Presbyterians in Minneapolis–St. Paul have voted to restore the ordination of an openly gay man who has refused to pledge celibacy, in the latest test of revamped pastoral guidelines in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
As abortion-rights supporters and opponents last month marked the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized the procedure nationwide, new statistics showed that fewer women are choosing abortion.
Christians who speak out for environmentalism can combat skepticism and end America’s addiction to carbon fuels, Al Gore told 2,000 Baptists who gathered to hear him during a three-day celebration of denominational unity.
Pope Benedict XVI has called for greater consistency in the granting of annulments, suggesting that Catholic church authorities in some countries have been too lax in declaring marriages void. The pope apparently did not cite U.S. dioceses, though they handle more than half of all annulments worldwide.
Thomas S. Monson, tapped to succeed Gordon B. Hinckley as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has spent his entire career in the service of the LDS church. He has worked in Salt Lake City alongside every Mormon president since 1963, when, at age 36, he was named to the LDS church’s council of 12 apostles.
Done got Jesus: Baylor University professor Ralph C. Wood, who grew up in east Texas, says that when he was a college student, a Baptist evangelist, after learning that Wood was an English major, asked, “Why do you need Shakespeare and them boys when you done got Jesus?” Wood says he is still trying to come up with an appropriate answer some 40 years later. (Perspectives in Religious Studies, Winter).
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.
Archbishop Christodoulos, spiritual leader of Greece’s Orthodox Church, died January 28 of cancer. He was 69. Christodoulos’s decade as archbishop of Greece was marked by improved relations between Orthodox Christians and Catholics.
Recent surveys have indicated that clergy are generally quite satisfied with their profession. But what about the men and women who are in seminary or who are fresh from seminary and face the demands of congregational service or the challenges of other ministries? How do they feel about ministry?
Match made in heaven? Almost half of American Jews marry gentiles, a rate that has tripled since 1970. But now JDate—a matchmaking Web site for Jewish singles—is teaming up with rabbis to reverse this trend. JDate offers a bulk rate to rabbis who will make subscriptions available to members of their congregations, and some of the rabbis are picking up the tab (Newsweek, January 21).
In a scenario that may be performed repeatedly in months ahead, the Episcopal Church has declared that two bishops have “abandoned the communion of the church”—John-David Schofield, whose diocese in California has completed its voting to leave the denomination, and Robert Duncan of the Pittsburgh diocese, who has been the leader among dissident bishops aiming to form a competing, traditionalist ch