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The Week the Supreme Court Reshaped America: ‘We’re Pushed Back Decades’ | American News

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LLast week, the United States Supreme Court entered its summer recess, but it left behind an America that many say has been fundamentally reshaped after a momentous series of conservative majority rulings on abortion. , firearms, the power of government agencies and the role of religion in public life.

The series of rulings has drawn widespread condemnation outside conservative America and many are wondering what, if anything, can be done.

“We are absolutely in a constitutional crisis,” said Lawrence Gostin, a law professor at Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization’s Center on Global Health Law. “And our democracy today is one of the most fragile democracies among our peers.

“We haven’t fallen over the cliff – we still more or less respect the rule of law and still have elections, more or less – but the terms of our democracy have really been gutted by the Supreme Court.”

The most significant decision of this term came on June 24: That day, a conservative super majority of justices overturned Roe v. Wade. The 1973 Supreme Court decision had ruled that American women had the constitutional right to abortion.

By denying pregnant women, girls and others this long-standing constitutional right, approximately 26 states are poised to ban or severely limit abortion; some have already done so. Some of these states’ abortion bans make no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This decision not only goes against the will of the people – the majority of people support the right to abortion, legal abortion – it goes against modern progress, the progress of history” , said Coco Das, Texas organizer of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. . “It is based on biblical literalism, a fanatical fundamentalist Christian movement.”

“We’re sent back decades, if not centuries, to be honest,” Das said, later adding, “They’re really trying to turn society into a dominated society based on white supremacy, male supremacy and Christian supremacy. It’s very dangerous.

“Without the right to abortion, women cannot be free, and if women are not free, no one is free.”

On June 23, the Supreme Court struck down a 1911 New York State gun law that imposed strict restrictions on carrying firearms outside the home. The ruling, in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case, came after mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo that left more than two dozen people dead.

Conservative Judge Clarence Thomas said state law – which said anyone wishing to carry a handgun in public needed a ‘good cause’ to do so – violated the right to bear arms in the second amendment.

“The decision ignores this shocking crisis of gun violence every day, engulfing not just New York, but our entire country,” said New York Mayor Eric Adams. “Opinion claims to be based on [the nation’s] historical past, but does not reflect today’s reality. It ignores the present and endangers our future.

Matthew McConaughey, who grew up in Uvalde, during a White House briefing on the school shooting that left 19 people dead. Photography: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Several rulings have intensified fears that conservative justices no longer respect the separation of church and state. They voted for a former public high school football coach who was suspended for praying with athletes on the field after games.

Judges also rejected a Maine law that barred religious schools from getting tuition assistance from public funds, according to the hill. “This court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Founders fought to build,” liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her dissent.

Recent court rulings regarding tribal lands and environmental protections have also drawn criticism. Judges ruled on Wednesday that state prosecutors can bring criminal charges for crimes perpetrated by non-natives against natives on tribal lands.

“With today’s decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled against legal precedent and fundamental principles of Congressional authority and Indian law,” commented Chuck Hoskin Jr, Senior Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

On Thursday, the court upheld West Virginia’s lawsuit that insisted the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) be limited in its regulation of planet-heating gases from the energy industry.

“The decision to side with polluters rather than the public will cost Americans lives and cause an enormous amount of preventable suffering, with the greatest burden falling on low-income communities and communities of color,” said Michael Bloomberg, UN special envoy and former mayor of New York.

Legal experts have said steps can be taken to prevent the Supreme Court from exercising unlimited power. Several have suggested lawmakers could enact term limits, for example.

“We don’t have to just buy into this notion that the Supreme Court has the final say on every consequential issue in the country,” said Gabe Roth, executive director of nonprofit court watchdog Fix the Court. . “Congress can step in and pass laws that protect certain rights.

“There are people who are really focused on what people might want to do in November, but there are plenty of legislative days between now and then to get bills passed,” Roth continued. “We are in new territory here, and elected officials must be up to the task of reigning in power from a court on the run.”

The constitution grants lifetime tenure to Supreme Court justices. Roth believes, however, that there are legislative means that could upgrade them to senior status – meaning they would retain their lifetime appointment as required, but not wield decades-long decision-making power.

“It would send a signal to the judges that they don’t have the final say – making sure these ‘philosopher kings’ don’t rule us for 30 or 40 years is an important step in that direction.”

Gostin suggested term limits in court and/or a “rigorous independent evaluation of potential judges by an independent panel.” This panel, in turn, would provide a list of judicial nominees to the president.

“These two are very well established in other countries around the world. It would make a lot of sense,” Gostin said. “The problem is: there’s no political appetite for it, and you have to get Congress to buy into it and the Republicans surely don’t want that because they view Supreme Court appointees as a war. “

“They are winning the war, so why would they change the terms of engagement?”

Gostin also invoked a martial analogy when discussing recent court rulings.

“It seems the Supreme Court is at war with the American people,” Gostin said. “It certainly serves the desires and passions of a third of the country, but it completely ignores the consequences for the vast majority of the country.”

US bishops disappointed with Supreme Court ruling on climate regulations | National Catholic Register

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In its 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA on June 30, the court ruled that the Clean Air Act does not explicitly give the EPA broad power to regulate the entire energy industry.

The U.S. bishops said on Friday they were disappointed by a Supreme Court ruling that limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Catholic bishops across the United States have long supported the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in order to combat climate change,” reads a July 1 statement from Archbishop Paul Coakley d ‘Oklahoma City, Chairman of the United States Bishops’ Home Justice Committee.

“We are therefore disappointed today that as a result of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has significantly curtailed authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants.”

In its 6-3 decision in West Virginia vs. EPA on June 30, the court ruled that the Clean Air Act did not explicitly give the EPA broad power to regulate the entire energy sector.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting under clear delegation from that representative body,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

The EPA regulations, he said, were an example “of agencies asserting highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted.”

Bishop Coakley wrote that “reasonable regulation and legislation are essential to address the threat and challenges of climate change. We call on Congress to give the EPA the authority to meaningfully regulate greenhouse gases.

He cited a 2018 memo from the U.S. Bishops’ General Counsel’s Office to the EPA Administrator, insisting that the agency has “both legal authority and responsibility to take regulatory measures. … It is difficult to foresee a scenario, under current economic and technological conditions, in which the EPA faithfully fulfills its mandate to protect public health from greenhouse gases without significantly affecting political realities. and economic.

Laudato IfPope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on caring for our common home, covered a wide range of environmental topics, from climate change, species extinction and resource depletion to waste, economic structures and global inequalities.

The encyclical praised Saint Francis of Assisi for having lived an “integral ecology” with joy and authenticity.

Obituary: Maris Humphreys – What’s Up Newp

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Mrs. Maris S. Humphreys, 79, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, died May 31, 2022. Maris was born in Hartford, CT to Beatrice and Frederick Swan. Maris married Keith Cordell Humphreys of Middleboro, MA on July 15, 1967, in North Canton, CT.

Maris loved history, books, music, dancing and nature. She was in her element when she could be in Sachuest Point or Nantucket looking for birds, or in New Hampshire looking for slippers, or in a library or a museum. She was a competitive walker and participated in many half and full marathons through the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. She walked for her father. She loved her tennis group and looked forward to spring and summer play on the courts at Rogers High School. Bridge has also brought her joy and challenges over the years while connecting her with a great group of women.

Her love of nature was nurtured as a child in the woods of Connecticut and in Middlebury, VT, where she attended Middlebury College. She pursued her lifelong passion for skiing in Vermont and around New England and was a valued member of White Mountain Ski Runners. She also studied modern dance with Martha Graham in Middlebury and kept an eye on the dance world and the Island Moving Company in Newport. After Middlebury, she earned a master’s degree in library science at Simmons College in Boston, MA, where she was introduced to her future husband Keith by a dear college friend Marguerite, who was dating Keith’s good friend George. While raising three children, she pursued a career as a librarian at the Portsmouth Free Public Library and later at the Redwood Library and Atheneum in Newport, RI, where she specialized in the care of the original collection of rare books. of Redwood dating from the founding of the Library in the 18th century. Maris could always be found “in the stacks”.

After retiring from the Redwood after 35 years of service, Maris volunteered with several organizations whose missions appealed to her passions for history and nature. She supported the Maria Mitchell Society on Nantucket, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Colonial Dames. The Emmanuel Church community in Newport, RI nurtured his spiritual life and has been a constant for over 50 years. She was a dedicated member of the Church Choir and Sacristy for many years.

Maris was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother. Her brother Frederick and sister Pamela grew up together sharing their love of nature and a love for their respective faith communities. Husbands and husband Keith were married for 54 years and in their later years enjoyed their travels together and loved spending time with their children and five grandchildren. Maris enjoyed sharing tennis and wildlife watching with his grandchildren. She always had a pair of binoculars nearby to identify anything she saw in flight. Maris welcomed all the dogs and cats in the neighborhood with open arms and her visits were a highlight of their day.

Maris is survived by his children, Lesley Humphreys, Gardner Humphreys and his wife, Allison Brown, and Pamela Mathieu and her husband, Peter; his brother, Frederick Swan and his wife, Patricia, and his sister, Pamela Curtin. She will be missed by her grandchildren, Jay, Ella, Shepard, Martin and Emma.

She was predeceased by her parents, Frederick and Beatrice Swan, and her husband, Keith C. Humphreys.
A funeral service will be held at Emmanuel Church, 42 Dearborn Street, Newport, RI 02840 on Saturday, July 16, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. with a reception to follow immediately following the service at the church.

Pastor Dorothy L. Hughes, Business Owner and Gospel Musician, Dies | Richmond Free Press

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Pastor Dorothy Lee Lynch Hughes, founder and leader of the Victory Christian Center RVA in Richmond and owner of two residences for the disabled, has died.

Pastor Hughes, who his family said also won acclaim for his gospel musical “How I Got Over,” died Monday, June 20, 2022. She was 83.

Her life was celebrated with a six-hour service Saturday, June 25 at St. Mark’s Church of God in Christ on the North Side, and she was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Pastor Hughes, who was born and raised in Richmond, started his church in 2004 as the Bread of Life Family Worship Center on the South Side. Long based at 3120 Hull St., the church’s name was later changed to Victory and moved two years ago to 3509 Midlothian Turnpike.

Before founding the church, she was certified to support people with intellectual disabilities and started Joshua Home Family Services LLC, which now has locations in Chesterfield County and Danville.

Pastor Hughes has also gained attention as a church singer and as a writer of short church plays, his family said. She later expanded the sketches into the gospel production “How I Got Over” which at one point featured Grammy Award-winning Shirley Caesar.

She was predeceased by her husband, Ernest W. Hughes Jr.

Survivors include her children, Rev. Cynthia D. Brown, Earnestine A. Clarke, Deborah M. Hammond, Pastor Darryl Hughes, and Kizzy N. Hughes; two brothers, Grady N. Hughes and Moses “Jimmy” Lynch; nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Same-Sex Attracted Catholics Teach Church Through Courage Ministry

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Throughout June, rainbow-colored flags flutter outside restaurants, signs with mantras such as “Love is love” rest in windows and parades march through the streets of the city, all to celebrate Pride month. The LGBTQ event grew out of the Stonewall Uprising, a conflict between police and a gay club in June 1969 in Manhattan that led to protests and further sparked the gay rights movement.

Also this month, in a quiet, private room, members of a church apostolate showed up for a June meeting. A chaplain hears confessions as members pray the rosary, followed by a reading aloud of the five goals of the apostolate: chastity; prayer and dedication; camaraderie; Support; and be good examples/role models.

Afterwards, the chaplain gives a brief speech and the members take turns informing the group about how they lived the goals. After closing remarks, the group often goes out to dinner or gathers for another form of fellowship.

“Most people who come don’t miss a meeting,” said Fr. Richard E. Dyer, chief chaplain for the apostolate in the diocese.

The members belong to Courage, a church apostolate for people who experience same-sex attraction. They meet weekly or monthly, depending on the chapters, for confidential meetings. The group supports and appreciates each other, Father Dyer said.

For Courage members, June – like the rest of the year – is a time to continue living the teaching of the church in faith.

A new apostolate

Courage began in 1980 in New York under Cardinal Terence Cooke, who saw the need to support Catholics experiencing same-sex attractions and who sought to live chastely in accordance with church teaching on homosexuality.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that homosexual acts are contrary to natural law, close the sexual act to the gift of life and do not reflect sexual complementarity. However, men and women with a homosexual tendency “must be welcomed with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (no. 2358).

Courage’s first meeting was held at a church in Manhattan. The following year, the members identified the five goals and chose the name Courage. The apostolate has spread to other US cities and Canada and now has chapters around the world.

In 2004, the Diocese of Arlington opened a chapter and Father Paul D. Scalia, then parochial vicar of St. Rita’s Church in Alexandria, was appointed chief chaplain. He is currently the pastor of St. James Church in Falls Church and Diocesan Episcopal Vicar for Clergy.

There was immediate interest. “Even before I started the chapter, some men had approached me asking for help,” Father Scalia said.

“We have church teaching and we’re good at teaching it clearly, but we weren’t as good at providing people with a way to live that teaching,” said Father Scalia, who considered courage as a means for the church to provide this support.

The first meeting attracted about ten men. Since then the apostolate has developed into two chapters with about 20 members.

“Attracted by the truth”

In the 1980s, as the Courage Apostolate formed and grew, Joe (who asked that his real name be withheld) and his wife separated due to his same-sex attraction. He started chasing the men.

Raised a Catholic, he knew his lifestyle was not aligned with church teaching. But he continued to attend Mass, and in 1992 he learned of the existence of a Courage Chapter in the Archdiocese of Washington.

“I basically knew I wasn’t happy,” he said. “I think everyone who enters the apostolate and has lived this lifestyle has recognized that it is not a happy lifestyle.”

He decided to attend a meeting. Nervous that anyone might see him, he drove to the scene early to make sure he wouldn’t be seen entering.

After the first meeting, the word that came to mind was “hope”. But, “I was in the lifestyle at the time and I had a partner and so I didn’t really want him to know I was looking for the exit…I didn’t have the guts to era.”

The following year, his companion died of AIDS.

“After that, it started the process of converting my heart,” he said. He returned to the apostolate in 1998 and has been a member for over 20 years. He is now involved in a diocesan chapter.

“What I found was a community of Catholics who wanted to live a chaste life,” he said. “I was led by the Holy Spirit to find the Apostolate of Courage.”

Garrett Johnson worked as a hairdresser, openly gay and heavily addicted to marijuana. By his late thirties, he was struggling and losing clients. “I was very isolated, cut off most of my friends and family,” he said. “I kept thinking that God couldn’t have created me just to get by.” Raised Catholic “nominally,” he said — his mother grew up Catholic and his father was an agnostic/atheist — he stopped going to church around the age of 12.

He continued to struggle, his marijuana addiction making him physically ill. Around this time, his mother came back to the faith and gently encouraged him. He quit smoking and became more involved in the church. He told a priest about his same-sex attraction, and that’s when he heard about Courage. He felt resisted, but he committed to going to five meetings. “What Courage was didn’t appeal to me much,” he said. “I didn’t like the idea of ​​being responsible for my behavior, I didn’t like the idea of ​​being connected to people.” Still, “I knew I had to be there.”

He attributes a Courage conference as the place where God made a change in him. Held annually, the conferences bring together members from different chapters for holiness and faith discussions, workshops, and prayer.

At the end of the conference, another participant put his arm around him as a sign of camaraderie. Johnson was resistant to physical contact, especially from men. “I felt something happen inside me,” he said. “It allowed me to be closer to men in a friendly, chaste and brotherly way.”

He has been a member of Courage for nine years now, attending chapters in Arlington, Washington and Baltimore.

“I’m drawn to the truth, which is what brought me back to the Catholic Church,” Johnson said. “What draws people to the church is…truth and love.”

The work continues

“(June is) a heavy month,” Johnson said. Most years he works on the Saturday of the Pride Parade in Washington and can catch a glimpse of the events through the living room window.

Last June, Father Dyer implemented a spiritual plan called C30: Countering Pride Courageously, to motivate Courage members to do more prayer, fasting and almsgiving for 30 days. Members can choose from a list of different daily, weekly or one-time activities. Additionally, he leads the chapter by following the book “33 Days to Greater Glory: Total Consecration to the Father through Jesus Based on the Gospel of John,” by Father Michael Gaitley.

This month and every month, Johnson said the church and other Catholics can lend their support by upholding church teaching. “Tell the truth, but help us carry the burden,” he said. “The best way (Catholics) to be helpful is to be honest with us and walk with us,” he said.

Courage also has a ministry for family and friends of people with same-sex attraction called EnCourage. These support groups began forming in 1987 to meet the spiritual needs of spouses, parents, friends, and others who had a loved one experiencing same-sex attraction. EnCourage now has chapters around the world, including in the diocese.

Joe said it takes courage to live a counter-cultural lifestyle.

“(Courage’s founders) knew it would take courage — intellectual courage, spiritual courage, and even physical courage,” Joe said. “To challenge the cultural whirlwind we are in.

For Father Dyer, the members of Courage are an inspiration.

“Members heroically live chaste lives,” he said. “(Courage has) been one of the great blessings of my priesthood.”

Bartlett can be reached at [email protected]

Learn more

To learn more about Courage in the diocese, write to [email protected]

To learn more about EnCourage in the diocese, email [email protected]

The story of two bishops| National Catholic Registry

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VATICAN CITY – The Vatican’s recent contrasting handling of two bishops has highlighted concerns over discrepancies in bishops’ discipline, with no explanation available why one of the two bishops was removed from office while the other was allowed to remain in office.

Both cases involve Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, whom Francis relieved of his episcopal duties in March, and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, who has not been sanctioned despite a series of allegations, including the mishandling of a case of sexual misconduct by a diocesan seminarian.

“The treatment of such cases seemed to me quite arbitrary,” a cardinal told the Register on condition of anonymity, adding that this approach raises “serious and justifiable questions.”

The Vatican has not given a reason for firing Bishop Fernández, 57, who in a March 9 statement protested the decision, calling it “totally unjust.”

“No trial was made against me, nor formally charged with anything and simply one day the apostolic delegate [the pope’s representative in Puerto Rico] communicated to me verbally that Rome was asking me to resign,” Bishop Fernández said. “A successor to the apostles is now being replaced without even undertaking what would be a proper canonical process to remove a parish priest.”

The bishop added that he had been asked to resign because he would “have not been obedient to the pope and that I had not been in sufficient communion with my brother bishops of Puerto Rico”.

Some of his supporters protested this decision in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Juan and launched a petition demanding his reinstatement.

A document, prepared by legal advisers to Bishop Fernández and obtained by ACI Prensa on June 13, detailed the history of grievances between the now dismissed bishop and the head of the Episcopal Conference of Puerto Rico, Archbishop Roberto Octavio González Nieves de San Juan.

Their longstanding disagreements, mostly revolving around Archbishop González’s passionate belief in Puerto Rico’s independence from the United States – a position opposed by Bishop Fernández as well as historically by the Vatican — came to a head when the two clashed over the correct approach to COVID-19 vaccinations, with Bishop Fernández breaking ranks with his fellow bishops in support of the right to conscientious objection.

But sources told the Register that the vaccination issue was just a pretext to fire Bishop Fernández. A more central factor in his departure, they said, is the strong relationships Archbishop González has with influential prelates close to Pope Francis. His close friendship with Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who is said to have played a key role in many of the Holy Father’s episcopal appointments, is particularly significant.

Archbishop González’s personal story is also relevant to concerns about Vatican inconsistency. In 2012, while Benedict XVI was still in office, the archbishop refused to obey numerous requests from the Vatican to resign, despite the insistence of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. According to the archbishop himself, the Vatican accused him at the time not only of promoting Puerto Rico’s independence from the United States, but also of other serious offenses, including the protection of priests pedophiles and support for hereditary rights and health benefits for same-sex couples.

However, after the election of Pope Francis in 2013, Archbishop González was allowed to remain Archbishop of San Juan.

Bishop Stika

Unlike the harsh disciplinary action taken against Bishop Fernández, the case of Bishop Stika has not prompted a similar intervention from the Vatican, even though it involves a series of serious allegations.

The Pillar extensively reported on allegations regarding Bishop Stika’s handling of the case of a seminarian who was fired from St. Meinrad’s Seminary in Indiana in March 2021, after three fellow seminarians accused him of misconduct. sexual. After the dismissal, Bishop Stika told the Pillar that the seminarian’s dismissal was unjustified and the diocese continued to list him as a diocesan seminarian. Bishop Stika also reportedly took the seminarian on vacation for 10 days after his dismissal and then personally intervened in the investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations to replace the investigator originally appointed by a diocesan review board.

After the Congregation for Bishops received approximately 10 complaints about the bishop’s leadership, which included concerns about his relationship with the seminarian as well as questions about the bishop’s reported erratic behavior and alleged fiscal recklessness, the Vatican commissioned an investigation by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville. . Archbishop Kurtz reportedly submitted the results of his investigation to the Congregation for Bishops some time ago, but so far Bishop Stika, who has played down many complaints, remains in office and no action has been taken. was taken.

Other contrasting cases have been seen elsewhere recently, particularly in Germany, where Pope Francis ordered Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, an outspoken prelate opposed to the country’s controversial synodal path, to take a seven-month sabbatical l last year despite being cleared of any wrongdoing. case of abuse. Such action was not applied in the same way to his episcopal colleagues in Germany; Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Bishop Stephen Ackermann of Trier both offered to resign following investigations into mishandling of abuse, but the resignations were not accepted, discipline like that applied to the cardinal Woelki was not company.

Pope Francis blamed “a lot of pressure groups” and long-running internal conflicts for the situations in Cologne and Puerto Rico. “There are a lot of dioceses like that,” he said in a June 14 interview with the Jesuit newspaper. La Civilta Cattolica.

Lack of clarity

The Register contacted Cardinal Ouellet and the Holy See press office several times to see if they could provide clarification on this matter, but they did not respond.

The Register also asked several cardinals, bishops, priests and canonists what they thought of these discrepancies and why they thought they were occurring. Few of them wished to be named by name, but all recognized that an important problem needed to be solved.

“My impression is that these cases are not handled according to a standard process,” said one of these prelates. “I’m afraid the decisions will very much depend on who the accused bishop’s friends are and how much of the pope’s ear they have. Since everything is done in the utmost secrecy, there is no way to demonstrate the service of justice.

A US bishop told the Register, on condition of anonymity, that it is “difficult to assess whether we are really dealing with ‘injustices’ given that so little information is made public,” and things are also complicated by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Bishops both dealing with these cases and having different norms.

He said that, like most bishops, he was “looking forward to seeing what happens” with Your Estis Lux Mundi (You are the light of the world), François’ 2019 motu owner aimed at ensuring that bishops and religious superiors are held accountable for their handling of cases of abuse. The document has been in effect for a three-year trial period that ends this summer.

Michael Dunnigan, a canon lawyer from Indiana, said that although motu owner was “a welcome development”, the threat of “the arbitrary exercise of ecclesiastical power has long been a problem, and one remains”. He said this despite safeguards put in place in the 1967 Synod of Bishops and the 1983 Code of Canon Law to prevent such problems.

Dunnigan told the Register that Bishop Fernández’s case was “puzzling indeed,” and that it is not just the right to due process that is at stake, but also that the faithful’s right “to information” – a right that “applies in the Church“. , as well as in civil society. Referring to the Decree of the Second Vatican Council on Social Communications Intermirifica (Among the Wonderful) and his 1971 application file Communio and progressio (Unity and Advancement), he said that “the Holy See should inform the faithful – especially those in Puerto Rico – of the specific reasons for the removal of Bishop Fernández.”

Marc Balestrieri, founder and president of Canonical Aid, a legal advisory and canon law advocacy service, agreed with Dunnigan that the Code of Canon Law ensures that dismissals and discipline of “holders of ecclesiastical office are carried out fairly,” but he noted that as far as bishops are concerned, “the norms governing the system have in recent years become more opaque”. He pointed out that Canon 416 governing the vacancy of episcopal sees does not explicitly list removal as a cause of vacancy and that even in the new apostolic constitution of the Roman Curia, Evangelium Predicate, word “revocation” is not mentioned in relation to bishops.

Bishops subject to direct impeachment by the Pope have no right of “appeal” because, according to Canon 1404, “the First See is judged by no one”. However, Balestrieri stressed that the bishop and the lay faithful have the right to present new information and evidence that could cause the pope to reconsider his decision “for the common good of the Church”, if not simple justice if the decision to “relieve” a bishop was based on incomplete or erroneous reports.

Some canonists believe that a solution to the problem might be to address these issues more publicly, and with increased use of canonical trials which can sometimes be more effective in resolving these issues.

Balestrieri, who said he has legally defended a bishop, believes that recent events demonstrate that the norms governing the “relief” and “dismissal” of bishops must be improved and clarified by the Holy See, and that the press office of the Holy See needs to be more specific when using these terms.

For example, press releases were issued regarding the same bishop, who in one language used the non-canonical term “relieved”, but in other languages ​​he was “retired”. “Dismissal” is a penalty in canon law, while “relieved” is not necessarily penal in nature.

According to Balestrieri, “In the absence of greater clarity given by the Holy See regarding the canonical rights of diocesan bishops, and of more precise and uniform press releases issued in all languages, the risk that diocesan bishops and lay worshipers interpreting a bishop’s ‘relief’ as being against the law will only increase.

Aurora Church Vacation Bible School Focuses on Managing Emotional Health

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Stay cool when it’s hot!

This was explored at Aurora Advent Christian Church’s Vacation Bible School, “Lava Lava Luau,” June 6-10.

The tropical luau-themed school included Bible lessons, craft activities, and small and large group discussions.

Morning sessions were held indoors and outdoors, weather permitting.

Volunteer teachers, guides and assistants included Adventist Christian adults and youth as well as adults and youth from the Redeemer Community Church, which celebrates Sunday afternoon at Aurora Advent.

Controlling emotions through the word of God was the theme of the participants, 53 children from kindergarten to sixth grade.

A different emotion was explored in each of the school sessions.

Tori Mull, headmistress of the school and wife of pastor Matt Mull, said the emotions brought to light were anger, sadness, jealousy and frustration and learning to respond with kindness to negative attitudes.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

On Friday evening, June 10, Tori Mull led a closing program for parents and caregivers that showcased the talents of her students with readings, songs and choreography.

For each school day, groups of students shared readings. Other highlights were group songs and music videos chronicling school activities.

Mull thanked school volunteers, youth and adults from the Aurora Advent and Redeemer Community, for their service.

She announced that the students had raised $200 to benefit Compassion International, a nonprofit organization in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Compassion is a global ministry that serves over 2.2 million babies, children and young adults by partnering with over 8,500 churches in 27 countries to help break the cycle of poverty.

Compassion provides a direct path to children who need help the most by partnering with evangelical, indigenous churches on the front lines of poverty.

Pastor Mull said Aurora’s contributions will help build two water systems in an underserved country.

Refreshments in the church gymnasium concluded the event.

Bay Area Pastors intervene after Roe v. Wade overturned

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The annulment of Roe v. Wade has plenty of people blaming the decision on religion or denouncing it for the same reason.


Local clergy are weighing in on the decision, including two pastors with differing opinions on the matter.

Gulf Coast Community Church pastor Jerry Cisar gave his perspective on the historic decision.

“I actually talked about it on Sunday – mainly, the fact that the events of the last week are not a time for jubilation,” he said. “Because number one, the goal has never really been to have a world in which abortion is illegal, although I think that’s a good thing. The goal was to have a world in which abortion was not necessary.

Cisar says he’s anti-abortion.

“We think it’s important that the weakest member of society is protected from the most powerful,” he said. “So I think women should be protected from those who have authority over them, but I also think a baby in the womb should be protected from those who have more power over their lives.”

Like many, Cisar said he turns to the Bible for answers.

“Verses that tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves,” he said. “Verses that tell us not to kill.”

Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church pastor Louis Murphy reads this same book and underlines John 8:7.

“So Jesus said to those of you who are without sin, then you cast the first stone,” he said.

He has a different view and a different Bible verse in mind on this issue.

“I ask the question, ‘Why does it have to be where?’ I’m both – I’m pro-life and pro-choice,” he said. “I strongly defend a woman’s right to choose; and I stand firm on the sanctity of life. They go together. But this woman must choose what is best for her.

Murphy said there are so many more pressing issues — like poverty, racial and social justice, and gun violence — for believers to focus on.

“It’s not that I support abortion,” he said. “I support (the idea that) God gives everyone the right to make choices. God doesn’t force us to do anything – he asks us to make good choices, and you can’t force anyone to do anything. good choices.”

While these two pastors may disagree, they agree on much more — like not mixing politics with religion and leading with love as a Christian.

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert ‘tired’ of separation of church and state ‘trash’

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Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who faces a primary election on Tuesday, says she’s “tired” of America’s separation of church and state, a longstanding concept that only stems from a “stinking letter” written by one of the Founding Fathers.

Speaking at a Sunday church service in Colorado, she told congregants, “The church is supposed to run the government. The government is not supposed to run the church. This is not how our founding fathers understood it.

She added, “I am tired of this separation of church and state that is not in the Constitution. It was in a stinky letter, and it doesn’t mean anything they say. His comments were first reported by the Denver Post.

The First Amendment to the Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of any religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, has been widely interpreted to mean the separation of church and state – although the expression is not explicitly used.

Gwen Calais-Haase, a political scientist at Harvard University, told the Washington Post that Boebert’s interpretation of the Constitution was “false, misleading and dangerous.”

Calais-Haase said she was “extremely concerned about the environment of disinformation that extremist politicians are taking advantage of for their own gain”.

Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, tweeted in response to Boebert’s comment: “I can’t. Not today.”

Steele also tweeted a line from the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

The “stinky letter” Boebert mentions is apparently an 1802 missive sent by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and ardent advocate of the inclusion of a bill of rights in the Constitution, wrote in explanation of the First Amendment: “I look upon with sovereign reverence this act of all the American people which declared that its legislature should ‘make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, nor forbidding the free exercise thereof’, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

The Supreme Court has since cited Jefferson’s letter in key cases, according at the Freedom Forum Institute, an advocacy group that works to raise awareness of First Amendment rights. Calls for a separation between church and state intensified in the 1800s as Americans feared the dominance of the Catholic Church in governmental matters.

A day after Boebert’s comments, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Washington state school board discriminated against a former football coach when it fired him. sanctioned for post-match prayers in midfield.

The decision favored the protection of religious faith over concerns about the government’s endorsement of religion.

Supreme Court rules on high school football coach who prayed in midfield

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch wrote in the Decision 6 against 3 that the prayers of Bremerton High School assistant coach Joseph Kennedy were protected by constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and religious exercise.

“Respect for religious expressions is essential to life in a free and diverse Republic – whether those expressions take place in sanctuary or on land,” Gorsuch wrote. “Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in brief, silent, and personal religious practice doubly protected” by the Constitution.

Boebert, an incendiary member of the Republican Party, is challenged by other party candidates in Tuesday’s primary in Colorado.

Among the primary elections and runoffs unfolding Tuesday in seven states are five U.S. Senate races, four gubernatorial contests and dozens of polls for House seats. The results could give a quick look at how voters are reacting to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling quashing Roe vs. Wadewhich had guaranteed the right to abortion for almost half a century.

Five races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries

Boebert thanked God for the court’s decision and received congregational approval Sunday at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt.

“Look what happened this week?” she said to cheers.

“It’s the fruit of your labor, your votes and your prayers – it’s your harvest,” she added.

Without naming him, Boebert also appeared to thank Donald Trump for his presidential role in nominating three conservative justices to the court. “God called a man who was not a politician to run for office, and I believe he was anointed for that position. He answered that call,” she said.

She rallied the faithful to be “bold”, stressing that “there is still work to be done”.

“It’s so vital for the church to come together,” she said.

EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans call on DHS and DOJ to provide information on threats to churches

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North Carolina Republican Rep. Dan Bishop sent a letter Friday to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) calling on them to respond to questions about attacks on churches and congregations in across the United States.

The letter, first obtained by the Daily Caller, was edited by Bishop and signed by 17 other House Republicans. In the letter to DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland, Lawmakers Mention DHS Notifying Catholic Bishops There Are Credible Security Threats to Churches and Bishops Before Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade and ask what specifically the two agencies are doing to ensure security. churches, clergy, bishops and congregations. (RELATED: Protesters vandalize, incendiary pro-life centers during weekend of violence over Dobbs decision)

Protesters continued to line up outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices while vandals attacked churches and pro-life groups as the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. The vandalism and protests began even before the final notice was issued after a leaked draft notice was released saying the court would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Lawmakers also asked what the DHS and DOJ were doing to prevent threats against churches and attendees. (RELATED: ‘Sadness turned into strength’: DC pregnancy center condemns pro-abortion vandals after attack)

Here are the questions lawmakers ask in the letter:

  • What specific information do you have regarding threats against churches? What are you doing to keep churches, clergy, bishops and congregations safe?
  • Are there any grants administered by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security that churches are eligible for and can use for security purposes? Have you been proactive in reaching out to churches that may be at increased risk of attack?
  • What are the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice doing to interdict threats against churches and to protect clergy and congregants?

READ THE LETTER:

(DAILY CALLER GOT) — … by Henry Rodgers

“Americans should never fear for their safety while attending church. Yet churches have faced a campaign of intimidation and vandalism unprecedented since the draft Dobbs notice was first leaked. The prosecutor General Garland and Secretary Mayorkas must immediately ensure that these repeated attacks stop and that those responsible are brought to justice quickly,” Bishop told the Daily Caller before sending the letter. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: GOP lawmakers demand explanation from AG Garland for targeting American parents)

The Daily Caller contacted DHS and DOJ about the letter to which they did not immediately respond.

Parkland community comes to support Uvalde in times of crisis

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UVALDE, TXThis story refers to suicide. If you or someone you know is having difficulty, you can reach the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.

Communities united in tragedy – the community of Parkland wraps its arms around the community of Uvalde.

“Two like toddlers, then two kids, then a couple of adults, are you okay? Alright you wanna come park here and I’ll meet you here okay,’ Pastor Nolan McLaughlin told a family in their car.

“Dear Uvalde…I love Parkland” — this message printed on black shirts, the two cities linked in tragedy.

“Our church hosted six of the funerals there. And I attended with some of our employees all of the funerals and so when this happened here I thought to myself, we have to do something because we have experienced first hand the pain in the community that takes place said McLaughlin.

A d

Pastor McLaughlin lived two miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed by a 19-year-old gunman.

McLaughlin now lives in San Antonio and works at Motion Church. The Robb Elementary massacre brought back all-too-familiar feelings of grief.

“Often after tragedies like this, suicides have taken place and we think one more suicide is too much. So we want them to choose life and know that they are loved and that some people in Florida and some people in San Antonio love them,” McLaughlin said.

The boxes are called Lifeboxes, a mantra held by founder Heather Palacios. She has struggled with suicidal thoughts since she was eight years old.

“I know what it’s like to live in a community where there’s been immeasurable tragedy and I can’t fix anything, but I can do something small for anyone who’s on the verge of giving up,” Palacios, founder of Wondherful.org and says Lifeboxes.

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So they got to work. San Antonio Church packed 600 boxes with help from Parkland Church.

The boxes are separated by age group and they are also available in English and Spanish.

Each one is lovingly composed, with a handwritten note inside for the person opening it.

“Dear Children of Texas, I hope you are doing well and recovering from the trauma you have suffered and I hope you have a great summer. Sincerely, Nathan Coral Springs, Florida,” Palacios said while reading a note in the box.

Each has a Bible, journal, pen and other items to let the opener know they are not alone.

For Donny Ray Valdez and his children who live in Uvalde, they can feel the love.

“We just appreciate these boxes. These boxes are going to deliver, I guess, more like hey someone cares about us,” Valdez said.

“Here’s one for you buddy and one for your friend, okay.” God bless you guys,” McLaughlin said as he handed boxes to people’s cars.

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

Los Angeles churches react to Roe vs. Wade ending

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For Pastor Netz Gómez and the 1,500 members of his Houses of Light church in Northridge, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was an answer to their prayers and decades of hard work.

“We thank God that this injustice has finally been rectified and that states have the right to decide how they want to proceed with abortion rights,” said the pastor, a Mexico native who founded the church in his hometown. salon 22 years ago and has regularly delved deeper into American politics. “But we really thank God because we have prayed so much for an end to abortion. Abortion is an injustice. Killing babies is an injustice.

Over the past few days, Pastor Gómez has received hundreds of text messages from congregants and friends supporting the court’s decision, and when he spoke about it from the pulpit on Saturday evening, his congregation cheered.

Over the weekend in Southern California, followers of many different faiths reacted in diverse ways with jubilation and grief, joy and anger, to the court’s momentous decision.

On Sunday, 30 miles south and east of Houses of Light, the Reverend Alfredo Feregrino, associate rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, said he knew immediately he had to rewrite his sermon when he learned of Friday’s decision from a deluge of texts and emails.

People attend a Friday night vigil at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena with Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley.

(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

The church held a Friday night vigil with Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley to mourn the loss of constitutional right, and hung a red banner declaring ‘Abortion is health’ outside the church. church for weeks.

In a Sunday morning sermon inside a chapel adorned with rainbow flags, Feregrino said the decision would have the most severe effects on people living in poverty, those on low incomes and people with irregular access to health care. If the move was really about protecting babies, he said, there would be “months and months of parental leave for everyone,” free diapers and formula, universal preschool and more. forms of parental support.

The congregation applauded and shouted their assent.

For some among the Christian faithful – especially many Catholics and Evangelicals – the decision that allows individual states to decide whether and under what circumstances abortions will be legal, if at all, represents a long-awaited step to save precious unborn life. , while for others it is an incomprehensible attack on the fundamental right of women to decide for themselves what is best for their lives and those of their families.

And for some on both sides of the debate, their views have been deeply shaped by personal experiences.

Among those cheering on the Houses of Light benches was Zohira Miramda, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico at age 13 and had an abortion at age 19.

She said it was the hardest decision of her life.

Miramda was already raising two toddlers at the time, and the economic difficulties of having another baby seemed insurmountable. She decided to have a surgical abortion. And to this day, she laments what could have been.

A parishioner of Houses of Light for eight years, Miramda said she was able to come to terms with these emotions because of her Christian faith. She thinks that if young girls were given more information about how they might feel after an abortion, fewer of them would undergo the procedure.

“It’s that constant reminder that never escapes you,” she said.

In the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles, Reverend Dr. ST Williams Jr., 97-year-old pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, a historically African-American church, offered a different perspective.

Although the Synod of the Lutheran Church of Missouri supports the court’s decision, Williams said the decision “set us back as a nation, as a people and as a culture.”

Williams, who leads a congregation of 375 Black American families, as well as Caribbean, African and Latino parishioners, many of them immigrants, said the nation is already on edge over COVID-19, mass shootings and inflation.

Telling people “they no longer have the right to choose” will not allow for good family planning and will hurt those who can least afford to have children.

“It’s a sad day for a minister in the Lutheran Church because it will cause a lot of chaos and calamity,” he said of the decision. “You don’t allow people to be who they want to be.”

Pastor Steve Lee, the English-speaking senior pastor of Gereja Injili Indonesia Los Angeles from Azusaalso known as the Indonesian Evangelical Church of Azusa, said that for him Roe’s overthrow against Wade was personal.

Twenty years earlier, Lee and his wife had received news from a genetic counselor about their pregnancy: their daughter, the couple’s first child, would be born with Down syndrome.

Lee and his wife decided to carry the child to term. Six months later, their daughter was born without Down syndrome.

“What struck us, looking back, was the idea that some in society view a child with Down syndrome as less than a person, that they don’t deserve life,” Lee said. “All life should be treated with dignity.”

Lee understands that there will be celebration for some and anxiety for others. What he fears most, however, is the growing schism among Americans with opposing views.

“Thoughtful Christians also see the greater division, which is expected, but there is greater violence and hatred that has become the norm,” he said. “The vitriol that is and continues to come will only unleash more violence and destruction of life.”

Although the politics of abortion and religion have focused on Christians of various persuasions, representatives of other faiths spent the weekend weighing the implications of the court’s action.

In a sermon on Saturday morning, Rabbi David Wolpe of the conservative Sinai Temple Synagogue in Westwood acknowledged that speaking about the Supreme Court decision from the pulpit was difficult and that he expected people disagree with his message. Ultimately, he said, Jewish law is unequivocal that it is not murder to have an abortion, but it is also clear that a fetus is potential life.

Rabbi David Wolpe sits in a desk.

Rabbi David Wolpe of the conservative Sinai Temple in Westwood says that ultimately Jewish law is unequivocal that it’s not murder to have an abortion, but it’s also clear that a fetus is life potential.

(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Wolpe supports a woman’s right to decide whether she wants an abortion no matter where she lives in the United States, but he also said he will not defame those who disagree with him.

“I make, and I hope you do, a presumption of kindness to those who disagree with me,” he told congregants. “I don’t think on one side people don’t care about life, or on the other side people don’t care about women.”

“I think it’s a deep and divisive issue,” he said.

‘The scene plays over and over in my mind,’ shares church shooting survivor

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Martha lost three friends on June 16 when the only guest attending a “Boomers Potluck” party pulled out a gun.

Green bows can be found around the campus of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church as well as on mailboxes in the surrounding community. Here they lead to the entrance to the parish hall. Photo by Jennifer Davis Rash/The Alabama Baptist

The Routine Older Adult Fellowship at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the Cahaba Heights neighborhood of Vestavia Hills turned deadly as guest Robert Smith, 70, allegedly shot and killed Bart Rainey, Sarah Yeager and Jane Pounds.

Martha has never seen any of this, and she is grateful.

“I’m not sure I could have taken it,” she said. “I still hear the boom, boom… boom, and I can still smell the smoke. The scene plays over and over in my head.

Shock and sadness

With her back to the shooter, she first wondered why someone was shooting fireworks nearby – until she saw the face of a friend sitting across from her, a friend watching the shooter directly.

After the third shot, a member of the group – Jim Musgrove – knocked the shooter to the ground with a chair and overpowered him.

The funerals of Bart Rainey and Sarah Yeager took place on June 22 and Jane Pounds on June 23. Photo by Jennifer Davis Rash/The Alabama Baptist

The remaining members of the group scattered, hiding wherever they could. Linda Rainey sat on the floor, lovingly holding her husband, Bart, in her lap as he walked past.

A group of seven crept past the kitchen, down a long, dark hallway, and into part of the wooded area tucked away on campus.

seeking shelter

The two men and five women walked towards Overton Road and passed through an apartment complex. Dog-walking residents helped secure the group in the clubhouse until authorities cleared the area four to five hours later, Martha recalled.

The two men in the group remained on the phone with 911 as they escaped from the church hall (the church’s multi-purpose gathering space).

“Our instinct was to run, but we didn’t know if he could be behind us or if there could be other shooters outside,” Martha said.

Photo by Jennifer Davis Rash/The Alabama Baptist

Once safe, all they could do was wait and pray. “We walked around and prayed many times,” she noted.

And while most of the seven reached out to family members, Martha found herself in a bit of a bind.

Not only did she have to leave her phone behind, but she also failed to memorize the numbers of her family members.

“They were all in my phone, so I hadn’t been worried about knowing them,” she said.

However, as her phone sat unanswered in her purse in the church hall, Martha realized that the number of media on the scene was increasing and news was spreading quickly.

On-site help

A police officer helped her contact her family, but she vowed to know a family member’s number by heart from now on – and to always keep her purse close at hand. She also packs her strappy sandals, not the best shoes for a quick getaway, she said.

Martha and the other six riders went to a separate first group council of the eight who watched it all unfold, but now the two groups have come together to work through the tragedy.

And while they all have a long road to recovery ahead of them, they are determined to “take back our happy place,” Martha said.

“He took our ‘happy place’ from us,” she said. “He took it from us, so we’re going to take it back from him.”

Vince Hatt: Who will elect the next pope? | Local News

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Pope Francis will install 16 new cardinals on August 27, 2022. These men will be among those who vote for the next pope.

He chose one of the California Cardinals. Guess who ? There were four possibilities.

The first is Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. Traditionally, due to its size, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is headed by a cardinal. Additionally, Gomez currently serves as president of the U.S. Episcopal Conference. As the leader of the bishops, he encouraged the drafting of a document that would not allow politicians who support abortion rights to receive communion.

The second is Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. In May, he announced he would bar House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion. In a public letter, he wrote that Pelosi was “not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confesses and receives absolution.” .

Cordileone was not chosen.

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The third is Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles. Barron created and currently directs Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, the largest and growing ministry of adult education and training in the United States. Barron is also known as an excellent speaker and has been compared to Bishop Fulton Sheen. (Incidentally, Barron will soon become the bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester.)

The fourth is Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. Asked about the restoration of the ministry of women in the diaconate, he replied: “I am in favor of it”. Although he abhors abortion, McElroy warned against “weaponizing” the Eucharist for political purposes. It follows Pope Francis, who has never denied Communion to anyone, including Italian politicians who have supported certain abortion rights.

McElroy was chosen. He will be the first cardinal of the Diocese of San Diego.

Michael Winters, a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter, called McElroy’s choice “exciting. He has long been recognized as the leading intellectual among the American bishops.

The newly appointed cardinals will come from various countries: Nigeria, Brazil, India, East Timor, Ghana, Singapore, Paraguay and Mongolia. Francis continues to make the Church more universal. It has increased the percentage of cardinals from Africa and Asia while the percentage of European cardinals is decreasing.

As of August 27, there will be 132 cardinals eligible to vote at the next papal conclave. There are 11 appointed by John Paul II, 38 by Benedict XVI and 83 by Francis. This means Francis has named more than 62% of the men who will eventually elect his successor.

Some think the odds are favorable that the next pope will continue Francis’ policies. But no one knows for sure. In conclaves there is a mysterious combination of divine guidance and human evaluation. The voters are known, the result is not. When Francis was elected in 2013, it came as a surprise to most who follow the papal elections.

In the meantime, I pray for the health of Pope Francis. I’m in no rush to have a papal conclave.

Vince Hatt is the author of a new book, “5 Minutes Matter: End of Life Reflections on Spirituality and Religion.” He will be hosting a book signing celebration at the Franciscan Spiritual Center on Tuesday, June 28, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The books are available from FSC or on Amazon. Even if you don’t buy the book, stop by for a chocolate chip cookie.

Some churches help communities with gasoline gifts

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Family Life Christian Church Gas Gift
Family Life Christian Church in Clinton, Iowa, offers gas cards during a church event on June 25, 2022. |

Among the free food, games and other prizes offered at an event hosted by the Family Life Christian Center in Clinton, Iowa, on Saturday, the chance to win a $100 gas card is the biggest incentive promoted by the senior pastor Kenny Hilliard Jr. to convince his community to run.

“I want you to know that we will be giving away $100 gas gift cards to those who come to the services. Part of it will feature a drawing and you can earn $100 on Family Life Christian Church,” Hilliard said in a video posted to her church’s Facebook page Tuesday night.

“Why are we doing this?” He asked.

“Because the gas is high!” he answered her question, in a matter-of-fact tone, acknowledging that he knew the national average gasoline price hit a record high of $5 a gallon in June.

“That’s exactly why we do it. …Since the gas is high, we want to let you know that you can have $100 on Family Life…because it’s all about family,” he said.

Some economists have warned that gasoline prices will rise this summer with increased demand from travelers amid rising inflation. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the annual inflation rate in May was 8.6%, which is the highest since 1981. This means that the purchasing power of each dollar earned by American workers has been eroded by almost 9%. .

President Joe Biden has asked Congress to suspend gasoline and diesel taxes for three months until September, Yahoo! Finances paid off, but some financial experts say it won’t do much to help.

“The average adult in the United States uses about a gallon of gas a day,” Jay Zagorsky, associate professor of markets, public policy and law at Boston University, told Yahoo! Finance. “If President Biden is able to push through a gas tax exemption, the typical adult will save just under $6 a month. At a time when inflation is above 8%, an extra $6 won’t make much difference.

Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy agrees and suggested government stimulus checks of $50 or $100 sent to Americans could help more.

“If they need it for gas, they will be wise and save it,” De Haan told the press service. “And it may not have such a profound impact on gasoline demand while providing some kind of relief.”

As government officials grapple with how best to deal with high gas prices and the general economic strain being felt by American households, churches across the country are trending on social media, as well as many other organizations, to give away gasoline. Earlier this month, the Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, called their $5,000 gift of gasoline, “Gas on God.”

In an interview with The Christian Post, Hilliard, whose church opened about six months ago, said the idea of ​​handing out gas cards came about during a planning meeting with his team. at the Family Life Christian Center. Some who traveled long distances to get to church, he said, had worried about gas prices.

