Multifaith

As coronavirus restrictions loosen, congregations grapple with including older adults

June 12, 2020

Each Sunday, Larry Little and his wife, Mary, get ready for church. They dress casually, fill two tumblers with water, climb into their golf cart and drive two miles to The Grove, a grassy field next to their church.

There they find a parking place, turn off the engine and settle in for a live service in front of a Jumbotron and a stage.

The Littles, who live in a retirement community called The Villages, about an hour’s drive northwest of Orlando, Florida, are among the lucky few.

Since mid-March, when state shutdowns forced churches, synagogues and...

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Ohio Senate unanimously passes student religious expression bill

June 11, 2020

 

Despite concerns about separation of church and state, the Ohio Senate passed a bill that would allow public school students to pray, attend religious clubs and “See You at the Pole” gatherings, distribute religious material, wear religious clothing and turn in work expressing their faith beliefs.

House Bill 164 passed the Senate 32...

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Amid protests, US faith leaders engage racism and politics

June 4, 2020

 

As days of anti-racism protests sparked by police killings push Americans toward a national reckoning, religious leaders are stepping more directly into the politics surrounding discrimination, entering into a dialogue that cuts across lines of faith and color.

Groups from multiple denominations across Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths have publicly called for action against racism, aligning with peaceful demonstrators’ goals following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Even beyond those statements, the amount and diversity of religious involvement...

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Despite Green Light, Many Mass. Houses Of Worship Won't Convene In-Person

May 26, 2020

 

Episcopalians in Massachusetts are saying no church before July 1.

The United Church of Christ in the state is saying nothing before the end of summer.

The Unitarians want to wait until next year.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston expects less than 20% of its 280 churches to be open this weekend.

And the Baptists are still trying to figure out how to safely do baptisms in the age of the...

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A 24-hour online vigil will name some of the people who have died of COVID-19

May 20, 2020
Ahead of Memorial Day, which honors the nation’s wartime dead, a coalition of activists from across the country will hold a 24-hour online vigil naming some of the people who have died of COVID-19.
 
The #NamingTheLost vigil will begin Wednesday (May 20) at 2 p.m. Eastern on Facebook and end at 2 p.m. Thursday.
 
“By taking 24 hours to read the names of those we have lost, we seek to humanize and honor each person — and those whose names we do not know — at a time when we must be physically apart,” the website for...
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Four young people of different faiths move into a home together, then a pandemic happens

May 20, 2020
Hadar Cohen, Ala’ Khan, Maya Mansour and Jonathan Simcosky arrived as strangers, ready to embark on a new interfaith journey.
 
The four roommates moved into a five-bedroom, five-bath house in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood earlier this year. They come from different faiths: Baha’i, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Cohen came from Jerusalem but had already lived in the Bay Area for a few years. Simcosky made the trek from Salem, Massachusetts, to L.A. Khan and Mansour were already in Southern California.
 
They...
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Spiritual counselors adapt to serve faithful in pandemic

April 24, 2020

 

Esther Roman wasn’t even in the room when she witnessed what she describes as “probably the holiest thing I’ve ever seen.”

A doctor whose patient was suffering from COVID-19 had used an iPad to connect with Roman, a 38-year-old staff chaplain at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Morningside hospital, and members of the patient’s family. As the patient’s family told him that if they could, they would be in the room to comfort him, Roman saw – in the digital frame – the doctor reach out and stroke his hair.

“I don’t think that image will ever leave me,” Roman...

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Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi, Ramadan: Milwaukee celebrates major religious holidays during a pandemic

April 13, 2020

 

Religious holidays this month are being celebrated using social distancing, but faith leaders say that doesn't mean people of faith have to be spiritually distant.

Many places of worship around the state are getting creative in how they celebrate. Many have moved their services online. Others are offering drive-up services.

At Faith Builders Church, they held a virtual service on Easter Sunday and invited congregation members to a drive-up blessing after the service was over. Senior Pastor Jeff Pruitt prayed over each family as they drove up...

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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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