Saturday, December 2, 2017

Is Ideology Becoming America's Official Religion?

From Forbes-

More than a year after Donald Trump’s stunning victory liberals and conservatives are still struggling to make sense of what feels like a very abnormal “new normal.”

Liberals tend to argue that Trump is merely the manifestation of an innately unkind, racist and misogynist GOP. Conservatives, on the hand, blame Hillary Clinton’s miserable campaign, failed progressive policies and the Left’s sanctimonious and divisive identity politics. If Trump voters are racist, conservatives ask, why did one-third of American counties that voted twice for Barack Obama twice vote for Trump?

Both sides are eager to be the conscience of conservatism. The Left, however, does not seem to share the Right’s capacity for self-reflection and correction. Liberal voices of self-reflection are hard to find but conservatives have an ample supply. Prominent voices on the Right who argue something has gone horribly awry include U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Peter Wehner, Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes and more.

First Persian woman to be ordained to the episcopate consecrated in Canterbury Cathedral

From ACNS-

The first Persian woman to become a bishop was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury this morning during a service in Canterbury Cathedral. Guli Francis-Dehqani, the daughter of the former Bishop of Iran, Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, will serve as the first suffragan Bishop of Loughborough in the Church of England’s Diocese of Leicester. Her family were forced into Exile after a botched assassination attempt on her father – who was also the first President Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. He mother was injured in that attack. Guli’s brother, Bahram, stayed behind in Iran. He was murdered in 1980 and is commemorated in Canterbury Cathedral’s Chapel of Saints and Martyrs.

Today’s service reflected the new bishop’s early life in Iran. Bishop Iraj Mottahedeh, who succeeded Bishop Hassan Dehqani-Tafti as Bishop of Iran, gave the sermon. Bishop Iraj is now retired and lives in England. For 15 years, Bishop Iraj was the only Christian priest in Iran.

More here-

Friday, December 1, 2017

Archbishops offer evangelism advice — with a catch

From The Church Times-

THE object of evangelism is not to “squeeze” people into church, a new booklet from the Archbishops’ task group says.

The 24-page booklet, Evangelism for the Local Church, is being sent to every diocese with a message from the two Archbishops: “This isn’t an off-the-shelf programme that guarantees a full church.” Instead, following the suggestions in the booklet would lead, they say, to “the renewal of those taking part”.

The booklet, which grows out of the Thy Kingdom Come prayer initiative, describes evangelism as a four-stage “virtuous circle”.

Contact: “the initial relationships — probably already existing — of those God has brought into your path.” Nurture: “an intentional investment in specific events that seek to grow the initial contact”. Commitment: “the specific issuing of the invitation to people to follow Jesus Christ”. Growth: “the development of the faith that has begun. In this way a person is grafted into the community of faith.”

The booklet warns against traditional approaches to evangelism: “Too often we ask how we can get more people to come to church. But we mustn’t start with church and then wonder how to squeeze people in. We must start with people, with their questions and needs.

More here-

Royal wedding announcement poses religious questions

From Salt Lake City-

First comes love, then comes baptism? Meghan Markle has a few faith-related hurdles to clear before her royal wedding next year to Prince Harry.

Like Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, before her, Markle will join the Church of England ahead of her nuptials, likely out of respect for her future in-laws, Harper's Bazaar reported. The 36-year-old American actress attended a Catholic school in Los Angeles growing up, but describes herself as Protestant.

"Markle honors Harry's grandmother the Queen, who, as the sovereign, holds the title of 'Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England,'" the article noted.

The spouses of royals need not be Anglican, but most are, given the monarchy's close ties to the faith. Until 2013, people in line for the throne forfeited their succession rights if they married a Roman Catholic. That prohibition ended with the Succession to the Crown Act.

More here-

Provincial and Episcopal delegates named for March 2018 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

From The Episcopal Church-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry has named the provincial delegate and churchwide delegates to represent him at the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York City, NY, March 12-23, 2018.

The provincial delegate and the churchwide delegates will be able to attend the official UNCSW proceedings at the United Nations and will represent the Presiding Bishop with the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion delegations in their advocacy at the UN, including joint advocacy with the group Ecumenical Women.

