuing efforts to get out the vote when he spoke at a midweek Black History Month event.

“Over the past year, Black faith communities have been working as trusted voices in their communities and getting the right facts and information out to their neighbors,” he said in remarks Wednesday (Feb. 23) at an online event co-hosted by the White House and the Black Interfaith Project. “This has led to millions upon...

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Cardinal: Month celebrates Black people's gifts, calls all to come together

February 24, 2022

In two separate Masses marking Black History Month, Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory stressed that the annual monthlong observance is not just an opportunity to celebrate the gifts and accomplishments of African Americans.

It also is the time to help others see how people of color have contributed and continue to contribute to building up this country, he said.

The cardinal was the principal celebrant at a Mass Feb. 13 at St. Catherine Laboure Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and a at a Mass Feb. 20 at Immaculate Conception...

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African American church receives honor of being listed on National Register of Historic Places

February 24, 2022

The National Park Service has honored a historically African American church in Idaho by adding it to its National Register of Historic Places.

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of Pocatello, which traces its origins to 1921 when blacks needed a worship space, received the national distinction earlier this month.

Pastor William Beard of Bethel Missionary Baptist told The Christian Post that his congregation had been working toward the...

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As workers seek to unionize, some clergy are filling a crucial role

February 4, 2022

The Rev. Richard Smith, an Episcopal priest, has been working to improve the lot of workers in California long enough to have protested for farm workers alongside Cesar Chavez in the 1970s during the lettuce strike, when Smith was a Jesuit seminarian.

He’s still passionate enough about workers’ rights that last Holy Week he ritually washed the feet of janitors on strike at a picket line.

Now retired from St. John the Evangelist, a congregation in San Francisco’s north Mission district, he is one of a small number of clergy serving as intermediaries between labor...

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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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