Religious rights activists are hailing the release of an Iranian pastor accused of apostasy and a Pakistani girl who was charged with blasphemy. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was released September 8 after a six-hour hearing, reported the American Center for Law and Justice, which worked to garner American support for the minister’s release. The Christian convert had faced possible execution.
c. 2012 Religion News Service
(RNS) African-American clergy are joining forces with civil rights groups to push for increased voter registration ahead of the November election, spurred on by new voter laws they say restrict opportunities for minorities to enter the voting booth.
Two U.S. regional groups of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have women pastors and are moving faster than the worldwide church on the issue.
The Pacific Union Conference, which includes California and four other western states, voted 79 percent to 21 percent at a special session on August 19 to “approve ordinations to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.”
The number of congregations that host worship services at more than one physical location has grown to more than 5,000 in the last decade, according to a new report. Researchers say these multisite churches, which may share worshipers across town or many miles apart, are growing at a much more rapid pace than traditional megachurches.
c. 2012 Religion News Service (RNS) A professor who was fired in July by the Interdenominational Theological Center says the Atlanta consortium of black seminaries discriminated against his conservative Christian views.
c. 2012 Religion News Service (RNS) In his new book, "The Whitney I Knew," gospel artist BeBe Winans describes his 28-year friendship with singer Whitney Houston. Winans, 49, and his sister CeCe, performed with Houston, and sang at her funeral in February. His older brother, Marvin, gave the eulogy for Houston at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.
c. 2012 Religion News Service (RNS) At Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C., the Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III supports and follows his African-American congregation's policy: They will only conduct marriages between one man and one woman.
c. 2012 Religion News Service (RNS) Richard Land, the man who became the public face of the Southern Baptist Convention on ethical and political issues for nearly 25 years, has announced plans to retire in 2013 after a rough-and-tumble spring.
c. 2012 Religion News Service (RNS) Stephen Mansfield, an evangelical author who has written widely about the faith of politicians, turns his attention to Mormons in his latest book, "The Mormonizing of America."
c. 2012 Religion News Service (RNS) Leaders of Christian Churches Together in the USA, a 10-year-old network aimed at promoting interchurch collaboration, have chosen a Presbyterian ecumenical associate as their new executive director.
First Lady Michelle Obama held up the church as the place to deal with political issues and the catalyst for getting people to the polls in a speech June 28 to members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Pointing heavenward and wiping away tears, pastor Fred Luter was elected in New Orleans as the first black president of the predominantly white Southern Baptist Convention. “To God be the glory for the things that he has done,” said Luter moments after more than 7,000 Southern Baptists leapt to their feet, cheered and shouted “Hallelujah” when he was declared their next leader.
c. 2012 Religion News Service RANDALLSTOWN, Md. (RNS) With the Southern Baptist Convention poised to elect its first African-American president at its meeting next week in New Orleans, the mostly black congregation at Colonial Baptist Church is equal parts excited and astonished.