January 24, 2014
A study has found that those who attend church regularly are less likely to commit minor crimes. Researchers from Manchester University believe that spending time with like-minded people makes individuals less likely to get mixed up with "the wrong crowd" and more likely to follow religion's moral teachings. Study participants were asked about eight kinds of bad behavior including littering, skipping school or work, using illegal drugs, fare dodging, shoplifting, music piracy, property damage and violence against the person.
January 10, 2014
American mothers are choosing to breast-feed their babies in increasing numbers, with about 77% of infants being breast-fed at some point. Public breast-feeding is becoming more socially acceptable - but does that include church? “Breasts were made to feed a baby,” says Misti Ryan, who's described as “a devout Christian lactation consultant in Texas” in an interview on religionnews.com. She believes babies should be allowed to be nursed - modestly - in church if the mother wants or needs to. Pope Francis has hit the headlines with his pro-breast-feeding comment to a young mother at a recent audience: “I said to her: madam, I think the child's hungry.
December 11, 2013
Village Church in Burbank will host an event this weekend called "Journey to Bethlehem," a live Christmas event recreating first-century Bethlehem and featuring a marketplace with roughly a dozen vendors, 60 cast members and a collection of rescued animals. "I want to show them what it was like in the first century back in Jerusalem, at the time Jesus was born," said Richard Zemaitis, a church member and set designer for the production. Upon entering, visitors will receive a handful of tokens, which they can use to "purchase" items from the vendors.
November 13, 2013
Approximately 360 members and friends attended a dedication service at Burbank First Presbyterian Church recently, celebrating completion of its major renovation project. The project included work on the main sanctuary, courtyard and youth ministry areas to better facilitate the church's many ministries, including Sunday school, middle and high school groups as well as the Travis Weaver Children's Center. New audio/visual, climate control, and lighting systems were part of the project, as was making the church more accessible to people with disabilities.
November 8, 2013
UC Irvine students have been trying a relatively new thing called “speed faithing.” The idea, much like speed dating, is to get as much information across to another person in a set amount of time, and hopefully make an impact. Religious students and two atheists gave their 10-minute talks to groups of UCI students, trying to distill their belief - whether Catholic, Mormon, Islamic or none - in a concise way, yet still making it understandable to those outside their faith. Speed faithing was developed by Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core as a way of getting youngsters to interact with people of different faiths.
October 18, 2013
In their quest for donations during tough economic times, many churches are turning to business consultants who specialize in helping religious institutions. For example, Eagle Brook Church in St. Paul, Minn. used Dallas company RSI Stewardship, which aided the church in raising almost $25 million to help build new campuses. RSI's president, Joel Mikell said, “A capital campaign is a spiritual thing before it is a financial journey.” There are about 3,000 consultants who deal with churches and the number is growing.
October 10, 2013
Persecution affects some 600 million Christians annually, according to a study by the Hudson Institute, and the Pew Forum says Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. In countries such as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and Kenya, Christians are being murdered, raped and kidnapped. Writing in the Daily Beast, Kirsten Power says, “One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.” She wonders why U.S. churches are not doing more - or, in some cases anything - to help their fellow believers.
September 19, 2013
Holding a church meeting in a pub may at first seem a bit odd, but so-called theology pubs - regular pubs and bars where meetings are held, usually once a week - are catching on across the country. According to Keith Anderson, a pastor in Philadelphia, “the world we live in demands that we do theology in a different way, on-the-fly, in different places, with different people....” He calls this “theology without a net.” Using blogs and social media, pub theologians introduce topics to be discussed at informal meetings in pubs.
August 6, 2013
The Internet can be a source of information and illumination, but for some it's also a cause for worry, and in some cases, a loss of faith, as one Mormon man discovered. Hans Mattsson, a "solid believer" in his faith, began to have doubts after friends emailed him about websites that contained information about Mormonism that contradicted the church's official history and teachings. Mattsson began looking deeper into the contradictions and discovered evidence of historical anomalies in the Book of Mormon, among other things.
February 19, 2013
Church member and professional conductor and composer Rhonda Kess has written a musical based on the story of St. Bernadette of Lourdes that will have its world premiere this week at St. Finbar Church. The production, “Lost and Found - The Trial of St. Bernadette,” is a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting youth activities, like retreats, sports programs, filmmaking projects, book groups and others that provide positive influences, Kess said. While it is based on a religious story and produced in a church, Kess said, one need not be Catholic to enjoy the production.