The 7.9-million-member United Methodist Church is poised to become the next U.S. denomination to consider divesting from companies said to support Israeli military-security goals, a topic so controversial that it prompted the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to redefine its own divestment program two years ago.
John Dillenberger, an instrumental founder of the nine-school Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, died February 7 at his home in El Cerrito at the age of 89. A professor emeritus of historical theology at GTU, Dillenberger developed a strong interest in art history, writing several books on the subject.
At a gathering in Atlanta of Baptists trying to mend fences and join hands, there was preaching by blacks and whites, scripture readings by women and men, and music by African-American and Hispanic groups. It was a visible, concerted push toward unity amid diversity, officials say, because Baptists have long championed freedom of expression.
In an ecumenical first, a general secretary of the World Council of Churches took part with the pope in a Rome service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an observance that began 100 years ago in the U.S.
The number of forced terminations of pastors and church staff in Southern Baptist congregations has dropped. For 2006, the last year tabulated, 680 full-time and “bivocational” pastors were forced from their positions, in addition to 265 staff members.