Christianity

'COVID has been harder on us:' Some Black churches remain hesitant to reopen

October 4, 2021

The pastor of a New York church that has halted in-person meetings since the coronavirus pandemic hit last year predicts the predominantly Black congregation won’t gather inside its sanctuary until the start of next year.

A Pennsylvania minister is counting on warm fall weather to allow some of her congregants to meet for worship outside in October, as it did ...

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Catholic, Protestant groups support commission on US Indian boarding school policy

October 4, 2021

A number of Catholic groups and Protestant denominations are calling for the United States to establish a Truth and Healing Commission to reckon with the country’s history of boarding schools that separated thousands of Indigenous children from their families and cultures during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Their support comes as the Catholic Church and a number of Protestant denominations are ...

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Supreme Court to hear case over Boston's refusal to fly Christian flag

September 30, 2021

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case over local officials' refusal to fly a Christian group's pennant outside Boston City Hall.

In a brief order list addressing cases that accumulated over the summer, the justices indicated they will review an appeals court ruling issued in January that found the city did not violate the Constitution by turning down the flag-flying request from a Christian organization called "Camp Constitution."

The case could provide an opportunity for the court's relatively new, six-justice conservative majority to expand the rights of...

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Young evangelicals to host Capitol Hill rally for climate action

September 23, 2021

Growing up in the Church of Christ in Burbank, California, Angelea Hayes was often told Christianity and environmentalism were incompatible. But in her first year at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Hayes found herself sheltering in place and sleeping on gym floors as 2018’s Woolsey Fire burned across Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Today, Hayes sees climate change not only as a matter of the utmost urgency, but a matter of faith.

This weekend, Hayes, now a senior at Pepperdine, will join other young evangelicals to rally for climate action on Capitol Hill....

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Women making strides in leadership of Black denominations amid hestiancy

September 22, 2021

Women in Black Baptist circles knew that it was a matter of time before one of their own was named to lead a major church organization.

Female clergy describe having a sense of anticipation for years before this summer’s elevation of the Rev. Gina Stewart to president of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, a 124-year-old movement of about 10,000 volunteers and contributors based in Maryland.

“We knew Gina Stewart was going to become the president in 2021,” said the Rev. Leslie Callahan, pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Callahan...

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Religions find Facebook an important tool

September 11, 2021

There are 2.4 billion Christians in the world today, according to most estimates.

Then again, nearly 3 billion people have Facebook accounts. Nearly 70% of U.S. adults use this social media platform, which recently passed $1 trillion in market capitalization.

“I will use Facebook to reach people, because you almost have to do that,” said Father A. Stephen Damick, chief content officer for Ancient Faith Ministries, a 24-hour source for online radio channels, podcasts, blogs, forums and more. The ministry was born in 2004 and is now part of the North American...

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Asian American Christians grapple with bias in their own churches

September 8, 2021

Last month, the Presbyterian Church in America convened its annual general assembly with more than 1,200 male elders — only men can hold the office — in St. Louis.

Asian American clergy had proposed a number of overtures, or official requests for the denomination to take action, including one that referenced March’s Atlanta-area spa shootings and called on the PCA to “strongly repudiate the sin of anti-Asian racism” and “actively denounce anti-Asian rhetoric.”

But these multipage proposals were...

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Crusaders No More: What Arab Christians and Muslims Think of Mascot Changes

September 9, 2021

Nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Evangel University will no longer evoke the Middle East—or the Middle Ages.

Since 1955, the flagship Assemblies of God institution has cheered on its Crusaders, replete with helmeted knight and steed.

This semester, the university will soon announce its new mascot after considering almost 300 submitted suggestions—including 77 animal names, 69 military names, and 38 biblical names. The change was made in light of the school’s 55,000 alumni...

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Religious organizations prepare for 'potential onslaught' of evictions

September 9, 2021

The Supreme Court’s Aug. 26 decision to end the federal eviction moratorium brings new challenges for religious leaders and organizations working to aid those at risk for homelessness. More than 3.6 million Americans say they could face eviction in the next two months, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We’re very, very nervous,” said Sarah Abramson, vice president of strategy and impact at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. “There is already a tremendous housing shortage in Boston. And we know from our data, and from the experience of our partners...

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This rabbinical school is moving into a Catholic university

September 2, 2021

The Academy for Jewish Religion California has rented space in several locations during its 21-year existence as a transdenominational seminary that trains rabbis and cantors.

For a while it was housed in an office building in downtown Los Angeles, then at Hillel, the Jewish campus organization at the University of California Los Angeles.

But beginning Oct. 1, in an arrangement both novel and pathbreaking, the academy will move to Loyola Marymount...

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Before Balls and Strikes, Umpires Make a Call to Pray

September 2, 2021

The umpires dialed in at about 3 p.m. on a Friday, calling from places like St. Louis and Oakland, Seattle and Cleveland.

It was time to pray.

“God is our father,” Ted Barrett, a major league umpire for over two decades and an ordained Southern Baptist minister, told the men. “He loves to hear from us, and so don’t ever feel like he’s too big or too busy to bring your little problem to him.”

Source:...

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First Nations Version translates the New Testament for Native American readers

August 31, 2021

It’s a Bible verse familiar to many Christians — and even to many non-Christians who have seen John 3:16 on billboards and T-shirts or scrawled across eye black under football players’ helmets.

But Terry Wildman hopes the new translation published Tuesday (Aug. 31) by InterVarsity Press, “First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament,” will help Christians and Indigenous peoples read it again in a...

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Parishes host prayer vigils to support citizenship for immigrants

August 26, 2021

Several archdiocesan parishes recently partnered with an interfaith effort to secure legal protections for millions of immigrants fleeing poverty and violence.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Holy Innocents, Visitation B.V.M. and St. Vincent de Paul parishes in Philadelphia each hosted evening prayer vigils earlier this month as part of a campaign organized by the nonprofit New Sanctuary Movement (NSM). Founded some two decades ago, NSM works to end injustice against immigrants regardless of status.

The prayer vigil series, which spanned the week of Aug. 9-13, featured a basket...

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