10 Minutes with … Rabbi Arthur Schneier

Matthew E. Berger |

(RNS) When Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff to visit a U.S. synagogue last year, it was to meet with Rabbi Arthur Schneier at his Park East Synagogue in Manhattan. A Holocaust survivor, Schneier has spoken on religious tolerance throughout the world through his Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Schneier continues his interfaith outreach this […]

Wednesday’s religion round-up

Federal authorities charged two Chicago men with plotting terrorist attacks in Europe, including the offices of the Danish newspaper that published anti-Muslim cartoons several years ago. An anti-abortion activist is calling on people to burn effigies of Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid, e-Bay says it will block an auction to raise money for the […]

When pastors’ silent suffering turns tragic

Greg Warner |

HICKORY, N.C. (RNS) What kind of personal pain would cause a 42-year-old pastor to abandon his family, his calling and even life itself? Members of a Baptist church here are asking that question after their pastor committed suicide in his parked car in September. Those who counsel pastors say Christian culture, especially Southern evangelicalism, creates […]

Shea shares gift with Angola

An organ belonging to George Beverly Shea, the 100-year-old soloist on Billy Graham’s evangelistic team, was supposed to reach the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La., when Shea was no longer on earth to play it. But he recently helped deliver the gift early, Baptist Press reported. Shea explained at a ceremony at Angola that […]

Congregations keep on giving, despite the recession

Angela Abbamonte |

(RNS) Despite the economic recession, a plurality of congregations reported an increase in donations in the first half of 2009, according to a new study. More than two-thirds of 1,500 congregations surveyed said fundraising has increased (37 percent) or held steady (34 percent), according to the study. Nearly 30 percent said giving had decreased in […]

Jewish leaders welcome new Catholic statement on conversion

Matthew E. Berger |

(RNS) Jewish leaders are welcoming a revised statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that rejects suggestions that interfaith dialogue could lead to the conversion and baptism of Jews. American Jewish organizations had raised concerns that a document released by the bishops in June reversed earlier statements and indicated that dialogue between Catholics and […]

Calvin College agrees to further study ban on homosexual advocacy

Dave Murray |

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) Calvin College leaders aren’t withdrawing a controversial memo regarding the discussion of homosexuality, but say they will take more time to study how Christian Reformed Church teachings relate to academic freedom. In a letter issued to the college’s faculty Monday (Oct. 26), board of trustees chairman Bastian Knoppers said they did […]

Chilean pastor new head of Lutheran World Federation

Stephen Brown |

GENEVA (RNS/ENI) The Lutheran World Federation has elected a 48-year-old Chilean pastor as general secretary of the global church group that includes more than 68 million Protestants worldwide, including nearly five million in the U.S. The Rev. Martin Junge becomes the first representative from Latin America to hold the highest position in the secretariat at […]

Religious freedom report lacks specifics, experts say

Adelle M. Banks |

WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious freedom experts called for more specifics in the State Department’s policies on international religious liberty, but welcomed a new report that highlights abuse faced by people of faith throughout the world. Released by the State Department on Monday (Oct. 26), the status report on religious freedom in 198 countries and territories pays […]

Christians forgo Facebook for ‘digital fasting’

Bobby Ross Jr. |

(RNS) In the world of faith-based social networking, evangelical Christian leader Mark Oestreicher commanded a huge chunk of cyberspace. Known as “Marko,” the technological hipster amassed 4,000 Facebook friends, 1,500 Twitter followers and 2,000 daily readers of his blog. But then he decided he’d had enough — and unplugged from his online circle of friends. […]