The delegates named by Presiding Bishop Curry are: Dr. K. Holly Carter, Diocese of Massachusetts; the Rev. Annalise Castro Pasalo, Diocese of Hawaii; Dr. Damaris De Jesús Carrasquillo, Diocese of Puerto Rico; Lois Frankforter, Diocese of Connecticut; Maria Gonzalez, Diocese of Olympia; Stephanie Gray, Diocese of Arkansas; Claudia Haltom, Diocese of West Tennessee; Dr. John Harris, Diocese of Oklahoma; Clare Hendricks, Diocese of Montana; Pragedes Coromoto Jimenez de Salazar, Diocese of Venezuela; the Rev Deacon Myra Kingsley, Diocese of Arizona; the Rev. Dr. Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, Diocese of Los Angeles; Annika Lewis, Diocese of Colorado; Maire Powell, Diocese of Iowa; Lydia Simmons, Diocese of South Dakota; the Rev. Stacy Walker, Diocese of Chicago; and Amanda Ziebell Mawanda, Diocese of Minnesota.

More here-

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Top Vicar: ‘Pray For A Gay Prince George’

From American Conservative-

The provost of the Anglican cathedral in Glasgow, a vigorous campaigner for the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism in the Church of England, is calling on sympathizers to petition Almighty God that Prince George, son of William and Catherine, and heir to the British throne, be gay. The Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth, who is himself gay, concludes a list of suggestions about how to make the C of E more queer-positive by saying:

If people don’t want to engage in campaigning in this way, they do in England have another unique option, which is to pray in the privacy of their hearts (or in public if they dare) for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman. A royal wedding might sort things out remarkably easily though we might have to wait 25 years for that to happen. Who knows whether that might be sooner than things might work out by other means?

If the Church of England — or, to be precise, its Scottish branch — were serious, they would have sacked this clown back in January, when he first made the statement. He re-upped it as a response to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement news. Note well that he is not some crackpot vicar from the fringes, but the senior priest at the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Glasgow cathedral.

More here-

More Reasons to Support a Celibate Priesthood

From Crisis Magazine-

Usually I don’t bother with pieces about “the first (y) (x),” where y = special interest group and x = profession. They always drip with a smugness that I, who looked up to the Jafar character as a child, find nauseating. The bien pensant journalist always seems pleasantly surprised their pet minorities have risen to their expectations.

But, lo! “Methodist Church appoints first transgender minister,” the London Telegraph proclaimed. So I read it for a quick, guilty hit of schadenfreude.

It’s an interesting piece, if only because the journalist can’t seem to settle on pronouns. For post-transition anecdotes, it’s “she”; pre-transition, it’s “he.” They refer to Rev. Everingham both as a mother to her children and a husband to his wife. Very difficult to follow.

That’s even not the strangest part of the article. It chronicles Everingham’s double-life before coming out as transgender, such traveling to other cities to attend trans nightclubs. His wife Ruth suspected he was having an affair, which is perfectly reasonable.

More here-

Harriet Tubman’s Canadian church seeks help for repairs

From Western NY-

A century and a half ago, a new Canadian church gave fleeing slaves a place to worship. Now the sanctuary that welcomed Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman and other escapees needs help itself.

The dwindling membership of Salem Chapel, a British Methodist Episcopal church just north of Niagara Falls, has started a crowdsourcing campaign (their gofundme page is here) in hopes of raising C$100,000 — the equivalent of $77,486 in U.S. currency.

The congregation wants to shore up the building, which is in an area where heavy traffic has contributed to its shifting foundation.

More here-

Hispanic Growth = Episcopal Growth?

From The Living Church-

If you ask any American what comes to mind when you say Latino religion, the response will almost certainly be Catholic and not Episcopalian.

But the link between Latins and Romans is not as strong as it once was, and the shift is accelerating. In 2006, Pew Research found that 70 percent of American Latinos were Roman Catholic. Just six years later, that number had dropped to 57 percent. Nearly one in four Hispanic Americans are now former Catholics.

