‘Instant churches’ convert public schools to worship spaces

Cathy Lynn Grossman and Natalie DiBlasio |

(RNS) Praise the Lord and pass the crates with the prefab pulpit and the portable baptistery inside. The Forest Hills Community Church is moving into P.S. 144 — sort of. Every Sunday morning, the elementary school in Queens, like dozens more schools in New York City and thousands more nationwide, is transformed into a house […]

COMMENTARY: Living with the pain

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) It was day four of a pain that wouldn’t go away. It was just a toothache and not life-threatening. Surely it would be gone by day seven. But for four days, my every hour was dominated by pain. I couldn’t focus on my work, or sleep, or converse with much enthusiasm. I found myself […]

GUEST COMMENTARY: The Gospel According to Harry Potter

Danielle Tumminio |

(RNS) I was 27 when I first taught at Yale, barely five years older than the 70-plus students who stood out in the cold to enroll in my seminar on Christian theology and Harry Potter. I’d been following Harry’s adventures with interest since Christians discovered the characters used magic and began crying “Heresy!” As a […]

Jewish foes of circumcision sit out attempts to ban it

Lauren Markoe |

(RNS) Though national and local Jewish groups have strongly condemned San Francisco’s proposed ban on infant circumcision, a small but vocal movement of Jews is trying to convince more of their own to abandon the practice. What they won’t do, however, is join the San Francisco push to outlaw the practice in their pursuit of […]

Lesbian minister suspended for 20 days

Daniel Burke |

(RNS) A United Methodist minister was suspended for 20 days by a church court in Wisconsin on Thursday (June 23) for performing a same-sex union in 2009, a breach of denominational rules. A 13-member jury of local United Methodist clergy voted 9-4 to suspend the Rev. Amy DeLong, 44, of Osceola, Wis., according to gay […]

Rowan Williams sparks a political row in England

Trevor Grundy |

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Nearly a millennium ago, four unruly knights crossed the English Channel from France and confronted the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over his feud with King Henry II. Before the knights smashed the future saint’s skull in front of monks at an altar inside Canterbury Cathedral, Henry is said to have wondered […]

Goshen College silences national anthem (again)

Jack Jenkins |

(RNS) Goshen College will no longer play The Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events, school leaders announced, reversing last year’s decision to allow the use of the national anthem for the first time in the Mennonite college’s history. Some Mennonites had criticized the anthem’s lyrics as glorifying war and offensive to the school’s pacifist traditions. Goshen’s […]

Adventists in Calif. city lose Sunday mail delivery

Albert Sabaté |

LOMA LINDA, Calif. (RNS) Postal carrier Ruth Gomez had prayed and waited for five years to be transferred to the Loma Linda Post Office so that she could finally put to rest the conflicts between her faith and her job. As a Seventh-day Adventist, Gomez observes the Sabbath on Saturday and Loma Linda, with its […]

Messiah alumni rally around gay student

Ivey DeJesus |

GRANTHAM, Pa. (RNS) Alumni at evangelical Messiah College have launched an online petition urging the conservative Christian school to change its policies toward gay and lesbian students. The petition has collected hundreds of alumni signatures, with some indicating that they would withhold donations as long as the college continued to foster “an unsafe and noninclusive […]

For many blacks, there’s only one Bible, and it’s the KJV

Adelle M. Banks |

(RNS) On Sundays, C. Elizabeth Floyd, shows up for worship at Trinity Baptist Church of Metro Atlanta, with her Bible in hand. But the large, black leather Bible with dog-eared pages and hand-written notes in the margins isn't just any Bible: It's the King James Version. And Floyd, like many African-Americans, wouldn't have it any […]