Though they’re not merging, the nation’s two largest mainline Protestant denominations have agreed to share ministers and resources. The full-communion agreement, which was approved at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s biennial assembly in Minneapolis, connects the 4.6 million–member ELCA with the United Methodist Church, which has 11 million members.
African-American members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are joining other church bodies in boycotting the state of South Carolina for displaying the Confederate flag on the state capitol grounds.
Two Episcopal dioceses have nominated gay and lesbian priests in same-sex relationships to become bishops, testing a weeks-old policy and the Episcopal Church’s place within the global Anglican Communion.
Books to change lives: Hakim Hopkins was in juvenile detention when his mother sent him a copy of the classic Native Son, by Richard Wright. Reading the book changed Hopkins’s life and gave him a vocation: he runs an independent bookstore in inner-city Philadelphia with the name Black & Nobel (playing off the names of both Barnes & Noble and the Nobel Prize). A banner outside his store advertises, “We ship to prisons.” One customer who purchases books for her father in prison reported that he reads the books she sends him real fast—though he wasn’t a reader when he was out on the street.
One in eight background checks conducted on volunteers or prospective employees through LifeWay Christian Resources found a criminal history that might have kept an individual from working or volunteering at a church, the Southern Baptist Convention publishing house reported in August.