“There was a bit of concern with people coming to our church that gas prices were going up,” Hilliard said. “What we wanted to do is give back not only to those in our church, but we also wanted to give back to those in our community because that is ultimately what we are here for. We are here to help the community in any way we can. »

Pastor Chris Simmons, who leads Cornerstone Baptist Church that serves a low-income community in Dallas, Texas, told the Baptist Press last month that high gas prices had forced some of his members to quit. to in-person worship services for online engagement so they can keep gas in their tanks.

“Donations are down as people now have to decide whether to donate or get gas to get to church,” Simmons told the news service. “It doesn’t just impact donations. It also impacts footfall as people don’t have the money for gas and they try to ration gas. Some people went back online, for no other reason than the gas. »

Come Saturday morning, Salem Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, will also be sponsoring a gas card giveaway in the church parking lot beginning at 9 a.m. while supplies last. And according to his senior pastor, Reverend Selwyn Q. Bachus, he is simply trying to ease the pressure on his community as well.

“Salem recognizes that rising inflation has impacted gas prices, creating a daily strain on the resources of many families in our community. We want to express God’s love and support during this difficult time by offering a gas card gift to provide some relief,” Bachus said in a statement Tuesday. “We look forward to helping our community fill their gas tanks.”

Earlier this month, Life Changers Christian Church in West Allis, Wisconsin, decided to donate $900 worth of gasoline by parsing $15 of the precious commodity to each motorist. In less than an hour, they had exhausted their budget.

“That’s the need right now. People have to go to work, they have to bring their kids,” the church leader, identified as Pastor Jay, told WISN. “[For] some people, that $15 goes a long way.”

Contact: [email protected] Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

St. Petersburg man gets 2 life sentences for killing women, including pastor’s wife | Crime News

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After more than five years of delays caused by the pandemic and the defendant’s mental health, a Petersburg man was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to murdering his girlfriend and kidnapping and murder of a town pastor’s wife in a 2017 felony carnage.

Kristopher T. Jones, 37, was found guilty in Petersburg Circuit Court after pleading to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of robbery and one count each of carjacking , grand theft and escape from the police for a series of violent events that took place on the morning of January 18, 2017.

Circuit Judge Joseph M. Teefey Jr. convicted Jones after accepting his pleas and sentenced him to two life terms plus 65 years with 50 years suspended, giving him two life terms plus 15 years to serve. The punishment was consistent with a plea agreement.

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Alfred and Winnie Woodard’s home in the 200 block of South Jefferson Street in Petersburg.


Mark Bowes



The case was first delayed after Jones, who has a long history of psychiatric problems, was ruled incompetent to stand trial in March 2018 after being examined by mental health professionals. Efforts were then launched to restore his jurisdiction, “and it ended up taking a long time,” said Petersburg Commonwealth attorney Tiffany Buckner, who prosecuted the case.







Alfred and Winnie Woodard's home in Petersburg

Alfred and Winnie Woodard’s home in the 200 block of South Jefferson Street in Petersburg.


Mark Bowes



But once Jones regained his skills, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and that caused a further delay “because we couldn’t have a jury trial during that time,” Buckner said. The General Assembly then abolished capital punishment in Virginia in early 2021 and this created an additional wrinkle in the case as Jones was initially charged with capital murder. A jury trial was due to begin on Monday, but an agreement between the prosecution and defense was later reached, leading to Thursday’s plea hearing.

The events leading up to the two murders began with the abduction and carjacking of then-82-year-old Petersburg pastor Alfred Woodard from his home in the 200 block of South Jefferson Street, according to police and the summary of the prosecution’s evidence presented in court on Thursday. .







Police found the body of a victim behind this vacant house

Police tape covered the entrance to a property in the 8300 block of River Road in Chesterfield County where police found the body of Winnie Woodard behind the house on January 19, 2017, about 24 hours after she was kidnapped from his home in Petersburg.


Richmond Times-Dispatch


Jones appeared at the Woodard home around 9:30 a.m. He told Alfred Woodard that he had come to rob it and had taken $100 from the pastor’s wallet along with his bank cards. Jones also indicated that he killed his girlfriend.

Jones then forced the pastor into his own vehicle, a BMW, and ordered him to an ATM in Dinwiddie County, but the machine would not dispense cash.







Kristopher Jones

Kristopher Jones


Riverside Regional Jail


Jones then ordered Woodard to the Bank of America in the 1900 block of South Crater Road in Petersburg, where instead of withdrawing cash, Woodard alerted a teller he was being robbed .

Jones, wearing a white T-shirt with the word “Jesus”, then drove off without him in Woodard’s BMW.

A Petersburg officer spotted the speeding BMW but lost sight of the vehicle as it entered Dinwiddie. The car, driven by Jones, returned to Petersburg shortly thereafter, and an officer and detective pursued it. At one point Jones went over 100 mph and a detective in pursuit lost track of the car.







Winnie Woodard

Winnie Woodard


St. Petersburg Police


As officers investigated the carjacking, they drove to the Woodards’ home and discovered that Minnie Woodard was missing. Investigators found traces of blood on the floor, walls and carpet, as well as a large pool of blood at the foot of a bed and a bent steak knife with blood residue.

A day later, police discovered the body of a woman – later identified as Minnie Woodard – in a secluded area behind a vacant residence at 8319 River Road in Chesterfield County, where Jones had previously done work.

The state medical examiner’s office determined that she died from acute, blunt-force injuries to her head and neck.

The investigation took another turn after Petersburg police on the evening of Jan. 18, 2017, found the body of Janice Celeste Lugo, 52, dead in her apartment at 203 South Jefferson St., about a block of houses from the Woodards house. She had been asphyxiated.







Janice Lugo

Janice Lugo


St. Petersburg Police


Authorities determined that Jones and the Woodards were acquaintances, but not necessarily friends, through the housework and home renovation work the couple paid Jones to occasionally perform for them. Because the Woodards were of advanced age, Jones became their handyman.

Jones had lived in various places, and his last known address before the murders was the 200 block of South Jefferson Street – the same block as the Woodards. He was arrested by the US Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force on the morning of January 19, 2017, in the parking lot of a Lowe’s store in Norfolk, where he has family.

The Marshals recovered Alfred Woodard’s BMW when they arrested Jones.

After his arrest, Jones admitted in an interview with Petersburg police that he had gone to the Woodards’ house to rob them and that he believed they had money and were wealthy. He told Minnie Woodard he didn’t mean to hurt her but that he killed his girlfriend, who he had issues with, according to his statement to police.

Jones later confessed to punching and stabbing Minnie Woodard, forcing her husband into the bank, escaping Petersburg police and leaving his body at the vacant Chesterfield property.

Alfred and Minnie Woodard, who were pastor and first lady of Mount Sinai Christian Church in Petersburg, had been married for 56 years.

Serial thief charged with multi-state spree pleads guilty to $136,000 Henrico jewelry store heist

Jones had been convicted of two crimes in Petersburg more than a dozen years before the 2017 criminal rampage.

He pleaded guilty in 2004 to breaking into Westview Elementary School in Petersburg with another teenager, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but three months suspended. That same year, he pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding for assaulting a teenager. He was sentenced to five years in prison, four of which were suspended.

In court papers filed during the assault, a clinical social worker noted that Jones had “a long history of psychiatric issues,” described his mental health issues, and noted that he was prescribed psychotropic drugs at the time. ‘adolescence.

[email protected]

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US on track to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing war this summer | American immigration

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At least 71,000 Ukrainians have entered the United States since March, with Joe Biden’s pledge to welcome 100,000 people fleeing the Russian invasion on track to be received over the summer.

According Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data reported by NBC. Another 23,000 people have been approved but have yet to make the trip; travel arrangements are the responsibility of Ukrainians or their sponsors.

Since the program launched in April, sponsors – including friends, relatives, NGOs and religious groups – have applied online to support more than 60,000 Ukrainians seeking to enter the country. There are about 1,400 new online applications to sponsor Ukrainians, according to to a breakdown of the numbers by the Washington Post.

The United States has become an increasingly hostile environment for many migrants and refugees in recent years, but Ukrainians have been largely welcomed without controversy.

At least 12 million Ukrainians have been displaced so far, according to the UN. Of these, nearly 5.3 million have sought refuge in countries in Europe, including 1.8 million in the Russian Federation, 1.2 million in Poland, 780,000 in Germany and 120,000 in Spain. About 7 million Ukrainians are believed to be moved within the country.

With so many people fleeing and little sign of Putin’s war machine slowing down, the Biden administration will likely face pressure to lift the cap on Ukrainians allowed into the United States.

While the number of Ukrainians arriving through the citizen sponsorship program is increasing, the majority of those who have arrived in the United States to date have come using existing visas or crossing the southern border between Mexico and the United States. United States.

At the southern border, nearly 24,000 Ukrainians were expedited to the United States at land crossings like Tijuana from March to May, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.

Since then, Ukrainians have been subject to the same land border restrictions imposed on tens of thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans, who have been widely barred from seeking asylum due to the controversial Title 42 order that was in place – and used selectively – since the beginning of the pandemic.

‘We are at a critical moment,’ Bishop Burbidge says at Mass for Religious Liberty

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In union with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Religious Liberty Week, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated a Mass for Religious Liberty at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington on June 23, the day after the solemnity of the patron saint of the church.

With this year’s theme “Life and Dignity for All,” Bishop Burbidge said in his homily, “we will never tire of protecting the unborn child and the sanctity of all human life.”

Bishop Burbidge discussed current threats to religious freedom, including attacks on Catholic churches around the world and specifically attacks in the United States in response to the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

In light of the impending decision, Bishop Burbidge urged Catholics in the diocese to continue to promote the faith and promote the work of Catholic charities that support pregnant women and their children.

“We must ensure that no government interference will ever deter us from doing this work according to beliefs that we hold firmly,” Bishop Burbidge said.

With the USCCB documenting over 100 attacks on Catholic churches since 2020, Bishop Burbidge stressed, “We are at a critical juncture.”

With the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24, Bishop Burbidge recalled that the persecutors of St. John the Baptist did not ask him to deny Christ but rather told him to be silent. With St. John’s refusal to do so also came his martyrdom; Bishop Burbidge encouraged Catholics to adopt this courageous attitude as well and to vocalize their faith.

For the remainder of Religious Freedom Week, Bishop Burbidge urged Catholics to do three things: pray, reflect and act. He encouraged Catholics to pray for the prayer intention for the day of Religious Freedom Week, “for all those who attack our churches and threaten those who live their faith.”

For reflection, Bishop Burbidge urged the faithful to reflect on the lives of the saints and all those who died to protect religious freedom. Finally, in his call to action, Bishop Burbidge said now was not the time to be silent, but rather to “bravely take our faith into the public arena and elect those leaders known for their support of religious freedom and the protection of all human life”. “In doing so, Catholics will not remain silent, as the executors of St. John the Baptist would have liked, but rather promote and defend the faith, reminding the world of the continued presence of the Church, he said. declared.

Church housing program helps people in need

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – An upstate church is helping people in need find housing.

Grace Church has converted Greenville Technical College’s former student dormitories into affordable apartments.

It’s part of a new program called Front Porch Housing, designed to help residents build a strong foundation, while keeping rent low.

Most residents are coming out of crisis, poverty, abuse or in recovery.

Ann Marie Alcorta moved in last weekend. She said the program offered more than a roof over her head.

“Stability. Being able to make mistakes and be loved through it. To receive suggestions, criticism, and encouragement, and everything I needed to become a healthy person and do that in the community,”

Participants focus on building life skills and working toward financial independence.

All of this is made possible with the help of community partners and volunteers.

“It’s a two-year transitional support ministry where housing is part of the program. So you opt for support services that include Bible community, budgeting classes, and life skills classes,” said Leeann Cavin, director of care and recovery ministry at Grace Church.

There is an application and interview process in order to be considered for the program.

Learn more about Front Porch accommodation.

Reverend Ama Zenya will be installed as Senior Pastor at Woodside Village Church

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by Contributed content June 22, 2022

On Wednesday, May 25, at a duly called congregational meeting, members of the Woodside Village Church voted enthusiastically to call Pastor Ama as Senior Pastor of the Woodside Village Church. The church will officially install him in a ceremony on Sunday, June 26, followed by a meal, cakes and festivities. The community is invited to the service and to join in the celebration.

Reverend Ama Zenya started at Woodside Village Church as pastor on April 1, 2015. Originally appointed to serve as pastor for an interim period, she came to help the congregation understand each other, clarify its direction and prepare for long-term ministry. In 2018, the congregation approved an additional designated mandate. This term ends on June 26, when she will be installed as an established senior pastor.

Pastor Ama was ordained in 1998 after receiving his master’s degree in theology as well as a master of arts in biblical studies from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Women’s Studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and received coaching and church revitalization training from the Church Multiplication Training Center; in leadership development from the Gamaliel Foundation; and in transitions in ministry through the Interim Ministry Network.

Pastor Ama grew up in Kenya, East Africa, the daughter of an Anglo-Kenyan father and an Irish-American mother. She currently lives in Woodside with her husband and two boys aged 13 and 15. Her background motivates her to nurture respectful and loving relationships with people of all traditions and cultures, as well as with the land itself. Pastor Ama brings an infectious and creative exuberance to his leadership, working with others to create inclusive ministries.

When she arrived in Woodside, she met with many members of the community to learn how the village church could meet the needs of the village. Neighbors and residents told him that Woodside needed a gathering place where grandparents and those with young children at home could get to know each other, where equestrians, cyclists and walkers could meet in conversation; where everyone could find themselves in peace to experience well-being and the arts in a beautiful and welcoming environment. From these conversations, the Village Hub was born.

Created in partnership with dozens of neighbors and friends who came together to beautify the landscape, plan events and initiate programs, the Village Hub has truly become a hub for our village. Last year, a campaign called “Lift Up Our Village: Restore Our Community Hub” raised funds to improve and restore the beauty and functionality of the campus, and changes are already evident in the beauty of the courtyard of the Village Hub. The church became particularly important during the pandemic as a place where people could “safely sip” outdoors with social distancing.

And in her newly established capacity as a pastor, she envisions an ongoing collaboration between church and community that deepens the quality of life for all.

“It feels like a fresh start for Woodside Village Church that we have been working toward for seven years,” says Pastor Ama. “The whole atmosphere on the campus of the church is filled with peace, love and joy, and I believe our neighbors and friends feel this feeling when they enter the campus. The church has identified compassion , creativity, community and joy as our core values, and my hope for the future is that we continue to create a place where these values ​​shape the experience of all who visit.

Learn more about the church and the Hub.

Alabama Chapel is considered “the smallest church in the world”

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Gary Smith, like many of us, was a little bored during the early months of the 2020 global COVID pandemic, so he found the perfect thing to do during a lockdown: he built a curbside attraction. road.

On his property at incense farm A wedding and entertainment venue in Semmes, Smith and his construction team built a chapel so small it can be called “the smallest church in the world”.

The small building, named Chapel of the Fields, measures 14.44 square feet and accommodates two people standing.

“She’s small,” Smith says of the church.

Read more: Did you know that Alabama has a state mascot and it’s a bug?

Smith contacted Guinness World Records to certify the place of the chapel in the history of the route, but he has not yet received an answer. Getting certified would tick off an item on the to-do list he’s had since he was a kid.

“When I was six, my parents wanted me to shut up so they gave me a Guinness Book of World Records,” Smith said. “I decided that one day I would be there.”

Smith checked to see who claimed to have the smallest church in the world and found one on Cross Island in New York that measures 59 inches by 81 inches. This chapel, however, is too small for people to stand in.

Smith said his chapel, which measures 40 inches by 52 inches, was designed as an old-fashioned Southern church would be. The wooden chapel is surmounted by a wooden bell tower in the shape of a cross.

Read more: Sallie Howard’s Chapel in Desoto Park is a memorial to love

The sign near the Field Chapel states that it was “built with love and hope for the future”. The builders listed are Dulari Smith, Gary Smith, Jeff Caldwell, Brooke Caldwell and Alex Caldwell.

No one has been married inside the chapel yet, although many before and after wedding photos are taken there, Smith said. Loblolly Farm offers a variety of outdoor venues for wedding ceremonies. Click here for more details.

Smith said that since the church was built, visitors have come from all over the country to see the church.

” We saw [car] beacons from Nevada, Texas, North Carolina… People keep stopping,” he said. “They’re weird, like us.”

He said Loblolly Farm opened just before the pandemic shutdowns, but he and his teams continued to work on projects while waiting to reopen. “In my boredom, I started building other stuff,” he said.

Smith, who works as a research historian, said he “invented” other art forms on the farm, including a giant heart on a hill made from grass fertilized with his special mixture. The heart is 180 feet long. The site also includes a piano in the middle of the field which has been gutted and filled with succulents and an old bed frame which is now used as a ‘flower bed’.

A piano decorates a field at Loblolly Farm, a wedding venue in Semmes. (Courtesy of Gary Smith | Loblolly Farm)

Smith plans to continue reaching out to Guinness and is sure the company will agree with him that his church is the smallest.

“If someone was building something smaller, they would just put a steeple on top of a phone booth,” Smith said.

The smallest church in the world

This chapel at Loblolly Farm in Semmes, Alabama is 14.44 square feet and can accommodate two people. Loblolly is a wedding and event venue. (Courtesy of Gary Smith | Loblolly Farms)

Read more: Troy’s Sinclair Station Makes the Cutest Airbnb

Supreme Court ruling declares tuition program excluding religious schools unconstitutional – Catholic Standard

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a June 21 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that a Maine tuition assistance program that excluded religious schools violated the Constitution’s free exercise clause.

The opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said: “A state need not subsidize private education, but once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify certain schools. private only because they are religious.”

He also said that the court’s decision in Carson v. Makin stemmed from a principle in its two previous decisions, in particular the 2020 opinion in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. In that case, the court said the state of Montana could not prevent religious schools from receiving scholarships funded by tax credits under its school choice program.

The Maine case went further, asking whether the state could prevent students from using public funds to attend schools that provide religious instruction.

Roberts pointed out that a neutral benefits program that provides public funds to religious organizations through independent choices of recipients of those benefits does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

During oral arguments last December in the case, several judges criticized the state’s decision-making process in determining how religious a school was in order to decide whether or not the school could participate in the program specifically for rural communities.

Schools deemed to have the potential to “infuse” religion into classrooms were excluded while other schools deemed by the state school board to be the “rough equivalent” of public – or religiously neutral – schools could participate in the schooling program.

“It’s doctrine-based discrimination. It’s unconstitutional,” Roberts said at the time, which he essentially reiterated in his opinion.

Justice Stephen Breyer, in his dissent, pointed out that the court had “never before held” what it says today, “that a state must (and cannot) use public funds to pay religious education under a tuition program designed to ensure the provision of free public education throughout the State.”

Breyer, joined by Judge Elena Kagan and in part by Judge Sonia Sotomayor, said the ruling pays more attention to the free exercise clause and not enough to the establishment clause of the Constitution.

Nichole Garnett, a law professor at Notre Dame Law School, who focuses on education policy, called the decision “a victory both for religious freedom and for American schoolchildren.”

“The majority makes it clear, once again, that when government makes a benefit available to private institutions, it must treat religious institutions – including faith-based schools – fairly and equitably,” she said. said in a June 21 statement.

She also noted that the opinion cements the constitutional principle that “requires government neutrality – and prohibits hostility – toward believers and religious institutions.”

Garnett, signed an amicus curiae brief in the Maine case submitted by Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative on behalf of elementary and secondary schools from three religious traditions: Catholic (Partnership for Inner-City Education), Islamic (Council of Islamic Schools in North America) and Jewish (National Council of Young Israel).

Noting how the decision could impact school choice programs, she said it “removes a major barrier to the expansion of parental choice in the United States by clarifying that when states enact choice, they must allow parents to choose denominational schools for their children.”

“Denominational schools have a long and proven track record of providing a high quality education, especially for our most disadvantaged children, and policies that exclude them from private school choice programs are both unconstitutional and reckless,” she added.

Becket, a religious freedom law firm, also filed an amicus brief in the case, noting that states have a long history of excluding religious institutions from public benefits, often in part because of the amendments. Blaine embraced a time of anti-Catholic sentiment in the late 19th century.

The Blaine Amendment to prohibit direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation was first proposed in Congress in 1875 by Representative James G. Blaine of Maine.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee on Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education, issued a statement in response to the Court’s decision.

In their statement, Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Daly said, “The Supreme Court has rightly held that the Constitution not only protects the right to be religious but also law religious. This common-sense result reflects the essence of Catholic education. Additionally, the Court again affirmed that states cannot exclude religious schools from generally available public benefits based on their religious affiliation or practice. In our pluralistic society, it is vital that all people of faith can participate in publicly available programs and thus contribute to the common good.

The bishops’ statement also noted that “it is appropriate that this decision relates to a program in Maine, the state in which James G. Blaine served as a senator in 1875 when he worked for the passage of the amendment.” Blaine – a cynically anti-Catholic measure. to amend the US Constitution to ensure that no public assistance is provided to “sectarian” schools. While his efforts were narrowly defeated, the Blaine Amendments were eventually passed in one form or another by 37 states. These laws have nothing to do with government neutrality toward religion. Rather, they are expressions of hostility towards Catholics. We are grateful to the Supreme Court for continuing to rebuke this harmful legacy. »

The USCCB filed a amicus curiae short of support for the petitioners.

Tyler’s Church to Host Free Community Fireworks Friday | Local News

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On Friday, South Spring Baptist Church will host its 12th annual family fireworks celebration for the East Texas community. In addition to the fireworks, South Spring will feature a variety of family activities including inflatables, crafts, playgrounds, food trucks and giveaways.

Chris Legg, senior pastor of South Spring Baptist Church, said it was a highlight of the year for the church.

“This is an amazing opportunity to tell our community how much we love and appreciate them in Jesus’ name,” Legg said. “Plus, it’s a way of saying thank you to everyone who has been willing to serve and protect our God-given freedoms.”

Event guests will be able to enter the property at 6 p.m. through entrance FM 2813 and enjoy the various activities. Guests are encouraged to bring camping chairs and blankets to sit on to watch the show. The fireworks will begin once the sun has set, usually around 9 p.m. The crescendo of fireworks marks the end of the event.

South Spring Baptist Church, 17002 US-69, Tyler, was established in 2017. The property is open to the public and many people frequent the disc golf course and the lake to fish. For more information, visit southspring.org or email [email protected]

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‘Learn from our past,’ advises pastor at Suffolk Juneteenth celebration

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Bishop Andy C. Lewter Jr., of Hollywood’s Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral in Amityville, cheered on the crowds Monday during the Juneteenth celebration in Suffolk County – the federal holiday established last year recognizing the jubilee year marking the end of slavery – to see it as more than a day to “barbecue and party”, but rather “a chance to reflect and learn from our past”.

Lewter, the keynote speaker at the event outside the H. Lee Dennison County Building in Hauppauge, recalled that as a child growing up on Long Island, “like so many others, I was poorly educated on most things that happened in the United States.”

Bishop Andy C Lewter of the Hollywood Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral in Amityville encouraged attendees Monday to see Juneteenth as “an opportunity to reflect and learn from our past.”
Credit: Jeff Bachner

When he was in fifth grade at Park Avenue Elementary School in Amityville, Lewter said, a teacher “told me that the slaves were happy because they were fed and clothed.” In middle school, he says, another teacher said “that slavery was not the reason for the civil war. Of course, I would find out later that those things they told me, indeed, n were not true”.

County Executive Steve Bellone said in his opening remarks, “We know that June 19, 1865 was just one moment in the long struggle for emancipation. But Juneteenth is the opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the central role slavery and the racism that sustained it played in our history Understand that history is critical to the future of our nation.

The two-hour program featured music: church hymns, gospel, and R&B familiar to African-American culture. The gathering of about 150 people was racially and ethnically diverse and included many elected officials, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as community activists and civil rights leaders who saw student performances and a gospel ensemble.

Historic exhibits on notable African Americans in Suffolk, on display in the lobby of the Dennison Building, will remain until Friday, Deputy County Executive Vanessa Baird-Streeter told the crowd.

James said that while “undeniable progress” towards justice has been made, “May Juneteenth is also a reminder that the fight is far from over, as long as innocent elderly people shopping in a Buffalo supermarket are slaughtered because of the color of their skin.”

In his speech, Lewter said “the country’s democracy is fragile.” He drew parallels between the US Capitol insurgency of January 6, 2021, where supporters of then-President Donald Trump tried to prevent the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. , and the political unrest that led to the Civil War in 1861. .

Turning to James, Lewter said: “I don’t want to embarrass anyone… but I think we have a right to truly believe that in this country no one is above the law. I have so struggled to find out how diplomatically and delicately pose the question, even to our attorney general, how, after six years of seemingly and blatantly criminal behavior, when can we expect to see the president of the former administration measured for an orange jumpsuit?” referring to the prison costume.

The crowd roared with laughter and cheers.

James, who is investigating the Trump Organization, simply smiled.

Fort Worth Episcopalians vote to join Diocese of Texas

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J. Scott Mayer
Bishop J. Scott Mayer of the Episcopal Church of North Texas leads worship at St. Alban’s Theater in Arlington, Texas. |

A group of Episcopalians in Texas who recently lost a legal battle with a dissident diocese over church property valued at $100 million have voted to join another Episcopal diocese.

The Episcopal Church of North Texas (ECNTX), formerly known as the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, on Saturday unanimously approved a proposal to join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

At a special meeting of the Diocesan Convention at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, the ECNTX voted 69 to 0 in favor of a “meeting” with the Diocese of Texas.

Bishop Scott Mayer said during a sermon that the special meeting was “not a closure” but “an outward visible sign of faith, hope and love by a liberated people”.

“You’ve done more than weather the storm. You’ve done more than survive the journey. You’ve chosen life and love,” Mayer said of years of litigation over ownership of the Diocese of Fort Worth.

“The communities and people you serve can testify that your presence and testimony matter in this world. You make a difference. And you are great.”

The ECNTX vote came days after the Diocesan Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas voted 526-14 in favor of the plan, in which ECNTX would become the northern region of the Diocese of Texas based in Houston.

The majority of the Diocese of Fort Worth voted in 2008 to leave the Episcopal Church due to disagreement with the mainstream denomination’s progressive theological views following the ordination of the first openly gay Episcopalian bishop. The split led to years of legal battles over trademark and ownership disputes.

In February 2021, the Anglican Church of North America was granted control of the Diocese of Fort Worth after several years of litigation against the Episcopal Church and ECNTX. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a state court ruling allowing the breakaway diocese to take control of about $100 million in church assets.

Currently, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas has about 160 congregations and about 72,000 active members, while ECNTX has 13 congregations and about 5,000 active members.

In April, the Diocese of Texas and ECNTX issued a joint statement announcing that they were pursuing reunification, as ECNTX was originally part of the diocese in the 19th century.

“Just as they did in the aftermath of the 2008 schism, the resilient faithful in the diocese have found new places of worship and have not missed a moment to pursue vital ministries and outreach to their neighbours,” the statement reads. joint statement.

“On April 12, the ECNTX Standing Committee voted to initiate conversations with the Diocese of Texas regarding possible reunification. On behalf of the Standing Committee, Bishop Mayer contacted Bishop Doyle with an invitation to visit the ECNTX and to open formal conversations between the dioceses.”

The next step in the process will be for the merger to be approved by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which is scheduled to meet in Baltimore, Maryland, July 8-11.

If the House of Bishops and the House of Representatives approve the reunification, it will become effective after the end of the General Convention.

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Blueifeld, W.Va. Faith leaders hold community meeting on gun violence

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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) – Bluefield, W.Va. Faith leaders gathered Saturday to hold a community meeting about gun violence in the area. The discussion was aimed at adults and parents, as the group also hopes to organize future meetings involving children and teenagers in Bluefield.

“We need to have these discussions in order to move our communities forward,” said participant Lacey Watson. “To progress from where we are to where we need to be.”

“It’s time for us to come together as a community, have a heart-to-heart conversation about what’s going on, and focus primarily on our teen population who are ultimately, you know, impacted by this situation.” , said Bishop Frederick Brown. , senior pastor at Faith Center Church in Bluefield.

Saturday’s conference lasted more than two hours and touched on community and societal issues facing the Bluefield area, as faith leaders and residents hope to seek solutions before bringing young people into the discussion.

“Tonight is mainly for our adults. We’re trying to bring the parents, the concerned citizens here,” Brown said. “Before school starts, we want to have another meeting where we invite our teenage community… We want to bring them in and have a heart-to-heart conversation with them before school starts so that we can try to avoid some of that stuff in our local school system here, it’s happening all over the country.

“I feel really good to have this conversation and steps that will follow this conversation later,” Watson said.

Saturday’s meeting was held at Bluefield, W.Va.’s Faith Center Church.

Copyright 2022 WVVA. All rights reserved.

Archdiocese of Detroit, campaign to launch the Hallow app to share the power of the Eucharist

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DETROIT — It was 3 a.m. at a parish-sponsored retreat, and Marie Wilkie of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Farmington Hills, Michigan, was in her pajamas, dozing before the Blessed Sacrament on display in the chapel.

Wilkie was unfamiliar with Eucharistic adoration, but she was drawn to the presence of the Lord before her.


While chaperoning students on a trip to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Karen Ervin of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, Michigan, stumbled across a chapel of worship.

Following the example of nuns praying before the Blessed Sacrament, she fell on her knees. Overwhelmed with emotion, Ervin got up to leave, and Christ spoke to him clearly saying, “Stay with me.

Time and time again Christ calls from his exposed place in the chapel of adoration and invites his beloved children to remain with him, to sit in silence and be present with him: “I am here”, says -he.

These stories are at the heart of the new I AM HERE campaign, a partnership between the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Hallow app created to support the U.S. Bishops’ three-year National Eucharistic Revival and to inspire people to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist and to experience its power of transformation.

U.S. archdioceses and dioceses will kick off the renewal with Eucharistic processions on June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi.

In the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron will lead a two-mile Eucharistic procession from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament to Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

The I AM HERE campaign is a way to answer the call of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in a “unique way in Detroit,” said Emily Mentock, associate director of strategy for the Department of Communications at the ‘archdiocese.

“Diocese across the country are going to emphasize worshiping Jesus in the Eucharist through things like Eucharistic Processions, Holy Hours and Eucharistic Congresses,” Mentock said. “But we know, here in the Archdiocese of Detroit, the power of testimony and testimony to release the gospel.”

The I AM HERE campaign includes a website – iamhere.org – and social media channels featuring stories of individuals whose lives have been touched by Eucharistic adoration, as well as a series of free audio meditations on the Hallow app to help people pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

The campaign also aims to partner with parishes to expand worship opportunities and encourage parishioners to submit their own stories.

The campaign includes stories from people from all walks of life and with different backgrounds and experiences, Mentock said. The website will feature written testimonials and a featured story will be shared each week along with a photo essay and in-depth first-person narrative.

“I hope people can connect with some of the stories,” Mentock told Detroit Catholic, the archdiocese’s online media outlet. “They might see similarities in a person’s life, but also be open to the possibilities of all the different ways Jesus can transform people. Hopefully we can help people encounter the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and inspire them to go meet him there.

The campaign will feature a story each week until the National Eucharistic Congress in July 2024, said Edmundo Reyes, communications director for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Over two years, over 100 individual stories will be shared.

“In addition to these featured stories, people are invited to submit their own stories to post on the website,” Reyes said. “So we hope to have hundreds, if not thousands of stories as witnesses to this transformative power of the Eucharist.”

The Archdiocese has partnered with Hallow, a Catholic app offering reflections and prayer guides, to offer free audio meditations to help people pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

“We think meditations can help people,” Reyes said. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to worship or haven’t been there for a long time, these meditations will get you started.”

There are six meditations, written and voiced by Julianne Stanz, a nationally acclaimed speaker and writer who is Director of Discipleship and Parish Life for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. She is also a consultant to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Catechesis and Evangelism and a member of the leadership team for the National Eucharistic Revival.

There is an additional meditation by Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, president of the National Eucharistic Revival. He chairs the USCCB Evangelism and Catechesis Committee, which spearheads the revival and congress.

“Our mission at Hallow is to help people pray, so it was a natural partnership for us to provide these wonderful meditations to help people as they pray before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament,” Kevin said. Cotter, Content Manager at Hallow. “Our first six meditations take the listener on a journey of encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, each centered on a truth about the nature of God: I am with you; I am love; I am the way.”

The silence of worship can be intimidating, Mentock said, so the meditations are a resource for helping people encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.

“Even for people who are seasoned worshipers, the meditations are truly great journeys and reflections on the ‘I Am’ statements of Jesus throughout the scriptures,” Mentock said. “It brings (people) into the presence of mind and heart that Jesus is there with them in the Eucharist and meets them wherever they are in their brokenness, in their sorrow, in their joy.”

The final component is a partnership with parishes to help them increase awareness and participation in Eucharistic adoration, Reyes said. The hope is to see more worship opportunities and to increase the number of people participating.

The I AM HERE campaign will provide parishes with promotional materials to encourage worship, but also to share their own stories, Reyes added.

“We want the stories to be very, very local and we want participating parishes to collect stories from their own parish to share with their own communities,” Reyes said. “We want to invite others to be inspired.”

Stories don’t have to be miraculous or dramatic, Reyes said; rather, most come from daily encounters in which Christ makes clear that he is present in the Eucharist.

“‘I am’ is the name of God revealed to us: ‘I am who I am,'” Reyes said. “The name (of the campaign) comes from the name of God which is “I am”. “Here” refers to the Eucharist, but it also refers to the fact that God is with us in our circumstances, in our brokenness, in our failures, in our hurts. God wants to be with us, and one of the ways he is with us is through the Eucharist.

– – –

Patti is a staff reporter for Detroit Catholic, the online media outlet for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Louisville pastor who walked with MLK walks for peace

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After several homicides in a few days, a civil rights icon calls for an end to violence in the subway. Rev. Charles Elliot, Jr. walked alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and is now marching for peace in Louisville. On Saturday, Elliot led a mile-long peace march from King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church to the Kroger on Broadway. of God. And that’s what this work is for – working for peace,” Elliot said. Louisville Metro Police and state officials also joined Elliot for the march.

After several homicides in a few days, a civil rights icon calls for an end to violence in the subway.

Rev. Charles Elliot, Jr. walked alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and is now marching for peace in Louisville.

On Saturday, Elliot led a mile-long peace march from King Solomon’s Missionary Baptist Church to the Kroger on Broadway.

“Let’s put it on what it is. It’s the devil and evil that got into our word and tried to separate us from the love of God. And that’s what this work is for – work for peace,” Elliot said.

Louisville Metro Police and state officials also joined Elliot for the march.

Remarks by Ambassador Tsunis at the reception in honor of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

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Residence of the Ambassador, Athens

June 18, 2022

(as prepared)

Friends: It gives me great joy to welcome you here this evening as we honor His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a man of great compassion and understanding, a disciple of love and peace.

I want to begin by also greeting His Grace the Bishop of Oren Filtheos, Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, and His Eminence Eugenios II the Archbishop of the Church of Crete.

I also welcome my many fellow Archons from the United States and Europe, including Dr. Anthony Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew, and Archon Exarchos of the Holy Great Church of Christ, Athanasios Martinos, who is also the civil governor of Mount Athos.

I would like to thank the leaders of other religious communities here in Greece for coming tonight, including David Saltiel, President of the Central Council of Jewish Communities of Greece, Alvertos Taraboulous, President of the Jewish Community of Athens, and Rabbi Gabriel Negrin for joining us. tonight with Imam Zaki Mohamed of the Athens Mosque.

And although Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America Elpidoforos could not be here today, he is in our thoughts.

The Ecumenical Patriarch has dedicated his life to making the world we live in a better place. He dedicated himself to the message of tolerance, holding regular dialogues with other Christian churches, as well as with Muslims and Jews.

When I think of His All Holiness, I always remember Mark Twain’s quote that “kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can read”.

As a New York native, I will never forget the September 11 attacks. A small Orthodox church was also destroyed that day. It was the only place of worship destroyed during the attacks.

My fellow archons and I worked for years to rebuild St. Nicholas Church. And last year, on November 2, 2021, His All Holiness officially reopened the church on the same day as the 30e anniversary of his enthronement.

He spent that day bringing others together, and I will never forget him.

His All-Holiness also works to preserve our beautiful planet. His efforts to support environmental causes have earned him the nickname “The Green Patriarch”.

The US Congress awarded the Ecumenical Patriarch the Congressional Gold Medal for his environmental work. It is the highest honor the legislative branch of the US government can bestow.

Perhaps most importantly, His All Holiness never forgets the most vulnerable people. In 2016, he visited the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos with Pope Francis and Archbishop Ieronymos to draw attention to asylum seekers in Greece.

It is fitting that we have representatives of so many faiths here, because the Ecumenical Patriarch is known throughout the world for encouraging tolerance and cooperation with people of all religions.

We proudly celebrate tonight our support for religious freedom, a fundamental human right. Our country was founded in part by people who came to the United States simply because they wanted to practice their religion freely.

Religious freedom is the first freedom enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. Respect for religious freedom is also a key foreign policy priority.

As my boss, Secretary of State Blinken, said recently: “We know that when everyone’s fundamental right to practice their faith or to choose not to observe a religion is respected, people can bring their full contribution to the success of their community; improve the lot of entire societies.

Today we are at a critical moment. We face unprecedented challenges to our values. We are at the forefront of the struggle between democratic values ​​and the voices of tyranny and authoritarianism.

Our unity is more important than ever. Our collective response today will determine the future of our world tomorrow.

We have an obligation to stand united against those forces of darkness that seek to overthrow the rules-based international order upon which our collective security and prosperity rests.

Your All-Holiness, through your service and your mission, you have taught us the importance of love and tolerance. You taught us how to make this world a better place.

We are delighted to recognize and honor you tonight and to underscore the United States’ unwavering friendship with the Greek Orthodox Church. Congratulations on 30 remarkably successful years of ministry. And we wish you many more to come!

When I was discussing with my team and a few friends an appropriate gift to give His All Holiness on this occasion, we immediately focused on his environmental ministry. I am pleased to announce tonight that I will be contributing to the replanting of trees in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Euboea, where we all saw such terrible damage from the fires last summer.

Since I can’t really give a tree to His All Holiness to take back to the Phanar, I hope he will accept this small gift as a reminder of the occasion. It includes a quote from Cosimo of Aetolia, who said: “Οι άνθρωποι θα μείνουν πτωχοί γιατί δεν θα ‘χουν σγάπη σταα α”. “People will become poorer because they will no longer have love for trees.”

It is with immense honor that I present to you His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.

Dioceses of Cardiff and Menevia prepare to welcome Bishop Mark O’Toole

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Source: Effective Communications

Ceremonies to install Bishop Mark O’Toole as Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia will take place next week at St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff (Monday June 20) and St Joseph’s Cathedral Church from Swansea (Thursday 23 June) .

Appointed by Pope Francis, Bishop Mark O’Toole has served as Bishop of Plymouth since 2013. Succeeding Bishop George Stack, who has served in Cardiff since 2011, the new Archbishop will be installed in St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff on Monday June 20. , the feast day of the Welsh martyrs Saints Julius and Aaron.

As well as assuming oversight of Catholic communities in the Archdiocese of Cardiff, Bishop O’Toole also becomes the new Bishop of Menevia, a diocese that includes Swansea and surrounding areas. The two dioceses combined incorporate much of South and Mid Wales, alongside Herefordshire.

Having spent the last eight years as Bishop in the Diocese of Plymouth, ministering in the counties of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, Bishop O’Toole looks forward to immersing himself in the communities of both dioceses.

Bishop O’Toole, 59, was born in London and spent much of his ministry there. He said, “I am grateful and humbled by the trust the Holy Father has placed in me. I face the task that awaits me with both enthusiasm and a certain anxiety, aware of my own weaknesses… it is with this deep sense that the Lord goes before all of us in this new mission, that I fully embrace this new calling in my life.”

Bishop O’Toole insists he “must listen and learn to begin with” and will deliver his homily at the Installation Masses in English and partly in Welsh.

He studied an MPhil in theology at Oxford University from 1990 to 1992, where his supervisor was the Lady Margaret Professor of Theology and Swansea-born former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Bishop O’Toole’s predecessor, Bishop George Stack, said: “I warmly welcome the appointment of Archbishop-elect Mark O’Toole as Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia ‘in persona Episcopi’. This arrangement was made by the Holy See maintaining the identity, the legal reality, the history and the pastoral life of each diocese.

“Archbishop-elect Mark will bring great gifts to this new ministry. People in every diocese will be blessed by his experience as Bishop of Plymouth. His pastoral, theological and administrative skills will be of enormous benefit to us all. His national responsibilities as Chairman of the Department of Evangelism and Discipleship of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been recognized by the Holy See for membership in the International Council of Catechesis His Celtic heritage will resonate with of the Catholic faithful in Wales and the wider community of his new home.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops‘ Conference of England and Wales, said: “I offer Bishop Mark my fullest support and fervent prayers as he prepares to assume his new role. I am sure the Catholic community in Wales will warmly welcome him, as will the leaders of other churches there and those of civil society. St David and All Saints in Wales, pray for him .

Diocese of Kerry investigation reveals rift between Catholic Church and community

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A division has developed between the Catholic Church and the local community.

This is according to a recent survey by the Diocese of Kerry Synodal Pathway team.

The survey was conducted to help the Irish Church draft a submission to the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

Kerry residents of all age groups were invited to participate in listening groups, focus groups and submissions that formed the Diocese of Kerry survey.

Inclusiveness, diversity and marginalization are the issues facing the Catholic Church today.

Secondary students disagreed with the Church’s exclusion of the LGBTQI+ community and lack of equal opportunities for women; they described it as an outdated thought and said that was not the way Jesus would behave.

The LGBTQI+ community has called on the Church to listen to its community.

They asked the Church to integrate their perspectives on sexuality, relationships, theology and ethics.

Members of the Kerry Traveler community said they did not feel welcome or respected in their local church community and demanded that local parishes do more to reach them.

The survey revealed that there is a division between the church and the local community; funerals have been revealed as one of the few times when church and community connect.

The Diocese of Kerry described the survey as a blessing and said each contribution made was an act of faith expressing concern for the life of the Church and expressing hope for the future.

Sumter Pastor Clay Smith: Desperate Prayer…

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BY THE REV. DR. CLAY FORGE
religious contributor

There was a very troubled time in my life when all I had was desperate prayer. Desperate prayer is the prayer you pray when there is no one else to turn to. If God doesn’t intervene for you, you’ll go up a stream without a paddle, canoe, or life jacket.

The details of this painful period of my life are not important. The truth was that I had made a series of bad decisions, each of which had a cumulative effect. I thought I was managing everything until my illusion of control collapsed. That’s when my prayers went from superficial to desperate.

I think it works that way for most of us. We think we have life under control. We especially pray that God keeps our small illusions of control intact. I think God drops our trick of self-deception because the kindest form of love is truth.

There was no simple solution to my situation, no magic sitcom solution. God would need to change people and change me. I felt guilty asking for his help because I knew I had created my own problems. Yet there was no alternative.

I realize that I am forgetting a lot of things, but over the course of several weeks God changed people. God changed me. Circumstances have changed. Things fell into place. I didn’t dodge a bullet; I was saved from a shell with my name on it. As the situation resolved, I remember praying again and again, “Thank you, God, thank you.



It was only recently that I realized that God had done a miracle for me. There were no flashing lights, no voices from heaven. But something supernatural happened. God has manifested himself in a way that I never thought possible. The ancient words of Isaiah had come true: “When you cross the waters, I will be with you…” The miracle of God’s presence may be the quietest miracle of all, but it is not. least a miracle for his restraint. .

Miracles are not just healing events. Every child born is a miracle. Marriages that last are miracles. Empowered children are miracles.

Moses parted the waters, but God always opens a way for you through obstacles. Jesus helped Peter get the catch of his life, but Jesus always opens doors of opportunity for you.

Some of my brothers and sisters in Christ are more comfortable asking for miracles. The crowd I’m running with seems so scared that God won’t send a miracle that they’re afraid to ask for one. Billy Graham once said he thought heaven would be full of miracles no one asked for. This comment reminds me to ask God to send all the miracles I can handle my way.

Perhaps a good first step for you is to pray that God will open your eyes to the miracles around you. Ask God to show you what He has already done for you. An old hymn still echoes in my memory: “Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God has done…” A blessing is a miracle by another name.

Never confuse miracles with orders. We ask for miracles; we don’t give orders to God. We trust in what God will do. Why does God sometimes give the miracle and sometimes not? We do not know. We only know that God wants the best for each person. Working with billions of people and their agency to do what is right requires a mind greater than mine. I hope God knows what’s best for everyone involved, even if it doesn’t seem the best to me.

We live in a world that needs miracles. We need a miracle to bring our country together. We need miracles to protect our children from all kinds of threats. We need a miracle to stop a war that is disturbing the whole world.

I need, you need, we need personal miracles. We need the miracle of joy to bring hope every day. We need the miracle of peace so as not to lose faith in the face of turmoil. We need the miracle of love to help us love those who persecute us or even those who annoy us deeply.



Desperate prayers are about the miracles we need. Believe that God can do the impossible. Pray for his will to be done. Pray for miracles, big and small, to be done. Desperate times call for great miracles.

Reverend Dr. Clay Smith is the senior pastor of Alice Drive Baptist Church in Sumter. Email him at [email protected]

US national security adviser says US is in talks with Ukraine over ‘negotiated outcome’ with Russia

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Smoke and dirt rise from the city of Severodonetsk, Ukraine during fighting on June 14. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Hundreds of civilian refugees at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk are no longer able to evacuate due to sustained Russian artillery barrages, the Luhansk regional military governor told CNN in a telephone interview on Thursday. .

“It’s impossible to get out of here now,” said Serhiy Hayday. “I mean, it’s physically possible, but it’s very dangerous due to the constant shelling and fighting.”

“If someone came out, they would have a 99% chance of dying,” he added.

Hayday told CNN that 568 people, including 38 children, are currently sheltering in the factory in eastern Ukraine.

Civilians sheltering in Azot have food stocks, but they have not been replenished for two weeks, the head of the military administration of the Severodonetsk district, Roman Vlasenko, told CNN on Wednesday by text message. Most of those housed there are chemical plant employees, their families and some local residents, he said.

“They’ve been hiding there since the very beginning,” he told CNN. “There are real bomb shelters there.”

The Azot plant is a major chemical manufacturer which, before the war, was one of the largest producers of ammonium nitrate, which is used as fertilizer, in the country. DF Group, a conglomerate headed by Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, said the plant had an annual capacity of more than two million tonnes and also produced products such as ammonia.

These compounds, of course, are highly explosive and harmful to human health. But the DF group said in March that she acted quickly to secure the plant when the war broke out in late February and that it “presents no danger” to the surrounding area and its inhabitants.

“After the outbreak of the war, production was completely suspended,” the company said on its website. “The remnants of finished products (fertilizers) and chemicals were completely removed from the territory of the enterprise beyond the Luhansk region.”

Hayday told CNN authorities tried to convince civilians sheltering there to leave the factory last month, before major bridges were destroyed, but many were convinced it would be safer to stay. on the spot.

“They didn’t want to go,” Hayday said. “They thought it was safer there for some reason. The last time we offered to evacuate them was a day or two before the first bridge was destroyed. [on May 21]. My first deputy came to talk to them, but unfortunately they didn’t want to leave.

He said there have been several instances of civilians leaving shelter – for example to cook – and then being injured or killed by incoming fire.

Since this week, the three main bridges between Severodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk have been impassable. Hayday said roads still existed between towns, but required more travel along the Siverskyi Donets River – and greater exposure to incoming fires.

The fact that these roads exist, however, sets the Azot plant apart from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, where civilians and fighters sheltered for weeks earlier this year. In this case, the Ukrainians were surrounded by Russian forces on three sides and the Sea of ​​Azov on the fourth side.

Earlier this week, Russia said it would open a “humanitarian corridor” for civilians from the factory to be evacuated, but only to Russian-held territory to the north, not Ukrainian-held Lysychansk, West.

Hayday said an evacuation would only be possible if there was a full ceasefire, but he was highly skeptical of any promises made by Russia.

On several occasions during the war, Ukrainian officials said, Russian forces broke promises to open evacuation corridors, drove evacuated civilians into their territory, and disregarded ceasefire agreements. fire.

“I hear a lot of what they say, but 99% of it is all nonsense or a lie,” Hayday said. “If there is a complete ceasefire, then we can get people out. But I don’t believe the Russians – as much as they lie, as much as they gave their word and didn’t keep it. There has plenty of such evidence.

Church Approves Abuse Measures

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Attendees at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday passed a resolution encouraging state lawmakers to criminalize pastors who sexually abuse their parishioners.

Baptists also passed a resolution publicly apologizing to survivors of sexual abuse and another urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court opinion classifying abortion as a constitutional right.