But while the pope’s share of the Hispanic pie is in decline, the pie is growing dramatically. In 2012, Nielsen found that the Hispanic population was expected to grow 167 percent between 2010 and 2050 — compared with 42 percent for the population as a whole, and 1 percent for white non-Hispanics.

More here-

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Wedding Is A Big Shift For England’s State Church

From Huffington Post-

Wedding planning can be stressful for any couple whose families come from different religious and cultural backgrounds. Big decisions ― like who will conduct the wedding and where it will take place ― are made even more complicated when one of the partners has a grandmother who is the royal head of a state church.

On Tuesday, Kensington Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II gave Prince Harry and Meghan Markle permission to have a church wedding at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Markle, who was raised Protestant and attended a Catholic school as a child, will be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England before the wedding, the Telegraph reports.

Part of what makes the upcoming royal wedding so remarkable is that Markle is a divorcée whose former partner is still alive ― a fact that just a few years ago would have caused a headache for the British monarchy and scandalized the church.

More here-

and here-

A Zen Priest at Harvard Finds the Key to Happiness

From Lion's Roar-

What makes life worth living? What really makes us happy? As a Zen priest and leader of the one of the most important studies of human happiness ever undertaken, Robert Waldinger has sought the answers to these questions.

What he’s discovered is that science and Buddhism arrive at the same basic answer. They both conclude, he says, that “moving beyond the small self is a huge source of both meaning and contentment.”

Waldinger is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and director of the famed Harvard Study of Adult Development. It’s perhaps the longest-running study of adult life ever conducted. For seventy-five continuous years, it has tracked the lives of 724 men in order to understand what makes for a healthy, happy life. Now it’s following the next generation, as it tracks the lives of the original subjects’ children and their families.

More here-

Idowu-Fearon Sees Vigor

From The Living Church-

During a visit to Virginia Theological Seminary, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion stressed Anglicans’ work in evangelism and cross-cultural ministry.

The Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon spoke on “The Vitality of World Anglicanism” Nov. 15 as part of the 2017 Mollegen Forum and 20th anniversary celebrations for the Center for Anglican Communion Studies.

Idowu-Fearon, secretary general since 2015, spoke about the life and vigor that he has witnessed across the Anglican family of churches. Contrary to the narrative of bloggers, he said, the Anglican Communion is alive and well, and through this family the gospel of Jesus Christ is growing.

More here-

From NASA to the Priesthood: The Rev. Dr. Kara Slade Comes to Princeton

From The Diocese of New Jersey-

Trinity Episcopal Church Princeton and The Episcopal Chaplaincy at Princeton (ECP) have partnered to appoint The Rev. Dr. Kara N. Slade as a Theologian in Residence and associate priest/chaplain at Trinity and ECP. The Rev. Dr. Slade’s appointment comes in celebratory renewal of 150 years of collaborative ministry between Trinity and ECP.

“We are extremely blessed to have the Rev. Slade join us in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey,” said the Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, Bishop of New Jersey. “Her accomplishments as both priest and scientist speak to her deep faith and curiosity about God and our world, and I look forward to her ministries in Princeton and beyond.”

In the new joint appointment, Slade will serve in the historic Princeton parish and chaplaincy community encompassing students, faculty, and staff at Princeton University, Westminster Choir College, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

More here-

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Age of Jesus Christ’s Purported Tomb Revealed

From National Geographic-

Over the centuries, Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre has suffered violent attacks, fires, and earthquakes. It was totally destroyed in 1009 and subsequently rebuilt, leading modern scholars to question whether it could possibly be the site identified as the burial place of Christ by a delegation sent from Rome some 17 centuries ago.

Now the results of scientific tests provided to National Geographic appear to confirm that the remains of a limestone cave enshrined within the church are remnants of the tomb located by the ancient Romans.

Mortar sampled from between the original limestone surface of the tomb and a marble slab that covers it has been dated to around A.D. 345. According to historical accounts, the tomb was discovered by the Romans and enshrined around 326.

More here-

Does Religion Make People Moral?

