The Rev. Richard E. Young will become president and CEO of the Texas Presbyterian Foundation (TPF), effective Oct. 1. For the past six and a half years Young has served as regional representative for the Board of Pensions for the 19 presbyteries in the Synods of the Sun and the Rocky Mountains. He will succeed Liz Williams who has served as interim president since the retirement of Dan Klein at the end of 2010.
A graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, Young received his M.Div. from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, an MBA from Dallas Baptist University, and a D.Min. from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Before beginning his work with the Board of Pensions, he served pastorates in the Synod of the Sun: Mexia, Grand Prairie and Conroe, Texas, and in Oklahoma City, Okla. He served as a member of the Board of Pensions and on its Investment Committee before going to work for the board.
Patriarch Ilia II of the Georgian Orthodox Church has called on his Russian Orthodox counterpart to reconcile Russia and Georgia, which have remained at odds since a short, bloody war in August 2008.
“Your Holiness, those political relations that have taken shape between Russia and Georgia are completely unacceptable,” he said to Patriarch Kirill I, after co-celebrating the liturgy with the Russian Orthodox leader. “We are close Orthodox peoples, and these relations were created by the envy of our foes.”
Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, an extensive new survey of Muslims finds them as optimistic as other Americans, even as large minorities of Christian Americans question Muslims’ loyalty to the United States.
The survey, released Aug. 2 by the Gallup organization’s center in the Middle East, presented a community less than fully assured of its place in the United States, but generally confident in President Obama and the American economy.
American Muslims’ perceptions of their own well-being increased more in the past three years than those of any other religious group, according to the report, which also surveyed Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, atheists and agnostics. Muslims’ expectations for their own happiness in five years similarly topped all other faiths’.
Life after disasters is full of stories of tragedy and miraculous survival.
Recently, I visited Joplin, Missouri, which was devastated by a class E-5 tornado in May. It was the deadliest tornado since 1950, killing over 155 people and destroying around 7,000 homes. The tornado tore a path three-fourths of a mile wide and ten miles long through town.
It is difficult to see what force the church has against the magnitude of such destruction. Yet, what impressed me in Joplin is the extraordinary power of the ordinary life of the church.
“The extent of the damage is just stunning,” said General Assembly Mission Council executive director Linda Valentine after visiting Tuscaloosa and Culllman, Ala., last week with a group of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders.
The EF5 tornado tore through Tuscaloosa late in the afternoon of April 27. Once the storm passed, survivors wandered out of their houses to begin the daunting task of checking on their neighbors, chain-sawing through the trees blocking roads, organizing shelter and food.
The blur of those first frantic days has passed and a plan is beginning to emerge.
“Being here makes one realize what a long, hard task this is going to be,” Valentine said. “While the damage is overwhelming, the human response is both amazing and moving. The desire to help is tremendous.”
Want to lose a little weight? Move to the equator.
Chris Fischer, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Kansas University, has calculated you’ll drop one-tenth of 1 percent of your body mass living there — and you’ll put on an equal amount of weight if you make your home at either of Earth’s poles.
The planet pushes against you slightly less at the equator, and slightly more at the poles.
That’s just one of the scientific nuggets Fischer had for students at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies’ Synod School, held July 24-29 at Buena Vista University.
Christian relief agencies providing aid to millions of people facing drought in Somalia face security issues in the war-torn country, where humanitarian officials say operating is difficult, but not impossible.
Nearly 3.7 million people, half of the country’s population, are affected by a serious food crisis, according to the United Nations, which declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia. An estimated 2.8 million people have been affected by the crisis.
“We should scale up, and we can,” said Catholic bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti, who is the apostolic administrator of Mogadishu and president of the Catholic relief agency Caritas Somalia, which is providing aid to drought-affected people in Lower Juba.
The scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid empire continues to widen, bringing scrutiny to, of all places, western Michigan and the Zondervan publishing company.
Among the major holdings in Murdoch’s News Corp is publisher HarperCollins, which owns Zondervan, the Christian publishing giant known for prominent Christian authors and numerous best-selling editions of the New International Version Bible.
Murdoch’s Bible connections have set the blogosphere abuzz.
The Zondervan connection to the still-unfolding scandal was first pointed out by Will Braun, former editor of Geez Magazine on his Holy Moly blog), where he described the 80-year-old Murdoch as a “Bible mogul.”
On May 22, a category five tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri. During 45 harrowing minutes, one-third of the city of 50,000 was destroyed, including 40 percent of its housing. From July 27-29 a delegation of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders visited Joplin to learn more about the church’s efforts to help with the relief and recovery efforts. This is what they saw. (All photos by Jerry Van Marter, except as noted.)
When Lorraine Stanfield turned 50 last spring, she didn’t want a party.
She wanted her family to go with her to Kenya to serve people — and maybe take in a safari near the end of the two-week visit, which the family did.
The Stanfields, of Milton, Mass., offered a workshop describing highlights of their trip during Synod of Lakes and Prairies’ Synod School, held July 24-29 at Buena Vista University.