A Civil War–era law that lets Virginia churches keep their property when leaving a denomination where a “division” has occurred is constitutional, a county judge has ruled, siding with 11 former Episcopal parishes.
Fairfax County judge Randy I. Bellows’s ruling on the 1867 law stops short of awarding the property to the parishes, but it hands them a major legal win.
Giving up stuff: In an effort to combat consumerism, Dave Bruno is taking a “100 thing challenge”: he aims by November 12 to have whittled his personal possessions down to 100 items. By personal items he means things that are totally his, not items shared with family members. And some things, like books, he groups together as a category (though he is considering trying to get his own library down to 100 titles). Bruno, owner of a Christian audio book company, is blogging about his efforts at a guynameddave.com.
The host bishop at a global Lutheran conference in Tanzania raised the thorny issue of homosexuality in his sermon opening the meeting of the main governing body of the 68-million-strong Lutheran World Federation—a group that has so far avoided the open fights over the issue seen in the Anglican Communion.
The archbishop of Canterbury has declared that conservatives’ plans to usurp his leadership in the Anglican Communion are “problematic in all sorts of ways,” saying Anglicans must renew— not dismiss—their now-frayed connections.
Gary B. Walter was elected the ninth president of the Chicago-based Evangelical Covenant Church June 25 at the denomination’s annual meeting in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Walter succeeds retiring president Glenn Palmberg.
Adopting a federal program criticized strongly by some liberals, Senator Barack Obama says he would expand and improve President Bush’s initiative to fund religious charities and community ministries and make it central to his administration should he reach the White House.
Unitarian Universalists ended their annual General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last month with a call to oppose ballot measures in Florida and California that would outlaw same-sex marriages. Delegates also called for an end to what they called the “present-day slavery” of undocumented immigrants. Immigrant rights took center stage during the five-day meeting that ended June 29.
An Episcopal Church court has unanimously found Bishop Charles E. Bennison guilty of not responding appropriately to sexual abuse committed by his brother against a teenage girl more than three decades ago.
Jewish groups said the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s recent call for peace in the Middle East is an “important step forward” in repairing relations between the two sides after several years of acrimony.
At the Presbyterians’ General Assembly meeting in California in June, the church called for a nonpartisan approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Faith in the media:Newsweek editor Jon Meacham reports that Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert once implored him to appear on his weekend cable show alongside Christopher Hitchens, who had just published a blistering attack on religion. Russert, knowing Meacham was an Episcopalian, wanted him to come on the show and defend the faith (Newsweek, June 23).
As California clerks began issuing civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples in mid-June, Episcopal bishops in the state took a variety of stances on whether their dioceses would provide religious rites for newly married gays and lesbians.
Church leaders in Canada hope that action will follow a public apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to victims of a policy whereby aboriginal children were placed in residential schools run by churches under a government policy of enforced assimilation.