Christian conferences are often pitched as life-changing opportunities to fellowship and inspire spiritual growth through the sharing of the Gospel by popular pastors and singers with major followings in the Christian community. With tickets to some of these events costing up to $799 to register, according to an investigation by The Christian Post, concerns are being raised about the monetization of the Gospel that the Bible declares is free.
"I think it may reduce the number of people in attendance," Steve Brower, pastor at Faith & Victory Fellowship in Freeport, New York, told CP. "We also don't want to reinforce the association that the world has of the church being all about money."
Popular televangelist Joyce Meyer, of the Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries, also does not charge a fee for all but one of her conferences because she wants to reach as many people with the Gospel as possible. more >>
Several reports over the past week have said that Coptic Christian families in the Beni Suef governorate in Egypt have seen their homes burned down and have been forced to flee angry Muslim mobs who accuse them of insulting Islam in Facebook posts.
Nigeria's Pulse news website reported that Coptic homes in the region have been stoned and attacked with Molotov cocktails, setting several houses on fire, despite attempts by some Muslim youths to defend the Christians.
Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston said Sunday that Mark Driscoll, who resigned as the lead pastor of a U.S. megachurch last October due to a controversy surrounding his leadership style and statements he had made, is not attending their upcoming conferences.
"After personal interaction with Mark Driscoll today (Sunday), we have agreed that he will no longer be coming to Australia or the U.K. to attend Hillsong Conference," Houston said in a statement Sunday.
An online petition, saying Hillsong is "both endorsing and legitimizing" Driscoll's views about women by hosting him, gained more than 3,000 signatures. It mentioned Driscoll's alleged communications from 2000 written under a pseudonym, saying we are living in a "pussified nation" with "men being raised by bitter penis envying burned feministed single mothers." more >>
The Catholic Church has been increasingly turning to Africa and Asia to find priests to staff its parishes in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world because it's now struggling to find native priests in these areas, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
"A growing phenomenon within the Church is the use of African and Asian priests in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere where there are too few native priests to staff parishes," noted CARA in a report highlighted on the Center's blog 1964 Thursday.
The report explained that across the world the ratio of Catholics per priest has grown with the number of Catholics per priest increasing from 1,895 in 1980 to 2,965 in 2012. more >>
In a novel method of attracting worshipers, Unleashed Community Church in Oregon, started by a couple who got a vision from God to use people's relationships with their pets to show His love for mankind, is now encouraging parishioners to bring their dogs along for Sunday Service.
Ruth Rini and her husband, Ron, who run the church started last September, reveal on the church's Facebook page that Unleashed Community Church is the "first dog-friendly church in the Eugene/Springfield area" and that "we are here to share God's unconditional love for people and pets."
"We realized there was no church community for those who needed pastoral care and a community of support and friendship during all the various circumstances people experience with their beloved pets, who are members of their family," explained the couple. "We also realized that dogs and other pets are a perfect example of God's unconditional love for us, the relationship between humans and animals could be used to demonstrate how much God cares for us and for all of creation." more >>
A narrow red stain that has remained for years beneath a painting of a crucified Christ at the Saint John the Evangelist church in Newport, Rhode Island, has led the church's pastor to speculate on its possible meaning and the presence of Jesus.
Providence Journal reported on Monday that the 140-year-old Episcopal church has recently been attracting attention for the strange rust-colored stain, which in the right light appears to be coming directly from Jesus' crucified feet from the 12th Station of the Cross painting.
The mark has been there for years, but the church's leadership has resisted trying to turn it into a "roadside curiosity." more >>