An attempt to abolish the agency that lobbies on behalf of Southern Baptists in Washington failed.

The resolutions dealing with sexual abuse were passed a day after the convention overwhelmingly approved recommendations made by the denomination’s Sexual Abuse Task Force, which called for the creation of a database containing the names of church leaders and volunteers who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Noting that many states and their licensing boards already prohibit sexual relationships between clients and their physicians, psychiatrists, or attorneys, the Baptists called on “legislators in each state to pass laws that would provide definitions and classification consistent cases of sexual abuse by pastors, such as sexual abuse”. committed by pastors constitutes a manifest abuse of authority and trust.”

Delegates, known as messengers, voted overwhelmingly for the resolution, which noted that Arkansas is among states that already have laws on the subject.

Under Arkansas Code § 5-14-126 (2020), a person commits third-degree sexual assault if the person:

“Engages in sexual intercourse or departs from sexual activity with another person who is not the actor’s spouse, and the actor is … a member of the clergy and is in a position of trust or authority over the victim and uses the position of trust or authority to engage in sexual intercourse or to deviate from sexual activity”.

At the 2021 Southern Baptist annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, messengers said pastors who commit sexual abuse should be permanently disqualified from holding leadership positions in a church.

Pastoral standards should be as high as those set for lay professionals, Wednesday’s resolution said.

Griffin Gulledge, a pastor at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, Georgia, urged messengers to support the measure.

“We have spent a lot of time this week and in the history of our convention discussing the need to resist, reprimand and expel wolves from our midst,” he said, adding, “There is no ‘There are no wolves more destructive than those who destroy the faith by abusing sex.’

Too often, “sexually aggressive or sexually predatory pastors can move from church to church, with a trail of victims left behind and we just say, ‘He’s fallen into sin,'” Gulledge said.

“It is illegal in many states for a teacher to have sex with a student of legal age and it should be illegal for pastors to attack their own congregations and that congregation should have no problem saying so” , he added.

The resolution also called on lawmakers to pass laws protecting churches from civil liability “when they share information about alleged abuses with other organizations or institutions.”

In 2019, the Texas Legislature unanimously passed such a shield law which had been championed by Bart Barber, a pastor from Farmersville, Texas, and the new convention president.

At a news conference after voting on the resolutions ended, Barber said the Texas legislation had been endorsed by other organizations, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“This is not just a church problem, it is an issue that affects many parts of our society, so we would love to see not only Southern Baptist churches, but also people of goodwill across the country to work with us to help these kinds of laws get passed,” he said.

During this year’s annual meeting, the messengers passed nine resolutions and discussed a number of other proposals.

Southern Baptists on Wednesday strongly rejected efforts to abolish the denomination’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Supporters had warned the move would undermine anti-abortion lobbying efforts at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Critics have described the agency as divisive and politically motivated.

Joshua Scruggs, a courier from North Carolina, introduced the motion, accusing the commission of “causing unnecessary division among Baptists” and taking a stand on issues “on which Southern Baptists significantly disagree.”

Richard Land, who served as the commission’s chairman from 1988 to 2013, spoke out against the measure, noting that the Supreme Court, any day now, is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the ban. 15-week abortion in Mississippi.

A draft copy of the decision, leaked last month, showed that a majority of the court appeared ready to overrule Roe and send the matter back to the states.

Such a move, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler told the messengers moments earlier, would spark a state-by-state battle, with some states rushing to ban abortion and others trying to bolster the right to abortion.

Given decades of convention pressure to ban abortion, Scruggs’ motion was ill-timed, Land suggested.

“I can’t imagine a more damaging time for the Southern Baptist Convention to pull funding from the ERLC,” he said, saying the agency would be “fully prepared” to help anti-abortion forces. to prevail.

The agency, with offices in Washington, DC, and Nashville, Tennessee, became a lightning rod for controversy after its then-president, Russell Moore, became the most visible critic of the then candidate. President Donald Trump.

Moore’s criticisms of the convention’s handling of sex abuse allegations further upset some of his fellow Baptists, including Ronnie Floyd, who at the time was chief executive and chairman of the executive committee tasked with addressing the issue.

Floyd, the former pastor of Cross Church Northwest Arkansas, had also served on Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Council in 2016, as had Land and several other Southern Baptists.

On Wednesday, Land told the Messengers that he disagreed with some of the agency’s decisions in recent years, but nevertheless insisted that the agency was too important to reject.

“I have given 25 years of my life to the ERLC. I know the good it has done. I know the religious freedom it stands for. I know the unborn babies it stands for, and I implore you not to defund [it],” he said.

Wednesday marked the last day of the annual Baptist meeting.

During the rally this week, the messengers also passed resolutions condemning Russian aggression and calling for peace in Ukraine, stressing the importance of ministry in rural areas and denouncing the prosperity gospel, which teaches that Christ’s death on the cross enables believers to obtain health and wealth without suffering, sickness and poverty.

The ‘Sexual Abuse Complaint and Repentance’ resolution apologized, by name, to ten sexual abuse survivors ‘for failing to heed their collective warnings and taking swift action to fight more early against clergy sexual abuse”.

Each of the survivors had given permission for their name to be included in the resolution, the drafters said.

In another resolution, the messengers also condemned past efforts to forcibly assimilate Native American children by forcing them to enroll in federal boarding schools, and said efforts to forcibly convert Native Americans to Christianity had been “reprehensible.” and contrary to biblical teachings.

Mike Keahbone, a Native American and senior pastor of First Baptist Church Lawton-Fort Sill in Oklahoma, had urged fellow Baptists to adopt the resolution.

Pastor escapes unharmed from burning church and offered new worship spaces after blaze

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SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) – Pastor John H. Hill arrived at First Emmanuel Baptist Church in Summerville around noon to begin preparing for his congregation’s spaghetti dinner and Bible study on Wednesday evening. He says he fired up the slow cooker and got to work before settling into his office to read the scriptures.

“I heard a knock on the door, there’s a guy trying to get my attention,” Hill said. “He said your building was on fire, you need to get out, and until then I didn’t know it was on fire,” Hill said.

It was a firefighter warning him of the flames. Dorchester County Fire Chief Tres Atkinson said when crews arrived Wednesday afternoon, about a quarter of the building was ablaze and smoking. Hill was the only one inside and got out safe and sound.

Within 45 minutes, firefighters brought the blaze under control. Adkinson says when the roof collapsed, it helped smother the fire. The church steeple is still standing but black with ash.

Hill said even just hours after the fire spread, half a dozen other faith leaders reached out to offer help and support.

“These things, you consider them a tragedy, and that’s…but if it brings a community together, I’m okay with that,” Hill said. “And it’s a matter of having faith. Who do you trust? Do you trust in man, or do you trust in God? And we choose to trust God.

Rodd Hibbard is the pastor of Hope Church in Summerville, just down the street. He was on the scene as soon as he heard about the fire. He says he and his wife suffered a fire years ago and know the pain of losing memories.

“It’s very difficult,” Hibbard said. “I’m very grateful that no one was hurt, but just knowing the emotion…and especially with the church, something that you are so closely connected to, the people of this church and what they do, especially Pastor John, I just want to make sure we’re here to pray for them and support them in any way we can.

Hill says he knows his congregation can get through this because it has struggled before. Hill suffered a heart attack last year, and despite being misdiagnosed, he was back in his community as soon as possible.

“God is in control,” Hill said. “We think sometimes he’s only in control when things are good, but he’s in control when things are bad.”

He says the next steps are to accept some help from neighbors and work out a plan with his parishioners to continue worship however they can. He wants to welcome anyone in the community to join the church.

“If you come to our church and run away without at least one or two people giving you a hug, you’ve walked out too quickly,” Hill said.

Hill says First Emmanuel Baptist Church was preparing to celebrate its 85th anniversary in October, so it will be difficult moving forward with the loss of the building. But he is hopeful that with much prayer and hard work, they will rebuild.

Hibbard says watching another church burn brought him back to the day he saw his house go up in flames, and he knows what it will take to recover from the damage. But he is convinced that the community will contribute to its realization.

“It’s going to take months, and it’ll never be the same again,” Hibbard said. “There are a lot of memories where people got married here, people probably had funerals here. There are many memories that are not there in physical form.

Hibbard says he and his church will be there every step of the way.

“The church is not a building; it’s a family,” says Hibbard. “It’s a group of believers coming together and immediately trying to figure out what we can do to make sure they can still come together as a family.”

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

With criminal cases closed, Tony Spell no longer subject to travel restrictions

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Tony Spell says his first stop with his “found” freedom is a trip to Atlanta where he will see his grandson for the first time.

For months, the Louisiana pastor’s travel was restricted due to criminal matters. Spell faced charges related to his defiance of state pandemic restrictions and additional charges after he allegedly backed a church bus towards a person protesting outside his church.

Charges in both incidents were formally dismissed at a hearing before 19th Judicial District Judge Eboni Johnson Rose on Wednesday, June 15.

“They were forced to say we were right all along,” Spell said in an interview Wednesday. “It was a huge win today.”

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in May that Louisiana’s pandemic restrictions violated Spell’s religious rights, effectively dismissing all criminal charges against Spell for ignoring those restrictions.

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Charges related to the bus incident were allowed to expire without further action by the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Hillar Moore said.

Civil cases filed against the state and Governor John Bel Edwards are still pending in court.

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Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.

The Feast of the Holy Spirit in the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Russian MISSIA

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On Monday, June 13, 2022, the Feast of the Holy Spirit was celebrated at the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Russian MISSIA of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is located in the New City of Jerusalem, not far from the New Gate.

In this marvelous church, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem, together with Archbishop of Constantine Aristarchus, Metropolitan Joachim of Hélénoupolis, the head of the Russian MISSIA Archimandrite Alexandre, the elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectaire and the Archdeacon Mark. The song was sung by the church choir of nuns who serve in this church, in the presence of a noble congregation of Russian-speaking and Arabic-speaking Christian faithful.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem delivered the following sermon to this congregation:

“And behold, I send upon you the promise of my Father; but remain in the city of Jerusalem, until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) said the Lord to his disciples .

Your Grace, Archimandrite Alexander, Representative in Jerusalem of His Beatitude to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyril,

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Christian nobles

The Grace of the Comforting Spirit has brought us all together in the Holy Church of Jerusalem of the Ecclesiastical MISSIA of the Fraternal Church of Russia, to co-celebrate in the Eucharist the Most Holy, Life-giving and Almighty Spirit, the ‘Unique Person of the Triune God, who is of one essence and glory with the Father and the Son.

According to Saint Gregory the Theologian, today “we celebrate Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit, and the time appointed for the promise and fulfillment of hope. How great is the mystery! She is both extremely great and very venerable” (Vespers, Sticheron 1).

Indeed, the fulfillment of the disciples by the Holy Spirit when they were gathered in the Upper Room is a great and most revered mystery (Acts 2:1-2). And this, on the one hand, because the Disciples “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4), and on the other hand, because this Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who holds together the whole institution of the Church. According to the word of the Lord, “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). And this “Holy Spirit has always been, is and will be, without beginning or end; but he is always ranked and counted with the Father and the Son” theologizes Saint Gregory (Pentecost Sunday, Matins, Praises, Tropaire 2).

According to Saint Paul, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, meekness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such he does not there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Referring to the various spiritual gifts, the wise Paul said: “All these [gifts] operates this one and the same Spirit, distributing to each separately as he wills. For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

For we are all baptized into one Spirit into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free; and all were quenched with one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:11-13).

This one body into which we have been baptized, my dear brothers, is none other than the body of the Church, namely the body of Christ, into which we have been grafted by the gift and communion of the Holy Spirit. and we put on the new man (ref. Col. 3:10). This is why Saint Cyril of Alexandria says about the word of the Lord “it is better for you that I go” (ref. John): “we must become communicants and participants in the divine nature of the Word, or rather, leaving one’s own life and transforming oneself into another in a newness of life that will please God. However, this was impossible for us except with fellowship and partaking of the Holy Spirit. And the most appropriate time for the sending of the Holy Spirit upon us was the time after the departure of our Savior Christ”.

The power of the Holy Spirit is that which holds together the whole institution of the Church as the hymnographer says: “The Holy Spirit supplies all things; He sprang the prophecy; He perfects the priesthood; he taught wisdom to the illiterate. He presented sinners as theologians. It holds together the whole institution of the Church” (Vespers, Sticheron 3).

Indeed, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and made their hearts pure and installed in the depths of their souls “a righteous spirit” which is the Holy Spirit, as Isychios interprets it. According to Origen, “first the heart is made pure and immediately afterwards the Spirit is installed in the depths”. As the psalmist says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God; and renew in me a righteous spirit” (Psalm 51:10).

This righteous spirit is none other than the Spirit of unity and peace in Christ. It is the Spirit who sustains unity between the faithful and the body of the Church according to the advice of Saint Paul: “I beseech you therefore to walk in a manner worthy of the vocation to which you are called… striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you are called to one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:1-4). Likewise, Saint Ignatius the God-bearer exhorts the Christians of Philadelphia; “Love unity, abstain from divisions; become imitators of Christ, as he became an imitator of his Father”.

It should also be noted that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles spoke the wonders of God in tongues, the tongues of all the nations that lived in Jerusalem on the great day of Pentecost (ref. Acts 2:1- 11) .

Local churches are called to project these wonders of God, namely “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), as we live in a world of confusion, lawlessness and apostasy, taking into account the Voice of the Hymnographer: “Once upon a time tongues were confounded because of boldness in the building of the tower, but now tongues are made wise for the glory of divine knowledge. There God condemned the ungodly because of their offense; and here Christ enlightened the sinners by the Spirit. At that time the confusion of tongues was practiced for chastisement, but now the concord of tongues has been inaugurated for the salvation of our souls” (Vespers of Pentecost, Apostiche, Glory).

Let us pray, my dear brothers, as “sons of the Church full of light”, the Theotokos “who gave flesh to the Word”, so that, through her intercession, the Spirit of Truth dwells in us. And let us say with the hymnographer: “Draw near to us, draw near, you who are present everywhere, and as you are always with your apostles, so unite with you also we who aspire to you, O compassionate one, so that that being united to you, we can praise and glorify your most Holy Spirit” (Oikos). Amen. Many happy comebacks “.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a meal at the Hotel Sergei near the MISSIA. The Patriarch of Jerusalem gave the following speech there:

“Dear Father Alexander,

Mr. Ambassador,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Beloved Monks,

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Today we had the chance to celebrate again the Monday Divine Liturgy of the Holy Spirit in this great church dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

As we joyfully sang today:

When the Most High came down and confounded the tongues of men,

He divined the nations.

When he dispensed the tongues of fire, he called all to unity,

And with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit.

(Kontakion of the Feast)

We therefore rejoice in the unity to which we have been called in our beloved Orthodox Church.

We come to this feast today with the words of the Psalmist in our hearts:

Create in me a pure heart O God,

And put in me a new and righteous spirit.

(Ps. 50[51]:ten)

We are commanded to maintain the unity of the Spirit by the bond of peace, precisely because there is one body and one Spirit (Eph. 4:30.

As we gather here, we do so in full realization of the challenges we face in our world and in our Church. These challenges should not surprise us, for even in the scriptures we are given warnings.

In the Gospel of Saint Luke, we read that there will be distress among the nations on earth, violence, fear and distress of all kinds (cf. Lk 20:20-28). The Church is also not immune to such dangers, for St. Paul warns that there should be no divisions (the Greek word is “schisms”) within the body, but members may have the same concern for one another (1 Cor. 12:25).

We know well that the truth is also what Saint Paul says: If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together (1 Cor. 12:26).

But this joyous celebration of the Holy Spirit reminds us of the freedom which is the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Church: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). It is freedom that is the guarantee of our peace and unity, a freedom that is not only for the Church, but for all humanity. As the hymnographer reminds us at Pentecost, the Most High has called everyone to unity.

In our world today, people of religious faith, and especially Christians, are in many places under pressure. Globalization threatens the uniqueness of cultures, societies and religious traditions. The Church of Jerusalem, as Mother of all the Churches, gives her life for the unity of the Church, and over the centuries the Patriarchate has been the guardian and guarantor of the Christian values ​​of the Scriptures and of the Holy Tradition. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ longed to gather the children of Jerusalem as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, so the Church of Jerusalem has gathered her children for protection and succor (cf. Matt. 23:37) .

At the first Pentecost, the people heard the disciples tell them of the great deeds of God (Acts 2:11). It is the role of the mission of the Church of Jerusalem, to witness the great actions of God and to embody in our lives the freedom and unity which are God’s gifts to the Church and to human family.

May God grant us all the heavenly Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the treasure blessings that fill all things, that we may more clearly reflect the freedom and unity to which we are called.

Thanks”.

Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Clean Air Act standards contribute to ‘significant’ reduction in air pollution, new study finds | earth beat

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A man stops to take a photo of the Utah State Capitol and smog-covered buildings in downtown Salt Lake City on Dec. 12, 2017. (CNS/Reuters/George Frey)

It’s not hard for Don Brown to detect when the air quality is dropping in Columbus, Ohio.

His body has plenty of ways to tell him.

The 70-year-old pensioner suffers from asthma, COPD and sinus problems. High levels of dust and pollutants in the air, as well as fumes from diesel trucks traveling on nearby Highway 71 in his southern Columbus neighborhood, make it hard to breathe. So are the high levels of pollen and mold and the heavy, sweltering humidity that comes with Ohio summers.

“When they issue an air quality alert, I close the hatch,” Brown said.

A former sheet metal mechanic and plumber and current member of the Genesee Avenue Church of Christ, Brown has struggled with asthma his entire life. But it was more pronounced during his days in Columbus. He grew up in the capital of Ohio and, after serving in the military, moved to Southern California in the early 1970s, where he found himself breathing much easier because he lived near the beach. When he returned to Columbus in 1999 to help his mother, his asthma also returned.

“I thought I had passed it,” he told EarthBeat. Shortly after returning to the area, located in one of the country’s two “asthma belts”, he was in hospital for treatment. Now he uses three inhalers a day.

Brown’s story was one of hundreds describing environmental challenges in Columbus that was shared in listening sessions held over the past year by BREAD, or Building Responsibility Equality and Dignity, a faith-based coalition community organization of 44 religious congregations.

Each year, BREAD takes the lead of its members on issues facing their community, whether it’s elder care, gun violence or affordable housing. In November, they voted to focus on environmental justice, and with it, air pollution. One solution they support is the protection and expansion of the metropolitan area’s tree canopy.

Smoke from American Electric Power's coal-fired Mountaineer Generating Station along the banks of the Ohio River in New Haven, West Virginia is seen in this file photo.  (CNS/Jim West)

Smoke from American Electric Power’s coal-fired Mountaineer Generating Station along the banks of the Ohio River in New Haven, West Virginia is seen in this file photo. (CNS/Jim West)

BREAD is also a partner organization of the DART Center which benefits from a $500,000 grant to combat the impacts of climate change awarded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development of the United States Episcopal Conference.

Cities like Columbus have been looking for solutions to clear the air above their horizons. One of the greatest tools available to cities was the Clean Air Act, the first federal air pollution law passed in 1970. More than 50 years later, regulations continue to have an impact, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Georgetown University. .

The study, published in May by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, looked at the latest air quality standards under the Clean Air Act which came into force in 2005 These standards sought to regulate levels of fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5 – essentially small dust particles in the air often generated by burning fossil fuels, whether gasoline in vehicles or coal-fired power plants. The particles are small enough to penetrate deep into a person’s lungs and sometimes into the bloodstream, causing adverse health effects.

The Georgetown study found that enforcement of PM 2.5 standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contributed to a 3% reduction in fine particulate matter concentrations nationwide in the first five years of the standard. While that percentage may seem small, such a change in a short time is “significant and substantial,” said lead researcher Lutz Sager, assistant professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy in Georgetown.

“These latest rules for fine particulates, which really are among the most harmful types of pollution, seem to have, appear to bite, and are in fact effective in measurably improving air quality,” he said. at EarthBeat.

Sager warned that not all air quality improvements should be attributed to Clean Air Act standards alone, and that other factors such as improvements in industrial efficiency play a role and that areas the most polluted tend to show improvements over time, even in the absence of regulation.

The study also showed promising results in terms of people exposed to air pollution.

“It has been shown time and time again that there are quite stark disparities in the different levels of air quality or air pollution faced by different parts of the country and different segments of the population,” said Wise.

Often, low-income communities and areas with high concentrations of black, Latino and Asian residents have been exposed to the highest levels of pollution. A recent study, as reported by The New York Times, found that historically bounded communities — those considered risky investments for developers under 1930s federal policy guidelines — still face levels of pollution. much higher and are more likely to be located near industrial complexes. and highways.

The Georgetown study found positive, albeit incremental, improvements over the Clean Air Act of 2005 standards to help close the pollution disparity gap between black Americans and white Americans, narrowing nearly 70% from 2001-2003 to 2011-2013, with research attributing a substantial part to standards. Progress was also seen in the pollution gap between rural and urban areas, and the study also showed that improving air quality tends to have a positive effect on home values, home sales prices increase by 1% with every 1% reduction in fine particulate matter concentrations.

“I think it’s encouraging to see that these PM 2.5 rules, the latest, seem to be having at least a positive impact,” Sager said.

A cloudy fall day in the German village of Columbus, Ohio (Unsplash/Shep McAllister)

A cloudy fall day in the German village of Columbus, Ohio (Unsplash/Shep McAllister)

Such findings are positive advances in communities like Columbus, which was one of the areas with high PM 2.5 levels prior to the 2005 Clean Air Act standards. BREAD engaged local civic leaders in ways to further improve air quality and address environmental justice issues in the city.

One strategy focuses on trees. Having trees in a neighborhood helps in many ways, including reducing the impact of oppressive heat and helping to mitigate flooding. Trees also improve air quality by absorbing pollutants from the air and reducing temperatures, and with them, levels of emissions from often polluting energy sources.

In addition to encouraging city officials to expand tree cover in underprivileged communities, BREAD urged them to also pass regulations to protect existing trees on private property, which make up about 70% of Columbus’s trees. , against developer culling of one of America’s fastest growing metropolitan areas.

The initiative is good news for Brown, who says there is limited tree cover and little green space in his low-income neighborhood. And when trees are felled, new ones are rarely planted.

He hopes the city’s urban forestry master plan will help neighborhoods like his with low forest cover.

“They help absorb water from the ground, they give off a bit more shade,” Brown said. And above all, “they give off more oxygen”.

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Evanston Interfaith Groups Launch Reparations Fund Pledge

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A group of 16 faith community leaders gathered in Fountain Square at midday on Monday to formally announce their intention to help with local reparations. Credit: Debbie Marie Brown

The Interfaith Community of Evanston is the first non-governmental institution in the city to join the local redress movement.

A group of 16 faith community leaders gathered in Fountain Square at noon on Monday to formally announce their intention to help with local reparations – both in community education and fundraising.

Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss spoke at the event to a crowd of just under a hundred, saying he intended the town to be the focal point for the work of the local repair effort.

“But I’ll also say we welcome all the help we can get,” he said. “Because the magnitude of the task is such that it helps the point to impose itself. And so thank you to everyone who is here today, offering to step in to be part of this work.

The event was moderated by the Reverend Eileen Wiviott of the Unitarian Church of Evanston and included recorded messages from Biss, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th), Dino Robinson and former City Council member Robin Rue Simmons, as well as words from a few others.

Left to right, Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet, Reverend Michael Wolf of Lake Street Church and Reverend Grace Imathiu of First Church United Methodist attended an event where a group of 16 religious community leaders gathered in Fountain Square at noon on Monday to formally announce their intention to participate in local repairs. Credit: Debbie Marie Brown

The clergy presented a statement — parts of which each leader took turns reading — on their renewed commitment.

“For more than 50 years, a faith-based movement has grown in this country in favor of reparations for black Americans,” the statement said. “We can educate our community about the history of racism in our country, including racism in our own community… [we can] raise funds to support repair efforts in Evanston, including the Evanston Reparations Community Fund.

The religious groups that participated in the event were:

  • Beth Emet The Free Synagogue
  • Buddhist Council of the Midwest
  • Baha’i Community of Evanston
  • Evanston Friends Reunion
  • Evanston First Congregational Church
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Grace Lutheran Church
  • Emmanuel Lutheran Church
  • Jewish Reconstruction Congregation
  • St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wilmette
  • Evanston Lake Street Church
  • St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
  • Northminster Presbyterian Church
  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
  • United Catholic Youth Ministries (Catholic parishes)
  • Evanston Unitarian Church

Each of the congregations present signed a document as a sign of unity, and the event ended with the singing of the Evanston Unitarian Church choir.

Pastor Laura Harris-Ferree is a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Evanston and represented the congregation as one of the religious bodies signing the pledge.

They said their church joined because Grace Lutheran was encouraged by the repair fund, but they wanted to contribute to the repair beyond what the town of Evanston could offer.
“One of my members told me about 100,000 more people had to be here to hear this,” Harris-Ferree said. “But…we said that was the starting point…And so I thought that was a good start.”

Alexa Bexjian-Avery, who has lived in Evanston for 30 years, is associated with the Unitarian Church and said she attends because she wants to be more involved in local racial justice work. She came to the event to “find out what the next steps are.”

“It was good,” Bezjian-Avery said of the event. “We need more [people]. We need a lot more.

A group of 16 faith community leaders gathered in Fountain Square at midday on Monday to formally announce their intention to help with local reparations. Credit: Debbie Marie Brown

The donated money will be raised through the Evanston Community Reparations Fund, hosted by the Evanston Community Foundation and overseen by the Evanston Reparations Stakeholder Authority – a collaboration of prominent city leaders established by Rue Simmons, Robinson, Reverend Michael Nabors, Pastor Monté Dillard, Peter Braithwaite, member of the 2nd Ward Council, Henry Wilkins and Spencer Jourdain.

While many religious institutions have already contributed to the reparations fund, Monday will mark the first time clergy and interfaith leaders in Evanston will announce a joint financial commitment. They hope to encourage other faith groups in Evanston to join the effort.

Monday’s announcement, it is hoped, will reinvigorate the financial momentum of donations from other faith-based institutions. The group hopes that by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 16, 2023, they can reflect on months of significant giving.

At the end of the event, Wiviott told attendees to fundraise in the most sensible way possible for their faith communities.

“You can fundraise from your members, you can make a lump sum donation, or you can encourage your members to contribute directly to the fund,” Wiviott said.

10 retirement gift ideas for your pastor

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Retirement is a difficult but exciting time in the life of a pastor. It can be hard to take a step back from a role they put so much heart into. However, many pastors reach a point where they are ready to step down from official church leadership.

Your pastor’s desire to guide and care for fellow believers will find different expression in this next season of their lives. To celebrate their loyal leadership and friendship, you can throw them a party to express your gratitude. Consider giving your pastor one of these ten gifts as a heartfelt thank you.

1. A thank you card

Thank you cards are incredibly meaningful because you can personalize them. Choose a card that represents your pastor’s interests or one that hints at a personal joke. Then fill the inside with the Scriptures, good wishes for the future and thank you for the past. Be sure to include a personal story of how your pastor has impacted your life.

2. High quality pens

Does your pastor like to keep a journal? Consider getting them some nice pens so they can fill their free hours with writing. You can even have the pens engraved to add a personal touch. Choose rechargeable models for a greener option.

3. An audiobook subscription

If your pastor likes to read, give him an annual audiobook subscription. This will provide hours of entertainment and allow them choose specific books they want to listen. Audiobooks are a great way for your pastor to fill their time and can be enjoyed while they are busy doing daily tasks.

4. Gift cards

Gift cards are another good option. Consider offering your pastor free drinks at his favorite cafe or free money to spend on hobby supplies. You can also give them a gift card to a tech store or restaurant. Receive donations from the whole congregation and wrap the gift card in a heartfelt card.

5. Leisure courses

If there’s something your pastor has always wanted to learn, now is the perfect time for him to start. You can buy them cooking or carpentry lessons or enroll them in pottery or poetry classes. Pick something that matches their interests and will teach them new skills. This gift allows your pastor to have fun and meet new people.

6. A nice watch

A watch is a classic retirement gift. Invest in a high-quality watch to thank your pastor for the time they paid in your congregation. Choose one with a finish that matches their personal style. A watch can help them keep up with their new schedule and they’ll think of you every time they use it.

7. Event tickets

Another gift idea is to buy your pastor tickets for a fun event. You could offer them a free ride to a museum, concert, or botanical garden. If your congregation can afford it, consider sending him on vacation to a distant location or historic destination, all expenses paid.

8. Travel gear

If your pastor plans travel to retirement, stock up on travel gear. You can get them camping gear, rain gear, navigation tools, or cooking gear. Buy them a national park annual pass, scrapbooking supplies, and photo gear so they can document the trip.

9. Homemade food

Most people love homemade gifts. Consider giving your outgoing pastor a basket of homemade jam, garden herbs, and fresh meat. Ask several church members to donate items and wrap everything in a basket with tags. Your pastor will appreciate the amount of hard work and thought that goes into this gift.

10. A photo book

You can also work with your congregation to create a special photo book for your pastor. Include images of the time you spent together with heartfelt notes from different members of the congregation. Leave space in the back for your pastor to include their favorite memories and reflect on their time leading your church.

Celebrate your pastor

Retirement is a bittersweet time – your pastor leaves a leadership position he loved and moves into different forms of service. You can encourage them during this transition by affirming their work and celebrating their next step.

Saying thank you will mean the world to your pastor and help him navigate this life transition. Use this list to find the perfect gift for your pastor’s retirement party. Whether you give them a gold watch or a cast iron skillet, your pastor will know they are loved and appreciated.


Events at Dover NH Library, New Hope Baptist Church, Athenaeum

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Join the fight for fair school funding

DOVER – The Dover School Board and the NH School Funding Fairness Project will host and invite the public to participate in a community conversation about property taxes and education funding inequities in Dover on Monday, June 13 at 6 p.m. at the McConnell Center , 21 Locust St., Dover. Register on bit.ly/Dover0613.

The author talks about growing up in Dover

DOVER – Dover Public Library will present a program with author John Christie, who will read excerpts from his memoir, ‘The Prince of Wentworth Street’, about growing up in Dover in the 1950s and 1960s on Monday June 13 at 6:30 p.m.

“I will read about my days at St. Mary’s Academy, about my parents’ work in the factories of Dover and Somersworth, about living with my extended family in our building on Wentworth Street (now Boyle Street) and about my rebel buddy gang on Henry Law Avenue,” Christie said.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call the library at 603-516-6050.

After:June 16 celebrations are expanding this year: here’s what to expect

Talk about overcoming obstacles in genealogical research

DOVER — In genealogy, a “brick wall” is an ancestor who seems to refuse, despite repeated attempts, to reveal his origins. No matter how hard you try, you fail to connect them to your family tree. They remain the stubborn puzzle piece that refuses to fit in. On Tuesday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Dover Public Library, we’ll look at the most common types of brick walls and learn some tricks for tearing them down. Registration required if you wish to watch virtually. Info about dover.nh.gov/government/city-operations/library/

Kona Ice is coming to Berwick Library

BERWICK, Maine – Kona Ice of York County arrives at the Berwick Public Library on Wednesday, June 15, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Kona Ice donates 25% of sales that day to the library. For more information, visit the library’s website, berwick.lib.me.us.

Athenaeum Lecture on Black Lives Matter in Portsmouth History

PORTSMOUTH – The Portsmouth Athenaeum is hosting a series of lectures this year ahead of Portsmouth’s 400th anniversary next year. On June 15, Angela Matthews of New Hampshire’s Black Heritage Trail presents A Quest to Thrive: Looking at the Lives of Black Women and Men Over 400 Years in Portsmouth.

Each program starts at 5.30pm in the Shaw Research Library at the Portsmouth Athenaeum at 9 Market Square in Portsmouth, unless otherwise stated. Reservations for each program are mandatory as places are limited. call 603-431-2538 ext. 2. If you cannot hold a reservation, call again to free up the seat for someone else. Participation in the programs is free for owners, subscribers and friends of Athenaeum. Guests and members of the public are invited to attend the entire 2022 series by becoming a Friend of the Athenaeum for as little as $25 per year, payable at the door. Admission to an individual program is $10.

Wildlife encounters to visit Berwick Library

BERWICK, Maine – To kick off the Summer Safari Reading Program, Wildlife Encounters will visit the library on Friday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m. Wildlife Encounters will introduce us to seven of the animals in their care through their “Junior Zookeeper” presentation. .

The New Hope Baptist Church will host the celebration on June 19

PORTSMOUTH – On Friday, June 17 at 5:30 p.m., New Hope Baptist Church, 263 Peverly Hill Road, will host a June 19 celebration titled “Juneteeth 2022: Recognizing Struggle, Celebrating Resilience.” The program will feature Dr. Shari Robinson, associate vice provost for student life at the University of New Hampshire as the keynote speaker. Come enjoy the music and poetry of The Voices of New Hope Choir, Rock My Soul, TJ Wheeler and more.

A light supper will be offered from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the Lower Community Room. There are no admission fees. Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or toiletries for the Gather Food Pantry’s “Meals 4 Kids” program. Needs include: canned meat, canned beans, jelly squeeze (low sugar), peanut butter (16-18oz), granola bars, shampoo, toothpaste, paper hygienic. For a complete list of necessary items, go to www.themusichall.org/events/fill-the-hall-2022/. Cash donations will be accepted for the Frances M. Satchell Scholarship Fund.

Somersworth International Children’s Festival this weekend

SOMERSWORTH – Mark your calendar for June 17-18, for the 40th Somersworth International Children’s Festival and pre-festival celebration.

The Friday night celebration begins at 6 p.m. at Somersworth High School, with live music featuring Maine’s popular Wayne and Bad Breath Microphone, tasty food and a spectacular fireworks display. Bring your blankets and chairs. On Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Somersworth’s Main Street will be transformed into a bustling street filled with fun for kids, delicious food, craft and retail vendors, educational exhibits and more . In the early childhood area, the little ones can blow bubbles, draw pictures, do crafts and play in the sand.

Main Street will have two stages. The main stage will feature popular local bands, 3WAY from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and visitors from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The World Cultures Stage will feature local and regional entertainment, including Islandside from 10 a.m., Carol Coronis at 11 a.m., McDonough-Grimes Irish Dance at noon, Indonesian music and dance from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the Burlington Taiko Group from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The cart will provide free round-trip transportation from Main Street to Noble Pines Park.

There will be a lot more fun at Noble Pines Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Pines Stage will host a fine lineup of favorite kid-friendly artists, including Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate at 10 a.m., Steve Blunt at 11 a.m., Wayne from Maine at 12 p.m., Tricky Dick’s Magic Show at 1 p.m. and Matt Heaton at 2 p.m. Wildlife Encounters will be back this year! There will also be food, a petting zoo, slides and slides, skateboard demonstrations and more! The City Splash Pad will also be open.

For more information visit the Somersworth Festival Association Facebook page or their website, nhfestivals.orgemail them at [email protected] or call them at 603-692-5869.

12th Annual Father’s Day 5K this Sunday

DOVER – The 12th annual Father’s Day 5K at Margaritas will take place on Sunday June 19. Registration for the event is open. Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are invited to celebrate fatherhood during this family run/walk. Proceeds from the event help everyone in Greater Strafford County and the Seacoast region access quality health care through Greater Seacoast Community Health, comprised of Families First (Portsmouth), Goodwin Community Health (Somersworth) and Lilac City Pediatrics (Rochester).

The Father’s Day 5K is a Dover Race Series event, on a USA Track and Field certified course. Beginner and seasoned runners/walkers can visit runsignup.com/Race/NH/Dover/FathersDay5K for race details and registration. Same-day registration is available beginning at 8 a.m. with racing starting at 9 a.m. Cost is $25 for teens and adults, $5 for children under 12.

Visit the Dover Race Series at www.doverraceseries.com.

Last chance to benefit from a car or cash raffle Children’s Museum

DOVER – The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s annual car raffle fundraiser is the museum’s largest fundraiser, providing critical support for our educational programs and exhibits. This year, only 775 tickets are available for purchase and tickets are on sale for $100. The winner will have the choice between $25,000 for a new Nissan of your choice at Port City Nissan or $20,000 in cash!

Raffle tickets on sale online until noon on Thursday, June 16. Tickets can be purchased at https://71233.blackbaudhosting.com/71233/tickets?tab=2&txobjid=455eb1d3-8621-4a19-ae95-550c64bcb908

Ticket goes on sale June 20 for the Vintage & Vine Wine Festival

PORTSMOUTH – Strawbery Banke Museum announces the start of ticket sales for Vintage & Vine – A Wine Festival in Historic Style, which takes place on Saturday September 10, from 4pm to 7.30pm. The event, which takes place at the he exterior throughout the 10-acre site, heritage gardens and historic landscapes, offers guests the opportunity to sample an extensive selection of fine wines and imaginative cuisine prepared by the Seacoast region’s finest chefs and caterers. Tickets are limited and available to the public beginning Monday, June 20 at 10 a.m. at StrawberyBanke.org/events/vintage-and-vine.cfm.

General admission tickets allow guests entry at 5 p.m. and cost $85 per person (designated driver general admission tickets are $35). VIP tickets, which sold out during the member presale period, allow guests to enter at 4 p.m. and circulate the entire venue as well as the designated VIP tent. Event ends at 7:30 p.m. Strawbery Banke members receive a discount on tickets.

This year’s event is expected to sell out and advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. For more information, Strawbery Banke membership and to purchase event tickets, visit StrawberryBanke.org.

Lane County Refugee Resettlement

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Program date: June 10, 2022

Air date: June 13, 2022

From the City Club of Eugene:

Among the newcomers to our community are people referred by the US Refugee Admissions Program, the official resettlement program of the United States government. Refugees fled their home countries due to persecution. While overseas, they are reviewed and vetted by the United Nations and/or United States federal agencies, a process that typically takes years. If the refugees are approved for resettlement in the United States, the International Organization for Migration arranges their travel here. Upon arrival, they are granted “refugee” status – a permanent status offering a pathway to citizenship – and receive resettlement assistance.

In Lane County, Catholic Community Services (CCS) provides immediate assistance to anyone in need and supports families as they take positive steps to lift themselves out of poverty. One of the programs that supports this mission is the Refugee and Immigrant Services Program (RISP). Through an innovative and unique collaboration between local faith groups, service organizations, community volunteers and professional staff, RISP is helping neighbors around the world build a prosperous future here in Lane County. As a remote placement agency under contract to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, CCS serves refugees of all faiths, nationalities, and ethnicities.

RISP’s refugee resettlement and asylum seeker assistance programs support refugees, asylum seekers and asylum seekers as they settle in our community. These programs help clients improve their English skills; provide transportation to critical appointments; and supporting clients’ efforts to obtain employment and find and pay for housing. Since 2016, the RISP has resettled 9 immigrants from Syria, El Salvador and Iran. Since October 2021, RISP has resettled 33 people from Afghanistan and provided legal and social services to over 100 asylum seekers.

Speaker:

Christine Zeller Powell is an attorney with the Refugee and Immigrant Services Program at Catholic Community Services (CCS) in Lane County. She was a co-founder and longtime volunteer leader of the Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane County, a partner of Catholic Community Services in welcoming and supporting refugees and asylum seekers. She earned BS, MS, and JD degrees from the University of Oregon.

About the City Club of Eugene:

The mission of the City Club of Eugene is to build community vision through open inquiry.

The Club explores a wide range of important local, state and national issues and helps formulate new approaches and solutions to problems. Membership is open to all, and Club members have a direct influence on public policy by discussing issues of interest with elected officials.
officials and other policy makers. The City Club’s mailing address is PO Box 12084, Eugene, OR 97440, and its website is cityclubofeugene.org.

Video and broadcast

This program will be broadcast live and the videotape will be available
on the City Club of Eugene Facebook page and You Tube channel, in addition to our website. It will air on Monday, June 13, at 7:00 p.m., on KLCC 89.7 FM.

Contact: For more information, contact Silver A. Mogart, City Club of Eugene, Executive Director, (541) 485-7433, [email protected]

Local church packs 21,000 meals for hungry children to take home

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SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – A church group in Spartanburg gathered on Saturday to prepare meals for hungry elementary school children.

About 80 volunteers from St. John’s Lutheran Church packed more than 21,000 meals Saturday at the Spartanburg Parish Life Center. The meal was described as an “oatmeal and cinnamon breakfast” in a press release.

“It’s a wonderful way to serve our community in a very concrete way. Working together also creates camaraderie between members of our church and the community,” according to Frank Rudisill, of St. John’s Lutheran Church Outreach Committee.

Volunteers picked up, weighed, sealed and wrapped packets of oatmeal as the sound of a gong in the background marked milestones towards the goal of making 20,000 meals, which they surpassed.

A veritable assembly line of volunteers packaged the “fortified” oatmeal to donate to local Spartanburg TOTAL Ministries nonprofit ministries and Backpack Buddies, a school program that sends food home with Pine children Street Elementary / Mary A. Wright Elementary.

“It also strengthens the church’s relationship with the community as they donate thousands of meals that will actually help their neighbors and hungry families all around the church,” said Brad Fleming, director of Harvest Pack, an organization non-profit. relief organization that provided meal ingredients, packing supplies and project management.

The church’s outreach team organized the event with help from Harvest Pack, according to a Harvest Pack press release.

Son of Dora Akunyili: pastors ‘treated’ my mother, promised to cure her of cancer

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Obumnaeme, son of late Mrs. Dora Akunyili, former Minister of Information, has revealed how some pastors collected money from his mother, promising to cure her of cancer.

He said this during an interview with Chude Jideonwo, Director General of Anambra State Project Monitoring and Management Office.

According to him, his mother went to a number of popular Nigerian pastors in a bid to heal after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

He said many of them took the opportunity to collect money from her while giving her false hope, adding that what the men of God did to his mother was a “shove Divine “.

Obumnaeme said, “She was more like God would heal me; She spent all the money, sowed all the seeds. So I felt it was a racketeering. In Nigeria, you don’t call it crime or anything, but I felt there was a rush.

“She went to a pastor in Lagos for about a week. She came back and said they needed to do a CT scan and that God healed her. And I remember my dad crying when he took her for the CT scan. He knew what they would see. And he wasn’t trying to close it; he was trying to lower expectations.

“But my mother, you know how someone is like ‘God healed me.’ to see someone, a larger-than-life character who fades away every day.

Who am I? by Ron Witbeck, Resurrection Life Church, Big Rapids

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Have we ever asked ourselves this question? There may have been times when someone was in pain, in need, suffered a loss, or lost the will to live. We then perhaps heard the small voice of the Holy Spirit saying “reach out to them”, did we answer with “Who am I”?

If you are a child of God, choosing Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we have everything we need to reach out and let the Holy Spirit guide us! We will more than likely hear two voices, one of encouragement and the other of fear and doubt. Which are we going to listen to? The Voice that tells us to reach out and if prayer is needed, it will be provided!


Jesus tells us in John 10:10,

The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly.

‘Who am I’? At this point we can speak the truth in someone’s life or we can lift them up to see the abundance of God’s love.

Jesus had a job description and as children of God it is for us too. Luke 4:18,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

Because he anointed me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He sent me to heal broken hearts,

Proclaim freedom to the captives

And the restoration of sight to the blind,

To set free those who are oppressed; »

So now, by realizing who we are, we can help others realize that there is a better life for them. The devil, with the help of others, may have spoken lies while holding them in bondage,

Recently, Diana and I traveled to North Carolina on route to I-77, West Virginia, where we went through two tunnels. They may be scary for some, but their accuracy must be safer and faster than crossing mountains.

Life can sometimes feel like a dark tunnel. Some may not see the opening at the other end, they only need to believe that it will come out the other side of the mountain. The devil likes to stay the course on the mountain and its difficulties!

‘Who am I’? We may just be that tunnel for others who need to take them through their mountain instead of a tunnel with no opening.

– Ron Witbeck is associate pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Big Rapids.

Your thoughts on Cordileone preventing Pelosi from Communing

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San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said May 20 that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should not “be admitted” to communion unless and until she publicly repudiates her position on legal abortion. Two days late, Pelosi reportedly received the sacrament at a Catholic church in the nation’s capital. And three other bishops from the conservative wing of the American Catholic Church have followed Cordileone’s lead, barring Pelosi from receiving communion in their respective jurisdictions. Here are NCR readers’ responses to the news. Letters have been edited for length and clarity.


Suppose an archbishop prevents a Catholic politician from receiving Holy Communion because he supports a doctrine contrary to official Catholic teachings. Some might suggest that such an action is a rather confusing and possibly incorrect application of Church law and an apparent contradiction of the United States Constitution.

First, politicians are sworn to represent their constituents. If a politician ignored such an important electoral preference, he could be removed from office in the next election. Yet the Catholic Church says that supporting such a position will result in the loss of reception of a sacrament. In the refusal of communion, it is judged that a mortal sin has been committed. However, one of the three conditions of moral sin is the full consent of the will. This is a classic moral dilemma for the politician: such a person is under duress and cannot make a decision entirely freely.

Second, a person who “supports” a non-Catholic doctrine has not actually promulgated the particular doctrine in question. Another requirement for a mortal sin is called “sufficient matter.” The anti-Catholic doctrine already exists. The politician does not have the power to support or eliminate the doctrine. The Supreme Court is apolitical.

In addition, God has granted each person free will. The mere fact that another person favors/supports a certain measure does not guarantee that another citizen will follow or follow the advice. Thus, one could argue that the proposed scenario fails because it is unable to assure guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – since a politician has no position in such matters.

MICHAEL OSLANCE
St. Louis, Missouri

***

The Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone should obey the pope and enter into communion with his brother bishops at the American episcopal conference before he causes a schism. Most American Catholics believe in allowing abortion in certain situations.

He could pay some attention to the social justice teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the equality of all people created and loved by God. He could look at some of the big business activities funding the movement leading the church to a possible schism.

JAMES CORR
Cleveland, Ohio

***

Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone and former President Donald Trump have at least one thing in common. They know how to exploit a power vacuum. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and “drain the swamp” were messages that resonated with millions of white Americans in fear of “losing their country.” Likewise, Cordileone has taken the lead against Pope Francis and what the Archbishop sees as the pope’s lukewarm stance toward U.S. Catholic politicians, particularly President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and their refusal to support the abolition of abortion in this country.

To Francis and his advice that the Eucharist not be drawn into the politics of abortion, the Archbishop challenges Francis to “resign himself or shut up.” Cordileone is doing what many right-wing Catholics have wanted to do, but no one else has committed to doing it. It’s about condemning what the Catholic right sees as their support for abortion and bringing the ultimate punishment to the only person Cordileone can punish, Pelosi.

Francis is a wonderful human being and a hero to many. But if he refuses to stand up to Cordileone and his politicization of the Eucharist, he will be seen as a weak leader and a man who talks more than he does. And if Cordileone gets away with his power play, who and what are next to erode Francis’ authority and leadership?

Bill Kristofco
Parkville, Maryland

***

Doesn’t the Archbishop of San Francisco know that the Eucharist is nourishment for the community rather than a reward for good conduct?

Ed Hoeffer
Cincinnati, Ohio

***

I am saddened that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone does not see the shining example of Jesus living his own global message through the act of sharing his body and blood with his betrayer. No clearer demonstration of “love your enemies” can be found. No more specific act of sharing the Eucharist with the unworthy can be named. We don’t need to ask, what would Jesus do? The answer is there, in the synoptic gospels.

WILLIAM H. MCANALY
Granbury, TX

***

I am a catholic cradle. Please explain to me why the National Catholic Reporter objects to a bishop teaching someone to follow God’s command, “thou shalt not kill”?

Our bishops are the shepherds of the flock of God. For bishops, cardinals, priests or any religious, to remain silent while a public figure denounces the law of God would be a sin on their part. It is their calling and duty to help guide us to our own salvation through their leadership.

If a bishop cannot denounce a sin, then in the same way he cannot hear confessions and do penance. The same is true in both cases.

NANCY-BRADY
Ankeny, Iowa

***

Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone is presumptuous and mean-spirited in asserting the power to deny Holy Communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, until Pelosi votes as the Archbishop wishes on abortion as a civil law issue.

This is presumptuous on the part of the Archbishop, because in leaving us the Holy Eucharist, Jesus said: “Take of this all and eat of it, for this is my body”.

The Archbishop wants to rewrite the words of consecration to add a clause saying “all of you except Pelosi”.

This is right in the teaching of Jesus.

It is also cruelly hurtful to Pelosi, a lifelong practicing Catholic and mother of five, and her family.

FRANK LINDH
San Rafael, California

***

So where are we?

If you don’t like this bishop, cardinal, priest, you can go to another bishop, cardinal, priest and get the answer you want. It’s not new, of course, but as in this example, it’s being broadcast.