From The New York Times-

Over the past 15 years, my country, Turkey, has gone through a colossal political revolution. The traditional secular elite that identifies with the nation’s modernist founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, has been replaced by religious conservatives who, until recently, were largely powerless and marginalized. The religious conservatives have by now come to dominate virtually all institutions of the state, as well as the media and even much of the business sector. In short, they have become the new ruling elite.

This political revolution has had an inadvertent outcome. It has tested the ostensible virtues of these religious conservatives — and they have failed. They have failed this test so terribly that it raises the question of whether religiosity and morality really go hand in hand, as so many religious people like to claim.

More here-

Prince Harry will marry a divorced American — and the church is fine with it

From USA Today-

A British royal marrying an American divorcee in 1936 threw the British monarchy and the Church of England into crisis, but that didn’t happen when Prince Harry decided to marry Meghan Markle.

The announcement in London on Monday that Prince Harry is engaged to the American actress ended fevered speculation about the couple and was accompanied by statements of delight from Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and his father, heir to the throne Prince Charles.

It was so very different from the last time a British royal wanted to marry an American divorcee. That 1936 engagement led to the abdication of the king, Edward VIII, who decided he would rather give up the throne than divorced Baltimore socialite Wallis Simpson.

The sticking point in 1936 was the rule on divorce and remarriage in the Church of England, of which the monarch of the United Kingdom is head. The church’s ban on remarriage for a divorced person whose previous spouse is alive applied to King Edward, and still held for Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, in 1953. She was told she could not marry the man she loved, Capt. Peter Townsend, because the Church of England would not countenance it.

More here-

Keep 1982 Hymnals Handy

From The Living Church-

A symposium at Virginia Theological Seminary, “The Once and Future Hymnal,” celebrated the 1982 Hymnal and discussed possible directions for its revision. The event, sponsored by the seminary’s Center for Liturgy and Music on Oct. 23-24, gathered dozens of scholars, musicians, and clergy from around the country. Speakers sang the praises of the current hymnal and sounded a rather hesitant note about the prospects for a new one.

“As the Episcopal Church looks toward prayer book and hymnal revision — do we? or don’t we?” said Ellen Johnston, the center’s director and a member of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. “I was especially taken with the presentations of the Rev. Martin Seltz of the [Evangelical Lutheran Church in America] and David Eicher of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Hearing about their processes of hymnal revision opened my eyes to the many facets of this work.”

Episcopal speakers at the symposium most often expressed concerns about the time costs and difficulty of finding consensus that would attend a comprehensive hymnal revision.

More here-

Utah churches grapple with a scary scenario: What to do if a shooter shows up?

From Utah-

Utah’s Episcopal Bishop Scott Hayashi knows how it feels to have a bullet rip through his flesh.
Decades ago, the future clergyman was a 19-year-old clerk in a Tacoma, Wash., record store when three robbers stormed into the place. One hopped over the counter and demanded the young Hayashi give him all the money in the cash register. It was $9.

As the young clerk turned his head, the thief thrust his gun at Hayashi’s abdomen and fired.

“Even though I had been shot,” the Utah bishop says in a video produced by the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, “I did not feel any pain.”

He laid on the floor in shock until others found him. A few months and multiple surgeries later, Hayashi emerged from his hospital bed forever changed.

At no time, though, did he wish he had a firearm at the store.

More here-

Former Archbishop of Canterbury invites faith leaders to join 16-Days of Activism

From ACNS-

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has urged faith-leaders across the world to identify with the global campaign against gender-based violence (GBV). In a video message for Christian Aid, Britain’s ecumenical aid-agency which he chairs, Bishop Rowan said that faith leaders can still play a crucial role in many of the contexts where GBV is a challenge; and he urged them to “make a personal pledge to identify with” the 16-Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which began on Saturday (25 November), International women’s Day; and concludes on 10 December – Human Rights Day.

“Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God, and his justice,” he said in the video. “Justice means that no-one is denied a voice and a place; a right to make a different to the world they live in. But in our world, women and girls are frequently denied that place and that voice: humiliated, marginalised, objects of violence and exclusion.”

He said that faith leaders can have “a transformative effect on the society they’re in.”

