Two mixed-use residential and commercial buildings in East Harlem, Upper Manhattan, have collapsed, leaving a scene locals have described as "reminiscent of 9/11." Response workers were in the vicinity at the time of the collapse, but all have been accounted for, according to reports.
At press time, one person had been confirmed killed and 16 people others were reported injured as a result of the explosion, although officials have warned those numbers are likely to increase.
The collapse, which occurred around 10:20 a.m. about 50 minutes after the massive explosion at about 9.30 a.m., has knocked out all of the two buildings' apartments, a piano stores and a storefront church, which were on the first floor, according to Fox 5. more >>
UPDATE: 1:40 p.m. E.T. – The local Harlem Hospital has confirmed that it has received five patients with injuries related to Wednesday's East Harlem building explosion and collapse, including "one child with serious injuries, while another three adults are in stable condition and one adult walked in reporting hearing loss," ABC News reports.
Two other New York City hospitals, Mount Sinai Health and St. Luke's Hospital, are treating seven and one patients, respectively, though they expect more. The obliterated buildings were formerly home to six and nine residential units.
There are currently nine individuals unaccounted for. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that, thus far, there is no indication that those missing lost their lives in the accident. more >>
Bishop Martin D. McLee, who heads The United Methodist Church in the New York Area, announced on Monday that he will be seeking to stop church trials of priests who have officiated same-sex marriages, though some critics have said this could lead to a split in the denomination.
"I am grateful to report that the matter concerning the Reverend Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree will not result in a church trial as a just resolution has been achieved," McLee said in a statement, according to NBC News. "I call for and commit to a cessation of church trials for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same-gender wedding ceremonies and instead offer a process of theological, spiritual, and ecclesiastical conversation."
Ogletree, a Frederick Marquand Professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics and one of the authors of United Methodist's Book of Discipline, was facing a canonical trial after it was revealed in 2013 that he officiated his son's same-sex wedding, which goes against church teachings. more >>
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in an interview that he has "no sense of judgment" on NFL prospect Michael Sam who announced in February that he is gay, and also commented on Pope Francis' recent remarks that he could be open to civil unions.
"Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya … Look, the same Bible that … teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, 'Bravo,'" Dolan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, when asked for his views on the issue.
Readers just can't seem to get enough of E.L. James' bestselling erotica Fifty Shades series, as the trilogy now has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. The salacious series, which counts Christians among its fans, marks that milestone amid anticipation of the movie adaptation being released next year.
Dannah Gresh, co-founder of Pure Freedom and who authored Pulling Back the Shades with Dr. Juli Slattery, said she was saddened to hear about Fifty Shades' latest milestone. Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman's Heart is Gresh and Slattery's response to the pervasiveness of the erotica series, specifically among Christians.
"I'm sad because the book honors and glorifies bondage, dominance, sadism and machoism [or BDSM sex play]," Gresh told The Christian Post during a conference call with Slattery. Gresh added that the "saddest part" was knowing that Christian women consume the erotica series as much as women in the general public. more >>
The creators of the upcoming "Noah" biblical epic starring Russell Crowe have released a video trailer featuring an inside look at how they brought to life what is undeniably the movie's biggest prop and centerpiece — the massive ark that the Old Testament narrative says was built by Noah and his family to protect them and "all living creatures" from a worldwide flood.
"There was a huge issue of what is this ark gonna look like," says Director and co-writer Darren Aronofsky in the trailer. "The idea was let's go back to what God tells Noah in the Bible."
Aronofsky adds, "It basically describes a box. It doesn't talk about a bow. It doesn't have to navigate. It wasn't like Noah was trying to take the ship anywhere. It basically has to survive the flood." more >>