The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), which maintains a physical presence to help Palestinians in the West Bank, in July welcomed new team members and opened a new base in the South Hebron hills.
“The south Hebron hills area sees more violence by [Israeli] settlers than any other part of the West Bank, and the local communities there have often requested our presence,” said Pauline Nunu, EAPPI’s local director. Stone-throwing and scuffles often break out when militant Israeli settlers, claiming a biblical right to the land, harass both Palestinian residents and Israeli defense forces patrolling the area.
This tornado was what weather and disaster experts call “a grinder.”
For 45 horrifying minutes on the afternoon of May 22 the category five twister ― actually a number of smaller tornados that coalesced into one monster storm ― churned through a “strike zone” three-quarters of a mile wide and eight miles long in this city of 50,000.
The tornado obliterated everything in its path. More than 160 persons died. Nearly 1,000 were injured. Eighteen thousand cars were destroyed. Over 1,100 family pets were left wandering around the devastated landscape a month after the storm.
The tornado wiped out fully one-third of the city and 40 percent of its housing. Five schools were destroyed, including Joplin’s only high school. The largest and only non-profit hospital in town, St. John’s Memorial-Mercy, was moved almost half-a-foot off its massive foundation.
Willow Creek Community Church, a trend-setting megachurch in suburban Chicago, has quietly ended its partnership with Exodus International, an “ex-gay” organization.
Willow Creek decided to sever ties with the Florida-based ministry in 2009, Christianity Today reported, but the decision only became public in June.
Church officials described the move as a shift in approach rather than a change in belief. Susan DeLay, a spokeswoman for Willow Creek, said the church continues to welcome those who are attracted to people of the same sex.
Hands down, Mr. Methuselah was the crankiest man at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies’ Synod School held last week at Buena Vista University.
The wise-cracking, flannel-wearing latex puppet was given voice by maybe the least-cranky person among the 625 in attendance, the Rev. Bob Wollenberg, pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Washington, Iowa, and Synod School’s associate dean.
With the help of a straight man — in this case, a woman, Synod School Dean Tammy Rider — Wollenberg allowed Mr. Methuselah to voice all number of complaints in three public appearances.
The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), issued a statement today (Wednesday) in response to the bill signed by President Obama yesterday that will increase the debt-ceiling by more than $2 trillion and cut a roughly equivalent amount of spending from the U.S. budget.
In the statement, Parsons writes, “While I am pleased that the nation no longer faces the impending financial peril of default on our national debt, I am deeply troubled by the deficit-reduction package that Congress passed to get us to this place.”
The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission has dismissed a challenge to the ordination of Scott Anderson, which means that Anderson – a gay man who set aside his ordination in 1990 after congregants publicly revealed his sexual orientation – may once again be ordained by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
But the commission remanded back to the Synod of the Pacific Permanent Judicial Commission a case involving Lisa Larges, a lesbian who has sought ordination in the PC(USA) for roughly a quarter-century.
The commission ruled that the synod commission erred in not addressing concerns raised in the appeal of her case ― basically, an argument that some standards of sexual morality are based in the Bible and the confessions, and can’t be set aside even if the denomination’s ordination standards change.
Brown, sticky, and wrinkly, dates seem a sad or unremarkable fruit. But every Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that began on Aug. 1, dates take on tremendous religious significance for the faith’s 1.6 billion followers.
Throughout the world, Muslims will break Ramadan’s required daytime fasts just as Prophet Muhammad did nearly 1,400 years ago: with dates.
But while emulating Muhammad is said to bring blessings, a quirk of seasonal timing and dates’ growing popularity among non-Muslims are making the prized fruit harder to get for Ramadan.
When Rick MacArthur turned 8 years old, he asked his family to throw a birthday party not for him, but for his hero, rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Buddy Holly.
“We put our money in the jukebox and listened to ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘That’ll be the Day,’” he recalled.
Holly died in a plane crash the day before MacArthur turned 9. The boy was heartsick.
As Poland prepares to host the European Football Championship in 2012, Christians in the country have put the meaning of “victory” and “defeat” at the center of their reflections for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that will be celebrated earlier in the year.
Preparatory resources based on these reflections are already available in five languages on the World Council of Churches (WCC) Web site.
The theme “We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ” is based on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:51-58). It promises a transformation of human life, with all its apparent “triumph” and “defeat,” through the victory of Christ’s resurrection.
Christian leaders in Hungary have given mixed reactions to a restrictive new law on religion, with larger denominations welcoming its curbs on church activities and smaller groups voicing fears for their future.
“We wanted a new law to make it more difficult to establish churches here ― and we’re happy the present government has now done something,” said Zoltan Tarr, general secretary of the Hungarian Reformed Church ― a partner church of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ― which claims around a fifth of the country's 9.9 million inhabitants as members.
“We’re very much for freedom of worship and believe everyone should have the right to practice their religion. But this law represents a positive step, since it excludes quite a few communities here which don’t legitimately qualify as churches.”