Multifaith

Interfaith program for middle-schoolers moves online this year

September 8, 2020

As the new school year begins with several drastic changes and some confusion, change is also knocking on the door of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit’s Religious Diversity Journeys program. 

The six-month program starting in November is designed to bridge the gap between different faith groups for seventh-graders inMacomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

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Amid virus lockdowns, prison ministry groups had to adapt

August 31, 2020

Normally Teresa Stanfield spends her days in prisons talking with inmates about how she changed the course of her troubled life, and how they can do the same. But the coronavirus has locked her on the outside.

“When COVID came and shut down programming, I was extremely disappointed,” said Stanfield, Oklahoma field director with Virginia-based Prison Fellowship. “But I also knew that God had a plan and we were going to do everything we could to continue to encourage our returning citizens and keep our volunteers connected.”

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Worship during COVID-19: How Cheez-Its, ZOOM and blue tape are the new norms in faith

August 14, 2020

Each Sunday, Ray Smith and his family go to their living room for church, which they've watched online since the coronavirus pandemic caused most places of worship to close earlier this year.

His wife knew how to prepare unleavened bread from her time at a small church while growing up and soon she was providing the bread for their home communion. 

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Harris brings Baptist, interfaith roots to Democratic ticket

August 12, 2020

Kamala Harris, tapped on Tuesday as Joe Biden’s running mate, attended services at both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple growing up – an interfaith background that reflects her historic status as the first Black woman and woman of South Asian descent on a major-party presidential ticket.

The 55-year-old first-term Democratic senator, whose name means “lotus” in the Sanskrit language, identifies as a Baptist as an adult and brought another faith into her life in 2014 when she married Douglas Emhoff, a Jewish attorney. Their wedding featured the breaking of a glass, a...

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Phoenix area religious communities return to worship as COVID-19 data stabilizes in Arizona

August 10, 2020

Though places of worship are largely exempt from coronavirus restrictions, much of the Valley's religious community transitioned to virtual worship as infection rates skyrocketed in the state in the late spring and summer.

Major holidays such as Easter were celebrated in living rooms instead of sanctuaries. Ramadan fasts were not broken in a large community celebration. The trial-to-triumph story of Passover came to life.

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In Massachusetts, more houses of worship are turning to solar power

August 3, 2020

Houses of worship in Massachusetts are increasing their adoption of solar power, a trend that advocates say can both influence community attitudes toward renewable electricity and help more low-income households take advantage of the benefits of clean energy. 

At least 64 houses of worship in Massachusetts had solar installations in operation last year, a 14% increase from 2017 and second only to California, according to a report from Interfaith Power and...

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From changing lives to preaching at iPads: How clergy are coping with the new normal

July 27, 2020

They can’t shake hands. They can’t sing robustly. And, in most cases, they can’t worship in person with people they’ve seen on a weekly basis for years.

Clergy have been forced to adjust to a “new normal” of leadership in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a crisis that was unexpected both at its start and in its continuing duration.

“We moved from snow day mentality to marathon mentality now,” said the Rev. Rob Dyer, senior pastor of a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation in Belleville,...

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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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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...

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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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Multifaith ceremony in Santa Rosa rededicates Holocaust memorial damaged by vandals

July 13, 2020

When Rabbi George Gittleman visits the Jewish graves at Santa Rosa Memorial Park, he almost always visits the marker for Lillian Judd.

When he leaves, without fail, he stops at the ritual washing fountain that stands at the center of a memorial honoring Holocaust survivors, including Judd, who survived imprisonment in one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious death camps. She went on to be an author and educator, teaching legions of Sonoma County school children about the horrors of the Holocaust.

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Minnesota 'crisis mode chaplains' seek to heal trauma of George Floyd's death

July 7, 2020

Kelly Sherman-Conroy felt the anguish on the streets following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, concluding that people were aching for more than food and emergency relief.

So the Lutheran leader and Native American activist posted an appeal on Facebook for "clergy, spiritual leaders and mental health leaders who would like to serve as volunteer chaplains."

More than 100 faith leaders have stepped forward, fanning out at events ranging from State Capitol protests to food distributions to a Juneteenth celebration. They serve as...

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Federal judge blocks COVID-19 restrictions on New York religious services

July 2, 2020

A federal judge eased Gov. Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus-fueled restrictions on religious institutions Friday, lifting a capacity cap on services as churches, mosques, temples and similar facilities.

U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction Friday blocking New York from enforcing its prior cap, which limited religious institutions to 25% of their capacity in Phase 2 of the state's reopening process and ...

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