The Immigrant Song

Pews Slow to Follow the Pulpit on Immigration Reform RNS Daniel Burke looks at immigration reform, and the differing messages from the pulpit and the pews, in this week’s full text article, linked above. With Congress preparing to take up immigration policy in the coming weeks, a number of prominent religious leaders-from all shades of […]

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service NCC’s Edgar to Take Helm of Common Cause (RNS) The Rev. Bob Edgar, the outgoing general secretary of the National Council of Churches, has been named president of the public interest advocacy group Common Cause. Edgar, 63, a former congressman from Pennsylvania and an ordained United Methodist minister, was elected […]

Columbaria Revive a Church Graveyard Tradition

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Just outside Fredericksburg (Va.) United Methodist Church, an arc-shaped wall hugs the church’s quiet meditation garden and outdoor fountain. A closer look at the wall reveals 360 niches and the names of deceased members of the congregation. The columbarium, which holds urns containing ashes of the dead, was installed […]

Diocese Builds Crematory as Cremation Acceptance Grows

c. 2007 Religion News Service EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. _ Despite the Catholic Church’s preference for burial, a New Jersey diocese has begun work on the first crematory in the United States to be built by a diocese. Church officials say the crematory at the 200-acre Holy Cross Burial Park here will open by year’s end. […]

Muslim Volunteers Meet Death, Find Life, in Washing Bodies

c. 2007 Religion News Service HERNDON, Va. _ Deidre “Nusaybah” Ritchie knelt down and gently braided the brown hair of the woman’s body lying in a cocoon of white sheets. After demonstrating to the women gathered around her how to wash the body with soap and sweet-smelling camphor, Ritchie finished wrapping the woman in several […]

10 Minutes With … Steven Friedman

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) You probably knew one could buy holy water, but what about holy soil? Steven Friedman’s brainchild, Holy Land Earth, imports 16-ounce bags of soil from Israel for use at American funerals, all with USDA and rabbinical approval. The grandson of Holocaust survivors, Friedman sees Israeli soil as sacred and […]

COMMENTARY: The Measure of a Life

c. 2007 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Another school year closes and all teachers face the same event: grading. I’ve just turned in my grades for “Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest,” a cross-cultural course on great spiritual writing of history, including works so fine they qualify as literature. The Dhammapada. The Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of Solomon. […]

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Government Rescinds Fine Against Baptist Group WASHINGTON (RNS) A moderate Baptist group will not have to pay a fine related to alleged violations by members of affiliated churches who traveled to Cuba, the Treasury Department has decided. In 2006, the Washington-based Alliance of Baptists received a notice that it could […]

Thousands Bid Farewell to Falwell

c. 2007 Religion News Service LYNCHBURG, Va._ About 10,000 mourners bid farewell Tuesday (May 22) to the Rev. Jerry Falwell, remembering him for his influence as a pastor, political activist and Christian educator. Falwell’s black and gold casket, adorned with a spray of red roses, stood under the pulpit of the 6,000-seat sanctuary of Thomas […]

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Gay Bishop Says Exclusion is an `Affront’ to U.S. Church (RNS) Openly gay Episcopal bishop V. Gene Robinson reacted angrily to his exclusion from a key meeting of Anglican leaders in England next year, saying it is “an affront to the entire Episcopal Church.” “It is time the bishops of […]