AME Church returns to Cuba after 51 years

After more than half a century, the African Methodist Episcopal Church has reestablished a presence in Cuba. The first AME church in Cuba is believed to have been founded in 1898 in Santiago, and until 1960, when the Communits Party took over the country, there were many active AME congregations in Cuba. But after the revolution, the AME presence diminished and became almost non-existent. 

Beverly Shamana, pioneering Methodist bishop, dies at 81

Beverly Shamana, the second Black woman to become a bishop in the United Methodist Church, died August 1. She was 81 and died of complications from Parkinson’s disease, said Yvonne Williams Boyd, a California chaplain and close friend.

“Women bishops stand on the strength of her shoulders,” said UMC Council of Bishops president Cynthia Fierro Harvey in a press release. “Her commitment to the episcopacy and for women bishops was paramount.”

Shamana answered a call to ministry in the mid-1970s. She became an elder in the California-Pacific Conference in 1984.

Influential Orthodox leader Leonid Kishkovsky dies at 78

Leonid Kishkovsky, who came to the United States as a childhood refugee from war-torn Poland and later became a leader in cross-church cooperation and the first Eastern Orthodox president of the National Council of Churches, has died. He was 78.

Kishkovsky died of a heart attack on August 3, according to the Orthodox Church in America, where he served as director of external affairs and interchurch relations. He had long been in high-level administration at the OCA’s offices while also serving as a parish priest for a nearby church.

Christian ethicist Donald W. Shriver Jr. dies at 93

Donald W. Shriver Jr., an acclaimed Christian ethicist and Presbyterian minister who wrote widely about the need for White Americans to face and repent of their racist past, died July 28 at 93.

Shriver served as president of Union Theological Seminary in New York from 1975 to 1991 and is credited with hiring leading Black scholars and clergy, including James Forbes, James Washington, and Cornel West. West once called Shriver “the most prophetic seminary president in the late 20th century.”

Jackie Robinson’s Methodist faith

Besieged by death threats, racial abuse, and physical danger, somehow Jackie Robinson never publicly lost his composure during the 1947 Major League Baseball season, when he integrated the league.

It was an amazing achievement, given Robinson’s reputation in the Negro leagues as having a “temper like a rattlesnake,” said Michael G. Long, co-author with Chris Lamb of Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography.

Robinson had a little-known ally helping him stay stoic and perform well through the ordeal: faith.

Valpo drops ‘Crusaders’ team name

Valparaiso University announced on August 10 that it has adopted the Beacons as its new team name, replacing the Crusaders, a term school officials dropped this year after saying it had been embraced by hate groups.

University president José D. Padilla said the private Lutheran school’s new nickname “directly connects to the University’s motto, ‘In Thy Light We See Light,’ and represents the Valparaiso University community in many ways.”

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Study: Gen Z doubles down on combining tarot and traditional faith

A new survey released by Springtide Research Institute confirms what metaphysical store owners and veteran tarot readers have known since the term Gen Z was invented: younger Americans, known for fashioning their own spirituality the way they curate their social media feeds, are doing so using well-established alternative practices.

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Afghan women fear “dark days” amid Taliban sweep

It was early evening, and Zahra, her mother, and three sisters were on their way to dinner at another sister’s home when they saw people running and heard gunshots on the street.

“The Taliban are here!” people screamed.

In just a few minutes, everything changed for the 26-year-old resident of Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city.

Edgardo Colón-Emeric begins tenure as dean of Duke Divinity School

Edgardo Colón-Emeric began his tenure as the dean of Duke Divinity School on July 1. He was appointed to a two-year term.

Colón-Emeric, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, is an associate professor of theology and reconciliation as well as the director of Duke Divinity’s Center for Reconcili­ation. He has served on the faculty since 2008. He is also an ordained elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church—the conference’s first Latinx elder.