As a record $1 billion worth of religious-affiliated properties were sold across the United States in 2014 due to high maintenance costs and declining membership, some churches are now choosing to redevelop their properties through profitable deals with real estate investment companies in an effort to improve their financial security.
Citing data provided by CoStar Group, a provider of commercial real estate data, a Wall Street Journal report said a record 1,502 sales of religious-affiliated properties valued at $1.3 billion were sold in 2014. This is nearly twice the 889 sales made in 2010 valued at $578.9 million.
According to the Journal, a growing number of these churches, like The Collegiate Churches of New York, have been partnering with real-estate development companies to develop properties to generate revenue. more >>
In a biting message aimed at Christian gossip lovers on Sunday, Robert Morris, founding senior pastor of the 36,000-member Gateway Church in Texas and chairman of the board of The King's University, cited gossip as a factor in how some Christians get lost, and chided those who won't listen to gossip but have no problem reading it on the Internet.
In the message pegged on the parable of the prodigal son, titled "The Believer's Battle," posted on his church's website, Morris said he was concerned about the amount of time people spend on the Internet — particularly on blogs that focus on Christian leaders.
"I have to say this, um, I'm really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I'm extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it." more >>
Hollywood actress Hayden Panettiere inadvertently sparked marriage rumors during a recent interview, while recalling her 9-month-old daughter's baptism in Europe.
The "Nashville" star detailed the "incredible" moment that she and fiancé Wladimir Klitschko had their daughter, Kaya Evdokia, baptized in his native country of Ukraine during an appearance on "Live! With Kelly and Michael," which aired on Monday. Panettiere, 26, was sharing a funny exchange that took place between Kaya and the priest when she referred to Klitschko, 39, as "my husband."
"We did her baptism [in Ukraine] and that was one of the most incredible parts of the trip," the New York native said. more >>
Muslim extremists burned down three churches in Tanzania last week and issued threats to the area's Christians, a leading persecution monitoring group has reported.
According to pastors who spoke with Morning Star News, three churches in northwest Tanzania were set ablaze last Tuesday causing everything inside them to burn. Fortunately, no one was injured.
The churches that were torched were the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, the Evangelical Assemblies of God and the Living Water International Church, all of which are located in the Kashfa village area in the Bukoba district. more >>
The final president of the once prominent ex-gay organization Exodus International has released a book detailing his personal journey about faith and sexual orientation.
Alan Chambers, a former proponent of ex-gay therapy, documents his experiences both in his personal crisis of identity and the eventual shutting down of Exodus International in My Exodus: From Fear to Grace.
Released Tuesday and with a few chapters authored by Chambers' wife, Leslie, My Exodus goes from Alan's childhood, his seeking out and receiving therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction, his marriage, including a description of his honeymoon, and eventually the closure of Exodus International. more >>
When it comes to taking action to help Syrian refugees, 90-year-old Marion Courtney has got her head in the game — literally. The British woman shaved her head on Saturday to show support and raise funds for Christian Aid, a charity whose objective is to support those affected by war and violence in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan.
Courtney has already raised £610 or $924 on the London-based charitable giving site, Just Giving, as of Tuesday. Her page on the site reads: "Having seen the plight of the children and their families in Syria and remembering the exodus of the Jewish people from Germany, the troubles in Syria are the greatest that this generation has known."
She continues, "I just want to help by raising as much funds for the Christian Aid ACTS Alliance to help the refugees on the ground." more >>