Who does or does not receive communion seems to depend on the reigning diocesan hierarch. So regardless of my state of being (i.e. sinner, repentant, etc.) and my relationship to Christ, it is up to someone else to know if I am worthy to receive Christ. And somebody else is not Christ.

I admit that I don’t know of a solution to this. There are different standards in different dioceses, parishes, ministers and laity within the church. This may be the only way to do it since we are all different and have different layers of faith, religiosity, understanding and belief. I once experienced three adjoining dioceses with three different programs, processes and ages for confirmation. Each bishop, of course, knew “best.” Then, when the bishops changed, the programs, the processes, the ages changed as well.

So what else can a person do but follow his own conscience? Or perhaps, as Buddhists humbly point out, everything is impermanent.

DAVID MURRAY
Cedarville, MI


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An introduction to the abusive FLDS church, from its self-proclaimed prophet to the forced polygamy of minors

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In recent months, Netflix has released a collection of harrowing true-crime content, from the “Conversations with a Killer” series surrounding the John Wayne Gacy tapes to the documentary “Our Father” about disgraced fertility doctor Donald Cline.

The streaming giant’s latest installation is the docuseries “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey,” which revisits the unthinkable horrors of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), a radical denomination of Mormonism.

Considered the “one true prophet”, Warren spent years brainwashing the close-knit community into spiritual subjugation, promoting child molestation, bigamy and illegal marriage.

Over the course of four episodes, the series presents several survivor stories of former members of the polygamous and abusive cult led by Warren Jeffs. Considered the “one true prophet”, Warren has spent years brainwashing the close-knit community into spiritual subjugation, promoting child molestation, bigamy and illegal marriage, in the name of religion.

RELATED: Inside the Diaries of Polygamous Wives: The Life of a First Mormon Wife

The documentary notes that Warren himself had 78 wives in total, 24 of them minors. In 2011, he was convicted of two counts of child molestation, for which he is serving life in prison plus an additional 20 years. Watch a trailer below, via YouTube:

Today, the FLDS is considered both a designated hate group and “a white supremacist, homophobic, anti-government and totalitarian cult” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Here is an overview of the history of the church, from its inception in 1890 to its practices and preaching.

The founding of the church

The FLDS was formed in 1890 after a group of nonconforming adherents broke away from the Mormon church in order to continue practicing polygamy. Polygamy being deemed illegal in the state of Utah (and nationwide), the group decided to settle in the towns of Hildale and Colorado City located on the border between Utah and Arizona . The remote locations allowed them to follow their customs and expand their clientele with little or no reaction from state law enforcement agencies in either jurisdiction.

During the 20th century, the FLDS suffered several local government crackdowns that inadvertently made the denomination stronger rather than weakened. On July 26, 1953, all FLDS members residing in Short Creek, Arizona—including 36 men, 86 women, and 263 children—were arrested in a pre-dawn raid ordered by state governor John Howard Pyle. The outcome of the raid, however, did not go as planned as it garnered negative media coverage and botched the governor’s own political career. Instead, it has bolstered public support and sympathy for the growing polygamist cult.

Reign of Rulon T. Jeffs

The FLDS’ first leader was John Y. Barlow, followed by Joseph White Musser and then Charles Zitting, following a brief community scuffle. Zitting was later succeeded by Leroy S. Johnson, who led the sect until his death in 1986. That same year, Rulon T. Jeffs took over as prophet. Prior to his role as an FLDS leader, Rulon served as an apostle high priest in Salt Lake City after returning to town in the spring of 1945.

Among his followers, Rulon was commonly referred to as “Uncle Rulon” and he “often made decisions based on visions he claimed to have received from a higher power,” per Distractify.

In “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey,” one of Rulon’s many wives, Alicia Rohbock, recounted the Prophet’s dining room wall, which arranged each photo of Rulon’s partners in the order he took them. had married. At the time of his death in September 2002, it was reported that Rulon had over 75 wives and fathered around 60 children. It is also believed that many of Rulon’s wives were underage at the time of their marriage – Rohbock, in particular, was only 20 when she married Rulon, who was 86.

“Keep Meek: Pray and Obey” (Netflix)

Warren Jeffs takes over

Son of Rulon, Warren quickly assumed his position as a prophet soon after his father’s death. What once belonged to Rulon now belonged to Warren, including Rulon’s 70+ wives. Warren married all but two of his father’s partners and, in addition, assumed his father’s previous responsibility of assigning wives to their appointed husbands.

Warren stripped the women and girls of their autonomy, ordering them to put on a new kind of prairie dress that covered them from head to toe and to do their hair in a specific way.

Many former FLDS members recalled that Warren’s leadership marked a dark period in the church’s long history. Under his rule, the rules for cult members became stricter, with Warren dictating what they wore, who they married, and what they ate. Warren also forced members to turn over personal property to church leadership, demanded that children be homeschooled, and even banned members from voting, telling them he was the President of the United States. . . .

Warren also banned the use of red colored items (even though he owned a red Cadillac Escalade) banned different types of entertainment – such as “dogs, toys, television, newspapers, internet, birthday parties, etc. ‘birthday and Christmas, festivals, parades, camping and fishing’ – and encouraged members to calm their emotions.

A handful of his rules served to control the girls and women in the group. Warren facilitated many minor and incestuous marriages, forcing girls as young as 14 to marry their distant relatives. The so-called prophet also adhered to his own rules and had 78 wives, 24 of whom were minors.

Additionally, Warren stripped women and girls of their autonomy, ordering them to don a new type of prairie dress that covered them from head to toe and to style their hair in a specific way.

Warren’s arrest

Warren became a wanted criminal in 2005, when he was first charged in Arizona with arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 28-year-old man, who was already married. The following year he was arrested as an accomplice to rape for performing another illegal marriage involving a 14-year-old girl.

In 2007 Warren was convicted of two counts of rape, and in 2008 he and other FLDS members were charged with bigamy and sexual assault.

Three years later, on August 4, 2011, Warren was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 and sexual assault of a child under 17. He is currently serving a life sentence for the first and another. 20 years for the latter.

“Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” is currently streaming on Netflix.

More stories you might like:

A North Philly pastor accused of sexually abusing three people faced his victims in court

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Three alleged victims of a North Philadelphia pastor’s sexual abuse described a similar pattern Thursday as they relived details of the courtroom encounters.

The said pastor, Mark Hatcher, 59, of Blue Bell, is said to be waiting to be alone with his victims, who all knew him as a father figure or church leader and were minors at the time. He would strike up an otherwise innocuous conversation, but then suddenly fumble, or in one case, rape the children, the victims told Magistrate District Judge Susan Leonard in her Blue Bell courtroom.

“I tried to accept it and play it cool,” said one victim, who told the judge that Hatcher exposed himself to her before fondling her breasts in a room in his home in 2000. I was terrified, I didn’t know what to do.

Another young man broke down as he recalled the five incidents from 2007 when Hatcher abused him in that same home, his already soft voice failing multiple times.

“I feel like I’m reliving it all, helpless,” the victim said.

For decades, Hatcher has been the head of the headquarters of the Holy Spirit, a Pentecostal church that worships inside the Met on North Broad Street, a position he has held for decades. He was charged last month with rape, statutory sexual assault, bribery of a minor and related offences. His lawyer, Robert Gamburg, did not present an argument against the charges during the preliminary hearing before Leonard on Thursday.

But afterwards he said Hatcher maintains his innocence, denying the allegations of the three victims, two of whom are linked to Hatcher and one of whom is a former Holy Ghost parishioner. Gamburg said the victims all had an unspecified motivation “to fabricate the allegations,” which he said he would pursue at trial in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. He declined to elaborate.

READ MORE: North Philly Church pastor charged with rape and sexual assault after alleged victims come forward decades later

The third The victim said Hatcher, his pastor at Holy Ghost, was in a relationship with his mother in 2006, when she was 13, and he offered to drive her to school twice. Both times Hatcher came to her house alone and kissed and groped her before taking her to school, she said.

Later, after having dinner in New Jersey, the two stopped to check out a home being renovated in Brewerytown that was owned by the church at the time. They entered the house, according to the arrest affidavit, and the girl sat on an old mattress while Hatcher examined a light switch. Hatcher then approached, cornered her and raped her, covering her mouth as she tried to scream for help, according to the affidavit.

The victim previously reported the incident to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit in 2008, but the city attorney’s office declined to press charges at the time. Jane Roh, the current spokeswoman for the office, said notes in the original case file indicated the accuser was believed and that police and prosecutors found her story credible.

However, for some unspecified reason, Roh said, prosecutors did not believe they could meet the burden of proof in court and did not press charges.

Montgomery County prosecutors began investigating Hatcher in January, when two of his relatives reported the abuse to Whitpain Township police, according to the probable cause affidavit for his arrest.

Both told Leonard on Thursday that they had already reported the abuse to loved ones, with one saying Hatcher’s wife promised he was “getting help.”

Charlotte Church donates land and buildings for affordable housing project – WSOC TV

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CHARLOTTE — A local church is stepping in to help ease Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis.

Caldwell Presbyterian Church donates land and buildings to Elizabeth, one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods.

The goal is to convert an existing building into 21 affordable apartment units over the next two years.

The studios will be intended for people who are homeless or who have an annual contract
low income between $17,000 and $35,000.

Several years ago, Caldwell Presbyterian housed dozens of homeless women. Now church leaders say they want to return to that tradition of helping the community.

“We did a long, hard study of what we were passionate about as a church and a church organization and the work in affordable housing really shined through,” said Eddy Capote, the initiative’s leader. for the congregation. “We had previously hosted an emergency shelter here on the property and it had just reinvigorated the church and we wanted to recreate that.”

The church hopes to begin construction later this year and open the units by 2024, but funding remains a hurdle.

So far, the church said it has raised or received more than $4 million to fund the project, but it is still about $2 million short of getting the apartments off the ground.

“The big challenge has been funding,” Capote said. “Affordable housing is not affordable to build, so it’s a $6.5 million project. … We have a funding gap, so any help and funding can be great.

More information can be found on the church website.

(WATCH BELOW: Developer will transform York County’s mobile home community to ease affordable housing crisis)

Catholic bishops support gun control. Why don’t we hear more about it?

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(RNS) – In response to recent mass shootings, Pope Francis and US Catholic bishops have called for gun control measures that would save lives. This may surprise some people who think that abortion is the sole public policy concern of the Church hierarchy. Unfortunately, the media and the bishops themselves pay too little attention to the larger “life” agenda.

While praying for the children killed and their families in Uvalde, the Pope did not hesitate to say: “It is time to say enough about indiscriminate arms trafficking.

Francis has frequently spoken out against gun trafficking, including in his 2015 speech to a joint session of Congress. “Why are lethal weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? he asked US lawmakers. “Unfortunately, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is soaked in blood, often innocent blood.”

After the Uvalde shooting, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago didn’t mince words.

“Who are we as a nation,” he asked, “if we don’t act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?

“The Second Amendment, unlike the Second Commandment, did not come from Sinai,” Cupich told NPR. “There is an understanding that we all have in our hearts, engraved in our hearts, a natural law about the value of human life. And no amendment can override that.

Cupich wasn’t the only one speaking out. On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the chairs of four conference committees issued a statement urging all members of Congress to take action in response to the killings.


RELATED: After winning on abortion, it’s time for Catholic bishops to switch sides


They were not liberal bishops, but four of the most conservative prelates in the United States: Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Washington.

They called for dialogue and concrete actions that “address all aspects of the crisis, including mental health, the state of families, the valuing of life, the influence of the entertainment and gaming industries, the ‘bullying and the availability of firearms’. They called for “the adoption of reasonable measures to control guns”, echoing the pope’s pleas that “it is time to say ‘no more’ to indiscriminate arms trafficking”.

In their Friday, June 3 letter to Congress, these bishops elaborated on what they consider to be “reasonable” gun control.

They encouraged Congress to improve “the gun background check process by voting in favor of the bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (HR 8) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 ( HR 1446)”. They also supported extreme risk protection orders through the passage of the federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021 (HR 2377).

They complained that, “In the ten years since the massacre of children at Sandy Hook, very little has been done by Congress to regulate these guns and prevent another catastrophe. We urgently call on members of Congress to work together in a bipartisan way to make these horrific attacks less likely to happen again. »

The bishops emphasize that they are not “Johnny-come-latelies” to the discussion of gun violence, noting that as early as 1994 they published a pastoral message “Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action.”

“For many years,” the bishops told Congress, “the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has supported a number of reasonable measures to address the problem of gun violence and continues to support the efforts of the United States Congress to advancing these policies into legislation”.

“It shouldn’t be the case,” they argue, “that in the United States a person needs character references to apply for a job, but not to buy military-style assault weapons.”

The bishops call for “a total ban on assault weapons and limitations on civilian access to high capacity weapons and ammunition stores,” including reserve stocks. They cite studies showing that high-capacity magazine limitations can reduce the number of people killed in mass shootings by up to 38% and those injured by up to 77%.

They also support universal background checks for all gun purchases and the criminalization of gun trafficking. The bishops added their support for recent proposals to set a more appropriate minimum age for gun ownership.

The USCCB website has additional recommendations: “Regulations and Limitations on Purchasing Handguns; measures that make firearms safer, such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using the gun without permission and without supervision.

Another page on the website provides visitors with an easy way to write to their Senators and Representatives in support of these gun control measures.


RELATED: Catholic bishops oppose some Biden programs, support others


Sadly, hardly anyone in the country is aware of the strong and comprehensive stance on gun control taken by the US Catholic bishops. Bishops rarely talk about it. Catholics don’t hear about it from the pulpit of the church. The media don’t report it.

Perhaps the Catholic clergy fear antagonizing the faithful by talking about gun control, but according to a 2012 PRRI poll, 62% of Catholics support stricter gun control, far more than the 35% of support from evangelical Christians.

Catholic social teaching has been called the Church’s best-kept secret. The bishops’ response to gun violence should no longer be a secret. It should be preached from the rooftops.

Spiritual: Centennial Celebration at Lake Helen Church

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HELPING WOMEN IN NEED – At left, Gabrielle Golka and Amy Wooley of HOPE (Helpers of People Enslaved) present a check for $10,000 to three leaders of the Created Gainesville organization: Founder and Executive Director Alison Ungaro, Specialist Grants and Community Engagement Brenda Chamberlain, and Director of Programs Laura Snook. The $10,000 grant will help the organization provide residential services to its clients. Founded in 2012, Created Gainesville opened the first home in April as a “shelter” for four women. The HOPE grant will allow Created Gainesville to complete a separate building, which will free up space in the main house to accommodate six residents. HOPE is a 501(c)(3) faith-based organization in West Volusia passionately dedicated to ending human trafficking and supporting survivors. The coalition does this through awareness, education and fundraising. PHOTO COURTESY OF JILL WOODS

Lake Helen United Methodist Churchat 121 W. Delaware Ave., celebrates its centennial on Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12.

On June 11, a program beginning at 4 p.m. will include the Mayor of Lake Helen Cameron Lane present a proclamation at the church, followed by old-fashioned ice cream and hymn singing. Everyone is welcome.

On June 12, church members, alumni and their families and friends are invited to the 10 a.m. service, where there will be a visit from Reverend Whitworth, Premier of Lake Helen UMC, represented by Lowell Mooreand mini-sermons from several former pastors.

After the service, a field dinner, including a birthday cake, will be served. There will be photos and memorabilia to view, and a tour of Pantry outside the doors. The event will end with the burial of a time capsule. Feel free to wear 1920s costumes.

Glenwood Presbyterian Church Mini-Day Camp

Glenwood Presbyterian Church hosts a Mini-day camp “Summer goals to grow” 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, June 14 to 16, for 7-12 year olds. The church is at 3190 Grand Ave.

Participants will create art and learn basketball and soccer skills. The cost is $10 for all three days.

A camp t-shirt and drinks will be provided. Children must bring a lunch bag.

To receive an application, call 386-734-8617 or email [email protected]

How to be rich without a lot of money

How often do we dream of the things we would do if only we could win the lottery? But, have you ever stopped to consider that being rich doesn’t have to be directly proportional to your bank account balances?

On Sunday, June 12, DeLand First United Methodist Church continues in the “Encounter: Jesus Makes All Things New” sermon series, examining Jesus’ encounter with a wealthy young ruler, who, when told to sell all his possessions, give his money to the poor, and follow Jesus experienced great sadness because he was very rich.

Do things, whether possessions, properties, or other tangible assets, keep us from experiencing the great wealth of spiritual bounty that is available to us? If you want to find out how to be rich without a lot of money, we encourage you to attend one of First United Methodist’s services this Sunday, either in person or online.

The church has traditional in-person worship at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the sanctuary, and a contemporary service at 9:30 a.m. at the Family Life Center. All three services are streamed live on Facebook on the First Church DeLand page, or they can be accessed via the website at Firstchurchdeland.org.

There is still time to register young people Vacation Bible School, which runs from June 20-24. The theme for this year’s VBS is “Monumental – Celebrating God’s Greatness”. Call the church office at 386-734-5113 for registration information.

Summer Sharing Series at Mosaic Unitarian Universalist

You are encouraged to travel in the desert with Unitarian Universalist Mosaic Congregation this summer for the congregation 2022 Summer Sharing Seriesbased on the exploration of the “inner journey” (Jan Phillips’ Visionary Thinking Series).

This summer, Mosaic explores the integration of mind, body and spirit. These services are designed to allow participants to share their thoughts if they wish. Sharing is always voluntary; active listening is also welcome.

This Sunday, June 12, Mosaic will begin round table type services, with a facilitator Helen Scott leading everyone through a discussion of “Outrage”. When there is injustice, outrage is appropriate and action is required.

Reflection question for this Sunday: Have you been outraged by something, and if so, what have you done about it?

Everyone is welcome. For more information about Mosaic, see the website at mosaicuuc.org. To find out how to join the virtual service, send an email to [email protected]

First Pres Activities

This Sunday, June 12, DeLand’s First Presbyterian Church recognize the unfathomable infinity of the Living God through Pastor’s “Peace, Grace and Love” sermon Michael Bodger.

With only human understanding, just like Paul, we strive to unify rather than distinguish between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – the Holy Trinity, which stands under the umbrella of our perspective.

Although disputed, Paul understood the three as one: the peace of God, the grace of Christ, and love through the Holy Spirit. So, as with Paul, the Holy Trinity transforms our lives with the one and only God whom we adore, “…God has poured out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” —Romans 5:5.

The deadline for online registration of children in the church Vacation Bible School is Wednesday, June 15. The free VBS operates 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 20-24. Visit https://vbspro.events/p/events/fpcd.

God’s bathhouse with showers and hygiene offerings will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday June 11 and 25, in front of the Salle des Missions. This free event provides people with tangible support and camaraderie.

On Sundays, the church hosts two classes for adults at 10 a.m., the open door and Serendipity. Also bible study group for men meets on Tuesday morning. A youth group meets from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sundays in the One 2 One House.

A new group of single women meets on Sunday noon. We encourage you to join the group when it first Brunch-sharing in the fellowship hall. Participants can bring something simple to share, but it is not mandatory, as there will be plenty of food to share. RSVP to Alice at 386-734-6212. The presence this Sunday does not commit you to joining.

Activities at the 1st Christian Church

The Rev. Sammy Robles Jr. bring the message to DeLand’s First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 12. For over 22 years, Reverend Robles has been a full-time active musician and performer in the theme entertainment industry. As an ordained minister, he willingly fills in when a church needs him for its worship service.

Reverend Robles is the recipient of the Fred Craddock Award for Excellence in Preaching, and First Christian always welcomes him to the pulpit to share his insightful and dynamic messages.

Monday, June 13, it’s the start of Temple Learning Center Camp at First Christian, under the direction of volunteers Voloria Manning.

The church participates in the Volusia County BreakSpot Summer Food Service Program and provides breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from noon to 1 p.m. for children in the community, as well as those attending Temple Learning Center Camp.

Church and community volunteers are Sue Brague, Edna Cortes, Tanna Gartside, Kelly Jones, Anita Lancaster, Joan and Emma Priceand Jo Spurgeon.

Women Disciples under the direction of the president Sue Brague meet at 1 p.m. every Monday in June and July for cleanup and organization. Prayer follows at 3:30 p.m. in the church library.

Bingo in June will be held at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays in the Exchange Room.

Proceeds from June Bingo are dedicated to Temple Learning Center Camp. Child care is provided by Robin Ashton during bingo.

2nd mistrial declared in Indiana case of pastor’s wife killed

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INDIANAPOLIS — A judge on Monday declared a second mistrial of a man accused of murdering a pastor’s wife in 2015 after jurors learned details about the Indianapolis case’s long history in the system. judicial.

Larry Jo Taylor Jr.’s trial was scheduled to begin on Monday, but Superior Judge Marion Grant Hawkins declared a mistrial after a juror briefed other jurors on the history of the case, including that a A mistrial had been declared during Taylor’s first trial in December, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Taylor’s trial has now been postponed until August. Taylor is one of three men who police say were involved in a November 2015 series of home invasions in northern Indianapolis that ended when 28-year-old Amanda Blackburn was killed by shot at home when she was 12 weeks pregnant with her second child.

She was killed two years after she and her husband, pastor Davey Blackburn, moved to Indianapolis from South Carolina to start Resonate Church, which closed in 2019.

Hawkins had declared a mistrial at Taylor’s first trial after learning that some jurors knew Blackburn was pregnant – a fact that defense attorneys managed to steer clear of to the jury.

Taylor, 25, faces 13 counts including murder, burglary and forcible confinement while armed with a deadly weapon.

Taylor’s two co-defendants accepted plea deals on the condition that they cooperate with his prosecution. Jalen E. Watson pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges of theft and burglary. He was sentenced in March 2021 to 29 years for the robbery charge and 20 years combined for the burglary charges, and ordered to serve the sentences concurrently.

Diano Cortez Gordon pleaded guilty in 2018 to robbery causing serious injury and burglary charges. His sentencing has not yet been set.

Summer Fun at the Church of Scientology Los Angeles

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L. Ron Hubbard Way has been turned into a summer festival. Neighbors and friends of all ages enjoyed the day.

The youngsters raced down the inflatable slide and into the water, and the younger ones plunged into the wading pool set up on L. Ron Hubbard Way.

The youngsters raced down the inflatable slide and into the water, and the younger ones plunged into the wading pool set up on L. Ron Hubbard Way.

The children competed to win the donut eating contest.

The children competed to win the donut eating contest.

Mid-afternoon was held a Memorial Day Parade to honor those who have fallen in battle.

Mid-afternoon was held a Memorial Day Parade to honor those who have fallen in battle.

A special medal was awarded to the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, for his service to humanity.

A special medal was awarded to the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, for his service to humanity.

Summer started early this year. The Church of Scientology Los Angeles kicked it off with a kid-friendly water park, family festival, and remembrance ceremony.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA, June 6, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Anyone wishing to find L. Ron Hubbard Way this past weekend just had to follow the laughter and squeals of the children as they climbed up and down the inflatable slide or splashed in the wading pool. It all happened at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and L. Ron Hubbard Way, with dozens of young Angelinos celebrating the unofficial start of summer.

There was cotton candy, watermelon and a donut eating contest. Live music filled the streets. And the arts and crafts booth, balloon sculptures, and makeup artists were in high demand.

Then in mid-afternoon, a drum roll signaled the start of a Memorial Day parade and ceremony honoring those who have fallen in the service of America. The program ended with the presentation of a special award to the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard, a World War II officerfor his service to humanity.

The Church of Scientology of Los Angeles is an ideal Scientology organization, configured to serve Scientologists in their ascent to spiritual freedom and serve as a home for the entire community – a meeting place for cooperative efforts to uplift people of all faiths.

An episode of “Inside Scientologyfeaturing the Church of Scientology Los Angeles was part of the special when Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige launched the network in 2018. The network is available on DIRECTV channel 320 and can be broadcast on www.Scientology.tvthrough mobile apps and through the Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV platforms.

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RIP Catholic News Service, gone too soon and when we needed you most

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The American Catholic bishops are killing Catholic News Service, one of their most successful national programs. Founded in 1921, CNS is the AP for Catholic news, providing copies to Catholic publications across the country and around the world.

In a 2021 meeting with CNS reporters in Rome, Pope Francis told them that “over the past hundred years, Catholic News Service has made an invaluable contribution to the English-speaking world through its coverage of the mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel and to witness to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.”

CNS’s New York and DC offices will close by the end of the year. Its Rome office will continue, but who knows for how long. Stories from his Rome office will be made freely available to all U.S. dioceses.

Although part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, CNS is staffed by professional reporters who report the news using the highest journalistic standards. It’s old-fashioned journalism that gives the news without opinion. If you want to know what is happening in the Catholic Church, you read CNS.

Over the years, to keep up with church news, I have always read stories written by Jerry Filteau, John Thavis, and other outstanding CNS reporters. The stories of its reporters were supplemented by articles by journalists from diocesan newspapers deemed to be of national interest.

The volume of its coverage is impressive. In the third week of May this year, he published about 75 stories, as well as Spanish translations of some plays.

You can still find coverage of bishop appointments and deaths, meetings and statements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Church political activities on abortion, immigration, poverty, health care, racism and other public policies. It also covered the work of Catholic education, Catholic health care and Catholic charities. Catholic involvement in ecumenical and interreligious activities has also drawn attention, along with the words and actions of the Pope and the Vatican.

As a scholar, I have found his archives extremely useful in writing my books on the American bishops and the Vatican. In the pre-internet days, I spent countless hours going through records to familiarize myself with the history of the institutions and people I studied.

With much of his archive online today, researching a subject or person is much easier. When a reporter asks to interview me about a bishop or topic, I often go to the CNS online archives and do a word search. By the time I’m interviewed, I’ve become an instant expert capable of impressing any reporter on a subject I knew little about hours earlier.

When the CNS closes, I hope these archives will be open to the public. Today, it is only open to subscribers.

The CNS has always had its detractors among the bishops. Some did not understand that good journalism required reporting bad news as well as good news about the church. These bishops did not like the CNS’s coverage of the sexual abuse crisis or disagreements in the church. They didn’t want to cover up theologians or other people who disagreed with the bishops or the pope.

These bishops wanted a propaganda agency, not a media. They put the CNS on the defensive by complaining about specific journalists and reports. They have lobbied for budget cuts, which has led to major layoffs in the past. This year’s decision is quite simply the deathblow for an institution that has been slowly bleeding itself.

In the past, the CNS received a large part of its funding from diocesan newspapers subscribing to its service. When these newspapers closed, the CNS lost this source of revenue and became more dependent on the USCCB. Many bishops are reluctant to fund a national program as they suffer from sexual abuse payments, COVID-19 and reduced income. Even moderate bishops without diocesan papers did not want to give their limited money to the CNS.

On the other hand, many conservative bishops love Mother Angelica’s media empire, which now includes EWTN, the National Catholic Register (not to be confused with the National Catholic Reporter), and the Catholic News Agency, or CNA. When cable companies offered free time on an ecumenical channel to bishops, they turned it down because they feared it would compete with EWTN.

Many bishops love EWTN more than their own child, CNS, even though EWTN commentators freely criticize bishops who do not reflect their conservative views – and, of course, Francis is not above criticism.

Many liberals classify media giant EWTN in the Fox News category of Catholicism, and it certainly has a conservative bent.

In the past, Mother Angelica was uncritical in her coverage of the conservative views of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but ignored these popes when pushing Catholic social teaching and social justice. Her comments often went beyond pious reflections to rants against what she disliked about liberals. Today, Raymond Arroyo, news director and anchor on EWTN, skips the piety and dives straight into Fox and Republican talking points on the culture wars.

CNA provides the most direct competition to CNS in news coverage. While diocesan newspapers and websites have to pay for CNS, CNA is free and has already replaced CNS in many Catholic publications and websites. When CNS dies, CNA will be the only Catholic news service available.

The quality of ANC varies. When he does direct news, it can be informative. I check CNA every day and find a story or two to read. When he posts comments, it’s one-sided conservatism.

Many Catholics don’t realize how much of their news about the church comes from the CNS. They don’t understand that much of the news they read at the National Catholic Reporter, Crux, America, their diocesan newspapers and other Catholic media comes from the CNS.

In the first three weeks of May, for example, the National Catholic Reporter published 44 articles on CNS, Crux published 33 articles and America published 17 articles. Additionally, CNS was the source of dozens of news photos used in Catholic publications.

While the bishops keep CNS reporters in Rome, that is not where the greatest need is. America, the National Catholic Reporter, Crux, La Croix International, The Tablet of London and other Catholic publications also have excellent reporters in Rome, as does Religion News Service. While I am glad the Rome bureau will continue, it is Catholic news coverage in the United States that will suffer the most from the CNS closure.

Catholic publications should hire additional journalists, which they cannot afford, to replace the articles they currently receive from the CNS. Could CNS subscribers pool their resources to hire two or three reporters to cover Catholic news? Are there any foundations and donors willing to fund this?

At RNS, we of course hope that the sad demise of CNS will encourage more Catholic publications to turn to RNS for their articles. Some Catholic publications, such as the National Catholic Reporter, Crux and America, already have subscriptions. But RNS covers news from all religious denominations and should considerably strengthen its Catholic coverage to replace CNS. Are there any foundations and donors willing to fund this?

The disappearance of the CNS illustrates the more general problem of the Catholic Church operating at the national level through the episcopal conferences. The church has strong structures that can work at the parish, diocesan and Vatican level, but the national entities are weak because each bishop wants a veto over anything he doesn’t like and the Vatican fears that national entities strong do not challenge its authority.

The rise of the EWTN empire is also a challenge for Catholic progressives. Why are they unable to manage and finance an equivalent media empire?

May God bless all CNS journalists who over the years have dedicated their lives to the church. They did a wonderful job of which they can be proud. It’s sad to see them go.

Mercy Community Healthcare Hosts Health Fair at Franklin Church | Health

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Mercy Community Healthcare and St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church will be sponsoring a free health fair at Franklin Church on June 11.

Some of the services that will be offered at the fair include mammograms; pregnancy tests and ultrasounds; blood sugar, A1c and blood pressure tests; free diaper packs; vision screening for children; hearing test; assistance in finding health insurance; and learning sessions on Medicaid options, falls prevention training and more.

For those interested in a mammogram at the fair, make an appointment in advance by calling 615-790-0567, Ext. 235.

“We are excited to bring our community health fair to the community and invite everyone to experience Mercy Community Healthcare on June 11,” said Beth Ann Wilmore, Mercy’s Director of Nursing. “If you don’t have a primary care provider, it’s a great way to find housing. If you need help with the health insurance market, we can help you navigate the portal. We will also have medical staff on hand to answer questions, screen and test for various conditions.

“At Mercy, we are defined by our ability to provide exceptional care in an integrated way – body, mind, spirit. Come learn more.”

The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church Community Center at 113 Second Ave. S. to Franklin. Participants are asked to park in the garage on Second Avenue.

“Not everyone who struggles to access adequate health care is poor. Many of those who work full time are underinsured or have their conditions not covered. Access to mental health care is particularly difficult,” said Reverend Father Edward Steiner, pastor of St. Philip the Apostle Church. “St. Philip Church is partnering with Mercy Community Healthcare because together we can do more than the church could ever do alone.

Old Monroe bids farewell to community activist, 14-year-old pastor Kasevich | winfieldold-monroefoley-new

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Old Monroe, Missouri – “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few” – Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Former Old Monroe resident Michael Kasevich has known this truth since becoming a layperson in 1991. In honor of his final labors in ministry and his efforts to call others into the harvest, St. Paul’s UCOC (United Church of Christ) members hosted a farewell banquet for him in May.

The luncheon celebrated 14 years of ministering to the church and the greater community. In 2008, Kasevich and his wife, Linda, moved to Old Monroe after conducting a national religious job search. Although he has been a preacher since 1991, Kasevich did not become an ordained minister until 2008, the same year he began working at Old Monroe.

With a master’s degree in theology from Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine, Kasevich’s major studies were in understanding the written precepts of God; however, his efforts to improve the community around him were not only theological but also practical. Kasevich believed in strengthening religious fervor especially in rural communities, an environment in which he thrived.

According to a press release from the UCOC of St. Paul, “[Kasevich’s} Strong advocacy of community involvement, doing good works, ministering to the hopeless, caring for the sick and shut-ins, providing food to the hungry, speaking up for those who cannot do for themselves and bringing forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ into this community [was] really inspiring.

The retreat celebration began in the UCOC building at Old Monroe St. Paul and included a potluck-style lunch, a lavishly designed personalized cake, and time for prayer, visitation, and more. Expressing gratitude for Kasevich’s efforts, the congregation presented him with a plaque that read, “Thank you for the difference you have made in the lives of so many pastors, teachers, and friends.” Good retirement!”

After completing his ministerial service in Lincoln County, Kasevich is in the process of moving to Virginia, where he plans to “take a break and settle into a new home.” A motorcycle enthusiast, Kasevich looks forward to riding the state’s scenic hills and spending more time with his many children and grandchildren.

Like a true man of cloth, Kasevich’s farewell comment to his family of faith in Lincoln County reads, “God has sent me to a place where his people are faithful and true. It is God’s Country. I thank all my brothers and sisters in ministry who walk the road living and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. May God be with you.”

The Pope at the Pentecost Mass: let us sit in the school of the Holy Spirit

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Celebration of Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday Pope Francis invites Christians to sit in the school of the Holy Spirit, journeying together as a Church, open to the world.

By Linda Bordoni

Pentecost is the day that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. It concludes the Easter Season and celebrates the beginning of the Church‘s mission in the world. Thus, Pope Francis’ homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica was an invitation to listen to the Holy Spirit who teaches us where to start, shows us the paths to take, revives the love of God in our hearts and guides us on our way. .

Inspired by the Gospel according to John (Jn 14:26) in which Jesus said to his disciples: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everythingand remind you everything I told you,” the Pope explained, “the Spirit makes us see everything in a new way, with the eyes of Jesus.”

In the great journey of life, the Spirit teaches us where to start, which paths to take and how to walk.





Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday

Where to start

The Spirit, said Pope Francis, points us to the starting point of spiritual life, reminding us that loving Jesus is not just a matter of fidelity and devotion.

“Without love as a basis, all else is in vain. And that love comes not so much from our abilities, but from his gift,” he said.

The Spirit of love pours love into our hearts, makes us feel loved and teaches us to love. He is the “engine” of our spiritual life.

The memory of God

Pope Francis went on to explain that the Spirit is the memory of godone who reminds us of everything Jesus said, constantly rekindling the love of God in our hearts.

Ne noted the experience of his presence “in the forgiveness of our sins, in times when we are filled with his peace, freedom and consolation”.

When our lives seem full of failures and disappointments, the Pope explained that the Holy Spirit reminds us that we are a son or daughter of God.

“Even when you lose confidence in yourself, God has confidence in you!”

He is also the “Comforter,” the Holy Father continued, “who can transform the wounds that burn within you,” teaching us “not to remember all those people and situations that have hurt us, but to allow these memories to be purified in his presence.”

This is what he did with the apostles and their failures: “Left to themselves, they had no way out”, but the Spirit, he added, heals the memories by bringing top of the list what really matters: the memory of God. love, his loving gaze.

“In this way, he puts order in our lives. He teaches us to accept ourselves, to forgive ourselves, to reconcile ourselves with the past. And to leave.

Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday




Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday

Which paths to take

Pope Francis explained that in addition to reminding us where to start, the Spirit teaches us which paths to take.

It refers to the second liturgical reading, where Saint Paul explains that those “led by the Spirit of God” (ROMs 8:14) “walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”.

“The Spirit, at every crossroads in our lives, suggests the best path for us to follow. It is therefore important to be able to distinguish one’s voice from the voice of the evil spirit,” he said.

The pope went on to explain this concept by explaining that “the Holy Spirit will never tell you that on your journey everything is going well. No, he corrects you; he makes you mourn your sins; fight against your lies and deceptions, even when it takes hard work, inner struggle and sacrifice.

On the contrary, he continues, the evil spirit “urges you to always do what you think and pleases you. It makes you think you have the right to use your freedom as you see fit. Then, once you feel empty inside, he blames you and knocks you down.

“The Holy Spirit never leaves you lying on the ground: he takes you by the hand, comforts you and encourages you constantly.”

The Holy Spirit is not an idealist

Noting the practicality of the action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope said: “He wants us to focus on the here and nowbecause the time and place where we find ourselves are themselves filled with grace.

“The Spirit leads us to love, here and now, not an ideal world or an ideal Church, but the real ones, as they are, seen in broad daylight, with transparency and simplicity,” he said. .

“How very different from the evil one, which foments useless gossip and chatter.”

Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday




Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday

The Spirit teaches the Church how to walk

The third and final aspect that Pope Francis focused on is the fact that the Holy Spirit teaches the Church how to walk.

“The disciples hunkered down in the Cenacle; then the Spirit came down and brought them out. Without the Spirit, they were alone, alone, crowded together. With the Spirit, they were open to everyone,” he explained.

In every age, Pope Francis said, the Spirit overturns our preconceived ideas and opens us to its newness.

He constantly teaches the Church the vital importance of moving forward, moved to share the gospel.

The pope reiterated his call that the Church should not be “a safe sheepfold, but an open pasture where all can graze on the beauty of God.”

“To be an open house without dividing walls.”

It is contrary to the worldly spirit which pushes us “to concentrate on our own problems and interests, on our need to appear relevant, on our relentless defense of the nation or the group to which we belong”, he said. declared.

“This is not the way of the Holy Spirit. He invites us to forget ourselves and to open our hearts to all. In this way, he rejuvenates the Church. We must remember this: the Spirit rejuvenates the Church,” he said.

And in this, the Pope continued, the Church cannot be “programmed” nor the efforts of “modernization”: “The Spirit frees us from the obsession with emergencies. He invites us to follow his paths, always old and always new, the paths of witness, of poverty and of mission, and thus he frees us from ourselves and sends us out into the world.

“Let us sit in the school of the Holy Spirit, that he may teach us all things. Let us invoke him every day, so that he reminds us to make God’s gaze on us our starting point, to make decisions by listening to his voice and to walk together in the Church, docile to him and open to the world.

Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday




Holy Mass on Pentecost Sunday

AP-NORC poll details rift between lay Catholics and U.S. bishops

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The hardline positions of many conservative Catholic bishops in the United States are not shared by a majority of lay Catholics. Most say abortion should be legal, promote greater LGBT inclusion and oppose denying communion to politicians who support abortion rights, according to a new poll ‘Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The poll, taken in mid-May, shows a clear gap between the mainstream views of American Catholics and some recent high-profile actions taken by church leaders.

For example, leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently called on Catholics across the country to pray that the United States Supreme Court would end the constitutional right to abortion by reversing its 1973 ruling. Roe versus Wade. According to the new poll, 63% of Catholic adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 68% say Roe should be left as is.

On May 20, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, announced that he would no longer allow United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to receive communion due to her support for the right to abortion.

According to the poll, only 31% of lay Catholics agree that politicians supporting abortion rights should be denied communion, while 66% say they should be allowed access to the sacrament.

An even larger majority – 77% – said Catholics who identify as LGBT should be allowed to receive Communion. This contrasts sharply with a policy issued by the Diocese of Marquette, which encompasses Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, that pastors should deny communion to transgender, gay, and non-binary Catholics “unless the person has repented.”

Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, said the rift between grassroots Catholics and bishops “reveals a breakdown in communication and trust — shepherds far removed from sheep.”

“This is a precarious time for the American Catholic Church,” she added in an email. “American Catholics are, on the whole, accustomed to living and working in a pluralistic society, and this poll reinforces the idea that they want the public square to remain pluralistic, free from coercion and oriented towards caring. vulnerable populations among us”.

The Reverend Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said the poll results did not surprise him and underscored the need for clergy and anti-abortion activists to redouble their efforts to change people’s positions .

“For us who work on pro-life issues, these kinds of polls are like a summons,” he said. “You have to do your job – maybe you have to do it better.”

As for the conservative bishops, “their awareness of the shortcomings that the polls reveal is precisely one of the reasons why they feel the need to speak out,” Pavone said. “They strive to exercise the role described for them in the scriptures, namely to patiently and persistently teach the faith, whether convenient or not, to dispel confusion.”

Beyond the divide between bishops and laity, the poll highlighted other challenges facing the church, which is the largest denomination in the United States.

For example, 68% of Catholics reported attending religious services once a month or less. Compared to five years ago, 37% said they now dated less often; 14% said they were dating more often.

During this five-year period, 26% of Catholics said their opinion of the Catholic Church had deteriorated, while 17% said their opinion had improved. Most said their opinion had not changed.

More than two-thirds of American Catholics disagree with Church policies that bar women from becoming priests. And 65% say the church should allow gay people to be ordained.

The poll was taken just after a Supreme Court draft majority opinion was leaked that would invalidate Roe against Wade. The opinions of American Catholics, as expressed in the poll, were consistent with those of the general American public, both in terms of support for the legality of abortion and the preservation of Roe.

However, there were strong differences between the major religious groups. While 63% of Catholics said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, this position was shared by 74% of mainstream Protestants and only 25% of evangelical Protestants.

Sharon Barnes of Dallas, who converted to Catholicism as a young adult, appreciates the centuries-old consistency of Catholic doctrine. Yet it differs from the church on some major social issues, including abortion.

“It’s a woman’s right to decide,” Barnes, 65, said. “It’s something you kind of have to come to terms with, and it’s between you and God.”

Pedro Gomez, a 55-year-old Border Patrol agent in Rio Rico, Arizona, is a lifelong Catholic who prays nightly and attends church regularly. He understands the need for abortion in cases of rape, incest or saving a woman’s life, but said he views the procedure as the murder of a child.

Gomez was surprised that most American Catholics have some degree of support for abortion rights.

“There are a lot of gray areas now that were never there in my upbringing,” he said. “Maybe they’re watering down Catholicism…Now people can make their own rules.”

Ed Keeley, a 62-year-old public school teacher in Houston, was also raised Catholic. He described abortion as “a difficult subject”, saying he believed in the sanctity of life but that abortion should be allowed in specific cases, including rape or incest.

He finds it “ridiculous” that a priest refuses communion to someone because of his opinions on abortion or politics in general.

Last year, some conservative bishops, including Cordileone, argued publicly that President Biden — a lifelong Catholic — should not receive Communion because of his support for abortion rights. However, Pope Francis has voiced his opposition to such a stance, saying Communion “is not a prize for the perfect.”

Cordileone’s recent refusal of Communion for Pelosi was supported by several of his clerical colleagues, including the archbishops of Denver, Oklahoma City, Portland, Oregon, and Kansas City, Kan. However, Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, released a statement describing the action as “misguided.”

“As Jesus said, it’s the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy, and he gave us the Eucharist as a healing remedy,” Jackels said. “Don’t turn people away who need medicine.”

He also argued that abortion was not the only critical “life issue” facing the church.

“Protecting the Earth, our common home, or making food, water, shelter, education and health care accessible, or defending against gun violence…these are life issues too,” did he declare. “To be consistent, to fix the scandal of Catholics who are indifferent or opposed to all these other problems of life, they should also be denied Holy Communion.”

John Gehring, Catholic program director for the Washington-based Faith in Public Life clergy network, said some conservative bishops are engaging in culture wars “in ways that damage their already diminished relevance and credibility.”

“Most Catholics are fed up with bishops who want to weaponize the Communion in a hypocritical, one-issue campaign against pro-choice politicians, especially when we see Pope Francis offering a better roadmap,” Gehring said.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,172 adults, including 358 Catholics, was conducted May 12-16 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the American population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points, and for Catholics it is plus or minus 7.4 percentage points.

Associated Press religious coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

Man admits kidnapping pastor from Florence church, pleads guilty

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By Tonya Brown (WPDE)

Joseph Alan Wright, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday morning in federal court to the kidnapping and carjacking of a returning pastor. December from his church on Cherokee Road in Florence.

The kidnapping ended with the pastor’s successful rescue and Wright’s arrest.

Joseph Alan Wright, also known as “Wiz”, 39, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, has been charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of carjacking. (Credit: Florence County Detention Center)

The Honorable Sherri A Lydon accepted Wright’s plea on the condition that he understand the nature of the charges against him.

U.S. attorney Everett Eugene McMillan prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

McMillan said he was glad the case was resolved with a guilty plea from Wright.

This particular crime happened from a place where someone should be the safest. From a sanctuary. And our whole community should be a sanctuary from violent crime. And, it’s our goal to return it that way. Our office is engaged with many local offices. Florence police, in this case. The sheriff’s office. Myrtle Beach, or Horry County. All the local agencies we can. To try to fight violent crime. And that we continue to do so this summer. This is just one of many cases in which we are trying to reduce the problem of violent crime. This is plaguing our communities right now,” McMillan said.

On Dec. 21, 2021, Wright allegedly abducted Reverend Charles M. Pittman, Jr. from Immanuel Baptist Church in Florence at knifepoint at around 10:20 a.m., according to a related criminal complaint filed with the court.

Reverend Charles M. Pittman, Jr. recounts the day he was taken from the church he leads. (WPDE)

According to the complaint, Wright forced Pittman into his vehicle in the church parking lot and then drove off at high speed.

Almost immediately, the complaint said church workers realized something was wrong and contacted the police.

They tried to contact the pastor on his cell phone but were unable to reach him, so the Florence Police Department began trying to locate him through other electronic means, such as obtaining information from from OnStar, mobile phone providers and credit card usage records. , according to a press release from the Ministry of Justice.

The complaint also says officers quickly contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for further assistance after learning of the abduction.

Officers were then able to quickly locate the stolen vehicle in Lumberton around 12:09 p.m., less than two hours after the incident began, the statement said.

Cars at Immanuel Baptist Church. (WPDE)

Florence police officers told the Lumberton Police Department, who dispatched officers to locate the vehicle, rescue Pittman and arrest Wright, all without incident, according to the statement.

Pittman was in court for Wright’s hearing and said seeing him brought him back to the day of the incident.

“It brought back memories of that day. I also thought it was a step closer to an official resolution. Just the process works as it should. And that justice is taken care of,” Pittman said.

Pittman’s wife of nearly 43 years, Marcia, said seeing Wright wasn’t easy.

“My heart sank. When Mr. Wright walked into the courtroom. Because for me it was the first time I had seen him. And I wanted to look at him and say why? Why would you want to do that? But, then the Lord reminded me, to God be the glory. Because he protected the love of my life. I just can’t express how grateful I am to everyone. But most of all to the Lord,” Marcia Pittman said.

Wright admitted each count.

“I am guilty, Your Honor,” Wright said.

Wright will be sentenced in approximately 90 days.

McMillan said the federal charge carries a sentence of up to life in prison.

“In this case, there will be a conviction report for the judge. And ultimately it will be up to the judge. But, before she decides that, she will hear from us. And above all, she will have news of the victim. And he will have the opportunity to share his vision of things. And I’m sure she’ll take all of that into account. When deciding on the appropriate sentence,” McMillan explained.

Pittman said he prayed for Wright, but felt he would have to face the consequences of his actions.

“Forgiveness is necessary. It’s necessary. But there is also the idea of ​​responsibility. And that there are consequences to his actions. Whatever they are. And I think it’s appropriate here as well,” Pittman said.

Pittman and his wife said they were grateful that this terrible situation was soon resolved and over.

“To me, it’s such a relief. It’s such a relief that we don’t have to do this. And just feel the pressure of this. And in many ways, reliving this again. It’s not just one of the things that we can move forward. Put it behind us. And we’re just grateful to God for bringing us through this process. To be with us and take care of us,” Pittman said.

The case was investigated by a joint team including the Florence Police Department, Lumberton Police Department and the FBI.

Wright remains in federal custody at the Florence County Detention Center.

Lamenting the closure of the Mercersburg Presbyterian Church | Opinion

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By James B. Taylor

Mercersburg Presbyterian Church, founded in 1741, is expected to be permanently closed by June 5. Not because church members want it closed, but because Carlisle Rectory, the body that oversees the denomination’s churches in our area, orders it.

The church has gradually lost members over the years, and the presbytery says it cannot survive with its current members. But while the bodies are lacking, the church has the resources to go on for years. And that’s the problem. The Presbytery wants that money!

Unlike most denominations, the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) claims to own all of its churches. He does not build, finance or manage these churches in any way. Churches are founded, built and financed over the years by their members. In the case of the Presbyterian Church of Mercersburg, generations of members have maintained their church in service to the community. This church was founded 120 years before there was has been a United States Presbyterian Church and before that there was a Carlisle Rectory.

Nevertheless, by ordering the closure of the local church, the Presbytery will realize a windfall of probably $1 million in cash and goods. And what will he do with this wealth? We can speculate. The PCUSA has long engaged in radical positions in politics and culture. He consistently supports Hamas and Hezbollah in the Middle East, two organizations that the US State Department designates as terrorist organizations. Its General Assembly urges Israel (which it calls an “apartheid state”) to follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but makes no such demands of Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Cuba or Venezuela.

