NEW YORK — It would be several hours before Pope Francis would eventually arrive for a solemn interfaith service at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum honoring victims of the September 11 terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan Friday morning but he was already proving to be a unifying force among the diverse throng of invited guests who were patiently waiting to meet him.
And for Monsignor Donald Beckmann of the St. Ignatius Martyr Church in Long Beach, Brooklyn, it was a sign. A sign said Beckmann of Francis' unifying effect which he says is due to more than anything else, the pontiff's simple presentation of himself as a proclaimer of Jesus. Nothing more.
"I think one of the things that I've been touched by is the way so many groups of Christians, including Evangelicals, have noticed the way that his focus is not on himself, his focus is on Jesus," said Beckmann as he waited along Church Street between Liberty and Cortlandt Streets to get past the security check-point to the museum. "Jesus is the one we share in common, Francis sees himself as someone who proclaims Jesus and in that, he can be what we Catholics feel the papacy is meant to be — a focus of unity for all the Christian people." more >>
Members of El Tabernaculo de Fe, a large Hispanic Oklahoma City congregation, are now reportedly arguing with each other as their pastor, Rev. Velio Estrada, is locked in a legal battle with the Oklahoma City District Council of the Assemblies of God over who has rights to the church, as well as the management of the church's money.
Recently filed court records cited by KOCO.com said there have been heated arguments within the church, with some members even filing protective orders against others. One church member claimed to have received threats, but did not provide details.
Information cited from court records in an earlier report said the District Council had asked Estrada to step down after concerns were raised by church leaders over missing equipment which was sold despite a judge's order. The pastor was also alleged to have committed adultery. more >>
Salem Lutheran Church of Austin, Texas, a congregation long-known for its emphasis on inclusiveness regarding its worshipers, was abuzz with excitement over some unwanted guests.
A member of the theologically liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Salem's website includes a lengthy welcome statement for "all national backgrounds, all economic levels, all educational levels, all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all political leanings, all differently-abled people in mind and in body," among others.
But when it comes to those who inhabit its edifice, Salem Lutheran recently had to draw the line. In September, church leadership decided to remove approximately one million bees from within the structure. more >>
The largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States has for the first time appointed an openly gay person to serve as interim executive director for one of its agencies.
Presbyterian Church (USA) announced Wednesday that Luis Antonio De La Rosa will be appointed to the position of interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
An attorney who campaigned to have PCUSA become more accepting of homosexuality, De La Rosa said in an interview with Presbyterian News Service that he considered his appointment to be a "glass ceiling" moment. more >>
Ta'Rhonda Jones says she got a sign from Jesus Christ before landing the role of Cookie Lyons' assistant on FOX's breakout series "Empire" in 2014, and now her level of fame makes it difficult for her to worship in church.
"The preacher will say, 'Y'all give it up for the girl from 'Empire,' so I take the back door to exit," she told The New York Post. "The bad part is that people that did me wrong in the past now try to reach out to me like we are friends."
When Jones, 27, initially auditioned for the show, she was going through a tough time trying to transition from a job at a nursing home to a possible hospital job. When the opportunity to join the cast of "Empire" came along, she prayed for a sign. more >>
Governments and media organizations in the Western world must stop ignoring the mass slaughter of believers in the Middle East, says George J. Marlin, chairman of Aid to the Church in Need, an organization that provides aid to persecuted Christians.
During an interview with The Christian Post Marlin revealed what he believes to be the only solution to defeating radical Islamic groups such as the Islamic State, whose militants are ravaging the Middle East.
He also told CP that the Western world has been too quiet concerning the hell believers are living in inside Muslim controlled nations, such as Syria and Iraq, and that American Christians need to defend the rights of their brothers and sisters around the world. more >>