Poor criteria: When writer Paul Wilkes helped start a ministry to the poor and homeless in Brooklyn, supporters discussed whether they should use some criteria to identify the truly needy. Wilkes's spontaneous response was: "Just that they come to us, literally begging, says enough. Let's not humiliate them further. I didn't see Christ applying a means test. We're not going to either" (In Due Season, Jossey-Bass).
Methodists opened the ordained ministry to women in 1956, and today female ministers account for about 20 percent of the clergy in the denomination. And 14 bishops heading the 50 U.S. regional jurisdictions of the United Methodist Church are women—28 percent of the total.
In the nearly 500 years since the Church of England split with the Roman Catholic Church, a fair number of converts have crossed from one church to the other. Still, the path can be rocky, as Alberto Cutié—the most recent high-profile convert—discovered on May 28 when he left Catholicism to join the Episcopal Church.
A North Carolina Baptist church has called its second woman pastor—an act that is still rare among Baptist moderates, despite the fact that virtually all moderate and progressive Baptist institutions support women’s eligibility for the ministry.
Franklin H. Littell, who pioneered research studies on the Nazi Holocaust and on the history of Anabaptists, died at age 92 in his home in Merion Station, Pennsylvania, on May 23. His graduate seminar on the German church struggle and the Holocaust at Emory University in 1959 was said to be the first Holocaust course taught in America.