Mercersburg Church members have only themselves to blame for their loss. Desperate to increase membership, the church session made the fatal mistake of asking the parsonage for help and the parsonage rushed in, their mouths no doubt salivating at the thought of the loot they might get.

The Presbytery appointed a “moderator” to assist the Session in its mission to improve the situation of the Church. She also helped herself by demanding $6,000 for the “consultation,” even though she is a paid presbytery employee. She also demanded fees significantly higher than the established fees for presiding over meetings and for preaching. All of which the Session obediently accepted.

She then subjected the Session to a series of meetings, seminars, exercises and questionnaires throughout the year, ostensibly to help them “discern” (in her words) their goals and direction. Of course, after all that time, effort, and money, the church had not gained a single new member.

Discouraged and exhausted, the members dissolved the session and handed over the management of the church to a presbytery-appointed committee. This appears to be the process used by the PCUSA to close down churches. The moderator is someone who has closed other churches and has done his job very well in this case.

Why was it so easy for the Presbytery to achieve this takeover? It resides in the character of the respective parties. The PCUSA is a fundamentally political organization; his minions are politically astute. Church members are generally apolitical and assume the good faith of others with whom they deal. In a sense, they are usually oblivious to the machinations behind a process. The Mercersburg Presbyterians thought they were in a process that would end with the survival of their church, but that was never the presbytery’s intention.

But another fundamental reason for the loss of the church is in the nature of the Presbyterians of today; they are shy and passive. Presbyterians of old would never understand how this happened in our community. The Presbyterians who founded this church 281 years ago were tough, fierce and devout. They built a log church in the desert and attended it on Sundays carrying their guns. In 1794 the second generation built a fine stone church, one of the two oldest churches in Franklin County and one of the finest.

The Church of Upper West Conococheague (that’s the correct name) was not just a place of worship, but an organization that performed many charitable works for the local community. He provided school supplies to children in the Tuscarora School District. He distributed gifts of toys and clothes to needy children at Christmas and household supplies to needy families throughout the year.

The poet William Butler Yeats wrote: “Things reveal themselves in death. I hope Mercersburg realizes what it is losing; maybe it will.

James B. Taylor is a member of the Church of the Upper West Conococheague

Grassley and fellow pro-lifers pledge to block taxpayer funding for abortion

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BUTLER COUNTY, IOWA – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), founder and chairman of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, along with Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and 45 of his colleagues by sending a unified message to Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) pledging to vote to block any bill that would undermine the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer funding for abortions.

“We write to express our steadfast support for the Hyde Amendment and all other longstanding pro-life protections. For over 45 years, the Hyde Amendment has ensured that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, saving the lives of nearly 2.5 million unborn children…the Hyde Amendment is supported by both a substantial majority of the American public and a bipartisan majority of sitting United States Senators, and was recently signed into law by President Biden in Public Law 117-103,” wrote the senators.

Grassley and his colleagues sent a similar letter to Schumer last February and are renewing their commitment for fiscal year 2023.

“We urge you to start where we left off by making a basic commitment to maintain the same pro-life protections that were included in Public Law 117-103, and to avoid any taxpayer-funded giveaways that benefit the “Billion-Dollar Abortion Industry. The American People, Born and Unborn, Deserve Nothing Less,” concluded the senators.

This letter is endorsed by Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, March for Life, Catholic Vote, National Right to Life, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Americans United for Life, Concerned Women for America, and Alliance Defending Freedom.

Grassley, a staunch advocate for unborn and pro-life protections, recently received an A+ grade for 2021 on the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List National Pro-Life Scorecard. It also received a 100% perfect score from the Family Research Council’s legislative arm, FRC Action.
The full letter is available HERE.

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Tomball Church responds to high food prices with monthly pantry

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The church in Tomball offers a pantry on the last Thursday of every month. (Community Impact newspaper staff)

The Union Church of God Assembly in Tomball opened a food pantry in March in response to high food prices.

The pantry is offered the last Thursday of every month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 200 S. Pine St., according to Robbie Clemons, one of the pantry organizers. There are no requirements for obtaining food and no limits on the amount of food individuals can take, as the church wants to make sure families take what they need.

“We just want to help people who need it, [because] I have been in this situation. I’ve been homeless with children, and it’s hard to take care of your children if you don’t have money. … We had people who helped us when we didn’t have much, I want to be able to help somebody,” Clemons said.

Clemons said two other women from the church help organize the pantry and pay for food and produce to stock it. Members of the congregation are also donating food and supplies for this, and they hope more young people will get involved.

The pantry is stocked with items such as pasta, canned goods, cereal, powdered milk, bottled water and hygiene products, according to Clemons. Right now they don’t have the facilities to provide perishable food.

Clemons said the church pianist came up with the idea for the pantry and pitched it.

“If it wasn’t for her, this wouldn’t have happened,” Clemons said.

Clemons said she can be called at 281-224-7052 if people have questions, want more information or feel pressured to donate.

Launch of the Community Bridge project – planned community conversation

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KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) — A group of ministers from the region have launched the Community Bridge Project. Their goal is to build positive and healthy relationships among diverse groups within the Kannapolis community. The group began meeting last year after observing civil unrest occurring in parts of the United States. The group will work to achieve its goals through intentional communication, thoughtful dialogue on important issues, and conflict resolution.

Their vision statement is Bbuilding Rrelationship with Iintentional Ddialogue, grace, and Eempathy (BRIDGE).

The group will focus its work on public education and community dialogue on topics of particular concern to the people of Kannapolis and those who may have increased levels of racial tension in other parts of the country. Topics include public education on affordable housing and child care, police procedures for traffic stops and incident response, job training, entrepreneurship and much more.

Group members include: Beryl Torrence, Dr. Greg Sloop, Gloria Talbert, Pastor Farrar Griggs, Jr., Pastor John Leazer, Pastor Tracy Caldwell, Pastor Ronnie Bell, Pastor Reginald Pharr, Pastor William Moody, Pastor Willie Rash, Stephen Williamson, Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry, Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg, Father Joshua Gilliam, Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant, and Kannapolis Community Development, Sherry Gordon.

Centerview Baptist Church pastor Willie Rash, who has lived in Kannapolis for 26 years and is a member of the Community Bridge Project, said, “We believe pastors and churches have something to offer our city. We can help each other speak out peacefully and build bridges between us and our municipal leaders. We want to develop relationships with each other now, so that if we ever encounter difficulties or misunderstandings, we can resolve them in a positive and constructive way.

“I also lived in Kannapolis for over twenty years and one of the best things about our city is the sense of community we have. We are a growing city with people from diverse backgrounds and different opinions. The Community Bridge Project can help our growing community have positive interactions with each other and with city staff,” said Beryl Torrance, Sunday School teacher at Journey United Methodist Church.

Their first event will be a community dialogue conversation with Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry. The conversation will take place from 6-7 p.m. on June 16 at Kannapolis Middle School. The school is located at 1000 Virginia Dare Street. The community is invited to attend and meet with members of the Community Bridge Project and Chief Spry and have a conversation about all things Kannapolis Police Department and the community.

“We look forward to this conversation with Chief Spry and the many more opportunities we will have to learn and work together as a community. We welcome feedback from everyone in our city,” Rash said.

For more information on the June 16 conversation and the group, email [email protected]

Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Celebration Church leader accused of hate speech and exploitation breaks silence

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A church leader accused of persistent hate speech and exploiting members for thousands of dollars in tithes and unpaid weekly labor – has told parishioners he has no intention of stepping down.

Celebration Center Church.
Photo: RNZ / Belinda McCammon

Eleven former members of the Christchurch-based Celebration Center Church have now contacted RNZ, backing up the allegations.

Addressing a congregation last night, Pastor Murray Watkinson hit out at this week’s controversy and the fact that church leaders Arise and Gloriavale also accused of exploitation had resigned in recent weeks.

“They’re having a little trouble at Celebration but I’m stepping in, not stepping down, not backing down from this garbage,” he said.

“I’m not laying down my guns, lowering the mic or stepping out…Let’s go, let’s go now. Now is the time, because God is going to give us a real victory.”

He did not respond to repeated requests for comment from RNZ.

Charity Services has confirmed that 203 complaints have been made against Celebration in the last five years, more than any other charity in Aotearoa.

Most of the complaints refer to hate speech.

Pastor Murray Watkinson has been accused of making fun of mixed-race, bisexual and transgender people and te reo Māori in past sermons.

Celebration Center Church.

Charities Services has confirmed that 203 complaints have been filed against Celebration Center Church over the past five years.
Photo: RNZ / Belinda McCammon

Last night transgender people were again insulted while preaching, a video online showed.

Members had been continually told to continue tithing and serving over the past week – the word the church uses for volunteer work.

But former members told RNZ they believe the church should be stripped of its charitable status, which allows its businesses, such as nursery schools and a cafe, to make money by tax free.

In an online sermon, Watkinson spoke to church members about the media interest last Sunday and suggested they should reject it.

“Even they will make fun of that in the papers and that, the reality is that when you have discipline, and you begin to tithe your income and give, and so in the purposes of God, you prosper. They will say ‘oh the church is manipulating saying if you give, you know, you will advance.’ If you give, you will advance. The church does not lie, they lie. Scripture does not lie.

The media that contacted him had “lost hope, they’ve lost sight of God”, he said.

The latest financial reports from Celebration Center Group show the church received more than $1.1 million in tithes and offerings in 2020, and had $10.8 million in equity.

Another online video shows that last Thursday, Watkinson opened a service saying, “The newspapers have been hounding us for a few weeks now.

“They’ve got about 20 charges for us. But I just thought ‘Man, I’m not going to be, you know, swayed by this’.”

“I think the media has lost a lot of influence and society anyway, people are on top of them, you know, they know they’re telling a lot of lies, and you can’t trust to the media anyway.”

Watkinson ended by saying, “They are [media are] giving each other special attention because we are a special church, let’s stick together.”

RNZ again approached the church for comment.

American bishops, three popes and the soul of Nancy Pelosi

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After fierce closed-door debates over President Joe Biden and Holy Communion, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops managed to release a muted document last fall that did little to please the public. activists on both sides of the Church’s wars on abortion and to the benched politicians.

However, a passage from “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” has ticked the clock in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, setting the stage for the current clash between Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone and a member of his herd – – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is the particular responsibility of the diocesan bishop to work to remedy situations which involve public actions contrary to the visible communion of the Church and to the moral law,” the passage notes. “Indeed, he must guard the integrity of the sacrament, the visible communion of the Church and the salvation of souls.”

The Diocese of Cordileone comprises California’s 12th congressional district. After six private attempts to reach Pelosi, he released a statement on May 20 telling him “you must not report for Holy Communion and, if you do, you must not be admitted to Holy Communion, until that you publicly repudiate your plea for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution from this grave sin in the sacrament of penance.”

The archbishop built his case with quotes from Pope Francis, Pope St. John Paul II and now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, as well as canon law stating that Catholics who “stubbornly persist in grave sin manifest” are “not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

The speaker’s words and actions, he added, suggest she cares nothing for papal authority. Pelosi, the mother of five, recently told the Seattle Times that “the personal nature of it all is so appalling, and I say that as a devout Catholic. They tell me, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies as the pope .’ Yes, I know that. Are you stupid?”

While the news has been dominated by signs that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade, these ongoing debates among Catholics are rooted in years of disagreement over the words and actions of recent popes.

Writing to his flock, Cordileone noted that in 2004 the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told the American bishops that when a Catholic politician champions laws promoting abortion, “his pastor should meet … informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he ends the objective situation of sin and warning him that otherwise he will be denied the Eucharist .”

This advice came from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI. But the chairman of the committee who received that letter — the now disgraced Theodore McCarrick — claimed Ratzinger supported the compromise, saying local bishops should rule on those issues. Since then, the bishops have been arguing about this “McCarrick doctrine”.

As for Pope Francis, Cordileone said he “has been one of the world’s most outspoken defenders of human dignity at every stage and condition of life. He denounces what he evocatively calls the ‘culture disposable “. There can be no more extreme example of this cultural depravity than when direct attacks on human life are enshrined in the law of a country.”

At the beginning of his pontificate, Francis noted: “Every child who, rather than being born, is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, then just after birth , experienced the rejection of the world.”

Cordileone reviewers note that the pope met and prayed privately with Biden for 75 minutes last fall. Afterwards, the president said, “We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic.” Biden claimed that Francis had urged him to “continue to receive Communion.”

In another discussion of these conflicts, during an in-flight presser, Francis emphasized, “I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone. However, he also said that it is possible for a Catholic to separate from the church and, therefore, “is not able to take communion because he is outside the community. It’s not a sanction: you’re on the outside. Communion is to unite the community.”

This is a “pastoral issue,” Francis said, and “we bishops deal with this principle pastorally.”

Terry Mattingly runs GetReligion.org and lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is a principal investigator at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi.

Christ Lutheran Church in Struthers turns 100

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STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) — A local church celebrates 100 years.

The Lutheran Church of Christ in Struthers is hosting an event this weekend to recognize all of its accomplishments within the community.

Founded by 13 families in 1922, Christ Lutheran Church has served its members since its construction in 1929.

Church members say it’s more than a building, it’s a lifetime of memories and community.

“When I look over there, I see tears of joy. I see tears of sadness when people are at that railing. So it’s more than just a church that looks pretty simple,” the parishioner said. David Frank.

Frank’s family was one of the founding families. His grandfather helped build the church, and his family has attended it for generations.

Church members say the survival of the church is a mark of the importance of their involvement in the community.

“It shows that we have a place in the community during our hours and that is, I think, a key. What I said earlier, we need to start looking to the future, not just the past,” Frank said.

The church sponsored children dealing with loss to attend bereavement camp, donated suitcases to foster children and even co-sponsored the Midlothian Free Health Clinic in the mid-2000s.

“We have a lot of turnout – that’s one thing we do – and I think that’s why our church is still here,” parishioner Pat Demas said.

Frank hopes the church will continue to support the Struthers community.

“I always think about the community. Not always worried about what’s going on in this church, but helping people,” Frank said.

As for what Frank hopes the church will be doing in 100 years…

“I wish we could sing better,” Frank said.

On Sunday, the church is holding an afternoon service where Mayor Cat Miller will speak. It is a way for members to honor these original founders.

“We are able to see and continue their legacy and what they started,” worship leader Robert A. Zielke said.

Jacksonville pastors urge action after gun violence

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“Do you really think about people? Do you really pray? wants to ask for a pastor. And he wants people to take other action.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Often, after a tragedy, one might say the phrase “thoughts and prayers.” This has been said many times after mass shootings. However, more than ever, people want to see elected officials do more. Same local religious leaders have expressed their wish to see a change.

Saying “you are in my thoughts and prayers” is a nice thing to say to someone. The phrase is used as condolences. But in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, pastors Kim Pullings and Mack Knight think that doesn’t hold up.

Knight, the pastor of Impact Worship Center in Kingsland, Georgia, explained that saying “thoughts and prayers” is a way to express empathy. For Knight, the phrase is cliché. This is something he suggests to his congregation not to say. Instead, he recommended “Know I’m here for you” or “I love you, please accept my condolences.”

“When we put an action on it and say ‘you’re in my thoughts and prayers,’ that’s accountability,” Knight said. “Do you really think about people? Do you really pray?

Pastor Kim Pullings, Live Church in Jacksonville, said there should be action after the prayer.

“I think I pray a lot and ask God for greater wisdom because I want to know how to answer. I want to know what my actions should be. So for me, it’s always on the advocacy side,” Pastor Pullings said.

Pullings encourages people to work with faith. That is, go to work for what you pray for. For Pullings, there are things “He asks us to do and we must be willing to do those things.” She refers to the scripture that says “faith without work is dead”.

After the recent tragedies, Pastor Knight said his prayer for society is for people to come closer to God.

“And if they don’t serve the God, I know [then] closer to something that is higher than them,” Knight said.

Geneva Church Missionaries Help Ukrainian Refugees in Prague – Shaw Local

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Matthew and Sara Titus, members of Chapel Street Church in Geneva, have been missionaries in Prague for 10 years.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, their mission changed from evangelism to assisting refugees.

“When there was this big buildup, nobody really believed they were going to invade,” Matthew said, referring to the Russian troops gathering on the Ukrainian border. “Most people didn’t think anything would really happen, that Russia would actually invade.”

ALLMissionaryInPrague-0526-KANE1.jpg Matthew Titus, former resident of St. Charles, is now a missionary in Prague for Chapelstreet <a class=Church in Geneva. He and volunteers renovated apartments for Ukrainian refugees.” src=”https://www.shawlocal.com/resizer/9_oebGDqRtRGfQG6Xz4Ygcx_PeQ=/1440×0/filters:format(jpg):quality(70)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/shawmedia/YQ2VU2FZDBGKNHVE4CK6KE42WI.jpg” width=”1440″ height=”0″ loading=”lazy”/>

The invasion happened on February 24, a Thursday. On Monday, Matthew’s group had organized to create housing for Ukrainian refugees.

“We found these first three apartments and were there on March 4, cleaning up,” he said. “We had all these refugees coming in and all of them in temporary housing situations. They were in large areas where people are just huddled together. It was better than being in a bombed out building, but it’s not sustainable.

Working with local churches and international organizations, Matthew said he has renovated apartments for more than 110 Ukrainian refugees.

“We have never seen people in the Czech Republic so united and eager to help,” Matthew said.

Czechs have a lot in common with Ukrainians when it comes to Russia, he said.

After World War II, the country – then called Czechoslovakia – was liberated from the Nazis, but was under the rule of the former Soviet Union from 1948 to 1989. It was then that the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union began a process of dissolution. , its satellite countries eventually become sovereign nations.

Refugees from Ukraine are settled in an apartment in Prague, refurbished by missionaries from the Chapelstreet Church in Geneva.  Refugees are not identified for their own safety.

“Our landlord was telling us when they were under Russian occupation…you couldn’t live a normal life,” Matthew said. “If you didn’t comply, you would go to jail – or disappear.”

To meet the needs of the new refugees, Matthew said they partnered with a local non-profit refugee organization, a church group, friends and anyone willing to help.

They rely on a core group of 10 leaders and volunteers, but are aided by 150-200 others who could be working on any apartment or project at any given time, doing everything they can each time. they can, he said.

Former St. Charles resident Matthew Titus (left) is now a missionary in Prague for Chapelstreet Church in Geneva.  He and volunteers set up apartments for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the fighting.

Apartments need to be cleaned, refurbished, remodeled, and outfitted with furniture, washers and dryers, bedding, and other necessities.

Matthew, 43, is a graduate of St. Charles East Secondary School. His wife of 21 years, Sara, 44, grew up in a Christian missionary family in Colombia.

“We have always been committed to helping people who believe in God – and those who don’t – to meet and see the things they have in common and learn from each other,” said Sarah said. “So we have always done missionary activities as part of our work. It’s one more way of being missionary with people.

Missionaries in Prague from Chapelstreet Church in Geneva are helping to set up apartments like this for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

The couple have six children aged 5 to 16. They had four when they arrived in the Czech Republic, the fifth was born in Prague and the sixth was born in the United States while on a home mission in Fox Valley.

A Chapelstreet pastor, Reverend Bruce McEvoy, who is in charge of local and global ministries, said the Titus family was in the United States for six months last year before returning to Prague in January.

“So quickly the world in Europe turned around and they realized the opportunity they had to care for vulnerable people,” McEvoy said.

This fits with the mission of the church as it has been resettling refugees for 25 years, he said.

“We have workers in Poland and Estonia doing the same thing as Matt and Sara,” McEvoy said.

Donations to support refugee work in Prague, Poland and Estonia can be made to serve the world through the Chapelstreet website, ruechapelle.Eglise.

A red hat is just a red hat (unless it’s not) – Catholic World Report

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Cardinals gather ahead of the start of a 2014 consistory at the Vatican. Pope Francis announced on May 29, 2022 that he would create 21 new cardinals in August; the 16 who are under 80 include Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego. (SNC Photo/Paul Haring)

After one of the consistories earlier in the pontificate of Pope Francis, for which I did the radio commentary – possibly in 2016 but more likely in June 2017, as the sun was bright and it was rather warm outside and I remember the city in bloom (a magnificent spectacle) – I met a monsignor on my way out. He had an office that put him in fairly close and frequent contact with the communication device. He was in his happy rags.

“What a renewal for the Church! he told me, about of the creation we had just witnessed.

“Those are red caps,” I offered, without too much concern. Red hats are what they are. The pope must distribute them from time to time.

While Pope Francis is rightly praised for his willingness to search underserved and underrepresented neighborhoods for heads on which to perch red hats – and there is much to be said for this – his reluctance to foster relationships and community among its choices is problematic, to say the least. Cardinals help the Pope govern the universal Church while he lives and reigns, and choose his successor when the See of Rome is vacant.

To do well, they must know each other. They need to have an idea of ​​each other’s interests – real and perceived – as well as each other’s concerns and priorities. They must know each other personally. Every man needs to have some idea of ​​what makes the other manic, or at least be on good terms with someone who has such a feeling. This type of work dynamic simply does not develop on its own or overnight. Popes frequently summon cardinals to general assemblies, which helps them feel each other. Francis did so at the start of his pontificate, but has not brought together the entire College of Cardinals for such an “extraordinary consistory” since 2015. Francis says he wants to meet the entire College for two days after the ordinary consistory in August, but that alone will set him back a day late and a dollar less.

Men who barely know each other cannot work well together, and Pope Francis has not done all he can to give his closest associates the chance to get to know each other in a meaningful way, to understand the personalities, interests , the concerns, the priorities of each. Critics of Francis have accused him of playing politics with his appointments to the College of Cardinals, but every pope does. Francis’ appointments frequently strike observers as rather theatrical (despite being political theatre), however, and this time is no exception.

Sunday’s announcement of new red hats drew cheers from many quarters, along with groans and shrugs from Rome to the peripheries – geographic and existential – for the names on the list and the names omitted (some d between them rather visibly).

The major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, did not receive a red hat, for example. Catholics in war-torn Ukraine and Ukrainians in general may have appreciated such a gesture of solidarity in the face of the unprovoked invasion of Russia undertaken without any plausible case of war (and with a little nuclear terrorism as a measure). Pope Francis, however, is playing his own game with Russia these days and will not be distracted or deterred.

Pope Francis has seen fit to elevate a legionary curial official, Archbishop Fernando Vergez Alzaga, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and president of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

The Legionaries of Christ are the religious congregation founded by notorious sociopath and inveterate evil, Marcial Maciel, who used priestly society as a front for his criminal exploits. Maciel also used the secular arm of the Legion – a group called Regnum Christi – as a cash cow to fund his debauchery.

It’s one thing to refrain from suppressing the Legion altogether, as Pope Francis did (and Benedict before him, though at least they didn’t protect and promote Maciel, as did the Pope Saint John Paul II, no doubt influenced by the late Cardinal Angelo Sodano, his former Secretary of State, who died last week at the age of 94). It’s another to raise people who relate to it, even if they’re lifers like Bishop Vergez.

Pope Francis appointed Vergez bishop in 2013, after more than four decades of curial service in various offices and departments. Then Francis appointed him archbishop and put him on the secret Vatican financial oversight board and installed him as chief administrator of the Vatican City government. The Presidency of the Commission for the Vatican City and of the Governorate is the cantonment of a cardinal (although the city had a layman for governor until the last century), only… why raise a man like Vergez to such heights? ?

It is wrong to attribute guilt by association, and wrong to destroy a man simply because he has an unhappy attachment. Yet to cautiously let a personally intact man serve out his time in lesser office is light years away from destroying his career or smearing his name.

If the personal is a policy – and it is – then victims of the Legion and of clerical sexual abuse in general may feel that Pope Francis’ policy is somewhere between “Nothing to see here” and “Get over it, already. It is an impression made all the more easily forgivable by Francis’s decision to create Bishop Lucas Van Looy, SDB (emeritus of Ghent in Belgium). Van Looy does not have what could accurately be described as a trouble-free record of abuse and concealment.

The big one for Catholics in the United States – whose name has drawn both cheers and mockery – is Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, a “Bishop Francis” very close (and very much in the shadows) of the Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago. Smart money wants Cupich had something to do with getting McElroy’s name on the list.

Church watchers and Vatican insiders already knew that Cardinal Cupich was powerful. If Cupich is intent on building and solidifying his power base, it looks like Pope Francis is ready to play with him and with McElroy. Neither Cupich nor McElroy are exactly popular among the brethren of the American episcopate, but popes don’t give out red hats based on their performance in popularity contests.

News of the impending creation of the Bishop of San Diego as Robert Walter Cardinal McElroy may well be a hard pill to swallow for the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, not least because San Diego is a suffragan seat of LA, where Gomez has been without a red hat since taking over from famed Roger Cardinal Mahony in 2011.

Gomez’s statement regarding the company was nonetheless cool and perfect in Church parlance.

“By appointing Bishop Robert McElroy Cardinal,” reads the USCCB President’s official statement, “Pope Francis has shown his pastoral concern for the Church in the United States.” It’s the kind of thing that supporters and critics alike can answer, “Indeed.”

Bishop Gomez said he “knew and had the privilege of working with Cardinal-designate McElroy for many years,” and that they had worked “as brother bishops” on several issues and initiatives in service of the Conference. of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, as well as the Catholic Conference of California.

“[Bishop McElroy’s] strong faith and the pastoral concern for the faithful that he demonstrated in his diocese will serve the global Church well,” Bishop Gomez also said.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco noted that Bishop McElroy “is a San Franciscan native” and sent “congratulations to Cardinal-elect McElroy.” Cordileone, you’ll recall, recently made headlines when he announced that staunchly pro-choice House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — whose constituency includes most of San Francisco — shouldn’t stand. present for Holy Communion within the Archdiocese, citing its position on Abortion.

The move itself was not a big surprise. If the timing was somewhat confusing, perhaps this Sunday’s announcement offers some clarity. Suffice it to say, McElroy takes a different view of the best pastoral approach to wayward and recalcitrant politicians when it comes to Holy Communion. Never mind. Different shots.

It used to be fun to tease the post of who had a red hat and who didn’t. These days, maybe not so much.


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Follow the Leader: Pastor’s Energy and God’s Love Shape the Church’s New Home | Baptist life

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SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. (KT) — Leaving a large, successful church for a country church with only 17 members is not the typical path for a pastor.

But Kent Holland’s spiritual experience told him it was the Lord’s direction, not his own understanding. So, four years ago, he transitioned from a growing church in northern Kentucky to small community church life in Scottsville.

He was senior pastor at Burlington Baptist when he received an unexpected call from pastor Berean. The pastor was stepping down, and the Lord put on his heart to call Holland, whose mother and father lived in the community. Holland’s father had passed away and his mother was alone and in poor health.

Family responsibility weighed heavily on Holland’s heart since he was an only child and his mother needed care. His children (and grandchildren) also lived in the area. He knew the decision was bigger than him. Prayer would give him the answer.

“So my wife, Diane, and I started praying about it,” he said. “I left a church that had between 600 and 800 people and came to a church with 17 people. It’s not something you hear often.

Holland, who grew up in Cincinnati, was restless and also asked friends in the ministry to pray for him. The answer was to follow God’s direction and go to Scottsville. He did it and never looked back. Despite obstacles, like COVID-19 less than two years into the ministry, he has seen the church begin to flourish. They were 93 at Easter and remained between 65 and 91 the following weeks.

What was once a one-child church when he arrived in December 2018, now had a growing youth group with 28 people coming every Sunday. The youths outgrew the basement space, and the church purchased a building for $16,000. Holland said he was paid during an emotionally charged service by anonymous donors.

The veteran pastor, who spent eight years as a worship pastor in Burlington before becoming senior pastor, isn’t using any of the newest and greatest models for church growth. He uses the best model he knows – the Bible – and it has been glorious.

“Once a guy came up to me and said, ‘What model do you use?’ I said, ‘The Book of Acts.’ I’m a simple guy, not extremely smart, who loves the Lord,” Holland said. “It’s very simple: follow him. That’s what we’ve done here.






A motorcycle parking area is one of many improvements made to Berean Baptist Church in Lakewood under new pastor Kent Holland.


Jeff Crabtree, the South Central Region consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, can attest to Holland’s passion for the Lord.

“Kent has invested a lot of love and energy in the church,” said Crabtree, who works with him to develop Bible study groups for the church. “God worked to change the culture and the orientation of the people there. Kent has been a blessing to get to know and see how God has blessed him.

Holland said it wasn’t about style, it was about message, and God honored that. He immersed the church in Bible study and the transformation was beautiful to watch.

“I’m not going to come here and do what they did because it didn’t work,” he said. “I told them that was going to change. We cannot continue to do what we are doing. It’s broken. We had to stop thinking inside and think outside, focus more on the community.

The church responded immediately, and then COVID “knocked us down a bit,” Holland said. “Meanwhile, this handful of people wanted to do things around the church and said, ‘Let’s do it while we’re down.’ We renovated the interior, put new chairs and carpet.

Holland also added a motorcycle parking area for the church. He and his wife ride Harleys and have toured the lower 48 states. He said when they traveled they worshiped in churches with motorcycles in the field.

Holland said the hiring of a young pastor, Shawn Holland, has been a huge boost for the church. Shawn (a distant relative) and his wife, Crystal, have made a difference in training the youth, and it has brought new energy to the church, he said.

Holland has had a handful of baptisms and prays for that number to rise as a committed congregation listens and learns from a 62-year-old pastor who thought life might slow down as he cares for his mother in her old age .

It also brought him new spiritual life. The church is growing, the congregation is engaged, and why Holland followed the leading of the Holy Spirit.

“It was beyond my wildest imagination,” he said. “I could never have dreamed. I don’t know why I feel like this since the God of the universe is the one who put me here. Why couldn’t this have happened?

Uvalde pastor recounts award ceremonies in hours before 19 students and 2 teachers at South Texas school were killed by gunman

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A pastor from Uvalde whose 9-year-old granddaughter was at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday recounted the joyful atmosphere at award ceremonies in the hours before the fatal shooting.

Marcela Cabralez said the children gathered in groups of four to five classes in the school cafeteria with their families present. The ceremonies were staggered throughout the morning in 30-minute intervals.

The students took the stage in front of a brown curtain adorned with white lights to receive awards for various achievements. Afterwards, each student was able to pose for photos with parents and other family members in front of backdrops set up in the cafeteria.

“It was a celebratory, joyful, happy time that morning,” Cabralez said, recalling how the school grounds were bustling with activity and excitement.

The last round of awards ceremonies was at 10:30 a.m., she said, glancing at a calendar the school had sent to parents.

Cabralez said that after each ceremony, parents have the option of picking up their children and bringing them home.

“But the kids wanted to stay,” Cabralez said. “It’s tough. I’m sure it weighs on the parents. So many things go through people’s minds.

Cabralez and her husband are pastors at Revealed Ministries of Jesus Christ in Uvalde. Born-again Christians have been ministering in the community for eight years.

At around 11:40 a.m. – less than an hour after the last group of parents would have left school – one of her daughters, who worked in the school cafeteria and the girl’s niece, called and declared that the school was going to be closed.

She said the 9-year-old girl and her third-grade class were in the cafeteria for lunch. Cabralez declined to identify her granddaughter for security reasons.

The family later discovered that the staff locked the doors and the teachers hid the children behind that same brown curtain on the stage for an hour, Cabralez said.

After talking to her daughter, she called back a funeral director whose business was across the street from the school.

“He tells me they’re shooting at the school and he got shot,” she said. The Texas Department of Public Safety later confirmed that the shooter shot him.

He was calling because some of the children had been evacuated to the funeral home and he was looking for her help.

“I said yes. I rushed there,” she recalled.

Five minutes later, she was on the site, accompanied by parents looking for news of their children.

“Being such a small community, it doesn’t take five minutes to get the word out,” she said.

The shooter had entered the back of the school, Cabralez said. This part of the building is considered the “newer” part and contains the fourth grade classrooms.

She offered her perspective on reports that the door was unlocked when the shooter entered.

“Whether we wanted to call it failing school or not, there was so much activity” that morning, she said. “It could have been a door left open for the parents at this very moment.”

The aftermath of the shooting still reverberates on Cabralez and her granddaughter.

Two days after the shooting, her granddaughter looked at her over breakfast and said, “Grandma, today would have been the last day.

“I know, Mom,” she remembers saying.

They talked about dropping boxes of juice off at the classroom on Tuesday morning in preparation for the end-of-school party.

“It’s hard for them right now,” Cabralez said of the students.

Cabralez wondered aloud if she had seen the shooter’s face during her years of ministry at Uvalde.

“I tend to think of people (like the shooter) as humans who weren’t born that way and hurt. They may have trauma,” Cabralez said. “There are things that cause mental illness, things that cause people to act that way and that has to be our priority. How can we reach out to our hurting young people? »

She said issues such as child abuse, broken homes and substance abuse were becoming a problem in Uvalde. Cabralez said she herself was in the process of adopting her granddaughter following such issues.

“I shouldn’t be raising my granddaughter,” she said. “As a society, we have to look at that.”

In addition to looking at mental health issues, Cabralez supports the idea of ​​more safety measures in schools.

But for now, she looks forward to upcoming vigils and rallies and worries about how people will talk about the shooter and how their conversation will affect the children.

“We’re their teachers, so you imagine they hear us blaming the shooter, the guy who’s ‘evil,’ and hate and unforgiveness. Can you imagine how children harbor these emotions? ” she asked. “How can we help them let go and heal from this or other things? »

[email protected]

Laguna Woods council takes minute of silence for church shooting victims – Orange County Register

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In honor of the lives lost and those injured in the recent shooting at a Taiwanese Irvine Presbyterian Church Luncheon at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, the Third Laguna Board of Trustees Hills Mutual opened its May 17 meeting with a minute of silence.

“Anytime there is violence, in relation to anyone, especially any hateful violence, is especially reprehensible,” said board chairman Robert Mutchnick. “Even though it was outside the Village, it happened to us. It happened to our neighbors. It happened to our friends.

On May 15, a gunman opened fire at a Taiwanese lunch at the church, killing Dr. John Cheng, 52, and injuring five others. Worshipers attacked him and bound his legs with extenders while disarming him, officials said.

Anti-harassment policy

The third council members discussed at length the proposal to set up an inter-council committee to deal with allegations of harassment, abuse and bullying in all relationships – residents, village management services staff and administrators advice.

The six-member committee would be made up of two members from each board – Golden Rain Foundation, United and Third – and would work with representatives from village management departments, legal advisers and other relevant people to enforce discipline. if so, according to a VMS staff report.

The committee would be modeled after the village traffic hearing committee.

“It saddens me to be in a place where we, as volunteers, (who) serve our community, and staff have to have such a mandate,” said director Annie McCary. “We try to put rules and regulations in place so that we can feel safe to do our job, and not just do our job, but walk in this community.

“People who bully need to know they can’t do this and get away with it,” she said.

Beyond the state and federal definitions of harassment, abuse, and bullying, the policy mentions yelling; harassment, such as following someone to intimidate or “make a point”; disrupt ongoing organized activities; and excessive phone calls, according to the staff report.

The board approved the motion, 7-4-0, to put the proposal on 28 days’ notice to discuss feedback from board members and the community.

COVID-19 Update

The adjusted daily rate of COVID-19 cases in Orange County remains in double digits, averaging 13.7 cases per 100,000 population as of May 24, according to the OC Health Care Agency.

The test positivity rate – the number of swabs and sputum tests that come back positive for the coronavirus – rose to 5.5%, the health equity rate – the test positivity of affected neighborhoods of disproportionately – next at 2.4%.

Cumulatively in the city of Laguna Woods, there have been 1,140 cases of COVID-19 and 77 related deaths.

resale report

The average resale price of a unit in Third Mutual in April was $630,767, down from $494,285 in April 2021, according to a VMS staff report. Since the beginning of the year, resales have been 160, against 141 the previous year. Sales volume in April was $27 million, compared to $13 million in April 2021.

On Religion: The American Bishops, 3 Popes and the Soul of Nancy Pelosi |

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After fierce closed-door debates over President Joe Biden and Holy Communion, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops managed to release a muted document last fall that did little to please the public. activists on both sides of the Church’s wars on abortion and to the benched politicians.

But a passage from “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” turned into a countdown in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, setting the stage for the current clash between Archbishop Salvatore J Cordileone and a member of her flock – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is the particular responsibility of the diocesan bishop to work to remedy situations that involve public actions contrary to the visible communion of the Church and to the moral law,” the passage notes. “Indeed, he must guard the integrity of the sacrament, the visible communion of the Church and the salvation of souls.”

The Diocese of Cordileone comprises California’s 12th congressional district. After six private attempts to reach Pelosi, he released a statement on May 20 telling him that “you must not appear for Holy Communion and, if you do, you must not be admitted to Holy Communion, until that you will publicly repudiate your plea for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution for this grave sin in the Sacrament of Penance.

The archbishop built his case with quotes from Pope Francis, Pope St. John Paul II and now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, as well as canon law stating that Catholics who “stubbornly persist in grave sin manifest” are “not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

The speaker’s words and actions, he added, suggest she cares nothing for papal authority. Pelosi, the mother of five, recently told the Seattle Times that “the personal nature of it all is so appalling, and I say that as a devout Catholic. They tell me, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about motherhood than the Pope.’ Yes. Are you stupid?”

While the news has been dominated by signs that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade, these ongoing debates among Catholics are rooted in years of disagreement over the words and actions of recent popes.

Writing to his flock, Cordileone noted that in 2004 the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told the US bishops that when a Catholic politician champions laws promoting abortion, “his pastor should meet, … informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he has brought an end to the objective situation of sin and warning him that otherwise he will be denied the Eucharist.

This advice came from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI. But the chairman of the committee who received that letter — the now-disgraced Theodore McCarrick — claimed Ratzinger supported the compromise, saying local bishops should rule on those issues. Since then, the bishops have been arguing about this “McCarrick doctrine”.

As for Pope Francis, Cordileone said he “has been one of the world’s most ardent defenders of human dignity at every stage and condition of life. He denounces what he evocatively calls the “throwaway culture”. There can be no more extreme example of this cultural depravity than when direct attacks on human life are enshrined in the law of a nation.

At the beginning of his pontificate, Francis noted: “Every child who, rather than being born, is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, then just after birth , experienced rejection from the world.

Cordileone reviewers note that the pope met and prayed privately with Biden for 75 minutes last fall. Then the president said, “We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic. Biden claimed that Francis had urged him to “continue to receive Communion.”

In another discussion of these conflicts, during an in-flight presser, Francis emphasized, “I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone. Nobody.” However, he also said that it is possible for a Catholic to separate from the church and, therefore, “not be able to take communion because he is outside the community. not a penalty: you are on the outside Communion is to unite the community.

This is a “pastoral issue,” Francis said, and “we bishops deal with this principle pastorally.”

(Terry Mattingly runs GetReligion.org and lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is a senior fellow at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi.)

Canton Community to Honor Victims of Uvalde and Buffalo at Vigil

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The vigil will be held at the Congregational United Church of Christ in Canton on Saturday, May 28 at 4 p.m.

CANTON, Ohio – EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above aired Thursday, May 26 on 3News when Shaker Heights students went on a field trip.

A local church is doing its part to honor the innocent lives that have been lost in recent tragedies in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.

RELATED: Names of Texas Elementary School Shooting Victims Released So Far

The Congregational United Church of Christ in Canton, Ohio, invites the community to participate in a vigil.

The vigil will be held at 4 p.m. on the church lawn located at 1430 Easton Street NE

During the vigil, community members will mourn the tragic mass shootings that have occurred across the country.

The church hopes to bring solidarity to the community and call for an end to gun violence across the country.

SUBSCRIBE: Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every weekday morning with the free 3News to GO! newsletter

The church is working with representatives from Mom’s Demand and Everytown to speak at the event. Additional speakers are expected to be announced over the next 24 hours.

Other churches in northeast Ohio have shown their respect for the victims of the Uvalde shooting.

In Macedonia, the United Methodist Church displayed 21 empty chairs representing the 19 children who died and the two teachers killed in the shooting.

RELATED: Church of Macedonia displays empty chairs for Texas elementary school shooting victims

Schools in northeast Ohio also expressed their views on recent events. Hundreds of Shaker Heights students marched, demanding a change in gun laws.

Want to be among the first to hear about the most important local and national news? Download the free WKYC app and get updates straight to your phone: Android, Apple.

Letter from clergy leaders ignores children; Applaud pastors for their stance on abortion

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OPINION AND COMMENT

Editorials and other opinion content provide insights into issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our newsroom reporters.

Children are excluded from the ‘religiously pro-choice’ position

To those “Clerics, Pastors and Counselors” who authored the statement titled “Abortion is a matter between a woman and her God” on the May 22 CDT Opinion page, I have a few questions. First, you know you have a great responsibility to the people you serve and especially to the God you claim to serve, don’t you? As such, I note that in your explanation of why you are “religiously pro-choice,” there are some people you never mention, some people who, unfortunately, cannot write an answer. It is the children in the womb who are affected by what you call the “necessary and merciful” procedure of abortion. What do you think they could say about what you wrote if, indeed, they could talk? What would those who have not been considered in the least by what you have written say of your words? Maybe I can help you. Jesus, whom the Bible calls “the head of the church” (and that means your church by the way) will say to all of us very soon, as he promised on the day he judges the world: “Truly I say to you, as you did to one of these least of my brethren, you did it to me. And He also said, “I say to you, in the day of judgment, people will answer for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. How do you think it might turn out for you at that time? to Him whom you claim to serve?

Leroy M. Young, Jr., Center Hall

Applauding pastors for abortion

I wholeheartedly agree with the pastors who signed the editorial that was in the Sunday paper. If the Supreme Court makes abortion illegal, that does not mean that there will be no more abortions. Instead, it means that those who, for whatever reason, choose to terminate their pregnancy will find that trying to do so will become much more difficult and dangerous for both mother and fetus.

Many years ago, our nation attempted to legislate morality by amending the Constitution to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol. But enough people chose not to comply with that ruling that 16 years later that amendment was repealed. I wonder if the same will happen with abortions. If abortion is banned, will enough women continue to seek ways to end their pregnancies despite the difficulties and dangers of doing so for the country to make abortion legal again?

Bob Frankenberg, State College

SCOTUS takes responsibility for the mass killings

Much of the blame for the deaths of the children this week and for the continuing mass shootings should be assigned to the five Republican Supreme Court justices, John Roberts, Antonin Gregory Scalia, Anthony McLeod Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Anthony Alito, who voted in 2008 for the Heller decision. This decision essentially made it very difficult to draft legislation to restrict the use, sale and carrying of weapons useful for mass murder, such as AR-15 type assault weapons. This 5-4 decision inspired Republican lawmakers to pass all sorts of laws to encourage people to buy and carry such weapons. The Supreme Court justices acted on their political convictions. Surely they knew that the Second Amendment was passed so that the citizens of the state could possess arms to form a state militia so that a national army would not be needed to defend the United States. If the law is read literally, people should certainly be allowed to possess atomic weapons which are certainly weapons.

Roy Greenfield, State College

Limit gun violence with your vote

More children have died because spineless Republican politicians like Glenn Thompson oppose gun control.

When America finally has enough of this slaughter, we can stop it.

Vote.

Robert Baillie, State College

Reliable views on Russian history

Walter Uhler was a student in our graduate seminar on Russian history at Penn State. He was smart then; he’s still smart. I am writing to endorse the views expressed in his letter.

George Enteen, State College

Episcopal Church of Maryland Awards Reparation Funds to Nonprofits

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Nearly two years after establishing a fund to redress systemic racism and slavery, the Episcopal Church of Maryland on Thursday awarded $180,000 in grants to its first class of organizations tasked with “restoring African-American communities and black”.

The six organizations, awarded $30,000 each, include nonprofits, church-affiliated initiatives and youth centers committed to providing economic, educational, housing, environmental and healthcare resources to black children and families.

The winners included the Samaritan community, St. Luke’s Youth Center (SLYC) and The following, based in Baltimore City; Calvert Concept Charitable Corp., a Calvert County startup; I believe in myself to Frederick; and Anne Arundel Connecting Together in Anne Arundel County.

Episcopal Church of Maryland Commits $1 Million to Reparations Seed Fund

Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, the first black bishop in the Diocese of Maryland, said racial justice and the Episcopal Church’s restorative work in the state began more than 15 years ago when leaders began to document how the institution had benefited from slavery.

Leaders also studied how the Church continued to benefit from systems that oppressed or marginalized black people even after slavery was abolished.

“It didn’t sit well with us,” Sutton said during his introductory speech at Thursday’s awards ceremony. Rather than the church “delaying”, the bishop said there was a collective feeling to “take the lead”.

“Let’s put our money where our mouth is,” he said.

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland voted at its general convention in 2019 to study the topic of reparations, which included a finding that most, if not all, of its churches built before 1860 included labor or materials made by slaves.

A year later, the reparations fund was established at its annual convention with $1 million in seed capital, which was to be reinvested in Maryland communities shackled by the legacy of slavery and persistent systemic racism. . The fund is now over $1 million due to additional contributions in the two years since its inception.

“A lot of people in the United States wonder why reparations? I didn’t own slaves, and maybe my family didn’t own slaves, and I love everyone,” Sutton said at the awards ceremony. “Today is part of that answer.”

“The legacy of more than 350 years of discrimination against people of African descent has taken its toll on this nation. And it touched all of us,” the Bishop continued. “None of us may have been guilty, but we all have a responsibility. Today is an indication of the responsibility we are taking.

The Diocese of Maryland established a Reparations Task Force to develop the grant program and choose the first class of recipients. The process was open to any organization operating within the geographic region of the Diocese of Maryland – which includes the central, western and southern portions of the state. The Maryland suburb of DC were not eligible because they are part of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Representatives from Calvert Concept said the Diocese’s investment felt like an ‘expression of confidence’ in their startup idea to help build generational wealth for Black families through home and business ownership. .

Shel Simon, deputy CEO of Next One Up in Baltimore, echoed that sentiment, thanking the church for supporting the work his group is doing with the city’s young men.

“When I think about the painful history of our country and how often it is ignored or swept under the rug, it needs to be acknowledged so that we can move forward as a community,” he said. he declares.

St. Luke’s Youth Center, a collaboration of West Baltimore families, plans to use its grant money to hire an arts and public education coordinator.

Racial Justice Coalition Demands Biden Order Reparations Study

“We will use the funds to help continue to give voice to people who have been silenced and unable to speak out,” said Amanda Talbot, SLYC’s Executive Director. “It’s really important to us. Our families and parents have a lot to say.

Aje Hill, the founder and executive director of I Believe in Me, accepted his organization’s grant with a speech on the importance of believing. He served eight years in prison for crimes he committed as a ‘threat to society’, he said, before walking out and realizing he had the power to give back and make amends honorable to Frederick, where he grew up.

“I know what it’s like to be in pain. I know what it’s like to be sad. I know what it’s like to be broken,” Hill said. “We aim to keep children out of this darkness.”

The grant money, he said, will be used to set up after-school programs that provide mentoring, academic tutoring and life skills development.

He said he made the trip to the ceremony from Frederick because he wanted to see the faces of the people who had chosen his organization for the restorative grant.

“These are the people who believe in us,” Hill said. “Thank you so much for believing in us.”

Greenbelt residents approve commission to study repairs

Haiti paid reparations to slavers. Just like Washington, D.C.

Supporters say they have the votes in the House to pass a reparations bill after years of lobbying

RIP Catholic News Service – gone too soon and when we needed you most

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(RNS) – The US Catholic bishops are killing Catholic News Service, one of their most successful national programs. Founded in 1921, CNS is the AP for Catholic news, providing copies to Catholic publications across the country and around the world.

In a 2021 meeting with CNS reporters in Rome, Pope Francis told them that “over the past hundred years, Catholic News Service has made an invaluable contribution to the English-speaking world through its coverage of the mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel and to bear witness to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.

CNS’s New York and DC offices will close by the end of the year. Its Rome office will continue, but who knows for how long. Stories from his Rome office will be made freely available to all U.S. dioceses.

Although part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, CNS is staffed by professional reporters who report the news using the highest journalistic standards. It’s old-fashioned journalism that gives the news without opinion. If you want to know what is happening in the Catholic Church, you read CNS.

Logo of the Catholic press service. Courtesy Image

Over the years, to keep up with church news, I have always read stories written by Jerry Filteau, John Thavis, and other outstanding CNS reporters. The stories of its reporters were supplemented by articles by journalists from diocesan newspapers deemed to be of national interest.

The volume of its coverage is impressive. In the third week of May this year, he published about 75 stories, as well as Spanish translations of some plays.

