Multifaith

Divinity School Students Maintain Spiritual and Religious Life While Off-Campus

April 13, 2020

After Harvard transitioned to online classes last month, Divinity School students said they are finding ways to maintain spiritual and religious engagement off-campus.

The Divinity School Office of the Chaplain and Religious and Spiritual Life has provided several resources for students to “use the coming days as an opportunity to deepen our spiritual and religious practices,” according to its website. These include daily “inspirational” postings — such as suggested...

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Blessings from afar

April 10, 2020

 

Social distancing in the age of coronavirus means improvisation, and members of the Harvard community are nothing if not creative. Over the past several weeks students, faculty, and staff have found innovative ways to mark some of the holiest days in the Jewish and Christian calendars remotely, including Passover seders and Holy Week services.

Harvard Divinity School

At Harvard Divinity School (HDS), two students have pulled together a virtual Passover seder set for Monday. The online meal will be open to anyone regardless of faith and will blend...

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Hospital chaplains find creative ways to offer compassion, despite coronavirus restrictions, so no one has to die alone

April 6, 2020

As a man lay dying of COVID-19 at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, hospital chaplains Marie Coglianese and Bob Andorka stood just outside his room, praying and singing.

They held up a phone so his mother and sister could hear. The man’s mother asked to talk to her son, so the chaplains allowed her voice to flood through the room’s intercom system. They did the same for his sister.

In a time when hospitals must enforce strict no-visitor policies due to the...

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As coronavirus death toll mounts, faith leaders the world over grapple with funerals

April 3, 2020

For Menaka Kannan, it was bad enough when she heard that a fellow member of New York City’s Baha’i community had contracted the novel coronavirus. But she was not emotionally prepared for the news that came roughly a week later: He had succumbed to the infection and died.

“The news of his passing, of course, is very shocking,” she said.

As the community grappled with the grief, a lingering question arose: How do you conduct a funeral in the midst of a global pandemic, when a healing hug is now seen as a potential death sentence?

It’s a conundrum facing...

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How religious leaders are keeping faith during coronavirus, even from a social distance

April 1, 2020

REV. THOMAS CONWAY 

Executive Director of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston; interviewed on Sunday, March 15.

"I got a call yesterday from a woman saying, “I’m sitting outside the [church] building,” and she was crying. Her brother was in ICU, and because of the coronavirus crisis, she wasn’t able to go visit him. And he was dying. She had a very reasonable request: “Can we just pray for him for a minute?” And I said, “Sure, we can do that.” So we stood outside, and we prayed on the...

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Stay-at-home faith. There’s a podcast for that.

March 27, 2020

While the doors at many houses of worship are closed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, there are still ways to access spirituality online. Houston is home to a number of locally made podcasts, dedicated to exploring faith. These digital audio files can be downloaded and listened to whenever and wherever is convenient.

Interfaith Podcast Project

If Houston could tell its story, it would include a tale of diverse religions thriving in one city. That’s a challenge “Interfaith Podcast Project” accepted — exploring different faith traditions in a way that...

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The new sound of worship services: ‘Can you mute your mic? Amen.’

March 20, 2020

It was the last day of a 19-day period of daytime fasting for Baha’i believers all over the world. The Washington area’s Baha’i community would have ordinarily been looking forward to joining at night to feast in celebration and welcome in the Baha’i new year.

Instead, alone in their kitchens and bedrooms and living rooms on Thursday afternoon, they opened up a Skype window.

The sounds of religious worship these days are intermingled with the vocabulary of conference calls: “Try to mute your microphone.” “You’re frozen.” “I can...

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Finding God online: People turn to live-streaming religious services during coronavirus pandemic

March 13, 2020

 

In a typical year, Purim is a festive occasion. The Jewish holiday, which took place earlier this week, is marked by the reading of the Megillah, or the Book of Esther, during which children are encouraged to shake noisemakers, or "graggers," every time the name of the villain "Haman" is mentioned. People dress up in costumes and families often attend carnivals put on by synagogues to mark the holiday. 

But because of the ...

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South Salt Lake Interfaith Council is bringing unity to its community

March 10, 2020

 

When the South Salt Lake Interfaith Council was established two years ago, its primary objective was to help residents, especially refugees and immigrants, to feel welcome and safe. 

“The goal was for residents to feel a sense of belonging,” said Lauren Levorsen, who serves as the council’s co-chairwoman.

The council felt progress toward this goal was achieved last week through a musical and cultural celebration that drew more than 250 people — much more than anticipated and standing room only, according the...

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Coronavirus reshapes Chicago religious practices, but some not changing their ways

March 6, 2020

 

Even as coronavirus concerns spread across the world and religious groups in the Chicago area made changes to their practices to deal with the disease, some churchgoers said they aren’t worried enough yet to change how they worship.

At St. James Episcopal Cathedral, a group of about 15 parishioners gathered for an afternoon Mass on Wednesday. Prior to beginning the readings, the Rev. Courtney Reid told the group that some tweaks in the ceremony will apply because...

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Despite Rise in Violent Hate Crimes, Some Mass. Police Departments Say They Don’t Need Civil Rights Officers

February 28, 2020

Rabbi Keith Stern still remembers his first encounter with anti-Semitism.

Stern was playing on the swings at his elementary school when a classmate told him a joke about Jewish people.

He never told his father, a Holocaust survivor, fearing he would be furious about what his son had experienced.

Source: Some Massachusetts Police Departments Slow to Train Civil Rights Officers – NBC Boston

Solidarity over segregation: Faith-based coalitions organize across races, religions

February 24, 2020

Rachel Prestipino knows how segregated Miami can be every day, including Sunday: “It’s not just at 11 a.m.”

But one thing all groups in Miami share, said Prestipino, lead organizer for a local faith-based organization called People Acting for Community Together, is an interest in solving local problems. “That desire, for whatever reason, goes across all these lines of difference, whether that’s faith background or race.”

PACT has helped Christians, Jews and Muslims in her community overcome their...

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Do religious dating apps like Mutual, Christian Mingle endanger users?

February 24, 2020

When Marla Perrin, now 25, first heard about Mutual, the dating app designed for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she was thrilled.

Perrin had tried dating apps like Tinder in the past, but found the experience fruitless and frustrating: the men she matched with often didn’t share her faith, and her guard was always up, worried that someone would harass or stalk her. 

But Mutual seemed like a dating oasis to Perrin, who was living in Hawaii and looking to find a partner. She thought that the men on...

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Stresses multiply for many US clergy: 'We need help too'

February 19, 2020

Greg Laurie is among America’s most successful clergymen -- senior pastor at a California megachurch, prolific author, host of a global radio program. Yet after a youthful colleague’s suicide, his view of his vocation is unsparing. 

“Pastors are people, just like everyone else,” Laurie said by email. “We are broken people who live in a broken world. Sometimes, we need help too.” 

Laurie’s 15,000-member Harvest Christian Fellowship, based in Riverside, California, was jolted in September by the death of Jarrid Wilson, a 30-year-old associate pastor. Wilson...

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More US firms are boosting faith-based support for employees

February 14, 2020

It has become standard practice for U.S. corporations to assure employees of support regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. There’s now an intensifying push to ensure that companies are similarly supportive and inclusive when it comes to employees’ religious beliefs.

One barometer: More than 20% of the Fortune 100 have established faith-based employee resource groups, according to an AP examination and there’s a high-powered conference taking place this week in Washington aimed at expanding those ranks.

“Corporate America is at a tipping point...

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