More here-

The Case for Not Being Born

From The New Yorker-

David Benatar may be the world’s most pessimistic philosopher. An “anti-natalist,” he believes that life is so bad, so painful, that human beings should stop having children for reasons of compassion. “While good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place,” he writes, in a 2006 book called “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence.” In Benatar’s view, reproducing is intrinsically cruel and irresponsible—not just because a horrible fate can befall anyone, but because life itself is “permeated by badness.” In part for this reason, he thinks that the world would be a better place if sentient life disappeared altogether.

For a work of academic philosophy, “Better Never to Have Been” has found an unusually wide audience. It has 3.9 stars on GoodReads, where one reviewer calls it “required reading for folks who believe that procreation is justified.” A few years ago, Nic Pizzolatto, the screenwriter behind “True Detective,” read the book and made Rust Cohle, Matthew McConaughey’s character, a nihilistic anti-natalist. (“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution,” Cohle says.) When Pizzolatto mentioned the book to the press, Benatar, who sees his own views as more thoughtful and humane than Cohle’s, emerged from an otherwise reclusive life to clarify them in interviews. Now he has published “The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions,” a refinement, expansion, and contextualization of his anti-natalist thinking. The book begins with an epigraph from T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”—“Humankind cannot bear very much reality”—and promises to provide “grim” answers to questions such as “Do our lives have meaning?,” and “Would it be better if we could live forever?”

More here-

Monday, November 27, 2017

Disenchanting the English Reformation

From Marginalia-

At some point in the second half of the twentieth century, England somewhat unexpectedly ceased to be a Protestant nation. It has been undergoing a seismic cultural shift of a similar order to that which it experienced in the sixteenth century, when it even more unexpectedly ceased to be a Catholic nation. Both of these profound changes were intimately linked to epoch-making technological innovations in the media: the Gutenberg Revolution in the early modern era, and the rise first of television and then of the internet in recent times.

The strange death of Protestant England, not to be confused with English Protestantism, which still flourishes in diverse forms, has had major implications for our understanding of that earlier cultural shift, which we label “the English Reformation.” On the one hand, with English identity no longer so tightly bound up with Protestantism, more critical approaches to the Reformation have been able to gain a wider hearing, enabling some hallowed myths to be challenged. On the other, with all forms of Christianity more muted in public discourse and consciousness, and with the differences among them less clear even to Christians, let alone to the rest of the population, it gets daily more difficult for people to understand what was going on and what was at stake four or five hundred years ago. A modicum of critical distance has been achieved, then, but the gain in criticism is to some extent offset by the increase in distance. That increased distance is best measured by a change in the terminology of historical periodization. For the Reformation as a whole has, in living memory, been relegated from “modern history,” within which it still tended to be located back in the 1950s, to what is now called “early modern history.”

More here-

U.S. Supreme Court has rejected 8 other Episcopal cases. S.C. group hopes its case is different

From South Carolina-

The U.S. Supreme Court is known for refusing to review disputed constitutional issues until the right case comes along.

For the property rights battle dividing The Episcopal Church and breakaway groups nationwide, at least eight such cases have come and gone in as many years. The court has rejected each one.

But the Diocese of South Carolina, whose split has kept about $500 million worth of historic buildings in legal limbo, is praying for an answer from Washington after the state Supreme Court ruled that 29 properties from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head belong to the national church.

Attorneys in other cases have argued, to no avail, that it’s high time for the nine justices to iron out whether constitutional provisions on religious freedom bar state laws from applying to such land disputes.

But the court’s past resistance isn’t necessarily an indicator of how the South Carolina case will play out.

More here-

Exposing America’s Biggest Hypocrites: Evangelical Christians

From Huffington-

Ahhh, Christianity in America. Or should I say, the single greatest cause of atheism today. You know who I’m talking about, right? The type of people who acknowledge Jesus with their words, and deny him through their lifestyle. The ones who preach the importance of traditional family values, all while holding a rally and offering standing ovations for a man who preyed on 14-year-old girls. The ones who look to excuse the despicable allegations directed at Roy Moore by literally quoting the bible, comparing his molestation to Joseph and Mary. I give you the most hypocritical religious group in America, Evangelical Christians.