You can still find coverage of bishop appointments and deaths, meetings and statements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Church political activities on abortion, immigration, poverty, health care, racism and other public policies. It also covered the work of Catholic education, Catholic health care and Catholic charities. Catholic involvement in ecumenical and interreligious activities has also drawn attention, along with the words and actions of the Pope and the Vatican.


RELATED: Catholic bishops oppose some Biden programs, support others


As a scholar, I have found his archives extremely useful in writing my books on the American bishops and the Vatican. In the pre-internet days, I spent countless hours going through records to familiarize myself with the history of the institutions and people I studied.

Catholic <a class=News Service homepage on May 25, 2022. Screenshot” width=”800″ height=”450″ srcset=”https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2.jpg 1600w, https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2-427×240.jpg 427w, https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2-807×454.jpg 807w, https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2-768×432.jpg 768w, https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2-1536×864.jpg 1536w, https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2-624×351.jpg 624w, https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2-300×169.jpg 300w, https://religionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/webRNS-CNS-Logo2-600×338.jpg 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px”/>

Catholic News Service homepage on May 25, 2022. Screenshot

With much of his archive online today, researching a subject or person is much easier. When a reporter asks to interview me about a bishop or topic, I often go to the CNS online archives and do a word search. By the time I’m interviewed, I’ve become an instant expert capable of impressing any reporter on a subject I knew little about hours earlier.

When the CNS closes, I hope these archives will be open to the public. Today, it is only open to subscribers.

The CNS has always had its detractors among the bishops. Some did not understand that good journalism required reporting bad news as well as good news about the church. These bishops did not like the CNS’s coverage of the sexual abuse crisis or disagreements in the church. They didn’t want to cover up theologians or other people who disagreed with the bishops or the pope.

These bishops wanted a propaganda agency, not a media. They put the CNS on the defensive by complaining about specific journalists and reports. They have lobbied for budget cuts, which has led to major layoffs in the past. This year’s decision is quite simply the deathblow for an institution that has been slowly bleeding itself.

In the past, the CNS received a large part of its funding from diocesan newspapers subscribing to its service. When these newspapers closed, the CNS lost this source of revenue and became more dependent on the USCCB. Many bishops are reluctant to fund a national program as they suffer from sexual abuse payments, COVID-19 and reduced income. Even moderate bishops without diocesan papers did not want to give their limited money to the CNS.

On the other hand, many conservative bishops love Mother Angelica’s media empire, which now includes EWTN, the National Catholic Register (not to be confused with the National Catholic Reporter), and the Catholic News Agency, or CNA. When cable companies offered free time on an ecumenical channel to bishops, they turned it down because they feared it would compete with EWTN.

Many bishops love EWTN more than their own child, CNS, even though EWTN commentators freely criticize bishops who don’t reflect their conservative views – and, of course, Pope Francis isn’t above criticism. .

A statue at the entrance to EWTN Studios in Irondale, Alabama on January 8, 2019. RNS Photo by Jack Jenkins

A statue at the entrance to EWTN Studios in Irondale, Alabama on January 8, 2019. RNS Photo by Jack Jenkins

Many liberals classify media giant EWTN in the Fox News category of Catholicism, and it certainly has a conservative leaning.

In the past, Mother was uncritical in her coverage of the conservative views of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but ignored those popes when they pushed Catholic social teaching and social justice. Her comments often went beyond pious reflections to rants against what she disliked about liberals. Today, Raymond Arroyo, news director and anchor on EWTN, skips the piety and dives straight into Fox and Republican talking points on the culture wars.

CNA provides the most direct competition to CNS in news coverage. While diocesan newspapers and websites have to pay for CNS, CNA is free and has already replaced CNS in many Catholic publications and websites. When CNS dies, CNA will be the only Catholic news service available.

The quality of ANC varies. When he does direct news, it can be informative. I check CNA every day and find a story or two to read. When he posts comments, it’s one-sided conservatism.

Many Catholics don’t realize how much of their news about the church comes from the CNS. They don’t understand that much of the news they read in the National Catholic Reporter, Crux, America, their diocesan newspapers and other Catholic media comes from the CNS.

In the first three weeks of May, for example, the National Catholic Reporter published 44 articles on CNS, Crux published 33 articles and America published 17 articles. Additionally, CNS was the source of dozens of news photos used in Catholic publications.

While the bishops keep CNS reporters in Rome, that is not where the greatest need is. America, the National Catholic Reporter, Crux, La Croix International, The Tablet of London and other Catholic publications also have excellent reporters in Rome, as does Religion News Service. While I am glad the Rome bureau will continue, it is Catholic news coverage in the United States that will suffer the most from the CNS closure.

Catholic publications should hire additional journalists, which they cannot afford, to replace the articles they currently receive from the CNS. Could CNS subscribers pool their resources to hire two or three reporters to cover Catholic news? Are there any foundations and donors willing to fund this?

At RNS, we of course hope that the sad demise of CNS will encourage more Catholic publications to turn to RNS for their articles. Some Catholic publications, such as the National Catholic Reporter, Crux and America, already have subscriptions. But RNS covers news from all religious denominations and should considerably strengthen its Catholic coverage to replace CNS. Are there any foundations and donors willing to fund this?


RELATED: At USCCB meeting, US bishops ignore real issues while debating details


The disappearance of the CNS illustrates the more general problem of the Catholic Church operating at the national level through the episcopal conferences. The church has strong structures that can work at the parish, diocesan and Vatican level, but the national entities are weak because each bishop wants a veto over anything he doesn’t like and the Vatican fears that national entities strong do not challenge its authority.

The rise of the EWTN empire is also a challenge for Catholic progressives. Why are they unable to manage and finance an equivalent media empire?

May God bless all CNS journalists who over the years have dedicated their lives to the church. They did a wonderful job of which they can be proud. It’s sad to see them go.

Tinley Park group connects church resources to better help those in need – Chicago Tribune

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About 17 years ago, Crestwood resident Renee Boros traveled south to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It would be a trip that changed his life.

“We were fed, warmed and loved by community churches while we volunteered in Louisiana,” she said. “They attended to all our needs as we attended to the needs of the injured and sick.”

The experience stayed with her and she made it her mission to pass on that spirit.

“It’s up to us to show people where that love is and where they can get help and, in turn, help others,” Boros said.

As part of that ongoing effort, Boros held a spring rally earlier this month at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Country Club Hills, where she serves as president of the Lutheran Woman’s Missionary League. Over the years, this group has tried to help through projects far and near.

The group sent Bibles to inmates, collected coins for missions, sent candy boxes to students.

“We do little things like supporting food pantries, collecting baby items for single moms and doing an Angel Tree at Christmas that fills a local need for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have received gifts. “Boros said. “Whatever the needs of the community and our congregation, we try to support them.”

The purpose of the rally was to encourage other women to help their communities and to hear a presentation from Love, INC of Tinley Park, who would “talk about how they help others and how we can help them”, she said.

As League members registered for the rally, each brought a fresh bottle of laundry detergent to give away to Love INC customers. The Tinley Park-based group works with churches to meet the needs of families facing crisis in Orland Park, Orland Hills, Tinley Park, Oak Forest, Country Club Hills, Matteson, Frankfort, Mokena and New Lenox.

Lisa Dailey, executive director of Love INC of Tinley Park, said the group was not an emergency service and did not distribute money.

“Our theme is helping churches help people,” she said. “There is nothing more powerful than churches working together to transform lives in local communities. We connect the church to the struggles of the community.

Dailey said the most pressing needs right now are housing and car repairs.

“We get a lot of calls for car repairs,” she said. “To our knowledge, there is no agency or ministry that specifically deals with this issue. Yet for every church there is someone in the church who has these skills, how could attract them and create help for people who need their car repaired?”

Love INC of Tinley Park has partnered with 17 area churches. Two have food pantries, one offers an employment program called Self Help Jobs, and another has a personal care food pantry.

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Dailey said the network can be crucial in connecting people to the help they need. For example, one woman the group helped had a dilapidated fence that she could not afford to repair. She was about to be fined by her municipality.

“His church didn’t have the resources and didn’t have men in the congregation with the skills that could help him,” Dailey said. “She called Love INC, we spread the word to our churches, within an hour we had a call from pastor and said they were taking care of the job. A few minutes later, another church called and said they would cover the cost of the supplies. Suddenly we have this need that has just been satisfied.

Housing is also becoming a growing issue for people, she said.

“People tell us, we lost our house and live in our car, or they called the shelter but the shelter is full,” Dailey said. “What if churches got together and created transitional housing? We need to work together and be a holistic problem solver in our community.

“We can be that shining example. We dream of a world where churches are united in purpose, fully engaged and actively living their faith, lovingly serving those in need in their communities.

More information about Love INC of Tinley Park is at www.loveinctp.org or 708-444-2033.

Mary Compton is a freelance journalist for the Daily Southtown.

Between sorrow and fear, Pax Christi mourns the death of a pastor

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Many Catholic priests sing from the altar. Most shouldn’t. Father J. Michael Byron, who died suddenly on Friday, May 20, was an exception.

Father Mike, as his parishioners at Pax Christi called him, had a beautiful voice from when he led the concert choir at Edina West High School.

“As a young man, his love of music was expressed through his active participation in our music ministry,” said Father Kevin Finnegan, the current pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, where father Mike attended with his family as he grew up. .

“Over the years, Father Mike has had a close relationship with his friends at OLG, especially his parents’ friends,” Finnegan continued. “Regularly, he returned to celebrate the funeral of one of his parents’ friends, which allowed him to reconnect with his friends.”

Father J. Michael Byron

Hundreds of grieving members of Pax Christi gathered Friday evening at evening prayer to remember Father Mike, their pastor since 2018.

“What to say when you feel like an orphan? parish director Carol Bishop said during the prayer service.

According to longtime friend Reverend Phil Rose, Father Mike was intelligent, passionate and gentle. Mike comes from a family of four, which grew when his parents adopted two children. His father was co-founder of the law firm Fredrikson & Byron. His mother Mary was lively and engaged; his family was his life, according to John Estrem, a former priest in the archdiocese and a longtime friend of Mike’s since his OLG days.

Mike began a career in banking and investing after graduating from St. John’s University in Collegeville in 1981, but realized early on that wasn’t his calling, according to Rose . He entered the seminary in his late twenties.

Educated in Rome, he held a series of parish posts in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the years.

“He was a phenomenal preacher,” said Rose, who grew up with Father Mike and served as one of the first youth ministers at Pax Christi.

A former member of the Eden Prairie School Board, Rose was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2013 and is now chaplain to St. Paul’s Episcopal Homes.

“(Father Mike) said a lot in a few words,” Rose said. “You could usually hear the newspaper in its preaching, and it helped listeners understand the scriptures and took away something personal to apply in their daily lives.

“I’m hesitant to tell stories about some of the pranks he pulled,” chuckled Rose. “During his senior year in high school, Mike encouraged other students to check out all the books in the school library in a certain section. Many people were looking at dozens of books under the letter ‘S’ during the last week of school. You had to know him a little, but there was always a hint of Irish humor in Mike’s eyes.

“The library story feels like it’s up Mike’s alley,” Estrem echoed. “Mike was very smart, but not a nerd. With intelligence came some intelligence. He got into a lot of mischief with a bunch of louder guys, but as far as I know he never got caught.

Father Mike was part of a long-time dinner group that had met monthly for over 25 years. Not formally a support group for priests, it’s still a much-loved ritual for the 14 members – some retired, some former, some still active – who are now 13.

“The next time our dinner party gets together, we’re going to miss Mike’s voice, but we’re not going to miss his cooking,” Estrem said. “Mike was an awful cook. In fact, he never cooked. His sister and her friend would come over when it was Mike’s turn to organize dinner and cook. Over the years, we loved doing gaffes and gossip, but we’ve also been through a lot together.

A Vatican II priest

Father Mike also taught at Holy Angels Academy and St. Paul’s Seminary.

In a 2016 article in the Jesuit magazine AmericaFather Mike wrote, “To be Catholic is to be attentive to the expectation that God’s grace will be poured abundantly into our world, and benevolence may lurk almost anywhere.”

Controversially, he also described what it was like to teach seminary: “For most of that time, I felt like a pretty wintery season in church politics. . It was unwise in my institution to question the liturgical preferences or theological dispositions of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, or the Roman Curia without jeopardizing his personal reputation and professional career.

“Mike had a true pastor’s heart. In my mind, there is no greater compliment.

John Estrem

In contrast, Father Mike was what some Catholics call a full Vatican II priest.

“Mike deeply believed in the dignity of the baptized, and he was not shy about it,” Estrem said. “He could be true and honest about his theological and scriptural knowledge without making it seem esoteric. There is very little of that in the church now. For Mike, being a pastor meant being in the mess of life while remaining flexible and welcoming. Ultimately, the person in front of you is a real person with real needs. Mike had a true pastor’s heart. In my mind, there is no greater compliment.

Father Mike also served as parish priest in some financially challenged parishes. He was quoted in a Minnesota Public Radio investigation in 2014 of the archdiocese as being concerned about the finances of his local parish, Saint-Pascal Baylon, in Saint-Paul.

“I’m always worried about the money,” said Father Mike. “I don’t know if I have much more reason to be worried this year than most, but I don’t know.”

Coming to Pax Christi

When Father Mike arrived at Pax Christi in 2018, the pastor and the people recognized each other as kindred spirits.

Since the retirement of the late Father Tim Power, the community has gone through what many in the parish describe as difficult leadership transitions. Last Friday, after the prayer service for Father Mike, there was palpable and confidential anxiety among the mourners over who the Archdiocese will appoint their next pastor.

It has been the custom for several years on Good Fridays at Pax Christi to invite one of the members to share a personal story in which he or she shared the transmission of the passion. Often it is someone who has had a serious illness.

Father Mike during this year’s Good Friday service.

This year, the liturgy planners asked Father Mike to be the sharer. (His reflection starts at 49:15 and ends at 57:40 in the live-streamed service.) Pale and emaciated, Father Mike spoke of the many blessings in his life. When he explained how he came closest to carrying the cross, he mentioned his temptation to stop praying.

“A relatively comfortable life often makes prayer unnecessary. It’s not terrible from an emotional day-to-day standpoint. It feels more like a slow drying up of what I know to be my source of life and the cause of my ultimate joy and hope,” Fr. Mike preached that day. He urged his listeners to return to prayer, “to rejoice in what is joyful, to face what is dreadful”.

A month later, not wanting to disappoint his parishioners, Father Mike led a pilgrimage to Greece. Upon returning last Wednesday, Estrem confirmed that Mike had been taken directly from the airport by ambulance to Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Two days later, after receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick from his longtime friend, the Very Reverend Michael Tix, Father Mike passed away.

“Father Mike had a brilliant intellect and a deeply pastoral heart,” said Father Finnegan of Our Lady of Grace. “In his priestly ministry, his passion and study of theology nourished his love and personal concern for the needs of his community. He had a deep aversion to anything that smacked of elitism or clericalism, preferring – in words of Pope Francis – “to be a shepherd living with the smell of sheep”.

A visit for Father J. Michael Byron will be held from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 at Pax Christi Catholic Community, 12100 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie. This will include a brief vigil service at 6:45 p.m.

On Thursday, June 2, visitation will be held at the church from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. before the funeral mass at 11 a.m. There will be lunch after Mass.

Editor’s note: Steve Schewe is President and CEO of Eden Prairie Local News. It was a Catholic Pax Christi community member from 1988 to 2006 and member of the parish council from 2000 to 2003.

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Idaho Transportation Open House US 20/26 Chinden West Project

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The Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) Open House is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Middleton United Methodist Church.

MIDDLETON, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) is hosting an open house Tuesday to gather feedback and share design plans for its U.S. Highway 20/26 Chinden West project.

the the project plans to expand US Highway 20/26 between Middleton Road and Star Road in the future.

Currently, the road consists of two lanes, one in each direction. ITD said it had “long term plans” to widen the road to six lanes, with three in each direction. The project also includes widening the shoulder on each side of the road and adding multi-use paths parallel to the roadway.

ITD said the corridor improvements will improve intersections for increased safety and mobility for “all users of the transportation system.”

Tuesday’s open house is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. at Middleton United Methodist Church. The public can share their comments on the project and meet the members of the project team during the open house.

RELATED: Idaho State and County Agencies Adapt as Gas Prices Continue to Rise

ITD’s project design uses funds from the Leading Idaho Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) program.

The program provides ITD with opportunities to “accelerate project timelines to accommodate Idaho’s rapid growth and build critical infrastructure today that would otherwise take many years to fund and build.”

According to ITD, additional funding for the US Highway 20/26 Chinden West project will be determined as it progresses to the next stage.

If you are unable to attend Tuesday’s open house, ITD will post materials shared at the event online at itdprojects.org/chindenwest from Wednesday. Public comments will be accepted until June 7.

Middleton United Methodist Church is located at 104 East Main Street.

To watch a video presentation of ITD’s Chinden West project, Click here.

Check out the latest Treasure Valley and Gem State news in our YouTube Playlist:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Former Vatican Ambassador to Turkey Appointed Auxiliary Bishop in Detroit

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A former Vatican ambassador to Turkey and Taiwan who grew up in Michigan and served in countries around the world will become the next assistant bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Pope Francis announced Monday.

Beginning in July, Bishop Paul Fitzpatrick Russell will become one of five auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese, which includes more than one million Catholics in six southeast Michigan counties. There are two other retired auxiliary bishops.

Russell, 63, has served as a diplomat and helped represent the Catholic Church around the world, including in Turkey, Taiwan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Switzerland, Nigeria and Turkmenistan, according to a biography from the archdiocese. of Detroit and previous media reports.

In 2008, Pope Benedict appointed Russell Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Taiwan, meaning he was effectively the Vatican’s ambassador to the tiny Asian nation. The Vatican has no official relations with mainland China.

Russell served as ambassador to Taiwan for eight years, working to “help relations between the Holy See, Taiwan and the mainland,” he said in a 2016 article in the Boston Pilot, a Catholic newspaper.

In 2016, Pope Francis appointed Russell Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan. He received the title of archbishop the same year. In 2018, Pope Francis added Azerbaijan to the nations to which he served as ambassador.

“I am so happy with Pope Francis’ decision to send me home and look forward to serving as Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit and immersing myself in the mission and ministry of the local church in the southeast Michigan,” Russell said Monday in a statement from the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said Russell’s global experience will help enrich the local archdiocese.

“Having served the Church all over the world, Bishop Russell brings to the Archdiocese of Detroit a valuable perspective of the universal Church and our mission to make all nations joyful missionary disciples,” Vigneron said in a statement. .

Russell was born in Massachusetts. After his parents divorced, he moved with his mother to his hometown of Alpena, Michigan when he was in third grade, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Boston Pilot.

After:Catholic Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron tests positive for COVID-19

After:Michigan immigrant children fear deportation at age 21

He attended St. Bernard Elementary School in Clairvaux and Alpena High School, then entered St. John’s Seminary in Boston and was ordained a priest in 1987. Russell served five years in parish ministry and one year in as personal secretary to Cardinal Archbishop Bernard. Straight.

After studying in Rome at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he became a diplomat for the Catholic Church.

Russell’s tenure as ambassador to Turkey and Taiwan has come amid sometimes strained relations between the Vatican, Turkey and China.

China severed ties with the Vatican in 1951. Pope Benedict XVI visited Turkey in 2006 but was met with protests for comments he made earlier about Islam; while there he visited a mosque, only the second time in history that a pope has visited an Islamic place of worship, according to media reports.

Years before Russell became ambassador to Turkey in 2016, he worked in Turkey for the Vatican in the apostolic nunciature from 2000 to 2002. He was visiting the United States at the time of the September 11 attacks, the archdiocese said. from Detroit.

“I was there at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York,” he told the Boston Pilot. “The world completely changed at that time. We are seeing the fruits of that now.”

When he became ambassador, Turkey was facing an influx of refugees from Iraq and Syria.

“Turkey is geographically in a difficult place in the world,” he said in 2016. “The southern border is Syria, the so-called Islamic State, Iraq and Iran – it’s a neighborhood And yet, the presence of the Church in Turkey has been since the beginning of Christianity.Turkey is a land blessed by the presence of the Apostles and many great saints.

Russell said in the statement from the Archdiocese of Detroit that he first met Vigneron 30 years ago. In 2016, Vigneron was one of the co-consecrators when he became archbishop in a ceremony in Boston.

“Bishop Vigneron has shown me fraternal support on various occasions, and now his warm welcome to the Archdiocese is a particular source of gratitude,” Russell said.

Contact Niraj Warikoo: [email protected] or Twitter @nwarikoo

Le Promeneur, May 23, 2022: Events in the Alle-Kiski valley

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Advertise your community events, fundraisers and club meetings for free in The Stroller. Send information at least one week in advance to [email protected] or The Stroller, 210 Wood St., Tarentum PA 15068. Please include a daytime phone number.


Animal Protectors welcomes donations

Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, 730 Church St., New Kensington, is accepting donations to help with the day-to-day operations of the shelter.

Most needed items include Purina FortiFlora probiotic supplement, Provecta flea and tick treatments, Comfy Cone Elizabethan collars of all sizes, dog chew treats, Kong Wobbler dog toys, white paper, gift cards and an Easy-Up tent. For a complete list and to donate online, visit animalprotectors.net/wish-list.html. Bring items to the back door of the shelter at 730 Church Street and ring the doorbell.


Schedule

Apollo

Wednesday: Apollo Hose Co. No. 2 will hold bingo at 7 p.m. at the fire station, 325 N. Fourth St. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Details: 724-478-4831.

Brackenridge

Wednesday: Al-Anon will meet at 8 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 847 10th Ave. The group offers help and hope to families and friends of alcoholics.

Freeport

Tuesday: St. Mary Mother of God Church, 608 High St., will host a Vitalant Community Blood Drive from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the church hall. Appointments recommended. Appointment : 412-209-7000 or visit donateblood.centralbloodbank.org and use group code G0040286.

Wednesday: The Thrift Store clothing ministry at Freeport United Methodist Church, 211 Fourth St., will be open from noon to 3 p.m. Cash only. Donations of spring and summer clothing, shoes, bedding and handbags are welcome. Donations must be washed and free of animal hair. Details: 724-295-3095.

Harrisson

Today: The Allegheny Valley Community Library’s Outside the Lines Adult Craft Club will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. at the library, 1522 Broadview Blvd. The group project will be a personalized flowerpot. Join the group project or bring your own. Welcome new members of all levels. Reservations and list of supplies: Alleghenyvalleylibrary.org or 724-226-3491.

Tuesday: The Allegheny Valley Community Library 50 Book Challenge group will meet at 6 p.m. in the library, 1522 Broadview Blvd., Natrona Heights. Share your readings, exchange book recommendations and socialize with other readers. No reservation required. Welcome new members.

Wednesday: The Agape Thrift Shop at Grace United Methodist Church, 1333 Freeport Road, will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mandatory masks. Clean spring and summer clothing in all sizes is required. Bring donations on Wednesday or leave them on the porch. Do not put donations in the blue bins behind the church.

Wednesday: The Allegheny Valley Churches Association Food Bank will be open to anyone in need from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1913 Freeport Road, Natrona Heights. Park in the central parking lot and the food will be placed in your vehicle. Those who have not yet registered must come from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Wednesday : The Allegheny Valley Community Library’s Kitchen Sink Book Club will meet at 6 p.m. at the library, 1522 Broadview Blvd. The selection will be “The Crossing” by Michael Connelly. Online participation available. Reservations required. Reservations: tinyurl.com/3syh626f.

Leechburg

Today: The Leechburg Volunteer Fire Company will hold bingo at 7 p.m. at the fire station, 268 Canal Street. Doors open at 5 p.m. The kitchen will be open.

Today: The Leechburg Area Museum and Historical Society, 118 First St., is closed for the winter. To arrange a private viewing, email [email protected] or call 724-845-8914 and leave a message.

Today: First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Leechburg is sponsoring a GriefShare support group for anyone who has lost a loved one from 6-8 p.m. Monday-June 6 in the church sanctuary, 358 Main St. Masks will be required and social distancing will be observed. Participants can join any session of the program. Details and registration: 724-845-7518 or email [email protected]

Saturday: The Leechburg Public Library is selling chances to win a summer basket which includes a pool bag, four pool towels, four commemorative mugs and a Leechburg pool pass for a family of four. The drawing will take place on Memorial Day weekend. Tickets: $10, available at the library, 139 Market St.

Lower Burrell

Today: The Lower Burrell Foreign Wars Veterans Auxiliary will announce the winners of the Voice of Democracy Essay and Patriot Pen Scholarship competitions at 6 p.m. in the post cantina, Wildlife Lodge Road. The Auxiliary Meeting will be held thereafter at 7:00 p.m. in the Banquet Hall.

May 28 to Oct. 8: The Lower Burrell Farmers Market is looking for vendors for the upcoming season. Markets are held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 2800 Bethel St. Setup begins at 8 a.m. Cost: $40 for the season and free electricity is available. Merchandise must be home-grown, home-grown, or handcrafted. Vendors must participate throughout the season. Details: [email protected]

New Kensington

Today: The Community Clothes Closet, 1129 Kenneth Ave., will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. New customers receive 15 free items. Donations of summer clothing only accepted during business hours.

Wednesday: The Corner and Business New Ken will host a free networking happy hour from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Corner Launchbox, 701 Fifth Ave. Light snacks and adult beverages will be available. Reservations required. Reservations: facebook.com/events/1040326076892897. Questions: [email protected]

Oakmont

Tuesday: The Pittsburgh Doo Wop Big Band will be performing at 8 p.m. at the Elks, 106 Washington Ave. Admission: $10.

Tuesdays : Remove the Books Sensibly (TOPS) meets at 6 p.m. at Oakmont United Methodist Church, 419 Maryland Ave. Monthly fee: $5; the first appointment is free. Details:

Springdale

Tuesday : The Springdale Free Public Library’s Tuesday night book club will meet at 6:30 p.m. The selection will be “The Personal Librarian,” by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. Reservations required. Reservations: 724-274-9729.

Taranto

Tuesday: Alcoholics Anonymous will meet from 7 to 8 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, 305 Allegheny Street. An opportunity for silent prayer will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: The Elks will be hosting bingo at 7 p.m. at the lodge, 219 E. Sixth Ave. The kitchen is open to the public from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Menu: elks644.org/elks-kitchen-1. Orders: 724-226-1644 before 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 8 to 10: Summit Hose Co. is accepting applications from artisans and suppliers for its fall festival. No food vendors, please. Details: Tami Sudy, 878-302-5367 or [email protected]

Vandergrift

Tuesday: The Vandergrift Public Library YoYos Needles Art group will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Library Reading Room, 128C. Washington Ave. Please note the new date and time. All skill levels are welcome. No reservation required. Details: 724-568-2212.

Thusday: St. Gertrude’s Church will be selling frozen meatballs and spaghetti sauce from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. via curbside pickup at the church social hall, 303 Franklin Avenue. Cost: Sauce, $7 a pint; meatballs, six for $3. Please enter the alley above Sandra Lynn’s School of Dance and follow the arrows to the church basement doors. Items will also be available after Saturday and Sunday masses at the church while supplies last.

June 2: Vendor applications are being accepted for the Vandergrift Farmers Market scheduled for 4-6:30 p.m. Thursdays June 2-October 13 in the Columbia Avenue parking lot. Details: [email protected]

Washington Township

Wednesday: Alcoholics Anonymous will meet at 6 p.m. at Union Presbyterian Church, 656 Route 380.

Roberto Miranda, pastor of the Lion of Judah, a major church in Boston, has died

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(RNS) – A prominent Hispanic Boston Pentecostal pastor known for his church’s social programs and conservative teaching has died, according to his church.

The death of Pastor Roberto Miranda was announced on Sunday May 22 during services in Lion of Judah Congregation in Boston, which was streamed in line.

“Many of you who join us to watch this and hear this for the very first time, we are just letting you know that our senior pastor, beloved to all of us, Roberto Miranda, has graduated,” said Brandt said. Gillespie, who led the service at the Lion of Judah.

“He has gone. He is in the presence of the Lord.

The announcement came after the congregation of Lion of Judah, a bilingual church also known as Congregación Leon de Judá, sang “It Is Well With My Soul”, a popular hymn with lyrics written by Horatio Spafford in the 1870s, after his children died in a shipwreck. The story of the songwriting had been told in a church sermon the previous week.

Gillespie led the congregation in singing a chorus of the hymn and told them it was good to mourn their beloved pastor.

“It’s going to take a long journey to get through this,” Gillespie said.


RELATED: The Lion of Judah Church Straddles Boston’s Two Worlds


Miranda, born in 1955, became pastor of a modest Hispanic congregation of about 60 after earning a doctorate from Harvard. He had hoped to become a Romance language teacher but gave up on his dreams of teaching for the pastorate.

Under his leadership, Lion of Judah has grown into a congregation of approximately 1,000 people, attracting people from 30 countries. The congregation runs social programs to care for immigrants, serve the poor and help people overcome “everything that prevents people from becoming what God intended them to be,” Miranda told Religion News Service in 2019.

He also hasn’t been shy about addressing burning issues from the pulpit, including his support for pro-immigration policies and his opposition to same-sex marriage.

“People thought I had some kind of suicide complex,” he told RNS in 2019. “Undertaking these issues from the pulpit was a bit dangerous, incendiary and defiant… But I felt in my heart that I needed people to know how I thought and how I felt about certain issues.

Miranda was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States as a child to join her father. Academically gifted, he graduated from Phillips Academy, a top prep school whose alumni include Presidents George HW Bush and George W. Bush, and later attended Princeton and Harvard.

“He’s part of the demographic of most Pentecostal pastors,” Arlene Sánchez-Walsh, an expert on Latino Pentecostalism at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles, told RNS in 2019. Bible colleges and evangelical seminaries.

Miranda was also known to believe that much of his work involved spiritual warfare.

“I’ve delivered people from demonic powers where you’re sitting,” he told an RNS reporter who sat on a couch in his office in 2019. “I’ve performed exorcisms over the years many, many times.”

Even after three decades of ministry, Miranda still looked forward to the future.

“I see myself as a soldier, placed in a lonely outpost, carrying out an order and waiting for the next move,” Miranda said in 2019. “I don’t know what it is. the low.


RELATED: A Mexican American evangelical examines how Latin American identity is shaped by faith


Explosive report on Southern Baptist sex abuse expected to be released on Sunday

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Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are set to release the findings of a major third-party investigation on Sunday into how sexual abuse cases were handled by prominent leaders within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

The report – the first investigation of its kind in a massive denomination like the SBC – is expected to send shockwaves through a conservative Christian community that has had explosive internal battles over how to handle sexual abuse. Insiders say the investigation will reveal shocking details about specific abuse cases, but will also shed light on how the cases were handled by national leaders.

A nearly 300-page report, due out Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, has been eagerly awaited for a year since Southern Baptists called for an investigation at their 2021 annual meeting in Nashville.

Since decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church were reported by the Boston Globe in 2002, some US dioceses have published lists of priests they believe have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. , in order to prevent the transfer of abusers to other churches. Southern Baptist leaders resisted the creation of a national database because of how the denomination works.

Unlike the Catholic Church, the SBC has a non-hierarchical structure that allows churches to operate independently while pooling their financial resources to fund seminaries and missions. This structure prompted Southern Baptist leaders must tell members in 2007 that the convention could not develop a database of perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Jules Woodson, a sexual abuse victim who helped spark a recent abuse judgment in the Southern Baptist Convention, said Saturday she expects the report to be historic for the denomination.

“It’s going to have to be a cultural shift,” said Woodson, whose 2018 allegation that her young Southern Baptist pastor sexually assaulted her was seen as a tipping point in getting the denomination to address sexual abuse. . “You don’t change a culture overnight. The first part is acknowledging what happened. No one can deny or deny or act in ignorance anymore.

The third-party survey of shares between 2000 and 2021, which was conducted by a group called Guidepost Solutions, focused narrowly on the actions of the SBC’s executive committee, which handles financial and administrative duties. Although Southern Baptist churches operate independently of each other, the Nashville-based executive committee distributes the $121 million cooperative program budget that funds its missions, seminaries and ministries.

The issue of sexual abuse within SBC churches has troubled the denomination for the past few years and was a major topic at its annual meeting in 2019, just months after the Houston Chronicle published a investigation series.

Southern Baptists have been embroiled in their own sex abuse scandals. Now they are debating their answer.

With 13 million members, the SBC has seen a steady decline in membership over the past few years. The report comes just weeks before its next big gathering, June 12-15 in Anaheim, Calif., where several thousand members are expected to discuss next steps.

At executive committee meetings in 2021, some members objected to waiving solicitor-client privilege, which would give investigators access to recordings of conversations on legal matters between committee members and staff. They said it went against the advice of the convention lawyers and could put the SBC out of business by exposing it to lawsuits.

The waiver of privilege debate has upset many Southern Baptists, leading some to believe that the Executive Committee is not doing the “will of the messengers” or following the example of lay leaders who had already voted in favour. to do. It also led to the resignation of the head of the executive committee, Ronnie Floyd, who also served as chairman of the SBC and was on Donald Trump’s advisory board before his election in 2016.

The issue of sexual abuse was a prominent theme in private letters written by Russell Moore, who left his post in 2021 as head of the SBC’s policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Freedom Commission. The letters were made public after he left and included allegations about the mishandling of sexual abuse complaints at the highest levels of the SBC.

One of Moore’s letters was aimed at the executive committee. He described “the spiritual and psychological abuse of victims of sexual abuse by the Executive Committee itself”, as well as “a pattern of attempted intimidation of those speaking out on these issues”.

Newly Leaked Letter Details Allegations That Southern Baptist Leaders Mishandled Sexual Abuse Allegations

Grant Gaines, a Southern Baptist pastor in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said Saturday he expects the Guidepost report to show a pattern of neglect among church leaders.

“I think one of the most important things the report could give us is just to show negligence on the part of a lot of people, not just a few bad apples,” he said. “Pastors everywhere and denominational workers at all levels who, due to bad practices, didn’t have a plan if something was reported.”

Gaines said her own Belle Aire Baptist Church had policies in place such as having at least two adults in a child’s room and background checks on volunteers, but she went the extra mile. last year to work with a group called GRACE to add more training and awareness on sexual abuse for his entire congregation. He thinks the report will show the denomination what preventative steps it could take.

“As painful as it may be, it has nothing to do with the pain survivors felt, the resistance they felt to make things change,” he said. “I think we have to let him expose what needs to be exposed.”

Religious buildings across Canada are getting a new lease on life

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Mary Anne Pastuck at McDougall United Church in Edmonton on May 5.Amber Fern / Amber Fern

Last month, McDougall United Church in downtown Edmonton was given new life – and new life for its property.

When in 2015 it was designated a heritage building for its architectural and cultural significance, the church avoided demolition, but in 2019 it struggled to raise the $15 million needed for a full restoration.

The congregation eventually adopted a plan to transform the building into a multi-faith space and community center, with a redevelopment plan that will also include living quarters. Due to the scope and scale of the proposed project, the church realized it would need to partner with other organizations. For a helping hand, they turned to the Trinity Centers Foundation, a nonprofit that specializes in finding new ways to use faith-based spaces.

Trinity Centers works with more than a dozen churches across Canada to breathe new life into spaces originally designed for religious worship.

The model is crucial as more churches, hit by the punch of declining attendance in general and pandemic closures more specifically, look to new ways to use their properties, many of which are buildings. heritage in need of maintenance. .

Statistics Canada released data in October 2021 that showed the number of people who identified as having a religious affiliation fell to 68% in 2019 from 90% in 1985. More importantly, the proportion of people who said participating in a group religious activity at least once a month fell by nearly half, from 43% to 23% over the same period.

The National Trust for Canada, a charitable organization whose mandate is to take action to save historic places and space across the country, reported in 2020 that more than 9,000 of 27,000 religious buildings would close permanently by 2030 – unless they remain open to unorthodox solutions and unprecedented measures.

Organizations such as Trinity Centers can help them do this. The foundation works with churches to develop a plan that matches their goals, then recommends potential options. The charity’s executive director, the Reverend Graham Singh, an Anglican priest in Montreal and a graduate of the London School of Economics, said the aim was to find a solution that does the greatest good for the greatest number of people. people.

“These are complex transactions, requiring funding, new forms of governance, legal issues and code issues, to name a few,” he said.

“I think very often congregations find that they don’t have the technical skills or the group energy to be able to get it right.”

The Trinity Centers Foundation helped ministry personnel transform McDougall United Church, an Edmonton landmark, into a shared space between the United congregation and a local Muslim group.Amber Fern / Amber Fern

Trinity’s projects include a housing development in Calgary, the transformation of a church in Scarborough into a community center with the local Boys and Girls Club and, in Montreal, a project that transformed a large historic church into a circus hall and a community center.

McDougall United Church was built to accommodate 800 to 1,000 congregants, but attendance at Sunday service had fallen to less than 75. Falling attendance led to lower revenues. The church was already drawing on its reserves to cover its operating expenses when the pandemic hit.

“I think it was obvious from the first vision meeting that we don’t have the human resources on the ground to do all the work that needs to be done,” church pastor Mary Anne Pastuck said.

Trinity Centers worked with the church to obtain funds from the federal Investment Readiness Program to pay for a feasibility study on a redevelopment plan.

The possibility of a partnership with the Muslim Community Association, or MAC, emerged earlier this year. The relationship began when MAC rented worship space from McDougall during Ramadan, which allowed the two organizations to learn more about each other and potential opportunities to work together. Details of the arrangement have yet to be finalized.

McDougall United Church in Edmonton announces Ramadan services in April. The church and the Muslim Association of Canada describe the Ramadan services as the first step in a partnership that will see the McDougall transformed into a multi-faith space with the help of the Trinity Centers Foundation.Handout

The Trinity Centers Foundation, which was started by Reverend Singh, works with church communities willing to redirect and redeploy their denominational assets for social good.

Reverend Singh said he sees the current ownership crisis within the faith community as an opportunity, but one that requires not just bold leadership but specialist expertise. This is where his foundation comes in.

“The redeployment of denominational property is one of the most complicated urban actions one can undertake and it is not for the faint-hearted,” Reverend Singh said.

There are also many other examples of churches looking for new ways to use their buildings and grounds. Downtown Vancouver’s First Baptist Church announced a deal with a local developer in 2015 to build a large tower behind the building.

The United Church of Canada recently launched Kindred Works, a development arm that seeks to build homes for 34,000 people on church property over the next 15 years.

In Chapleau, Ontario, the town’s heritage Anglican church was sold to a local resident and developer, who turned the building’s basement into a community center. The new owner rented the chapel to the congregation at a nominal rate. The remodeled building also features a restaurant, as well as meeting and workshop space.

When St. Andrews Church in Sydney, Nova Scotia was decommissioned in 2013, a group came together to form the Highland Arts Theatre, transforming the space into a center for arts and culture. Owned and operated by the Highland Arts Theater Foundation, “the HAT” has made a significant impact in the community and continues to win awards and accolades.

Muslims worship at McDougall United Church in Edmonton in April during Ramadan.Handout

Trinity Centers is currently working on a project in Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides in rural Quebec, where the diocese decommissioned the church in 2017. Not wanting to see the historic gathering space demolished, the city council purchased the property for $1, but left it untouched because they didn’t know what to do with it.

Newly elected to City Council on November 7, 2021, Mayor Francis Corbeil knew it was time to do something big and meaningful with the church, but recognized that the council team lacked the skills or the connections needed to do it herself. Mr. Corbeil says the partnership with TCF helped St. Lucie launch its church repurposing project.

“The main objective was to provide more services to the people who live in the area,” said Mr. Corbeil in an interview, “and to make the downtown area of ​​the village more lively and dynamic.

The trajectory of this project has not been easy. Council and residents needed to be flexible and open to change as plans changed. But with Trinity’s help, they were able to come to a solution. The church now has a future as a community center for residents, which will include a market and an addition for new municipal offices.

Corbeil credits the technical support his team received from TCF to move the project forward, particularly when it came to applying for the funding grants needed to complete the renovations.

“The church is at the heart of the community and we need it to be more than a building,” said Mr. Corbeil.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are compiled by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. register today.

Ivory Coast: Christ is with us despite the challenges of the continent.

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The Catholic Bishops of Côte d’Ivoire meet in the Archdiocese of Abidjan for their ordinary plenary assembly.

Marcel Ariston Blé – Abidjan) and Christian Kombe, SJ – Vatican City.

The plenary assembly of Ivorian bishops officially began on Tuesday, May 17 with a solemn mass in the parish of Saint Marcel d’Akouai Santai. It was preceded by an opening ceremony in the auditorium of the minor seminary of Bingerville. The Eucharist was presided over by Bishop Jean-Jacques Koffi Oi Koffi of the diocese of San Pedro-en-Côte d’Ivoire. He is also vice-president of the Conference. Various Catholic priests, religious and lay faithful attended the opening mass. Many have braved the traffic jams of Abidjan to commune and pray with their bishops.

Do not be afraid

The homilist, Bishop Alexis Touably Youlo of the Diocese of Agboville and Apostolic Administrator of Yamoussoukro, spoke about the complex social and economic challenges that the country and the African continent are going through. He encouraged those gathered not to lose hope.

“Do not be afraid,” Bishop Youlo said. He continues: “But then a question arises and imposes itself on us: how not to be afraid today when suffering becomes the daily lot of many? How not to be afraid when our Africa is in turmoil, the storm of repeated crises, interethnic conflicts, the storm of misery in all its forms? How not to be afraid when for many young people, the future seems uncertain? he wondered.

Bishop Youlo, the newly elected president of RECOWA (an association of West African bishops), nevertheless assured that even in the face of these worrying situations, Africans must keep in mind that “Christ is at our sides. The Lord helps us to face these trials,” reassured the prelate.

“It is this message of encouragement that we, your Bishops, united and gathered around our dean, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, come to communicate to you this evening. And this is our ministry, our mission: to strengthen you in the faith,” Bishop Touabli Youlo said.

Bring the Good News to the world

The Apostolic Nuncio in Côte d’Ivoire, Archbishop Paolo Borgia, was delighted that the Episcopal Conference took place shortly after the visit of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See and after the episcopal ordination of Bishop Jean -Sylvain Mambe Emien. The latter is the first apostolic nuncio of Ivorian origin. He was assigned to Mali.

Bishop Borgia added that the ordination of Bishop Emien testified to the greater maturity of the Ivorian Church which “thus opens up to the universal Church in a unique mission to bring Christ to the world”, he said. declared.

This mission of evangelization must be the work of all the baptized, he further affirmed. Each must participate in this mission according to his own vocation. The Nuncio stressed that this must be done according to the gifts received from the Spirit.

Collegiality

The opening ceremony of the plenary assembly was also an opportunity for the Apostolic Nuncio in Côte d’Ivoire to emphasize the collegial dimension of the episcopal mission.

“Conferences are the place of cooperation between bishops for the common good of the Churches entrusted to them in the service of the mission,” the papal representative said.

During their meeting, the Bishops will hear the reports of the various apostolates and commissions in order to take resolutions for the revitalization of the institutions and the Church in Côte d’Ivoire.

Lutheran Peace Minister Ronald Schmidt Retires | Features

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ST. JOSEPH — Pastor Ronald Schmidt has retired from his responsibilities as pastor at St. Joseph’s Lutheran Peace Church, according to a news release.

Schmidt joined the staff of Peace Lutheran in 2001, after a rich and varied career serving several congregations in metro Detroit.

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Police investigate vandalism at Ukrainian church in Bethlehem | Lehigh Valley Regional News

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Gutter pipes ripped out, copper panels ripped from the roof…that was the scene at St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Bethlehem on Friday.

“The damage was appalling,” said Matthew Kenenitz, a longtime St. Josaphat parishioner. “This is a deliberate act of vandalism.”

The act of vandalism is the second in six weeks.







Damage to the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Jehoshaphat




Last time, light fixtures were torn from the building and a “Pray for Ukraine” sign was stolen.

“It hurts us all. We pray for all who are suffering, but it still hurts deep inside us,” said St. Josaphat administrator Fr. Paul Makar.







Damage to the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Jehoshaphat




This church, like many Ukrainian churches, made every effort to help their loved ones during the war with Russia.

They say seeing property damage and stolen things right next to St. Josaphat’s property is upsetting.

“At a time when we are worried about our parishioners who have friends and family in Ukraine and who are suffering during this war of aggression, it hurts even more,” Fr. Paul said.







Damage to the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Jehoshaphat




“The fact that someone could be so cruel, do something like that, it’s unbelievable and unconscionable,” Kenenitz said.

If you see anything that looks like the photos we shared here on 69 News, please call Bethlehem Police immediately.

Pennsylvania bishops should speak out against Mastriano’s Christian nationalism

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“Wow. God is good,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano began his victory speech on the night of May 17. The crowd shouted back, “All the time.” “And all the time,” said the successful candidate. “God is good,” answered the crowd. Notice, I believe God is good all the time. But that’s not the usual way election candidates start big speeches.

Mastriano is not a usual candidate. He is a Christian nationalist. “Are there any freedom-loving Americans in the house here? He continued. “1 Corinthians 1:27 gives us all hope. ‘God uses fools to confound the wise and the weak so that they may be found strong.’ It’s his story. And he chooses people like you and me to change history. I always like to say that when we make his story our story, we can change history.

Considering America’s place in the world as providential is as American as apple pie. From John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” sermon delivered to his fellow Puritans in 1630, through Manifest Destiny, the post-war struggle against “ungodly communism”, the idea that working for American greatness equaled somehow to achieve the Kingdom, is almost a commonplace. It is not for nothing that the Society of the Cincinnati commemorated the centenary of the final abandonment of isolationism by the United States and its entry into the First World War with an exhibition entitled “The Great Crusade: The First World War and the Legacy of the American Revolution”.

This providentialist story has always played a little too quickly and loosely with the facts. New England was populated by strict Calvinists in the 17th century, but most other colonies were more obviously commercial enterprises. The American foundation was led mainly by deists like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington or Unitarians like John Adams. The United States Constitution makes no mention of a deity, and the Bill of Rights specifically failed to privilege any particular type of religious expression or affiliation.

Abraham Lincoln was not only our greatest president, but also the outstanding American theologian of the 19th century. His second inaugural speech, delivered as the Civil War drew to a close, acknowledged a deity deeply committed, but whose only partisanship was in the name of justice and charity:

Both [North and South] read the same Bible and pray to the same God and each invokes his help against the other. It may seem strange that a man dares to ask God for help just to wring his bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us not judge that we are not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered – that of neither was fully answered.

The Almighty has his own designs. “Woe to the world because of offenses because offenses must come, but woe to the man through whom the offense comes.” If we suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must necessarily occur, but which, having continued during its appointed time, he now wishes to suppress and which he gives to the north and in the south this terrible war like the misfortune due to those by whom the offense came, we will see there a derogation from those divine attributes that believers in a living God always attribute to him.

We sincerely hope — we fervently pray — that this mighty scourge of war can be quickly eradicated. Yet if God wills it to continue until all the wealth accumulated by the serf’s two hundred and fifty years of unrewarded toil is poured out and until every drop of blood drawn with the whip is paid for by another drawn with the sword as it was said three thousand years ago, it must still be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and absolutely just.”

These words convey a different sense of the relationship between divine will and national purpose than heard at Mastriano’s campaign headquarters the other night.

In 1980 Reverend Jerry Falwell published a book, Listen, America!, in which the political neophyte wrote, “Any diligent student of American history will discover that our great nation was founded by godly men on godly principles to be a Christian nation. That same year, however, an editorial in Falwell’s Moral Majority Report was titled “Moral Majority Opposes ‘Christian Republic'” because Jewish adherents to the newly formed group objected to the term.

Throughout his career, Falwell sometimes blurted out the phrase “Christian nation,” but he always apologized, even though his whole approach to politics was rooted in his particular brand of Christian identity.

Mastriano thinks America has gone through tough times because we have abandoned God’s ways. He opposes vaccination mandates and gay rights and anything transgender related, critical race theory, property taxes and any restrictions on gun ownership. As a state senator, he held a hearing after the 2020 election to examine false claims of voter fraud made by former President Donald Trump’s legal team and to discuss ways to overturn the election results. the victory of President Joe Biden. He was present during the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Trump made a controversial endorsement of Mastriano’s offer late in the race and it appears the endorsement was ratified, it did not create, the groundswell of support for Mastriano.

At a “Patriots Rise for God and Country” event in April, Mastriano told the rally, “We have the power of God with us. We have Jesus Christ whom we serve here. He guides and directs our not.” Mastriano’s language is steeped in religious idioms, just like mine, but he doesn’t care to confuse the city of God with the city of man. Mastriano refuses to recognize the label of Christian nationalism, but he is almost an archetype of the phenomenon. You half expect the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to show up at one of his gatherings.

