Christianity

No touching! Churches get ready for Ash Wednesday in a pandemic

February 9, 2021

Many churches mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent with the imposition of ashes. Clergy smear ashes, usually those left after burning palm fronds from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations, onto congregants’ foreheads, often in the shape of a cross.

That practice presents a problem when health experts fighting COVID-19 have advised people to avoid touching their faces or coming in close proximity to others....

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Evangelical Christian and Orthodox Jewish leaders offer spaces for vaccine distribution

January 28, 2021

Two national religious groups, one evangelical Christian, the other Orthodox Jewish, have teamed up to offer their sacred spaces for vaccine distribution, hoping to assist government officials and private companies in the effort to combat the ongoing pandemic.

In a recent editorial, Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, made their pitch to help “anyone in need of vaccination, whether or not they are members of our congregations or of our neighborhoods.”

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Religious leader offers church to become vaccine sanctuaries

January 12, 2021

There is concern among some members of the Latino immigrant and African American communities that people will be skeptical or unwilling to go outside their close-knit communities to get a shot.

That is why some think churches could play a role in the general-population vaccination effort.

Rick Rodriguez parks his minivan outside the Lincoln Methodist Church, which is providing some hope during the pandemic. He receives a white plastic grocery bag filled with food and a quart of milk. It brings some relief to his family and many others impacted by COVID-19.

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Biloxi councilwoman stirs up Facebook debate after walking out on Hindu prayer

January 7, 2021

Biloxi Councilwoman Dixie Newman has stirred up a major debate on Facebook, where she posted about walking out on a Hindu prayer at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

“Last night at the Biloxi City Council Meeting, they presented a HINDU Invocation,” she wrote Wednesday morning in the public post. “I had to walk out. You are more than welcome to believe and worship whom you please. But as for me, I will only stand, bow, or worship, Jesus Christ.”

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African spirituality offers Black believers ‘decolonized’ Christianity

January 6, 2021

It’s 11:11 on a recent Sunday morning and The Proverbial Experience is just getting underway. “Greetings my loves!” proclaims the Rev. Lyvonne Proverbs Briggs, the founder of this weekly spiritual gathering on Instagram. “Anybody got a hallelujah in your spirit?”

As the congregation comes online, Briggs, from her home in New Orleans, greets each person by name as prerecorded gospel music plays. She frames herself in front of a makeshift altar with an assortment of...

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Fired EWTN host: ‘I will never, ever, ever have regrets’ talking about race

January 5, 2021

Gloria Purvis, who was told after the Dec. 30 broadcast of the EWTN radio show “Morning Glory” that the show was canceled effective immediately, said she has no regrets using the show to discuss racial matters following the police killing of George Floyd last May.

“I will never, ever, ever have regrets for shining the light of the Gospel on a situation that was surrounded by darkness,” Purvis told Catholic News Service in a Dec. 31 phone interview.

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Critical religious liberty disputes expected for 2021

December 28, 2020

History may show that religious liberties under the Donald Trump administration enjoyed an elevated level of support not seen perhaps since the administration of President George W. Bush.

How far and how quickly the religious liberties landscape will change in the coming four years under an expected Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration remains to be seen. But religious liberty watchers say they are worried.

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COVID: Bay Area Religious Leaders, Faithful Offer Up Christmas Blessing

December 24, 2020

As a year ravaged by social unrest, wildfires and COVID draws to an end, San Francisco Bay Area religious leaders, choral directors and the faithful have taken to social media to deliver a message of hope during this stay-at-home holiday season.

Around 140 people from more than 65 churches in 25 cities across the Bay Area came together to lift their hearts and voices virtually.

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The Qur’an on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Nativity

December 23, 2020

A mention of the infant Jesus’s birth would likely not, for most Muslims, conjure up manger scenes, a shining star, or visits from shepherds. Instead, a more likely image would be of Mary alone and in labor at the foot of a palm. Rather than a swaddled infant resting in the hay among manger animals, the Qur’an describes mother and child resting next to a spring. No shepherds gather to rejoice at Jesus’s birth in Qur’anic accounts. Instead, Mary is heckled for having a child out of wedlock.

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Museum of the Bible considers suing D.C. mayor over virus shutdown, citing religious freedom claims

December 23, 2020

Officials at the Museum of the Bible said Wednesday they are considering suing D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) over the city’s latest round of coronavirus restrictions, saying they prevent the museum’s employees from exercising their religious freedom and its visitors from possibly having a religious experience.

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Black clergy call for unity in fight for Seattle police accountability

December 22, 2020

Black religious leaders in Seattle haven’t always agreed with the direction of this year’s Black Lives Matter movement, but the two branches of this activist spectrum are showing signs of coming together at the end of an unprecedented year of protests and human suffering.

Source: Black clergy call for unity in fight for Seattle police...

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Oklahoma religious institutions received more than $84 million in PPP

December 21, 2020

Religious organizations — including faith-based universities and schools — in Oklahoma received almost $85 million in federal aid over the course of the pandemic.

 

According to a review by The Transcript of recently released data from the Small Business Administration, Oklahoma religious institutions received just over $84 million worth of Paycheck Protection Program loans. Oklahoma businesses in total received $3.76 billion in PPP funding.

 

The PPP loan has caused some controversy since it marks the first time the federal...

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