Chanequa Walker-Barnes joins Columbia Theological Seminary

Womanist theologian Chanequa Walker-Barnes has joined the faculty of Columbia Theo­logical Seminary as professor of practical theology and pastoral counseling.

In a statement, Millie Snyder, one of the seminary’s board of trustees, said Walker-Barnes’s ex­pertise will help equip seminarians for the work of reconciliation in both the church and the world.

“Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes has woven together the best scholarship in clinical psychology with an incarnational faith grounded in justice and faith,” she said.

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Architect Daniel Libeskind to design new Tree of Life synagogue

Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life congre­gation has chosen internationally re­nowned architect Daniel Libeskind to design a new building for the site where 11 Jews were gunned down nearly three years ago in the deadliest antisemitic attack in Ameri­can history.

Libeskind was the unanimous choice of the steering committee as well as of Tree of Life’s board of trustees, and for reasons beyond his architectural qualifications: Libeskind was born to Holocaust survivors living in a homeless shelter in Lodz, Poland, after the war.

Bob Abernethy, founder of popular PBS religion program, dies at 93

Veteran broadcast journalist Bob Abernethy, who founded the PBS program Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly, has died at the age of 93.

He died on May 2 in Brunswick, Maine, his daughter Jane Montgomery Abernethy announced in a Facebook post. She said her father died of natural causes.

Abernethy was a correspondent for NBC News for more than four decades. Working in Washington, Los Angeles, London, and Moscow, he covered the fledgling US space program, Congress, and the Soviet Union’s collapse.

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Indiana Episcopalians open state’s first LGBTQ youth shelter

Even before the ribbon was cut to officially open Trinity Haven—Indiana’s first residential facility for LGBTQ youth and young adults who are at risk of homelessness—on April 30, two people were living in the house.

“As soon as we announced our opening date, young people began contacting Trinity Haven,” said Leigh Ann Hirsch­man, a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis and the founding president of Trinity Haven’s board of directors. They knew they would be imminently homeless, she continued, making the real need for such a shelter all the more obvious.

Independent film aims to dispel myths about Korean Americans

Happy Cleaners, an independent film set in the diverse Flushing neighborhood in Queens, New York, is about a Korean American family that owns a struggling dry-cleaning business. It’s an attempt by filmmakers Julian Kim and Peter Lee, both United Methodists, to confront some of the assumptions often made about their community.

For some pastors, the past year was a sign from God it was time to quit

Jeff Weddle, a wisecracking, self-deprecating, Bible-loving, self-described “failing pastor” from Wisconsin, was already thinking of leaving the ministry before COVID and the 2020 election.

After two decades as a pastor, he was, as he put it, fed up with church life.

Then feuds about politics and the pandemic put him over the edge. People at church seemed more interested in the

latest social media dustup and online conspira­cy theories—one church member called him the Antichrist for his views on COVID—than in learning about the Bible.

US Catholic bishops may press Biden to stop taking communion

When the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops holds its next national meeting in mid-June, the bishops will be deciding whether to send a tougher-than-ever message to President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians: don’t receive communion if you persist in public advocacy of abortion rights.

India’s diaspora boosts virus fight from afar

India’s large diaspora—long a boon to India’s economy—is tapping its wealth, political clout, and expertise to help its home country combat the catastrophic coronavirus surge that has left people to die outside overwhelmed hospitals.

Around the world, people of Indian descent are donating money, setting up telehealth consultations and information sessions, and personally delivering desperately needed oxygen equipment in hopes of beating back the outbreak.

Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University's Muslim chaplain, dies at 40

Sohaib Nazeer Sultan, Princeton University’s Muslim chaplain and an interfaith leader, died April 16 after a yearlong battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He was 40.

A public lecturer and writer on Islam, Sultan was greatly revered for his compassionate outlook on life, inspired by his faith. He was known for his interfaith leadership in higher education and as a bridge builder between Muslims and other faith communities.

Pastor and activist Ole Anthony dies at 82

Ole Anthony, a small-church pastor and activist who spent years investigating the lifestyles of rich and famous televangelists, died April 16 at the age of 82.

Anthony, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, was the longtime president of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation Inc., a nonprofit that helped people experiencing homelessness. He also ran a radio show, held Bible studies, and eventually spent years investigating televangelists.

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