First of all, for the record, I grew up Catholic in Scotland. I went to church, and greatly respected the community in which I was raised. I truly believe that religion can help instill wisdom, guidance and a sense of belief when all else seems hopeless. So I get it... to an extent. But what I have never understood is why someone feels the need to impose their beliefs on another. Especially in America. Especially with regard to evangelical Christians. Aside from preaching anti-LGBT rhetoric and abstinence to the world, evangelical Christians have proudly touted themselves as righteous do-gooders doing the Lord’s work. Until you insert politics into the mix. Then “the Lords’” work means about as much to them as consent means to Donald Trump.

More here-

A Difficult Orthodoxy

From Ancient Faith-

The difference between “right glory” and “right doctrine,” noted in my previous article, goes much deeper than services of worship. It is true that the Church has, throughout her history, taken great care with liturgical practice so that what is done gives expression to what is believed. The two should be seamless. This, however, becomes ever more difficult when it extends to our lives. Frequently, we settle for “right doctrine,” and “right glory,” but ignore the right inward life and disposition (technically called “orthopraxis”).

Fr. Georges Florovsky described doctrine as a “verbal icon” of Christ. Anyone can master a system of thought, its rules of speech and patterns of understanding. But to rightly speak and live within the Orthodox faith requires something of a very different sort. The verbal icon is indeed a true icon, and it must be presented rightly in every way. The recitation of the Nicene Creed in the Liturgy is introduced in this manner:

More here-

England's top religious authority says he doesn't understand Christian support for Trump

From The Hill-

The head of the Church of England, the archbishop of Canterbury, said in an interview on Sunday that he doesn't understand why President Trump enjoys such broad support among Christian fundamentalists.

"There's two things going through my mind: do I say what I think, or do I say what I should say?" Justin Welby said in an interview with ITV. "And I'm going to say what I think."

"I really genuinely do not understand where that is coming from," he said of Trump's support among Christian fundamentalists.

Welby also serves as head of the Anglican Communion, which encompasses churches in the United States.

More here-

Also here-

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Former Archbishop of Canterbury could face police probe into whether he broke the law by covering up for a paedophile bishop

From The Daily Mail-

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, could face a police investigation into whether he broke the law by covering up for a paedophile bishop.

Officers are understood to be considering a formal inquiry to determine whether the former leader of the Church of England and other senior church officials should face criminal charges over their failure to pass on sex abuse complaints made against ex-bishop Peter Ball.

Such an investigation would be highly controversial and may involve 82-year-old Lord Carey being interviewed under caution.

More here-

Is There an Evangelical Crisis?

From The New York Times-

About 20 years ago, the eminent sociologist of religion Christian Smith coined a useful and resonant phrase, describing evangelical Christianity in the post-1960s United States as both “embattled and thriving.”

By this Smith meant that evangelicals had maintained an identity in a secularizing country that was neither separatist nor assimilated, but somehow mainstream and countercultural at once. Evangelicals were both fully part of American modernity (often educated suburbanites, rather than the backwoods yokels of caricature) and also living lives in tension with pluralistic and permissive values. And this combination, far from undercutting their communities, was actually a source of religious vitality and demographic strength.

Smith’s description still holds up pretty well. The story of American religion lately has been one of institutional decline, of Mainline Protestantism’s aging and Catholicism’s weakening and the rise of the so-called “nones.”

More here-

African refugee family makes the most of new life in Tucson

From Arizona-

Community has been key for Ajang’s family.

“When we came here, we joined a community of believers from Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church,” Anyieth says. “They were so helpful to us in so many different ways — prayers, finances and love. They loved us.”

Through the church, the family met friends such as Miksa. Miksa helped them shop for a car and care for their new son, who had surgery in 2014 and a feeding tube for six months. In recent months, Miksa has helped Ajang research what it takes to start a business in Arizona.

It’s nothing like owning that restaurant in Kenya, Ajang says. In Africa, they didn’t have to pay taxes or lease the property. They built the restaurant and pocketed the profits.

More here-