Influential book publisher William Eerdmans Jr. dies at 97

William Eerdmans Jr., who led the independent religious publishing house Wm. B. Eerdmans for more than 50 years, died on November 13 at age 97.

He began working at Eerdmans, which his father founded in 1911, at age 13. During his tenure as president and publisher, which began in 1963, Eerdmans initiated a series of innovations, including books by Catholic and Jewish authors, books on race and gender, and books for children.

Methodist civil rights leader William Bobby McClain dies at 82

William Bobby McClain, a longtime leader in the United Methodist Church and the civil rights movement, died November 18 at age 82.

McClain began preaching as a teen­ager in his hometown of Gads­den, Alabama. He met Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama, according to a statement from Wesley Theo­logical Sem­inary, where McClain taught preaching and worship for 34 years.

Adam Taylor succeeds Jim Wallis at Sojourners

Adam Taylor has been named the new president of Sojourners, the national Christian social justice advocacy organization founded and led by Jim Wallis since the 1970s.

Wallis will continue working with Sojourners under the new title of founder and ambassador. In July he will also join the faculty of Georgetown University as director of a new center focused on “faith, public life, and the common good.”

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Gospel music legend Rance Allen dies at 71

Rance Allen, a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee perhaps best known for his hit “Some­thing About the Name Jesus,” died on October 31 at the age of 71.

A five-time Gram­­my nominee, Allen formed the Rance Allen Group in 1969 with two of his brothers, Thomas and Steve. They released their first gospel album in 1971 after catching the attention of a Detroit music promoter and signing with Gospel Truth, a subsidiary of Stax Records.

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Head of Serbian Orthodox Church hospitalized with COVID-19

The 90-year-old patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church was hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus, days after leading prayers at a large public funeral for the head of the church in Montenegro, who died after contracting the virus.

On November 4, the Serbian Ortho­dox Church said that Patriarch Irinej was hospitalized but had no COVID-19 symptoms and was in “excellent general condition.”

Wilton Gregory to become first Black American cardinal in Catholic Church

Washington, DC, archbishop Wilton Gregory is set to become the first Black American cardinal in the Catholic Church, a historic appointment that comes months after nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice.

Gregory’s ascension, announced on October 25 by Pope Francis, elevates a leader who has drawn praise for his handling of the sexual abuse scandal that has roiled the church. The Washington-area archbishop also has spoken out about the importance of Catholic leaders working to combat the sin of racial discrimination.

Nuns on the Bus founder Simone Campbell announces retirement

Simone Campbell, the Roman Catholic sister made famous by her Nuns on the Bus tours and her support for the Af­fordable Care Act, announced on Oc­to­ber 20 that she will step down early next year as head of Network, the influential social justice lobby.

A member of the Sisters of Social Service, Campbell, 74, has led the orga­nization for more than a decade and a half, during which time her advocacy sometimes put her at odds with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and stoked pushback from the Vatican.

Evangelist Ravi Zacha­rias posthumously accused of sexual abuse

Christianity Today magazine reported that three women who worked as massage therapists at spas co-owned by the late Christian evan­gelist Ravi Zacha­rias claimed that he repeatedly masturbated and ex­posed himself during massage sessions and made unwanted sexual advances.

Although Ravi Zacharias International Ministries denied the allegations, it has launched what it called an “independent external investigation” into the claims. The findings of the investigation will be reported to the ministry’s executive committee.

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