Pope John Paul II, on his first trip back to his native Poland as pontiff, explained the Polish nation’s complex relationship with Christ and his church. “It is therefore impossible without Christ to understand the history of the Polish nation — this great millennial community — which is so profoundly decisive for me and for each one of us,” he said during his sermon in Victory Square in Warsaw on June 2, 1979. “If we reject this key for understand our nation, we expose ourselves to substantial misunderstanding. We no longer understand each other. It is impossible without Christ to understand this nation with its past so full of splendor and also of terrible difficulties.”

It was in the sufferings of Poland that the pope founded this national hermeneutics. It was not the cheap “prosperity gospel” that, applied to politics, comes from the mouths of Mastriano and his ilk.

Christians are called to engage in the world, and to engage in it as Christians. But without the mediating influence of a teaching body like Catholic social teaching, or the Calvinist theology of Abraham Kuyper, or the distinctions drawn by Talmudic scholars, confusing God’s purposes with our own purposes is always a dangerous business.

This is why the Catholic bishops of Pennsylvania must speak out. Mastriano’s crude political theology has religious as well as political ramifications. If people think his version of Christianity is genuine, even more people will stray from the religion. Either way, bishops have a responsibility to teach their flock that Catholic theology does not traffic in the often hateful, sometimes crazy ideas that Mastriano says are part of its divinely inspired platform. Yes, God is good, and good all the time. These are the ends to which Christian nationalists put the eternal goodness of God which stinks of the sin of pride.

Crossroads Church in southwest Ocala, Florida responds to community growth

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Thomas Dempsey couldn’t contain his youthful enthusiasm for the planned 20,000-square-foot Crossroads Church Family Center during a groundbreaking ceremony held May 15.

“Yay,” 6-year-old Thomas shouted when his great-grandparents, Yolanda and Salvador Giron, told him the facility, which should be completed in about a year, will include a children’s play area.

Thomas and his great-grandparents were among about 100 church members who gathered at the construction site of the new center to pray, sign a ceremonial shovel and plant a first spade of dirt.

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Thomas liked to play in parts of the 10-acre church property. The center will be located adjacent to the church’s current facilities in three portable buildings at 8070 SW 60th Ave., Ocala.

“Thomas is so happy with the new church. He loves the Lord so much,” said Yolanda Giron. Thomas said he would like to be a minister.

Large, anonymous donation fueled Crossroads Church’s growth plan

The Crossroads Church congregation’s 12-year goal to build a facility to increase the church’s reach and community impact was recently bolstered by a multi-million dollar donation from an anonymous church member.

The family center will contain a sanctuary with more than 500 seats, church offices, a children’s church, a scholarship room, a gym, a youth center for dances and other activities and a basketball court complete, according to building committee chairman Fred Schnuerle.

Pastor Paul Kilcrease, at the church for nine months, said the new facility will “open up the church to the community,” including several large residential communities that have developed along Southwest 60th Avenue over the past of recent years.

Kilcrease said the Family Center has been a long-standing vision for the congregation.

Crossroads Church, founded in 1999

Crossroads Church was established in 1999 and was formerly known as Lighthouse Church, Kilcrease said.

Crossroads Church moved dirt, both ceremonially and otherwise, to the site of its new installation on May 15.  The church campus is at 8070 SW 60th Ave., Ocala.

The congregation raised an unspecified amount in a building fund, and an anonymous benefactor donated $1 million for the first phase of construction. Another donation of 1.5 million dollars is committed for the completion of the project.

Future plans include a Christian school on the church grounds.

Crossroads Church executive pastor Ben Campbell, 26, of Ocala, and his wife, Anne, have been members for about six years. They have two children, Zola, 3, and Misha, 9 months.

“Everyone is excited,” he said.

Campbell said the congregation at Crossroads Church, which numbers about 180 people, is “multicultural” and has been “very warm and welcoming to us”.

Pick up a shovel

Brian Caracciolo and Seth McBride, representing BWC Construction, project contractor for the Family Center, joined in the groundbreaking ceremony at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Terrence Thompson, 54, moved here from Miami in 2004 and has been a member of Crossroads Church for about 15 years. His wife, four children and two grandchildren are also members.

Members of Crossroads Church gathered May 15 for a ceremony at the site of their future Family Life Center in southwest Ocala.

He pointed to T-shirts, worn by many members of the congregation at the ceremony, which read, “Upon this rock I will build my church.”

“My children grew up (in this church). God is good,” he said.

Larry Scott, of Crossroads Church Food Ministry, said the new facility, once seen as an impossible goal, was “made possible by God” to help make a difference in the local community.

He said the church has a drive-thru food pantry on Tuesdays and distributes enough food to feed up to 400 people and ministry can be increased in the new building.

Scott said the facility will have room for youth activities and additional space to allow for greater sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ and gospel teachings such as “love thy neighbor” and serving the others.

Lori Principe; his son Alec, 7; and his 2-year-old grandson Kamren attended the groundbreaking.

Principe called the ceremony brilliant. She was invited by her friend Nicole Hurst, a member of Crossroads Church for six months, who was at the ceremony with her son, Jayden, 6.

Dreama Palmer, a member of the church for 17 years, is part of the Food Ministry and delivers food to widows.

“We are blessed,” she said of the incoming establishment.

‘That’s why some pastors sleep with choir members’ – Ifu Ennada blasts fans in bikinis

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Former roommate in the reality show Big Brother Naija, Ifu Ennada attacked social media users who condemned her for wearing a bikini as a Christian.

Remind that Ennada that we called diabolical after her skull outfit at the just-concluded AMVCA award, claimed she was a born-again Christian.

The reality star has been called out again after posting her bikini photo on her Instagram account.

She asked her detractors to send her asoebi or agbada so that she could dress appropriately.

The reality star further stated that this is why “we hear about some pastors sleeping with church members.”

She asked everyone to run their heavenly race separately and let God decide who is holy and who is not.

Ennada took to her Instagram Story and wrote, “Christians who say I am not born again because I wear a bikini by the pool, please send me asoebi or Agbada so that I can dress properly.

“That’s why you hear about pastors sleeping with choir/church members etc. You should all run your heavenly race and let me run mine. Let God decide who’s holy and who’s not

“Christians holier than you are usually the ones who do the worst behind closed doors. Incredibles are Jesus helpers who feel you are doing something wrong, but go ahead and correct you with insults

Doctor killed while tackling US church shooter seen as epitome of kindness

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He was known to all as simply Dr. John, the quiet, calm doctor who tutored children in kung fu, finding time between patient appointments to encourage people to learn self-defense.

So it was no surprise to his friends and colleagues that John Cheng spent his final moments saving others by rushing a gunman who opened fire on a Southern California church of mostly older Taiwanese on Sunday. .

Authorities credit Dr. Cheng’s swift action with saving perhaps dozens of lives at a celebratory luncheon for congregants and their former pastor at the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Irvine, which worships at Geneva Presbyterian Church in the Orange County community of Laguna Woods.

Prosecutors say the shooter, David Chou, 68, was motivated by hatred of Taiwan, where he was born and raised after his family was driven out of mainland China when the Communists took over.

Mr. Chou spent about an hour with the lunch attendees, apparently to gain their trust so he could carry out his plot, authorities said. He had two 9mm handguns and three bags containing four Molotov cocktail-type incendiary devices and ammunition.

The majority of those inside the church at the time were of Taiwanese descent.(AP: Leonard Ortiz via Orange County Register)

When Mr. Chou started shooting, Dr. Cheng charged at him and was shot. He died at the scene but his quick action disrupted the shooter, who was then hit by a chair thrown by former church pastor Billy Chang and jumped on by three congregation members who used an extension cord to tie it up to the font. arrival.

Dr. Cheng, 52, was the only one killed.

A note from a patient is left at a memorial honoring a victim of gun violence
A note from a patient is left at a memorial in honor of Dr. John Cheng.(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Five others were injured, including four men aged 66 to 92 and an 86-year-old woman. All were either discharged from hospital or in stable condition.

“A meeting between good and evil”

“It was a hallmark of Dr. Cheng to go after this shooter,” said Dr. Cheng’s office manager, Erica Triplett.

“It comes as no surprise to any of us. Dr. Cheng exemplified what he was built for – his heroism that saved so many not only in this church, but throughout his career.”

The family and sports medicine doctor was like family to the staff and he encouraged them to learn Kung Fu, believing it was important for people to know self-defense, his friends and colleagues said.

Sheriff Don Barnes called Dr Cheng’s heroism “a meeting of good against evil”.

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“Dr. Cheng’s selfless love for others prevented a hate-filled act from claiming more victims than his own,” Barnes said in a tweet.

Those who knew Dr. Cheng said selflessness defined his life.

He started his practice knocking on doors to introduce himself as the area’s new family doctor, said Johnna Gherardini, executive director of the South Coast Medical Group.

Ms. Gherardini took kung fu with her daughter at Dr. Cheng’s request.

“He always taught us to protect ourselves,” she said.

He was remembered by his patients as a worried listener and a note left by a patient taped to his office door, where people laid flowers to pay their respects, described him as “unfathomably kind”.

A man poses for the camera
Ira Angustain said Dr Cheng chose to lay down his life for others.(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

“I can always be better”

Dr. Cheng’s pastor and close friend, Ira Angustain, took a course with him to learn how to handle a firearm safely.

“We talked about how people were losing their minds and shooting people for no reason,” said Mr Angustain, pastor of Kingdom Covenant Church in the nearby Lake Forest community.

“He didn’t want to feel helpless. He wanted to make sure people were safe.”

On Sunday morning, Dr Cheng texted Mr Angustain to let him know he would not be coming to the service because he was taking his mother to his church.

Dr. Chang, the former pastor of the church and a close friend of hers, wrote to her to express his condolences for the loss of her husband and to tell her that he was from Taiwan.

The church invited her to a service and lunch to see him, and Dr. Cheng drove her mother to the event.

“My heart aches,” the visiting pastor wrote in a statement.

“Evil did not eliminate Dr John,” Mr Angustain said.

PA

Post , update

Leelanau County sees a church’s new affordable housing project along M-72

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The large construction area along M-72 in Cedar, MI (Leelanau County) is hard to miss. What could have easily been missed was the five-year planning on behalf of two organizations and community members to make it happen.

The location will soon hopefully be the site of 14 new affordable homes for rent and sale by a single developer, New Waves Community Church of Christ. The project was launched last month.

New Waves had nearly two dozen acres set aside on the property to build a church through the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ.

But Pastor Jody Betten sought feedback from the community on what they wanted to see there.

“What they kept saying is we have churches, what we don’t have is cheap housing,” says Tina Allen, New Waves volunteer project director.

They tapped Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region to be the builder after hearing about the success of the Neighborhood Depot, sustainable, eco-friendly housing at an affordable cost. In exchange, Habitat is able to provide homeownership opportunities to six families.

“Habitat has been there to do better for the communities, the families we serve, but also the environment, so the net zero solar project caught the attention of the pastor who wanted to talk about this concept here,” says Irvin. .

The new homes will be built solar-ready and placed in a circle with green spaces in front and behind. The remainder of the property that New Waves owns will consist of homes and a church/community center in the future.

Allen and Irvin hope the six Habitat homes and seven rentals owned and operated by New Waves will use the green space for a community garden.

Homes through Habitat will be offered to those with a median income between 30-80% in the area, and rentals will be offered between 30-50%.

Allen says the reason the church took on the developer role was because they “want to be involved in justice because that’s who we are.”

Irvin says Leelanau County ranks first in its region for barriers to providing affordable housing for the workforce. Homes will be designed with these people in mind.

But the project costs more than $2 million and needs help to fund it. Irvin says the infrastructure is paid for and the first homes will be built this summer, but donations will be needed as the project moves forward.

“We need to keep fundraising to make sure we can complete it from our end, and the New Waves congregation who are fundraising as well.” Irvin said. “Together we have a lot of money to raise from the community, but we know the heart and the passion are there and the need is at a crisis stage.”

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region was applauded by its fundraising partner, Consumer’s Energy, as part of the Power of Home Matching Campaign. They took second place out of 48 Michigan affiliates to raise $48,503. The money goes to projects like New Waves and Maple City Crossings.

Anyone interested in being part of the build or donating to the cause can contact Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region.

Archdiocesan survey for Pope Francis synod on synodality casts wide net

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“What is ONE thing you would like to share with Pope Francis as he leads the Church?” That’s one of the key questions being asked in a new survey by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to gather information for Pope Francis’ synod on synodality.

The survey is for “all the baptized” and aims to reach practicing and non-practicing Catholics, said Amy Tadlock, a canon lawyer and chief organizational effectiveness officer for the archdiocese.

Pope Francis wants “all Catholics around the world to come together, listen to each other, listen to the Holy Spirit and give their input on how He should guide the global Church in the years to come. And every diocese is invited to participate,” said Tadlock, whom Bishop Bernard Hebda has assigned to oversee local efforts related to the Vaticanit is Synod on synodalityformally entitled “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”.

The survey invites participants to share a written response to the “one thing” question, then select five areas “on which you think the Catholic Church should focus its greatest attention” from a list of 30 topics, including “pro-life efforts,” “climate change” and “role of women in the Church.”

The survey also asks for certain demographic information, but respondents remain anonymous.

In 2020, Pope Francis announced that the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops would focus on “synodality,” which the Synod’s website defines as “a style, a culture, a way of thinking and being, which reflects the truth that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit who enables everyone to offer their own contribution to the life of the Church. The bishops’ meeting is due to take place at the Vatican in October 2023.

A poster announcing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ inquiry responding to Pope Francis’ request for comment for the synod on synodality. CDS

Preparation for the Synod on Synodality is a two-year process that includes consultation with all the faithful, divided into four phases. The current phase includes the collection of information at the diocesan level.

The archdiocese’s investigation cites the preparatory document of the Vatican Synod, which states that “the purpose of the Synod…is not to produce documents, but “to sow dreams, to stir up prophecies and visions, to allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, heal wounds, build relationships together, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from each other and create brilliant ingenuity that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, will give strength to our hands.

The archdiocese will share the feedback gathered by the survey with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in late June.

The Vatican Synod’s emphasis on “a listening Church” is part of ongoing efforts in the Archdiocese through the Archdiocesan Synod process, which began in 2019. This process included 30 prayer and listening events and discussion groups in 2019-2020, through which Bishop Hebda identified three areas of intervention for the local Church.

Catholics in the Archdiocese provided input on these priority areas through parish consultations with small parish groups for six sessions in 2021 and parish synod leadership team meetings in February and March 2022. This work culminate in the Assembly of the Archdiocesan Synod in St. Paul on June 3. -5, followed by the discernment by Bishop Hebda of a pastoral letter, expected in November, and a subsequent plan of action.

“What we have done here for our own local synod process has already laid an incredible foundation for the Vatican synod process that Pope Francis has called for,” Tadlock said. “What we’re doing now with this investigation builds on that foundation.”

Tadlock said she hopes the survey will draw participation from a wide range of Catholics, including those who attend daily Mass to those who no longer identify with the faith, and everyone in between. the two.

The survey option allows the local church to hear from people “who haven’t been to church in years, maybe they haven’t been since they made their first Communion. Or maybe they were hurt by someone in the Church, or they left because of unfortunate circumstances or because of pain or even betrayal,” Tadlock said.

“(For) the people who have left, it’s still their chance to say…how they think the Church can be better. It is important that they know that they are still considered members of the Church and that we still want to hear from them,” she added. “We still care about them and we still care about what they think. And we can only be better when we hear from all members of the Christian faithful.

Keywords: Amy Tadlock, Listening Church, Synod Ordinary General Assembly, Choice, Pope Francis, Poll, Synod on Synodality, Synodal Church, Vatican Synod

Category: Local News

Revelations from the rooftops: The cult of race and politics is dismantling America, says Pastor Brooks

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On the 159th day of his rooftop vigil To build a community center designed to provide opportunity for his community, Pastor Corey Brooks wanted to share his thoughts on the violence tearing American communities apart, from the savage youths of Chicago to the white supremacist shootings in Buffalo.

The following has been slightly modified. We strongly encourage you to watch the accompanying video so you can hear the pastor in his own words.

I want to be honest today. I don’t know how much more I can take. I’ve seen what’s happening in Chicago and Buffalo and I’m having a hard time understanding it all. What’s going on in America?

Sunday morning I woke up to the news that 28 people had been shot in Chicago over the weekend and five had died. I read about those who were killed: 13 years old, 16 years old, 19 years old. So young and already gone.

So far in 2022, over 90 children have been shot and 20 have been killed, and my church has tried to be a blessing in helping these families bury their loved ones.

Not only that, we had wild mobs of young people, hundreds of them, taking over parts of Chicago, causing chaos and destruction. And the question I want to ask is: where are their parents? Where are the community leaders? People talk about the school-to-jail pipeline. But in reality, we have a pipeline from lack of community to prison or the grave. It’s almost like we’re waiting for politicians to come and save us, and we all know that’s never going to happen.

PAYTON GENDRON, ACCUSED BUFFALO MASS SHOOTER, SAID HE ‘WANTED TO COMMIT MURDER-SUICIDE’ IN 2021 THREAT: FBI

Then, like most Americans, I learned of the horrific murders in Buffalo, New York. A white supremacist drove 200 miles from town to nowhere in a predominantly black neighborhood and shot people dead in a market. He killed them because, of all things, of the color of their skin. He didn’t know them. He didn’t care. And my heart really breaks for those innocent people who had a snack or ingredients for the meal they were going to cook that night. They had no idea that hiding around the corner was pure evil and he was headed their way.

I’ve been through more tragedies than the average American, and I still have a hard time understanding. What I do know is this: only fools come and offer us “the solution”. They say, we need gun control. We already have massive gun control in Chicago. They say we need more race education training. We need more of this, more of that. We want Black Lives Matter to assure us. We want President Biden to explain the root of the problem.

The reality is that we want someone to make these horrors go away. And I don’t blame people for having that feeling because when you think of Chicago and Buffalo, it’s really awful. But if we go for the quick fix, it will only lead to more exploitation that benefits the elites at the expense of the victims. Our elites will ignore the chaos and violence of Chicago, and they will exploit Buffalo to advance their agenda. They pay homage to Chicago because the trigger fingers are black, and they run to Buffalo because the trigger finger was white.

But a human being killed is a human being first and foremost. And shame on all of us for having lost sight of this fundamental human dignity. The Bible says, “thou shalt not kill,” that we are all children of God.

What we must first admit is our helplessness. We have to admit that we are fallen, deeply fallen beings. It is then necessary to testify, to testify to what one sees. We must not live in ideology, fantasies, but in reality.

I don’t have the answers, and I would like to have them. God knows all I can do is sit with the horror and try to see through it. When I look at Chicago and Buffalo, the common denominator is violence. What I also see is that we have allowed race and politics to become our new religion, and those two values ​​are the lowest of human values.

I read somewhere that a majority of our young Americans don’t believe in religion or anything bigger than themselves. What a pity. A lot of these young people here are more invested in what they believe to be “black” instead of investing in expanding their minds. They have no confidence in our society and they don’t hesitate to ransack it and destroy it.

The white supremacist shooter wrote over 100 pages of racial political nonsense, as if what he said mattered. Hatred ruled his soul until he pulled the trigger and killed all those people.

Again, I don’t have the answer, but our worship of race and politics in America in 2022 has led to us being forced into group and racial ideologies instead of focusing on developing the individual. We don’t educate children these days, and without that, how can you have strong individuals? Racial groups and ideologies — on the far left and the far right — led to the hatred that tears America apart to this day.

And believe me, I’m not against groups at all, but I know that we develop weak individuals in our society. And if these weak individuals form groups, what use are they? Really, what are they for? These groups destroying Chicago property? The white supremacist may have acted alone, but he drew his power from the white supremacist group. And, again, what good is a group made up of weak individuals?

Although I may not have the answer at this point, I know from experience. I’ve worked with a lot of these young people who have a gun at their fingertips. They know where it is back home, and given the right circumstances, they’ll pull the trigger. When I sat down to talk with them about improving their lives, several of them pointed the barrel of the gun in my face. They think they are powerful, “the Man”. But you and I know the truth: they are empty shells of human beings where violence is simply all they know.

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I work with these people on an individual basis. I try to drive the violence out of their souls by filling it with possibilities and opportunities. I make them discover their own talents. I tell them that their minds and bodies are the most amazing things ever created and if developed can take them to untold heights. I tell them that I love them. I surround them with new and true friends. I teach them skills. I take them to the bank to open their first account, sometimes when they are 30 years old.

I say I don’t have all the answers because, despite my best efforts, I lost what I thought were some of my most promising souls to violent deaths. It breaks my heart every time this happens because I could see their potential. At the same time, I know that a focus on building up the individual is the right answer, for I have seen the most violent criminals lay down their guns and become some of today’s most industrious citizens. . These young people believe in things bigger than themselves: God, America and their ability to overcome all obstacles.

I know that my words cannot take away the pain of what happened in Buffalo or what happens in Chicago almost every day. I am a humble servant of the Lord, and I will continue to serve Him to the best of my ability each day. God bless each one of you, and God bless this troubled but great nation of ours.

Follow Fox News with Pastor Corey Brooks with a new rooftop revelation.

For more information, please visit CAPOT project

Eli Steele is a documentary filmmaker and writer. His latest film is “What Killed Michael Brown?” Twitter: @Hebro_Steele.

Camera by Terrell Allen.

Parishioners arrest gunman in deadly California church attack

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LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. – A man opened fire at a church luncheon in Southern California, killing one person and injuring five elderly people before a pastor hit the shooter in the head with a chair and parishioners do not tie him up with electrical cords.

Jerry Chen had just walked into the church common room kitchen around 1:30 p.m. Sunday when he heard the gunshots.

Chen, 72, a longtime member of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church in Irvine, who worships at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, peeked around the corner and saw other scream, run and hide under tables.

“I knew someone was shooting,” he said. “I was very, very scared. I ran out the kitchen door to call 911.”

Officials said the shooting ended after the gunman killed a man and injured five elderly people before worshipers tied his legs with an electric cord until deputies arrived. Four of the five people injured suffered serious gunshot wounds; their terms were not immediately available Monday morning.

David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas, was convicted of one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department tweeted. Jail records show Chou is being held on $1 million bail. It is not immediately clear whether he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

The church was cordoned off on Monday with yellow tape and several bouquets of flowers were left outside the church grounds.

But on Sunday afternoon, Chen said he was in such shock he was unable to tell the operator where he was when he called 911 from the church parking lot.

“I had to ask someone else for the address,” he said.

Chen said a group of about 40 congregants gathered in the communion hall for lunch after a morning service to welcome their former pastor Billy Chang, a beloved and respected community member who had served. the church for 20 years. Chang returned to Taiwan two years ago. It was his first time returning to the United States, Chen said.

“Everyone had just finished having lunch,” he said. “They were taking pictures with Pastor Chang. I had just finished my lunch and went into the kitchen.”

It was then that he heard the shots and fled.

Soon after, Chen said he heard details of what happened inside from other people who came out. Companions from the congregation told Chen that when the shooter stopped to reload, Chang hit him in the head with a chair while others moved quickly to grab his gun. They then overpowered and tied him up, Chen said.

“It was amazing to see how brave (Chang) and the others were,” he said. “It’s so sad. I never thought something like this would happen in my church, in my community.”

Most church members are older, highly educated Taiwanese immigrants, Chen said.

“We are mostly retirees and the average age of our church is 80,” he said.

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Orange County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Hallock praised the quick work of parishioners in stopping the shooter.

“This group of worshipers displayed exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to arrest the suspect. They undoubtedly averted further injury and death,” Hallock said. “I think it’s safe to say that if people hadn’t intervened, it could have been a lot worse.”

The shooting came a day after an 18-year-old man shot and killed 10 people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

As news of the shooting broke on the heels of the racist rampage in Buffalo – where the white shooter allegedly targeted a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood – fears spread that the Taiwanese congregation had also been targeted by a hate crime.

But when the shooter was identified as an Asian man, further questions arose as the investigation into the violence and the shooter’s motive continues.

The case is in its early stages, Hallock said. He said the many unanswered questions include whether the attacker attended the church service, whether he was known to church members and how many shots were fired.

Laguna Woods was built as a senior citizens’ community and later became a town. More than 80% of residents in the city of 18,000 about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles are at least 65 years old. The shooting took place in an area with a cluster of places of worship, including Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches and a Jewish synagogue.

Among the gunshot wounds are four Asian men, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92, and an 86-year-old Asian woman, the sheriff’s department said.

It was not immediately clear if all of the victims were of Taiwanese descent or if the shooter also had ties to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s democratically elected government has long taken a hands-off approach to religion on the island, where most follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese beliefs, but Christianity and other religions also thrive.

Taiwan’s Chief Representative to the United States, Bi-khim Hsiao, offered his condolences to the families on Twitter.

“I join the families of the victims and the grieving Taiwanese American communities and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured survivors,” Hsiao wrote on Sunday.

The deadliest US church shooting took place in 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A gunman opened fire during a Sunday service at First Baptist Church and killed more than two dozen people.

In 2015, Dylann Roof fired dozens of bullets during the closing prayer of a 2015 Bible study session at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine members of the black congregation were killed in the racist violence and Roof became the first person in the United States sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. His appeal remains before the Supreme Court.

___

Weber and Bharath reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporter Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles also contributed to this story.

Jones retires after decades of service to others in need | News, Sports, Jobs

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A longtime funeral director from Altoona has decided it’s time to retire.

Robert M. “Bob” Jones Jr., 79, owner and manager of Jones Funeral Home, 1222 13th Ave., will end his career on May 31.

“There are two reasons – it’s time and I have medical problems,” said Jones. “It’s time to stop.”

Jones took over the family business, founded in 1915 by his grandfather, Edgar W. Jones, in July 1965, after the sudden death of his father, Robert M. Jones Sr.

Jones admits he hadn’t planned on a career as a funeral director, but his father had other ideas.

“I wanted to do something with the exterior. I wanted to do something with animals,” said Jones. “My dad said, ‘I could have someone else run this, but I wish it was you,’ so I went to mortuary school.”

Jones got his license at age 21 and served as a funeral director for 17 years before “I decided that was what I wanted to do.” He has been a licensed funeral director for 57 years and in the business for approximately 65 years.

He took over the business at age 22 — he had only had his license for six months — when his father died. He admits to having faced challenges.

“Being a young age was the main challenge. When he died I was 22 and looked like I was 16. You wonder how much someone trusts a 22 year old », said Jones.

“Bernie Krise, who had worked for my father for about 15 years, if not for him, I would not have succeeded because of my youth”, said Jones. “He took good care of me; he had a good relationship with me.

Jones grew to love the business over the years and especially enjoyed helping people.

“I’ve enjoyed the people I serve the most. You think when they come in there’s going to be a lot of crying. It happens, but with the majority of people I deal with there’s more laughter than crying », said Jones.

He said he gets the most satisfaction when people tell him how good they made their loved one look.

“I once had an accident victim, the coroner said it couldn’t be fixed. His mother said, “You have given my son back to me. You can’t put a price on that.” said Jones, who estimates he’s done between 4,000 and 5,000 funerals over the years.

He said the biggest change over the years has been the increasing number of cremations.

“We are doing 50% now, about seven years ago the number was 30-35%,”said Jones.

The Jones family have been members of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament – located across the street from the funeral home – for over 90 years. The funeral home served the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown by arranging the funerals of six Catholic bishops.

“Our company did all six, my grandfather two, my father two and I did two. We are the only company in the region to have carried them out. … It’s one of the things we’re most proud of,” said Jones.

Jones is a familiar face in the diocese, spokesman Tony DeGol said.

“He is an usher and generously supports the parish by sponsoring the radio broadcast of Sunday Mass and parish calendars. We have worked closely with him over the years and appreciate his professionalism. He always does whatever is necessary to accommodate our unique needs and families wishes,” said DeGol. “Bob’s retirement marks the end of an era at Altoona. We are grateful for all he has done to serve the community and the Church, and we wish him many blessings in the next chapter of his life.

Jones said it takes special qualities to become a funeral director.

“You have to be a people person, you have to love people and take care of their needs at a difficult time in their lives. They call us undertakers, most people don’t know where to go or what to do. There are things to take care of, like war veterans benefits, social security – people don’t worry about those things until someone dies,” said Jones. “I know where to go and what to do. If I don’t know, I find out.

For those considering entering the profession, Jones said they should know that it is very difficult work.

“You give up a lot, but if you’re willing to do it and serve people, you’ll be fine. I gave up Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners, kids’ events. You work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I answer the phone in the middle of the night. People are surprised to hear my voice. People want to talk to me and not an answering machine”, said Jones.

Jones is believed to be the oldest active funeral director in the area.

“Bob is just a gentleman. He’s been a mentor of mine, a great guy, very dedicated, hardworking and a great family man,” said longtime friend Jeff Somers, owner/supervisor of Myers-Somers Funeral Home, Altoona.”We’ve all shared ideas over the years, and Bob has been a role model for many of us.

Jones is highly respected by others in the profession.

“My wife and I traveled with him and Jean to national funeral conventions. It was nice to travel with him. We had a long-standing relationship. He was an effective leader and advocate for the funeral profession,” said Dave Mason, vice president of Stevens Mortuary and supervisor of Plank, Stitt and Stevens Funeral Home in Hollidaysburg.

“He was always super nice, a great guy. He was very welcoming and always accepting, there weren’t many women in the business when I met him about eight years ago,” said Kelly Burket, president of the Keystone Funeral Directors Association and funeral director at Mauk and Yates Funeral Home, Altoona.

Jon C. “Jack” Russin is another longtime friend and hunting partner from years past.

“Bob was a true professional who served his family with great dignity and compassion. He was an excellent mentor to young adults pursuing careers in the funeral industry. Bob truly cared about the families he had the privilege to serve, said Russin, supervisor/funeral director at Jon C. Russin Funeral Home, Bellwood.

Jones has plans for her retirement, including attending some upcoming family weddings.

“I want to go back to fishing on the Juniata River. We are going from Mifflintown to Mexico. We fish for smallmouth bass. I fish everything I can catch, carp, catfish. I just like to fish. I will also be hunting with my daughter Nicole (Kimmel) and working around the house,” said Jones.

Jones said he was unsure about the future of the family business.

“We have two entities that are interested. I hope it will remain a funeral home,” said Jones. “I want it to stay like this, it would be hard to get out of the church to see anything else.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.

The Jones File

Name: Robert M. Jones Jr.

Age: 79

Position: Retiring as Owner/Director of Jones Funeral Home

Education: 1960 graduated from Altoona Catholic High School, 1963 graduated from Cincinnati School of Mortuary Science, 1965 graduated from Saint Francis College with a business degree

Family: Wife, Jean; daughters, Ann, Pam, Nicole and Renee; and 10 grandchildren

Estimate: “My key to success is to be there and do what I’m supposed to do. When someone says, ‘You have to do this’, I do it. I do what is necessary for the family at that moment. .



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Several people shot dead in a Californian church

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LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (AP) — One person was killed and four others seriously injured in a shooting Sunday at a Southern California church, authorities said.

Deputies have arrested one person and recovered a weapon following the shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in the town of Laguna Woods, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter.

A fifth injured person suffered minor injuries, officials said. All of the victims were adults.

Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responding to the scene.

Laguna Woods was built as a senior citizens’ community and later became a town. More than 80% of residents in the city of 18,000 about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles are at least 65 years old.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said on Twitter that it was monitoring the situation closely.

“No one should be afraid to go to their place of worship. Our hearts go out to the victims, the community and everyone affected by this tragic event,” the tweet read.

The incident happened in an area with a cluster of places of worship, including Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches and a Jewish synagogue.

The shooting came a day after an 18-year-old man shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Guest Opinion: Pastor Responds to Clergy’s ‘Letter of Support for Transgender Children’

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This is a guest opinion column

Saddened by the May 5 attack on the gospel by those who call themselves “clergy and religious leaders” in Alabama, I believe I must respond for the sake of those trapped in the lies and confusion of the transgender ideology and for the sake of the glory of God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All of our thoughts about life, sex, sexuality, marriage and children must begin with the triune God. God is truth, His Son is truth, His Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and His Word is truth. This is the reference point for a good understanding. (Proverbs 1:7, 29; John 14:6, 17; John 17:3)

God created mankind male and female. He created the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman as the proper context for sexual intimacy and for raising children to love it. The God of the Bible is the sovereign King of the universe; He created human beings in his image to worship him and reflect his glory. (Genesis 1:26-2:25)

An evil rebellion enslaves all mankind making us enemies of God. Sin is lawlessness, transgression of the Word of God. Martin Luther described the effects of original sin with a Latin phrase, “Homo incurvatus en se,” “man turned in on himself.” Our impulse to sin is slavery to the idol of self. Our desire to break the boundaries of God’s commandments seems biologically and emotionally natural to us because we are withdrawn. The lies of our sinful impulses blind us to the truth, enslave us, and drive us mad. (Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 59:1-15; Colossians 1:21)

The synergy of human sin creates a culture that normalizes and justifies our evil desires and our rebellion against our Creator. Worship in our culture is self-worship. The clergy letter supporting gender change for children reflects this synergistic cultural hatred of God and His Word. But although we fight against him, his authority and his judgments are inescapable. (Matthew 15:19; Romans 1:18-32)

We live in the misery of being turned in on ourselves. The confusion of our sinful desires overwhelms us. It seems so natural that we justify our inclinations with all the arguments of worldly wisdom. But the truth is that we are slaves─ slaves to transgender desires, slaves to sexual sins, slaves to anger and pride. (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9)

The Triune God, our Creator, abounds in grace and mercy toward sinners like us. The Son of God entered our world fulfilling the promise that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. Jesus Christ, the God-man, lived a sinless life and went to the cross as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. God offers us forgiveness, justice and eternal life through his Son. The grace of our Savior cleanses us from the guilt of sin and begins the process of transforming us into the image of God our Creator. He is our only hope. (Psalm 86:15; Romans 1:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Colossians 3:1-17)

Supporting cultural lies related to the chemical or surgical mutilation of children is cruel and causes irreversible damage. A child with gender confusion needs our love, our patience, and the truth of his Creator’s wisdom.

Bob St. John is pastor at Anniston Bible Church [email protected]

South Carolina church to rent affordable homes

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title=Church, whose downtown campus is pictured April 8, 2022, in Greenville, SC, has purchased a dormitory from Greenville Technical College to convert into affordable housing as part of a special program to respond to the local housing crisis. (Macon Atkinson/The Greenville News via AP)” loading=”lazy”/>

CORRECTS DATE TO APRIL 8, 2022, INSTEAD OF MAY 12, 200 Grace Church, whose downtown campus is pictured April 8, 2022, in Greenville, SC, has purchased a dormitory from Greenville Technical College to convert into affordable housing as part of a special program to respond to the local housing crisis. (Macon Atkinson/The Greenville News via AP)

PA

Grace Church purchased a Greenville Technical College dormitory to convert into affordable housing as part of a special program to address the local housing crisis.

The church will serve as landlord for the property and the rent will be adjusted according to the families’ income. Rent prices will range from $450 for a single room to $1,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

The goal, according to LeeAnne Cavin, director of care and recovery ministry at Grace Church, is that the average family will pay about $900 for a unit.

“We have a housing crisis,” Cavin said. “Our whole community is really starting to want the collaboration.”

The units are expected to open for rent the first week of June, and the church already has nearly 40 families ready to move in.

The program will accept emergency housing vouchers through the Greenville Housing Authority, but not Section 8 vouchers or additional federal government subsidies that go directly to rent.

To sign a lease in one of the units, families agree to be part of a Grace Church housing program that provides medical coverage, dental care, a matching savings program, mental health support, car maintenance, financial education, cooking classes, self-defense classes, and job and interview preparation.

Residents are expected to stay in the program for two to three years, and Grace specifically seeks to serve people from transitional housing and recovery programs and survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence and abuse.

The church will work with other housing organizations to find applicants, Cavin said.

The property is the former Pointe Campus of Greenville Tech Apartments and is located on a public bus route.

Requirements to remain in the program include:

— Payment of rent and charges

– Weekly connection with Grace Church through group programs or tenant choice outreach

— Participation in a weekly service in the church chosen by the tenants

— Drug tests and apartment checks

— Participation in courses or groups such as financial education or cooking.

The apartments will help address a much-needed housing shortage in Greenville.

A 2020 study by the Greenville Housing Fund found that nearly half of renters in Greenville County are cost overburdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing and utilities. If you’re paying more than 30% of your annual income for housing, you’re paying more than you can afford while still maintaining the ability to meet other needs, say experts from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development .

Grace Church has 10 locations across the upstate and averaged more than 6,000 attendees each Sunday in 2021.

Cavin said Grace Church is excited to expand its housing ministry and work with local housing organizations to do so.

“We are extremely grateful to be a part of what Greenville is doing,” Cavin said.

Break-in leaves church community shattered

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A church community in Lansing has been rocked by a break-in and the theft of computers, tools and audio equipment.

Pastor Gary Schnepp and Assistant Worship Director Stephen Hammes have been with True North Community Church for over a decade. In addition to broken glass, theft and vandalism have also left them heartbroken for their community.

“You feel violated, don’t you?” It’s like what’s going on? I understand that people have needs, ask. Just ask, we are that kind of congregation. But going in and seeing the devastation is intentional. I mean it’s well thought out,” Schnepp said.

Empty crates, littered desks and fire extinguisher powder are some of the things left behind by Lansing Township police called in to investigate a break-in at True North Community Church Thursday night. Hammes said the theft not only hurt their congregation, but also other communities, such as a group of Spanish-speaking worshipers, who use the space for Friday services.

“Devastated, hurt, we pour so much heart, energy and love into this church and to see it destroyed is just heartbreaking,” he said.

Police estimated that $1,000 worth of property was stolen, a figure that could rise as church leaders examine the damage.

As for who is behind all this? Schnaps said there wasn’t much to do since there were no cameras in the building. But dust and shattered glass left clues for detectives with footprints and blood found at the scene. Despite all the emotions that church leaders face, they take advantage of the moment to practice what they preach.

“Whoever the perpetrators, just know that you are forgiven. I am extremely disappointed. I’m sorry you made bad choices. Someone, somewhere hasn’t trained you well. You know, the words are pretty clear, “teach a child the way he should go and he won’t stray from it,” Schnepp said.

Police are still investigating the break-in and say the blood samples taken will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. As for the Sunday service, Pastor Schnepp said the church will continue indoors or outdoors.

Some Catholic abortion haters are worried about overthrowing Roe

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NEW YORK — Top leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called on the faithful to pray and fast Friday, hoping the Supreme Court is on track to strike down the constitutional right to abortion. Yet even among Catholics who oppose abortion, there is some unease about the consequences of such a decision.

A recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggests a majority of all nine justices are set to overturn Roe v. Wade of 1973 – a decision that would allow every state to ban abortion.

Related: What you need to know about the future of abortion in Florida

Some anti-abortion Catholics say such a result would be the answer to their prayers. Others warn that Catholic leaders should distance themselves from the politically partisan wing of the anti-abortion movement and broaden their concept of “pro-life” by supporting general policies that put in place safety nets for single mothers and low-income families.

Madison Chastain, a Catholic blogger and disability advocate, describes herself as anti-abortion, but opposes Roe’s cancellation and the criminalization of abortions.

Factors that cause abortion, she wrote in the National Catholic Reporter, include lack of comprehensive sex education, inadequate health care and workplace inequities.

“Making abortion illegal before tackling these injustices will kill women, because women will continue to have abortions, in secret and in unsafe conditions,” she wrote.

Sam Sawyer, a journalist and Jesuit priest, says he is a “devoted pro-life advocate” who favors Roe’s overthrow. Yet he responded to the leak with an essay listing why abortion-rights supporters are so alarmed by the prospect.

“The pro-life movement and its political alliances are seen as a threat not only to abortion itself, but also to democratic norms, judicial commitments to civil rights, and health and economic security. women,” Sawyer wrote in America, the Jesuit magazine. of which he is editor-in-chief.

Republican politicians, backed by anti-abortion leaders, “have used the lives of unborn children as moral cover to ignore other calls for justice,” Sawyer wrote. “Political allies of the pro-life movement gutted social safety net programs that would make it easier for women to carry their pregnancies to term.

The call for a day of fasting and prayer came from Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Pro-Life Activities Committee of the USCCB.

They asked for prayers for the overthrow of Roe and for “the conversion of the hearts and minds of those advocating for abortion.”

Related: Most Florida voters oppose abortion ban, polls show

The archbishops echoed calls from other Catholic leaders who, after the Supreme Court leak, suggested that a reversal of Roe should be coupled with increased awareness and support for pregnant women and new mothers.

Lori pointed to a USCCB program called Walking With Moms in Need, saying the church should redouble its efforts “to accompany women and couples facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, and during the early years of parenthood. “.

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The episcopal conference has designated the “threat of abortion” as its top priority — a view that many lay Catholics do not share. According to Pew Research Center polls, 56% of American Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Fiorella Flores, center, a student at the <a class=Catholic University of America, joins demonstrators to protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington. "Our campus claims to be 100% pro-life and despite supporters saying that, we’ve come out to show that’s not true," Flores said. ” class=”lazy” src=”data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 6000 4000"/%3E” style=”object-position:50% 50%;transition:opacity 0.5s ease 0.5s;opacity:0″ title=”Fiorella Flores, center, a student at the Catholic University of America, joins demonstrators to protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington. "Our campus claims to be 100% pro-life and despite supporters saying that, we’ve come out to show that’s not true," Flores said. ” itemprop=”image” width=”6000″ height=”auto”/>
Fiorella Flores, center, a student at the Catholic University of America, joins demonstrators to protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington. “Our campus claims to be 100% pro-life and despite supporters saying that, we’ve come out to show that’s not true,” Flores says. [ JACQUELYN MARTIN | AP ]

Professor O. Carter Snead, who teaches law and political science at the University of Notre Dame, said by email that most Catholics engaged in anti-abortion activism “are not political supporters tough guys, but more like people looking to take care of mothers and babies by any means available.”

As an example, Snead cited the Nicola de Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture – which he directs – and one of its initiatives, titled “Women and Children First: Imagining a World post-Roe”. Through teaching, research and public engagement, the initiative aims to strengthen support for “women, children (born and unborn) and families in need”.

However, achieving broad bipartisan collaboration on such initiatives may not be happening anytime soon, Snead acknowledged.

“It is true, unfortunately, that the only political party that has been willing to join together to provide legal protection for unborn children is the Republicans,” he said.

Chad Pecknold, professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, also doubted there could be a post-Roe push for bipartisanship on abortion.

“As long as Democrats insist on abortion during nine months of pregnancy, and as long as Republicans recognize that abortion violates the 14th Amendment, it will remain a partisan issue,” he said. declared by e-mail.

“But the focus of the pro-life movement has never been partisan,” Pecknold added. “The goal is justice for the unborn who have the right to live, to be loved, to be raised in a family.”

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas – a vocal critic of Catholic politicians who support abortion rights – said abortion opponents “must continue to provide support and care for mothers who find themselves in difficult situations”.

“I pray that we can move to a place where both mother and child are held sacred and where society supports both lives in any way possible,” he said via email.

David Gibson, director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture, questioned the significance of recent promises by Catholic bishops and other anti-abortion leaders to boost support for single mothers.

“Can this movement that is so tied to the Republican Party and the Conservative movement suddenly pivot to mobilizing its people for socially liberal policies?” Gibson asked, referring to programs like subsidized child care and paid maternity leave.

Steven Millies, professor of public theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, says the bishops bear partial responsibility for the entrenched polarization over abortion, which he expects to continue even if Roe is overthrown.

“It is unrealistic to hope that divisive habits will be abandoned,” Millies said, suggesting the bishops could have done more to reduce abortions over the years by pushing for stronger, better-funded social programs.

Rebecca Bratten Weiss, writer and digital editor at Catholic American Magazine, said she no longer calls herself “pro-life” – although she has been active in the movement for many years and believes that any life deserves to be protected.

“The people working to overthrow Roe have made it clear that they have no interest in expanding the safety nets,” she said. “Either they haven’t thought about the consequences, or they’re okay with the consequences — higher infant mortality, more women seeking unsafe abortions, more families pushed into desperate measures.”

Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest who writes for Religion News Service, suggested in a column that Roe’s overthrow should be an occasion for reassessment by the many bishops who have embraced the Republican Party because of its anti-abortion stance.

Catholic bishops will celebrate this victory they have worked for decades, but ironically it should lead to a divorce between bishops and Republicans,” Reese wrote. “The GOP has nothing else to offer them. In fact, with the exception of abortion, his proposals are the opposite of Catholic social teaching.

Assuming Roe is overthrown, Reese added, “bishops can declare victory on abortion and focus on social programs…that help women have and raise children so they are not forced to abort.”

Still, Reese doubts that will happen.

“I guess they will keep fighting until there is consensus in America on abortion,” he wrote. “That will mean sticking with the Republicans and sacrificing all of their other priorities.”

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer.

Associated Press religious coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

Peter Oboh alongside Pastor Suleman – The Sun Nigeria

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Fast Rising entertainer, Stephanie Otobo, has been slammed for reopening her sex allegations against Omega Fire Ministry General Overseer Apostle Johnson Suleman.

Throwing his weight behind former British/Commonwealth boxing champion Apostle Suleman, Peter Oboh described Otobo’s allegation as a mere fabrication for cheap publicity.

Only Monday, Stephanie Otobo reiterated on social networks her sexual allegation against Suleman, and accused him of trying to eliminate her. The artist posted screenshots of alleged video calls and an intimate image of the pastor on Twitter, daring him to deny he is not the one in the photos.

Are you a 40+ male? Don’t miss Vital Information, it leaves in 2 days! CLICK HERE to READ .

“Can you deny that? Your fingernail and the scar on your left thigh? If these screenshots were fake, how did I get his photos which are not public photos and how come I am the first to post such kind of photos of him? Otobo said.

While insisting that Suleman has changed his hairstyle twice since his sexual intimacy allegation, Otobo claimed that the man of God “did everything to end my life but God is not dead”.

But according to Apostle Peter Oboh, Stephanie Otobo’s allegation against Pastor Suleman is a fabrication for cheap publicity. The boxer-turned-clergyman said: “The allegation made against Apostle Johnson Suleman by Stephanie Otobo is just a fabrication she is using to get cheap publicity. First, if this is true, why does the manhood of the naked man believed to be Suleman appear separate from his body in the photo? Second, the hand holding the manhood supposed to be Suleman’s hand looks like a woman’s hand and not a man’s. I am 100% sure that the manhood shown in the photo is not that of Apostle Suleman.

Remember in 2017, Stephanie Otobo lied against Suleman but later came back to confess. One of the problems most Nigerians have is that they love to see their fellow citizens down, and that is very sad. On this issue, I agree with Suleman one hundred percent. I believe he is innocent. It is the devil who uses women to bring down Suleman. Suleman is an apple of God’s eye. I would love to meet him one day.

Greensky Hill Church continues ‘Heart of the Matter’ series this Sunday

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CHARLEVOIX – Greensky Hill Indian United Methodist Church invites the community to worship at 8484 Greensky Hill Road, Charlevoix, Michigan 49720 and online at hwww.facebook.com/groups/173854422675352/ every Sunday.

All are welcome and a Zoom Coffee Hour begins half an hour after the live service ends.

At 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 15, the church will continue its series of worship, “Heart of the Matter,” with a Fourth Sunday of Easter service titled “No Trouble in My Heart.” The service includes songs and prayers in Anishinaabemowin and English, music by Pastor Sharon Osterhouse, “Break Bread” with Pastor Sarah Sheaffer, a reflection by Reverend Jonathan Mays based on Psalm 31 and John 14:1-14 , and a People’s Work video.

As the creator of the series, Worship Design Studio notes, “…our future is in the hands of Love, in the heart of God. Jesus, as God incarnate, helps us to know that we are in house and family of God. He called God ‘Abba’ – an intimate name that a child would call a parent in the language that Jesus spoke. God was not distant, but a parent who loves dearly, faithfully protects and wants that we know intimately.

Previous services and more information are available at www.greenskyhill.org.

Debate on a bill that could imprison women who have abortions

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A bill slated for debate Thursday at the Louisiana House would make women who have abortions subject to criminal prosecution and jail time — a stance that has drawn opposition from the anti-abortion governor of the state. Louisiana and groups such as Louisiana Right to Life and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Republican Rep. Danny McCormick is pushing the bill despite a crescendo of opposition from traditional proponents of abortion rights allies, for now, with some opponents of legal abortion.

“To suggest that a woman would be jailed for an abortion is just plain nonsense,” Governor John Bel Edwards, a devout Catholic and Democrat who has long split with his party on the abortion issue, said Wednesday.

“Our long-standing policy is that women vulnerable to abortion should not be treated like criminals,” Louisiana Right to Life said in a statement.

