Closeup shot of Nik Wallenda as he crosses Niagara Falls June 16, 2012. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Nik Wallenda as he crosses Niagara Falls on June 16, 2012. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The Church of England is creating a pagan church as part of a drive to retain congregation numbers, The Telegraph reports.

As opening arguments for the George Zimmerman trial begin, seats have been reserved for pastors who aim to keep the peace,  regardless of the verdict. The pastors include the Rev. Joel Hunter, who prays with President Obama.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, has set off some controversy for a sermon interpreting Paul’s interaction with a slave girl as his failure to value diversity. She appears to defend the sermon in an interview with Mark Oppenheimer for the New York Times. On another page of the Times you’ll find a profile of a “saloon priest” in New York City.

The number of mosques in the U.S. more than doubled between 1994 and 2011 as Muslim American clout grows, the Los Angeles Times reports.

As Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition, his daughter told CNN, ”All I pray for as a daughter is that the transition is smooth. … He is at peace with himself. He has given so much to the world. I believe he is at peace.”

President Obama made remarks on a recent visit to Northern Ireland that some saw an attack on Catholic schools. His defenders, though, include some in the Catholic Church.

On Twitter, Christians appear to be happier than atheists, according to a recent study.

Police fatally shot a Mississippi man after officials were called to a church because of a dispute over firing a pastor.

A Colorado transgender first-grader won a civil rights case and will be able to use the girls’ bathroom despite being born a boy.

Donald Trump will attend Family Leader’s summit in Des Moines in August, sparking speculation of a 2016 run.

From CNN: This is the church, this is the steeple, look inside and see all the … atheists?

A New York school district has settled a lawsuit brought by a former guidance counselor who alleged that Lawrence School Board members, who are mostly Orthodox Jews, fired him for being viewed as “anti-Orthodox.”

Texas prepares to execute its 500th prisoner.

Michael Baigent, a writer who filed an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit contending novelist Dan Brown stole his ideas for  best-selling “The Da Vinci Code,” died at 65 last week in England.

From the file “things you can’t make up“: a group of Idaho gun enthusiasts have created pork-laced bullets designed to send Muslims straight “to hell.” And Bravo’s “Princesses: Long Island” follows six unmarried 20-something Jewish women living with their parents on New York’s Long Island, leaving some Jews uncomfortable.

U2′s frontman Bono will be on Focus on Family’s daily broadcast on Tuesday, saying things like, “It’s very annoying following this person of Christ around, because he’s very demanding of your life.”

As we’re waiting on the Supreme Court on gay marriage decisions, we look at how Ryan Anderson, a devout Catholic, has become one of the leading millenial voices opposing marriage. He faces an uphill climb as approval for gay marriage is rising among every religious group. One Mormon mom who fought for Proposition 8, now fights for her gay son.

Finally, did you watch Christian daredevil Nik Wallenda’s venture across the Grand Canyon last night? Before the attempt, he told Christianity Today, “I don’t believe God keeps me on the wire…but I know where I’m going if I fall.” I’m visiting friends who watched the Mad Men finale instead, but tweets indicated something about Joel Osteen’s giant smile and Wallenda saying “Thank you, Jesus” as he walked across. As I prepared this roundup, I resonated with BuzzfeedAndrew.

Tweets to start your week off:

Categories: Beliefs

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey joined RNS as a national correspondent in 2013. She has previously served as managing editor of Odyssey Networks and online editor for Christianity Today.


  1. The church of England story has to really be from the Onion, right? No? Hey Old Dude, todays RNR was great, lot’s of stories & not all of them bad either. So, you shouldn’t have much to complain about today, though, as I said, the bad stories will come soon enough. Unfortunately, always do.

  2. Creating a “pagan” church to retain those precarious attendance numbers? Really?

    That’s what I like about the Church of England: They may not believe in the Bible, but they sure do believe in comic relief.

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