McCormick disagrees, saying a woman who has an abortion should be in the same legal position as a woman who takes the life of a child after birth. “When I give equal protection to the unborn child, that is the possibility,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening.

McCormick’s bill has come under scrutiny in light of the leak last week of a draft opinion from the United States Supreme Court indicating that the High Court is preparing to strike down decisions confirming a constitutional right to abortion. But it was introduced in March, on the legal theory that it could end abortion regardless of what any court does.

In addition to rewriting homicide laws to include abortion, it states that any federal law, regulation, or court order permitting abortion is void, and that any judge who blocks enforcement of the bill’s provisions could be dismissed.

Members of the committee that introduced the bill last week expressed doubts about its constitutionality. Edwards called it “patently unconstitutional” on Wednesday.

Edwards joined in critics of the bill, saying it criminalizes certain types of contraception and parts of the in vitro fertilization process. McCormick said Thursday that forms of birth control that don’t destroy a fertilized egg aren’t affected by the law. And he disputes the claim by Edwards and others that the bill would criminalize certain aspects of in vitro fertilization, pointing to state law that already grants rights to “and the in vitro fertilized human egg.” vitro”.

Anti-abortion legislation usually passes easily through the Louisiana Legislature, but outright opposition to the bill from some anti-abortion stalwarts could bolster attempts to derail the measure or heavily change it.

Louisiana already has laws in place criminalizing abortion, including a ‘trigger law’ guaranteeing it will be a crime if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision establishing the right to abortion . The statutes appear to exempt women from prosecution, although some abortion rights advocates have suggested they need to be tightened.

McCormick said existing laws are insufficient to give fetuses equal protection under the law. “It’s a debate we need to have in Louisiana,” he said. “There are good people on both sides of the debate.”

Oberlin First Church Donates $45,000 to POWER, Encourages Matching Donations – Morning Journal

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On April 24, Oberlin First Church voted to donate $45,000.00 to POWER (Providing Oberlin With Efficiency Responsibly), according to a press release.

The donation is presented as a Challenge Grant, to encourage additional contributions from members of First Church and the Oberlin community.

Oberlin First Church, UCC, is an open and assertive congregation, just for peace, global mission and green justice, according to the statement.

“Jesus’ great commandment calls us to love God and to love our neighbor,” said Pastor David Hill. “Through this donation, we seek to partner with the Oberlin community to ensure that all of our neighbors have access to energy efficient, safe and healthy housing.”

Founded in 2009, POWER is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to make homes in Oberlin more energy efficient, according to the release.

An energy-efficient home costs less to heat and cool, and is healthier and more comfortable.

Energy efficiency also improves air quality and fights climate change by reducing carbon emissions and pollution.

“This donation is deeply appreciated and will help pay for needed work that we would not otherwise be able to do,” said Ben Hobbs, Chairman of POWER’s Board of Directors. “We are honored by the trust that First Church places in us.”

“A lot of homes have issues that need to be addressed before we can do any weatherization work,” said POWER’s energy advocate Greg Jones. “This money will help us replace broken furnaces and repair roofs and other structural issues for families who cannot afford this work.

All Oberlin residents, including those who rent, are eligible for free POWER services and home efficiency grants.

Utility rebates and POWER subsidies typically cover between 60% and 100% of the cost of weatherization.

Jones can be reached at 440-935-0995 to schedule a free viewing of any home.

First Church invites the community of Oberlin to contribute to the challenge grant campaign and support POWER’s vision to create a community of comfortable, affordable and healthy homes.

Donations can be sent by June 15 to First Church in Oberlin, 106 N. Main St., Oberlin, OH 44074, or through the firstchurchoberlin.org website.

Donors should put “POWER MATCH” in the memo line of their checks.

Beloved Oklahoma City pastor returns to court

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The pastor of an Oklahoma City church renowned for his many charitable works is heading to court after his arrest last year.

On November 17, 2021, Pastor Scobey and other members of the community were peacefully protesting the day before Julius Jones was executed.

A demonstration of civil disobedience in favor of Julius Jones.

Scobey was arrested and charged with two counts of obstructing a roadway and failing to comply with a lawful order.

“I was absolutely exercising my First Amendment rights,” Scobey said. “Any time your First Amendment rights are violated, a person like me for sure, we don’t take it lightly.”

Scobey was the only person arrested at the scene and now faces obstruction by an officer and an inability to disperse charges for crossing barricades and standing in the street.

On Thursday, Scobey’s case will go before an Oklahoma County judge for a motion hearing.

Scobey’s attorneys are expected to ask the judge to set a trial date.

The Ebenezer Baptist Church, through Scobey’s leadership and the good work of his parishioners, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in food and furnishings to community members in need in recent years.

Meet the Early Church Pro-Life Movement

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A large bronze image of the god Cronus stood in the Tophet of Carthage. His hands extended with palms facing up and arms angled slightly downward so that children placed in his arms could be rolled into a pit of fire.

During the sacrifice, loud drums beat to drown out the sound of children’s cries as the fire melted their flesh. Children were sacrificed whenever despair struck the Carthaginians. In the year 310 BC. J.-C., Agathocles, the tyrant of Greece, invades Africa. People alleged that Cronos had turned against them. Thus, “in their zeal to repair their omission, they chose two hundred children from among the noblest and publicly sacrificed them” (history library20.14).

Throughout history, children have been victims of sacrifice. But is it related to the modern abortion debate? Yes! Children can no longer be sacrificed to bronze statues, but they are sacrificed in staggering numbers to the living god of self. Convenience has replaced superstition, but the crime is the same.

Due to advances in modern science and ongoing debates over the past century, many believe that abortion is a new practice. It’s not.

Due to advances in modern science and ongoing debates over the past century, many assume that abortion is new. It’s not. At this critical juncture in modern debate, as the Supreme Court debates whether to strike down deerit is important for Christians to hear the cogent arguments of church fathers that unborn life is worth protecting and to learn how the early church responded to sacrifice, abandonment and neglect. child abortion.

Pro-Life Voices Among Fathers

christianity early writers universally condemned the practice of abortion. The end of the first century Didache set the tone: “You must not abort a child or commit infanticide” (2.2). Likewise, the Epistle of Barnabas (AD 70-135) commands: “You shall not kill the child by aborting it; neither will you destroy him after he is born” (19).

Time and time again, early Christian writers declare abortion to be murder:

And when we say that these women who use drugs to induce abortion are committing murder, and will have to answer to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the fetus even in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has come to life, to kill it; and not to expose a child, as those who expose them are liable to child murder. (Athenagoras, A plea for Christians)

The woman who deliberately destroys her unborn child is guilty of murder. (Basil, Letters188.2)

[By abortion] life is taken from them before it has been given. (Ambrose, Hexameron18.05.58)

Some go so far as to take potions to ensure sterility, and thus kill human beings almost before they are conceived. Some, when they find themselves with a child because of their sin, use drugs to have an abortion, and . . . (as often happens) they die with their offspring. (Jerome, To select Letters22.13)

No woman should take drugs for the purpose of abortion, nor kill her children who have been conceived or who have already been born. (Cesaire, sermonssermon 44)

Chrysostom (AD 349-407) went further by stating that abortion is “even worse than murder.” For I have no name to give it, since it does not take away the born thing, but prevents it from being born” (Homilies on the Epistle to the Romanshomily 24).

Non-negotiable position

Why was speaking for life non-negotiable for Christians since the early days of the church? The answer lies in the conception of the soul of the fathers of the Church and in their conviction that the indelible image of God is given to human persons from their conception (Genesis 1:26-27; Ps. 139:13-16 ).

Tertullian rejected Plato’s view that eternal souls are inhaled at birth and expired at death (On the soul25). He argued that this view denied life in the womb. Tertullian asked the mothers: “Tell us, then, if you feel in the embryo which is in you a vital force other than your own, with which your entrails tremble, your flanks shake, your whole belly throbs, and the burden that oppresses you constantly changes consistency. position?” (On the soul25). The same evidence holds true today. Many women find that they can no longer deny the life of an unborn child once they hear the heartbeat, the child begins to spin, or they feel its first kick.

As he continued to describe in his Apologies, a seed is planted at conception which becomes a person full of fruit. Digging up the seed is like cutting down the tree. So just as killing a grown adult is doomed, annihilating his seed should also be doomed.

offer grace

Surrounded by a culture where children were dismantled, discarded and sacrificed, the early church fought vigorously to protect unborn life. Christians adopted children who had been abandoned and spoke with vehement rhetoric about the abhorrence of abortion.

But the writings of the fathers unfortunately offered little grace to the men and women who chose abortion. Christians today should follow their lead in hating abortion and speaking out boldly, and we must also be quick to offer the grace of the gospel. To men and women who mourn their sin over a child in the womb, Christ offers forgiveness. Parents can run to him and free themselves from the guilt that only he can give. Only her blood can whiten the crimson stain of abortion that has been smeared on the souls of millions.

Only the blood of Christ can wash away the stain of abortion that has been smeared on the souls of millions.

I am heartened by the number of Christians caring for unborn and vulnerable lives through crisis pregnancy centers, women’s shelters, foster homes and adoption. I am grateful for Christians who show love to those who have had abortions. It is this work that ensures that we are not just anti-abortion, but pro-life.

And now?

Until the return of Christ, Cronus will thirst for the blood of children. Even today, you can hear the drums beating through the cries of the pro-choice movement, calling on those who want a different life to come and offer their children to it. But the cross of Christ sounds a better word, ringing with hope that the good child has already sacrificed himself.

Contrary to child sacrifice, God’s own Son gave himself for us on the cross, the “holy for the lawless, the innocent for the guilty, the just for the unjust, the incorruptible for the corruptible, the ‘immortal for mortals’ (Epistle to Diognetus9.2). Unlike pagan rites that only appease an angry God, Christ’s sacrifice paid the just penalty for our sins, accomplished our forgiveness, and secured new life. In Christ, God took the sins of selfishness, greed, covetousness, and even the killing of innocent children. He placed those sins on his own innocent Son so that we could both be welcomed and loved, and share his love with others.

deer may soon be dead, but the fight for life will continue. As Christians, we have a rich heritage of both defending life and offering new life. Let’s learn from the past and continue for our generation.

Redeemer Health is looking for a partner after losing money for five years

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Redeemer Health, a Catholic nonprofit in Montgomery County that has reported five straight years of operating losses, wants to form what it calls a “strategic partnership” for its Meadowbrook Hospital and medical practices, according to a letter sent Monday to the Redeemer community. .

It’s unclear what Redeemer means by pursuing a strategic partnership – which comes a decade after a proposed merger with Abington Health was scrapped amid controversy over plans to stop abortions at Abington.

“We do not plan to sell the hospital, but rather to partner with other healthcare providers who share our commitment to serving our current and future communities, including efforts to address inequalities and disparities. health,” Redeemer chief executive Mike Laign said in the letter.

Sometimes health systems talk about “strategic partnerships” and mean little more than cooperation in selected service lines, experts say. Redeemer already has such a partnership with Cooper’s MD Anderson Cancer Center in Camden for an integrated cancer treatment program. But it could be that Redeemer is looking for a stronger alliance to help it overcome the financial challenges it has had as a small independent system.

The long-running coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for even financially strong systems to break even due to service disruptions as patients have stayed home for fear of contracting the virus. Labor costs also skyrocketed because many nurses and other workers quit their jobs.

Redeemer did not immediately provide additional information.

Redeemer’s announcement, which is not in financial difficulty, adds to the flux in the Philadelphia-area hospital industry. Tower Health is trying to sell Chestnut Hill Hospital and the already closed Brandywine and Jennersville hospitals in western Chester County. He also wants to reduce his role at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, which he owns 50-50 with Drexel University.

ChristianaCare, Delaware’s largest health care system, announced in February that it had entered into a preliminary agreement to acquire Crozer Health of Delaware County, which is owned by a California-based for-profit company, Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. It does not It’s unclear whether ChristianaCare and Crozer are on track for a final agreement by next month, as originally planned.

Meanwhile, Prospect continues to eliminate services at Crozer hospitals. The intensive care unit at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill is closing later this month. In June, Crozer will end outpatient mental health and addiction treatment services at the former Chester Community Hospital campus, as well as the addictions inpatient unit at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland.

READ MORE: VA plans to close its hospitals in Coatesville and University City as part of massive restructuring

Redeemer said his search for a partnership was only for the 239-bed Holy Redeemer Hospital and Holy Redeemer Medical and Ambulatory Services. The hospital and medical practices accounted for $354 million of Redeemer’s $445 million in total revenue in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, according to its latest audited financial statements. Together, these two units recorded operating losses of $14 million.

The Redeemer organization also owns retirement communities, nursing homes, hospice services, a home care and hospice provider, low income housing for the elderly and disabled, an organization visiting nurses and related businesses.

Catholic healthcare systems are required to follow ethical and religious guidelines established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The 49 guidelines include bans on abortions and direct sterilization, for example.

Church offers Paul Quinn graduates investment fund

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This year’s class at Paul Quinn College received a donation from Alfred Street Baptist Church in the form of a $250,000 investment fund, according to a college press release. The Reverend Howard-John Wesley, senior pastor of the Alexandria, Va.-based church, made the surprise announcement early to Paul Quinn on Saturday.

“This class has spent at least half of their college career in a global pandemic, going through an immense amount of stress and hardship,” Wesley said. “We know the impact this has had on our mental and physical health and especially the impact this has had on the black community. These resilient students deserve to be celebrated in a unique way.

College officials said the money will be placed in a trust fund to be managed by JPMorgan Chase until it is paid out to graduates in 10 years. The hope is that the value of the fund will increase with additional contributions over time.

“In doing so, we’re making available the kind of wealth management/creation tool that isn’t commonly available to first-generation college graduates and Pell Grant recipients,” said college president Michael Sorrell, in the press release. “The number one tool in the fight against poverty is access to capital. Together, Alfred Street and Paul Quinn are ensuring PQC’s class of 2022 starts their post-graduate life on the right foot.

Former Toronto pastor loses second appeal after pregnant wife drowned in 2011 – Toronto

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A former Toronto pastor has lost an appeal against his manslaughter conviction in the drowning death of his pregnant wife.

The Ontario Court of Appeal also dismissed Philip Grandine’s appeal against the 15-year prison sentence imposed on him in January 2020.

Grandine was released on bail days after being sentenced as he appealed his conviction following his second trial in the case.

His wife, Anna Karissa Grandine, was 20 weeks pregnant when she drowned in the couple’s bathtub in 2011.

Tests later revealed the 29-year-old had lorazepam, a sedative better known by the brand name Ativan, in her blood despite not having been prescribed it. The court heard that she found out her husband had been having an affair.,

Read more:

Former pastor found guilty of manslaughter in the death of his pregnant wife

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Philip Grandine was originally charged with first degree murder and convicted of manslaughter in 2014, but won a retrial on his first appeal. He was sentenced again in February 2019 and launched another appeal after being sentenced.

The Court of Appeals dismissed Grandine’s conviction and sentence appeals in a decision released on Monday.

In his second appeal, Grandine had raised three grounds against his conviction.

He argued that the trial judge erred in part of her charge to the jury regarding whether he knew his wife had taken the sedative, but that he failed to take steps to ensure his safety.

He also argued that the pre-motion judge erred in refusing to exclude evidence from computer searches, including the word “autopsy”, suggesting it was of little value at his retrial and was “detrimental”.

Grandine further argued that the trial judge gave the jury “inadequate instructions” to use the out-of-court statements he made after the event, if they concluded that those statements were lies.

Appealing his conviction, the former pastor argued, among other things, that the trial judge erred in sentencing him as if he had been convicted of murder and that the sentence was “severe and excessive”.

The Court of Appeal rejected Grandine’s arguments and wrote that there was “no reason to interfere with the sentence”, which was “appropriate and reasonable” in all the circumstances.

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Read more:

Crown says ex-pastor convicted over death of pregnant wife should spend 13-15 years in prison

Days before his death, Grandine’s wife suddenly experienced a number of symptoms she could not explain and had to be taken to hospital, Grandine’s trial had heard. She underwent multiple tests but was released because her symptoms subsided, the court heard.

She drowned in the bathtub a few days later, and investigators later tested her blood samples from the hospital, which were later found to contain Ativan.

In handing down his sentence, Superior Court Judge Faye McWatt said Grandine was motivated by greed and ill will towards his wife.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Well-Known Concert Pianist Plays Mother’s Day Event at Abilene Church | News

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Concert pianist Jim Hendricks performed to packed halls at the American Garden Theater, but on Sunday night he played to a small crowd at an Abilene church.

The well-known concert pianist was in Abilene Sunday night for a Mother’s Day concert at Emmanuel Church.

Hendricks played an approximately hour-long program of jazz-inspired gospel music.

He said he appreciated the chance to use jazz-style improvisation.

“After COVID, I changed my format a bit,” he said. “I’m more of an improviser and I can’t wait to improvise, because for many years the arrangements that I liked tonight were really note for note. And now I’ve decided to be a little more free about it. I am a little freer with my speech. I don’t go on stage and I didn’t order everything. I’m a little more relaxed. But I like to improvise while I play. That was the (most fun) thing. Especially since I came back after COVID.

After he was able to adjust to the new surroundings and the instrument he would be playing that night, Hendricks was able to relax and enjoy the show.

“For a pianist, one of the hardest things is to always feel comfortable in a different environment,” he said. “Probably the trickiest thing is that as a pianist you always play on someone else’s piano – as fast as you can, adapting to that instrument.”

Hendricks has been playing the piano for approximately 44 years.

It started around the age of five or six when his parents bought a piano for his older sister who wanted to start taking lessons. Although the piano was for his sister, he started playing it himself.

“I just started playing without music,” Hendricks said. “I just thought everyone was doing that. And my parents knew nothing about music, but decided to start with me and my sister. So my sister and I started classes at the same time.

His sister learned the traditional way using written music, but Hendricks mostly played by ear.

As a teenager, Hendricks toured as a classical pianist and later as a jazz pianist.

“When I was on tour, I felt the call of the holy spirit of the Lord,” he said.

In his early to mid-twenties, Hendricks felt the need to start playing gospel music and preaching while performing, which brought him to Abilene on Sunday night.

“It was great being here in Abilene,” Hendricks said. “I think I’ve been here before. But every time I’m in Kansas, I feel welcome.

Pastor Gordon McClure is also a musician who has played in bands in the past and has a close friend of Hendricks who introduced them about 20 years ago. That’s what led Hendricks to play in Abilene on Sunday.

“This is the third church I’ve invited him to be with us,” McClure said. “We have stayed in touch over the years.”

He invited Hendricks to church for Mother’s Day last year, but Hendricks couldn’t attend due to health issues, so they postponed.

“We just thought it would be a great gift for mothers in the community and in our church,” McClure said.

Metro Atlanta pastors focus on abortion in Mother’s Day sermons

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“It would be the wrong Sunday for anyone to mess around here,” George said.

George noted in his sermon the outcry over the draft high court opinion. The judges appear poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and end the nation’s right to legal abortion.

To exploreFocus on Georgia’s anti-abortion law after draft High Court ruling leaks

“It would be easy to jump on the wrong side of the fence of this issue and go with the flow. … But as followers of Jesus Christ, this is not an option or a choice that God gives us. If we believe in him, we believe in what he says about life in the womb,” George said to applause.

Legend

At First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Reverend Anthony George mentioned the issue of abortion in the news in his Mother’s Day sermon on Sunday, May 8, 2022. “It would be easy to jump on the wrong side of the fence of this question and go with the flow. … But as followers of Jesus Christ, this is not an option or a choice that God gives us. If we believe in him, we believe in what he says about life in the womb,” George said to applause. (Photo from Church livestream)

Credit: First Baptist Church of Atlanta

At First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Reverend Anthony George mentioned the issue of abortion in the news in his Mother's Day sermon on Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Credit: First Baptist Church of Atlanta

callout arrowLegend

At First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Reverend Anthony George mentioned the issue of abortion in the news in his Mother’s Day sermon on Sunday, May 8, 2022. “It would be easy to jump on the wrong side of the fence of this question and go with the flow. … But as followers of Jesus Christ, this is not an option or a choice that God gives us. If we believe in him, we believe in what he says about life in the womb,” George said to applause. (Photo from Church livestream)

Credit: First Baptist Church of Atlanta

Credit: First Baptist Church of Atlanta

At the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, one of the largest predominantly black churches in the state, senior pastor Rev. Jamal Bryant said the draft notice is evidence that the Supreme Court of United States “has no faith in women making decisions about their own bodies.” .”

Bryant read part of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s comments that when the government controls the decision on abortion, women are “treated as less than a full adult.”

“If America is anything other than racist, it’s sexist,” Bryant said during his sermon. “It is diabolically designed to keep women out of power and in a place of subjugation.”

callout arrowLegend

At the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia on Sunday, May 8, 2022, Senior Pastor Reverend Jamal Bryant said the draft abortion notice leaked last week is proof that the Supreme Court of United States “has no confidence in women making decisions about their own bodies.” (Photo from Church livestream)

Credit: New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

At the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia on Sunday, May 8, 2022, Senior Pastor Reverend Jamal Bryant said the draft abortion notice leaked last week is proof that the Supreme Court of United States

Credit: New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

callout arrowLegend

At the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia on Sunday, May 8, 2022, Senior Pastor Reverend Jamal Bryant said the draft abortion notice leaked last week is proof that the Supreme Court of United States “has no confidence in women making decisions about their own bodies.” (Photo from Church livestream)

Credit: New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

Credit: New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

Sunday sermons in metro Atlanta reflect the ongoing debate among the American faithful – some with cautious joy and others with impending dread – as a reversal of the 49-year-old’s decision has never been more possible. .

National polls show that most Americans support access to abortion. A Public Religion Research Institute survey from March found that a majority of religious groups think it should be legal in most cases – except for white evangelical Protestants, 69% of whom said the procedure should be banned in most or all cases.

Religious groups that have historically taken a strong anti-abortion stance, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, have urged worshipers to pray for Roe’s overthrow.

To exploreEverything you need to know about abortion in Georgia

Bishop Garland Hunt of the Father’s House in Peachtree Corners used the holiday to note that children are “blessed and ordained in the womb.”

Referring to the High Court leak, he said “God is the giver of life. God created life. “

Life, he said, begins at conception and that a woman’s body should not be “a killing zone”.

“In fact, life was already ordered before the foundations of the earth. If you really want to know, you’ve already been called before conception. Design only catches up with what God has already ordained.

No faith is monolithic on the issue of abortion. Yet many adherents of religions that do not ban abortion are dismayed that a view held by a minority of Americans could supersede their individual rights and religious beliefs.

In Judaism, for example, many authorities say that abortion is permitted or even required in cases where the woman’s life is in danger.

“This decision would prohibit abortion where our religion allows us to do so,” said Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Scholar-in-Residence at the National Council of Jewish Women, “and it bases its concepts on when life begins on the someone else’s philosophy or theology.”

In Islam, similarly, there is room for “all aspects of reproductive choice, from family planning to abortion,” said Nadiah Mohajir, co-founder of Heart Women and Girls, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works with Muslim communities on reproductive rights and other gender issues. .

According to new data released Wednesday by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 56% of American Muslims say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, a figure that roughly matches the beliefs of American Catholics. .

“I personally think abortion is the greatest failure of our church, of our Christian way of life,” Deacon Chester Griffin said during services at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Atlanta on Sunday. Mothers Day. “We are now in a situation where people are basically saying if you have an abortion you should go to jail. Now, I don’t know how it’s going to be, but I think as a Good Shepherd, our Jesus wouldn’t want that. Our Jesus would like to have compassion.

Griffin said he believes that over the next few months and years, women will change the world.

“I think there will be enough women saying enough. Stop this madness and start living like human beings and those of us in the church will say ‘start living like Jesus.’”

Compassion is a virtue emphasized by some Christian leaders who are calling on their staunchly anti-abortion colleagues to turn down the heat as they speak out on the issue.

Caitlyn Stenerson, pastor of the Evangelical Alliance Church and campus minister in the Twin Cities Area of ​​Minnesota, called on church leaders to “be careful,” keeping in mind that women on their pews may have had abortions for various reasons and may be grieving and struggling. with trauma.

“As a pastor, my job is not to heap more shame on people but to bring them to Jesus,” Stenerson said. “We are called to speak the truth, but with love.”

Grand Haven Church invites community to hear Concordia speaker | Faith

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St. John’s Lutheran Church will host Brad Alles, assistant professor of education at Concordia University, Wisconsin, May 21-22.

The community is invited to attend a free dinner and presentation on Saturday, May 21. Dinner will be at 5:45 p.m., following the 5 p.m. worship service at Grand Haven Church.

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God Will Show Himself – Pastor | News

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NEWPORT, Manchester:

“But the mercy of the Lord is from eternity to eternity on those who fear him, and his justice on their children’s children; To those who keep his covenant, and to those who remember his commandments to do them. Psalm 103:17-18

IT IS often difficult during trials to see the hand of God and recognize his love for us, but according to Reverend Barrington Daley, when we have reached the limits of our own self-sufficiency and recognize that we are nothing on our own, it is then that God shows himself and shows himself.

Minister of the Moravian Bethabara Church in Newport, Manchester, in his sermon last Sunday shared the stories of Peter and the miraculous catch of 153 fish after Jesus’ resurrection and the miracle of turning water into wine, both recorded in the book of John, as examples of how Jesus made impossibilities possible.

He said much like those stories where people surrendered and showed complete trust in God and trusted Him to help them, the same should be applied today.

“Nets and jars can only be filled if they are empty, we have to empty ourselves. The Spirit allows us to empty ourselves so that Christ can fill us. We can never be filled with Jesus until we first empty ourselves.

Daley encouraged introspection and asked people to assess the things they needed to get rid of for God to take full control and be patient with the process.

“If Jesus were to show up now, would he be happy with how he finds you?” We can never be filled with Jesus until we are first emptied of pride, arrogance… Emptiness is not failure; the miracle begins when the wine is exhausted. Jesus shows up when the nets are empty. Do not cast down the jars and do not abandon your nets for these are the very places where Jesus shows himself to you.

He said Peter’s miraculous catch after many failed attempts is a representation of the salvation available to mankind, having recognized that mankind cannot be saved without keeping the commandments, seeking God’s grace and being guided by the Holy Spirit.

“The dark night of fishing has given way to the dawn of a new day, new hopes, new possibilities and that’s what the resurrection does for us. Darkness doesn’t win; light l “always prevails. In the light of this new day, Jesus shows Himself. Whatever darkness has overtaken you, whatever darkness you face in your life, that darkness is the circumstance in which Jesus will show Himself” , preached Minister Bethabara.

He added: “How many of you start the week thinking about the things you need to do and wondering how you’re going to get there when you look in your purse/wallet. It’s in the darkness of this reality that Jesus always comes for you… Jesus is never far away, always close at hand.

He said there is never a situation that God cannot fix and never far from grace.

“What looked like an end has now become a beginning. Jesus showed himself in the empty nets filled with big fish, the darkness that gave way to light, the nudity that was clothed, a charcoal fire of denial that became one of welcoming and the invitation, a last supper that becomes the first breakfast, and three of the Holocaust deniers who have been forgiven with affirmations of love.

The minister reminded congregants to keep in mind the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made to give us hope and life.

“Our life has been secured by the life of Christ and He has shown Himself to us…As we continue to reflect on God’s love through Christ, let us always be mindful of what He has done for us and ensure no matter what we are going through, it is in these details of our lives that we best experience the resurrection power of God.

Catholic church vandalized for second time with pro-abortion graffiti

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Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary
Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Boulder, Colorado. |

Vandals tagged a Catholic church in Colorado with anti-church and abortion messages earlier this week, prompting some to suspect the church’s pro-life stance and the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being knocked down, made him a target for the second time.

Police were called to Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Boulder on Wednesday morning to a report of vandalism. Investigators believe the incident took place on Tuesday evening and that several suspects were involved.

That same morning, crews worked to remove painted messages from the church building that read “Abortion Saves Lives” and “My Body My Choice.” In addition to the main building, crews also cleaned graffiti from church statues and removed broken glass from windows smashed by vandals.

“We’re disappointed that we can’t have a peaceful conversation about such a hot topic and instead people are resorting to violence. But we kind of get it, at least I get it,” parishioner Charlie Danaher said. in an interview Wednesday with KMGH.

Danaher said the church displays a pro-life memorial every October, which he says may have something to do with the incident.

“For Respect Life Month, we pulled out 3,000 crosses, which means how many abortions there are in the United States every day,” he said. “The first time this type of attack happened in our parish happened in the first days of October last year. So it’s a repeat.”

The parishioner also believes that the vandalism at the Sacred Heart of Mary was linked to the possibility that the Supreme Court could soon overturn Roe vs. Wade. The court is expected to rule in the coming months on whether to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Case.

If the court rules in favor of the Mississippi ban, it could undermine the precedent set by deer. A leaked draft opinion released earlier this week suggests a majority of judges favor overturning the decision deer.

Danaher, who has attended the church for years, said the church does not live in fear, despite the vandalism.

“We don’t really dwell on that,” he said. “Although we know, of course, that’s the price we could pay to be in this conversation and in this cultural battle, but we don’t really dwell on that.”

The sheriff’s office also noted similarities between this year’s vandalism and a previous incident at the church.

“The graffiti is similar in nature to what we saw at the church in September 2021 (anti-church, pro-choice messages),” BCSO said in a statement to KMGH. “We cannot yet say conclusively that it is related to the September incident, but the crimes are very similar in nature.”

Although no arrests have been made in connection with last year’s vandalism case, the sheriff’s office is reviewing surveillance video of the most recent incident and gathering evidence.

Last September, vandals spray-painted abortion slogans and anarchist symbols on a truck in the church parking lot and on signs on church property.

Church members also believe this incident was linked to the white crosses the church places on its lawn to symbolize the number of children in the United States who have been killed by abortion.

“It was much worse than I had imagined in my mind,” Mark Evevard, the church’s youth director, said in a 2021 interview with KMGH. “We care about the unborn child, the sanctity of life until death.”

The youth director said he doesn’t expect everyone to agree with the church’s pro-life views. But he expected people to refrain from expressing their opinions through vandalism.

“It’s sad because they obviously tried to do as much damage in as little time as possible,” he said. “Even pro-choice people say, ‘We’re pro-choice, but that’s ridiculous and that’s wrong.

The Sacred Heart of Mary estimated at the time that repairs to the damage would likely cost thousands of dollars. If the vandals are arrested, the BCSO said they could face criminal charges, including criminal mischief, trespassing, bias-motivated crime or damage to property.

Still, Evevard revealed that he encouraged those of the Sacred Heart of Mary to pray for the vandals.

“We love people and we care about this person. I really hope the person or people, you know, get the help they need, the healing they need.”

Black Catholic Nuns: A Fascinating and Long-Ignored History

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PHOTO ABOVE: This 1898 photo provided by the Sisters of the Holy Family (SSF) shows members of the religious order of African American Nuns in New Orleans. One of the oldest black brotherhoods, the SSF, formed in New Orleans in 1842 because white Louisiana brotherhoods, including the slave-holding Ursuline order, refused to accept African Americans. (SSF via AP)

By David Crary

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Even as a young adult, Shannen Dee Williams – who grew up black and Catholic in Memphis, Tennessee – knew only one black nun, and a fake one at that: Sister Mary Clarence, played by Whoopi Goldberg in the comedy movie ” Sister Law.”

After 14 years of research, Williams — a history professor at the University of Dayton — arguably knows more about black American nuns than anyone in the world. His full and compelling story, “Subversive Habits,” will be released on May 17.

Williams found that many black nuns were modest about their accomplishments and reluctant to share details of bad experiences, such as racism and discrimination. Some acknowledged harrowing events only after Williams confronted them with details gleaned from other sources.

“For me, it was about acknowledging the ways in which trauma silences people in ways they may not even be aware of,” she said.

The story is told chronologically, but always within the context of a theme that Williams outlines in her preface: that the nearly 200-year history of these nuns in the United States has been ignored or willfully suppressed by those who wanted or disrespected them.

Patricia Gray, a former nun of the Sisters of Mercy, poses for a portrait at the Sewickley Public Library Monday, April 18, 2022, in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Gray founded the National Conference of Black Sisters in 1968 with the Reverend’s support. John J. Wright, before leaving religious life in 1974. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)

“For too long, scholars of the American, Catholic, and Black past have unknowingly or consciously declared—by virtue of misrepresentation, marginalization, and outright erasure—that the history of Black Catholic nuns has no meaning. importance,” she wrote, describing it. book as proof that their story “always mattered”.

Williams begins her story in the pre-Civil War era when some black women, even in slave states, made their way into Catholic sisterhood. Some entered orders previously reserved for whites, often in menial roles, while a few pioneering women formed orders for black nuns in Baltimore and New Orleans.

Even as the number of American nuns — of all races — relentlessly dwindles, this Baltimore order founded in 1829 remains intact, continuing its mission to educate young black people. Some current members of the Oblate Sisters of Providence help run Saint Frances Academy, a high school serving low-income black neighborhoods.

Some of the most detailed passages in “Subversive Habits” recount the Jim Crow era, which spans from the 1870s to the 1950s, when black nuns were not spared the segregation and discrimination endured by many other Africans. -Americans.

Six Catholic nuns, including Sister Mary Antona Ebo, front row from left, lead a march in Selma, Alabama on March 10, 1965, in support of black suffrage and to protest Bloody Sunday violence when white state troopers brutally dispersed peaceful black protesters. The group was within a hundred feet of a black church when police blocked their path. (AP Photo/File)

In the 1960s, Williams writes, black nuns were often discouraged or prevented by their white superiors from engaging in civil rights struggles.

Yet one of them, Sister Mary Antona Ebo, was at the forefront of marchers who gathered in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 to support black suffrage and protest Bloody Sunday violence when white state troopers brutally dispersed peaceful black protesters. . An Associated Press photo of Ebo and other nuns during the march on March 10 – three days after Bloody Sunday – made headlines in many newspapers.

More than two decades before Selma, Ebo faced repeated struggles to overcome racial barriers. She was denied admission to Catholic nursing schools because of her race and later endured segregation policies in the white-led order she joined in St. Louis in 1946, according to Williams.

The idea for “Subversive Habits” took shape in 2007, when Williams – then a graduate student at Rutgers University – was looking for a compelling topic for a paper to be presented at a seminar on African-American history.

At the library, she rummaged through microfilm editions of black-owned newspapers and came across a 1968 article in the Pittsburgh Courier about a group of Catholic nuns forming the National Conference of Black Sisters.

The accompanying photo, of four smiling black nuns, “literally stopped me in my tracks,” she said. “I was raised Catholic… How did I not know black nuns existed?”

Fascinated by her discovery, she began to devour “everything I could that had been published on Catholic black history,” while undertaking to interview the founding members of the National Black Sisters’ Conference. As her research expanded, she scoured neglected archives, previously sealed church records and out-of-print books, while conducting more than 100 interviews.

“I have witnessed a deeply unknown story that disrupts and revises much of what has been said and written about the American Catholic Church and the place of black people within it,” Williams writes. “Because it is impossible to tell the journey of black sisters in the United States – accurately and honestly – without confronting the largely unacknowledged and unreconciled histories of colonialism, slavery and segregation.”

Picture

Historians have been unable to identify the nation’s first black Catholic nun, but Williams recounts some of the earliest moves to bring black women into Catholic religious orders.

One of the oldest black brotherhoods, the Sisters of the Holy Family, formed in New Orleans in 1842 because white Louisiana brotherhoods, including the slave-holding Ursuline order, refused to accept Afro -Americans.

The principal founder of this New Orleans order – Henriette Delille – and the founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, Mary Lange, are among the three black nuns in the United States designated by Catholic authorities as worthy of consideration for holiness. . The other is Sister Thea Bowman, a beloved educator, evangelist and singer who died in Mississippi in 1990 and is buried in Williams’ hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, there are about 400 African-American nuns, out of a total of about 40,000 nuns.

This overall figure represents only a quarter of the 160,000 nuns in 1970, according to Catholic researchers at Georgetown University. Regardless of race, most of the remaining nuns are elderly, and the influx of young novices is rare.

Williams told the AP that she considered leaving the Catholic Church — in part because of her handling of racial issues — as she began researching black nuns. Hearing their stories revitalized her faith.

“As these women were telling me their stories, they were also preaching to me in such a beautiful way,” Williams said. “It was not done in a way that reflected any anger – they had already made peace with it; despite the ungodly discrimination they had faced.

What keeps her in the church now, Williams said, is a commitment to those women who have chosen to share their stories.

“It took a lot for them to get it out,” she said. “I remain in awe of these women, of their loyalty.”

Community Calendar | News, Sports, Jobs

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FRI/5-6

Colombian

Fish fries, American Legion, 4-7 p.m. or until sold out, $10 cash

Good As New Shop, Methodist Church 10am-5pm, mystery sale

East of Liverpool

Reservations are due by noon for the East Liverpool High School Alumni Association Ham Loaf Dinner, 330-385-0591

East Liverpool High School Alumni Association Basement Sale, 9am-4pm

Fish Wings/Chicken Dinners, 4:30 p.m. until departure, Second Baptist Church; $10; includes chicken wings or fish and two sides (green beans, coleslaw or macaroni and cheese)

Eastern Palestine

The Way Station/Kingdom Kloset, Presbyterian Church, 109 W. Rebecca St., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Eagles, kitchen open 4-8 p.m., 330-886-0397; cod specialties in beer batter, on a platter $8, sandwich with side dish $9, dinner with two side dishes $11

EP Garden Club Plant Sale at Dogs on the Run, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lisbon

Lepper Library, 303 East Lincoln Way, Spring Book Sale, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Board books, 50¢; paperbacks 25¢; audios and DVDs, $1; all children’s books, 25¢. The magazines are free with any purchase. Enter the garage at Vine St.

Clearance sale, Christian Church, 225 E. Washington, 9 a.m. to noon. Clothing, children’s items, miscellaneous. Fill a bag for $2.00

new garden

Spring Sale, New Garden UMC, 7165 St. Rt. 9. Fill a large bag for $5. 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

New Waterford

New Waterford Eagles, Fish Friday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Full menu, eat in or take out 330-457-7230.

Newell

Lions Club Fish Fry, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 510 Washington Street, 304-387-3413

North Lima

Spring Charity Sale, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mount Olivet United Church of Christ; open kitchen

Salineville

BOE Local Sud, special meeting, 3:40 p.m., administrative office. The purpose is to discuss personnel. No action will be taken.

Wellsville

Wellsville Elk Lodge Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Rusty Bull Taco Truck 4-8pm, Live Music 7-10pm

SAT/5-7

Beloit

Ryan Johnson Memorial 5K Run/Walk, West Branch High School, 9 a.m. Registration closes May 5. https://runsignup.com/Race/OH/Beloit/RyanJohnsonMemorial5K

West Branch Class of 1970, breakfast at Perkins, 10 a.m.

Colombian

Knights of Columbus St. Jude Council 10183, Kentucky Derby Party, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Activity Center, 180 7th Street in Columbiana. Competition for the best derby hat and the best decorated derby table. Also chair races, derby-style appetizers, 50/50 draw, cash bar and live race viewing. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and can be purchased by calling Bill Flesse at 330-482-0991 or Charlie Troll at 330-881-6003. Proceeds benefit the American Heart Association.

Good As New Shop, Methodist Church, Mystery Sale 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

East of Liverpool

Crafts and Vendors Fair, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., First Free Methodist Church; Chinese auction, concession stand and over 25 artisans and vendors

East Liverpool High School Alumni Association Basement Sale, 9am-2pm

Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Grow a Butterfly Garden, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., registration required at [email protected]; Milkweed Mud Pies under the pavilion, 1-4pm

ELHS Men’s Class of 1956 breakfast, 9 am, EJ’s in Chester.

Eastern Palestine

Free paper shredding event, 10 a.m. to noon, Eastern Palestine Memorial Public Library; newspapers, magazines, telephone books, clipboards or three-ring binders will not be accepted

EP Garden Club Plant Sale at Dogs on the Run, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mother’s Day snack, 2 p.m.-4 p.m., EP library; reservations at 330-426-3778

Highlandtown

Community Breakfast, Inverness Hall, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Breakfast is all you can eat for a donation.

Lisbon

Lepper Library, 303 East Lincoln Way, Spring Book Sale, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Board books, 50¢; paperbacks 25¢; audios and DVDs, $1; all children’s books, 25¢. The magazines are free with any purchase. Enter the garage at Vine St.

Group of writers, 2 p.m., Lepper Library

A joint benefit dinner for cancer victims Tom Hinchliffe and Bruce Carman will be held Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at First Christian Church, 225 E. Washington St., Lisbon. Dinner is $12, eat in or take out. The meal includes lasagna, salad, bread and dessert. There will be a televised raffle, a Chinese auction and a 50/50 draw. For more information, call 330-424-3165.

new garden

Spring Sale, New Garden UMC, 7165 St. Rt. 9. Fill a large bag for $5. 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

New Waterford

New Waterford Eagles, SOS Karaoke, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Open to the public

North Lima

Spring Charity Sale, 9 a.m. to noon, Mount Olivet United Church of Christ; $1 bag

Township of Perry

Perry Township Station 17 Firefighters all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, 7:30 a.m.-noon, Salem Eagles Club, 1884 N. Ellsworth Ave., $7 per person 13 and over, $5 per person aged 6 to 12 years old and free for 5 years old and under.

Salem

All-you-can-eat Salem Hunting Club breakfast, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.; eggs, potatoes, pancakes, sausages, toast, coffee and orange juice; $7; more information about the club at www.salemhuntingclub.com

Concord Church Swiss Steak Dinner, pick up 4-5:30 PM, 10030 State Route 45; perform only; $14; reservations before April 29 at 330-614-3846 or 330-206-6813

Wellsville

Clean Street volunteers will meet in front of the Old Federal Central Bank Building (601 Main Street) at 9 a.m. Bring your gloves, shovels, rakes, etc. Water will be provided.

Wellsville Stitchers, 1:30-3 p.m., Wellsville Library Activity Room; all levels are welcome

WHS Class of 1968, Roadhouse 6 p.m. Spouses and friends welcome.




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Youth pastor ‘engaged’ to 14-year-old girl with blessing of parents and church leaders accused of sexual abuse

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Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office

Robert Fenton was a 26-year-old pastor in Stay in the vineyard church in Owego, NY, when he received approval to betroth a 14-year-old congregation member by his family and church leaders.

Fenton convinced the teen’s parents and non-denominational church leaders to allow him to betroth the underage girl, telling them he had a vision “declaring that God intended the victim to be his bride”.

The youth pastor was granted permission to betroth the 14-year-old on the condition that no sexual activity takes place. But according to his now 40-year-old victim, Fenton “frequently” molested the underage girl during her two years at church in the late 90s.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announcement charges against Fenton for assaulting a 14-year-old.

RELATED: Ex-Las Vegas pastor and teacher plead guilty in child sex case

“I want survivors to know – we believe you. We won’t let predators get away with child molestation,” Shapiro said.

In the affidavit, the victim recalled that Fenton drove to her parents’ home in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, two to three times a week (about a 30-minute drive from the church) to see her. They weren’t allowed to date because of their age difference. It was during these visits that Fenton began to sexually assault her.

Their relationship ended in 1998, two months after the 16-year-old called off the wedding while Fenton was in hospital with an illness. They were to marry in June 1998.

Fenton told his teenage victim that she “ruined his ministry” before moving to Australia.

The victim’s mother, Susan Dewing, told investigators that on more than one occasion she was told by church members that their son was supposed to marry his daughter. So she saw it as “just a little weird” and not “so weird” when the youth pastor suggested something similar about himself.

When Fenton approached his victim’s parents to tell them how he felt about their daughter, they took him to church. Church leadership – which included Fenton’s father, who was an elder in the church – told them it was “more of a courtship than a date”.

Management explained that the courtship would not involve any physical contact between the youth pastor and their daughter, which included holding hands, kissing, touching and never being alone together without the presence. of an adult.

Russell Dewing and his wife were unaware of any sexual activity between Fenton and their daughter until a few years ago.

RELATED: Former Douglas Wilson Church Deacon Indicted for Possession of Child Pornography

The pastor’s son, Paul Hoover, testified that his father Fredrick P. Hoover, who is still a pastor Stay in the vineyard Church Today, was not on board with the Fenton at the time of the court application.

Church membership is declining in 21 US states. Find out who lost the most.

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Also: LDS real estate wealth exceeds $128 million in Idaho.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Oakland Temple of Faith. The Utah-based religion has seen its membership in California drop nearly 3% in the past two years.

Are you a patron of Mormon Land? Support us on Patreon and get exclusive access to Salt Lake Tribune subscriber-only religious content, extensive newsletters, podcast transcripts and more.

Church Growth: The State of the States

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

While the church has seen small gains in membership growth over the past two years globally (up 0.8%) and nationally (up 0.6% ) in the midst of a global pandemic, more than 40% of US states (21 plus the District of Columbia) saw their numbers decline during that time.

California (down 2.84%), North Dakota (down 2.28%) and Washington (down 2.03%) were the biggest percentage losers from the start of 2020 to the end of 2020. of 2021, reports independent demographer Matt Martinich at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.comwhile New Jersey (down 0.03%), Louisiana (down 0.13%) and Nebraska (down 0.17%) saw the smallest declines.

The biggest percentage gainers were South Dakota (up 6.48%), Arkansas (up 5.32%) and Tennessee (up 4.79%).

Utah, home to the faith’s headquarters and the largest number of Latter-day Saints of any state, saw its membership grow 1.66% (the 14th highest nationally) to 2,161,526 .

California (734,989) and Idaho (471,241) had the second highest numbers of Latter-day Saints, according to Martinique’s blogwhile the District of Columbia (3,136), Rhode Island (4,283), and Vermont (4,655) had the fewest.

How much the church owns in Idaho

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Pocatello Idaho Temple, one of six existing Latter-day Saint temples in Idaho. Three more are planned.

The Gem State is a fairly profitable gem in the church’s real estate portfolio.

the Idaho Statesman — drawing from a national database Truth and Transparency Foundation and published in The Salt Lake Tribune – revealed the Utah-based faith owns nearly 60,000 acres in Idaho worth at least $128 million.

The 1,050 church properties in Idaho include churches, temples, farmland and industrial sites, the Statesman discovery, nearly half of which is valued at nearly $45 million but exempt from taxes.

The six existing Gem State temples have no value attached.

The total number of church tracts in Idaho ranks third among states, behind only Utah and California, and its 58,000+ acres ranks eighth.

Nationally, The Tribune reported, the church and its affiliated operations own nearly 16,000 parcels, totaling 1.7 million acres and worth nearly $16 billion. That makes the denomination the fifth-largest private landowner in the nation, according to the database (which doesn’t cover all of the religion’s U.S. properties).

General Conference live from Africa?

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Latter-day Saints from the Democratic Republic of the Congo at their temple in the capital Kinshasa.

If the church continues to thrive in parts of Africa at the current rate—a big if, of course—when could it boast more Latter-day Saint congregations than North America?

Data Scientist Stephen Cranney wondered and did some basic math. He discovered that this “highly speculative” change would occur in about 30 years.

“Perhaps at some point in the next half-century we will broadcast General Conference from Accra [Ghana’s capital]“, he writes in a Time and seasons blog post. “…Whatever the exact numbers, it is hard to see a situation where Africa does not become an important part of the culture and institutions of the church in the long term.”

From the Grandstand

(Michelle Faye | FX) Gil Birmingham as Bill Taba and Andrew Garfield as Jeb Pyre in “Under the Banner of Heaven.”

• Three religious experts offer their take on the FX/Hulu series “Under the Banner of Heaven” (and the book of the same name) on this week’s “Mormon Land.”

Listen to the podcast.

• Whether it’s transporting, housing, clothing or feeding families or even equipping troops, Latter-day Saints in Europe are making incredible efforts to help Ukrainian refugees and soldiers.

Read the story.

• By posting videos of their on-campus interviews, the Black Menaces inspire Brigham Young University students to confront the thorny issues of racism and inequality at Provo School and in the church.

Read the story.

• The rainbow pride flag sewn inside BYU graduate Jillian Orr’s debut dress spoke of what she wanted to show openly on the outside while at school church lighthouse.

Read the story.

(Hope Orr) Jillian Orr walks across the stage in her custom graduation gown for Brigham Young University on Friday, April 22, 2022. Her sister, Rachel Orr, sewed a pride flag inside for Jillian to express her identity on scene after years of feeling pressured to hide her bisexuality at the church-run school.

• Two professors from the University of Illinois, both graduates of BYU, facilitated the study of the Deseret alphabet of the Mormon pioneers.

Read the story.

• Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson has some advice for members who feel unworthy, saying “sometimes the only cleanup you need is to eliminate the feeling that you should do one.”

Read his column.

• A key friendship has united two famous singing groups — St. Olaf’s Choir and the Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square.

Read the story.

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