The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted an official statement on Friday denouncing its previous theories that black skin color is a sign of a divine curse, or that black people are descended from the biblical figure Cain, and said that its past ban on black priests stemmed from an announcement from former church president Brigham Young in 1852.
"The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else," the 2,000 word statement on the official church website read. "Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
While the ban on black priests was lifted in 1978, The Associated Press and other sources have pointed out that there had never been much in the way of explanation from the church for its past stance. more >>
A Texas diocese that opted to break away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences has filed a legal response before the state supreme court.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth filed Friday in response to TEC's motion for a rehearing regarding the legal dispute over the name and property of the diocese. In the 17-page document, the breakaway diocesan leadership argued that TEC's lawsuit over the property should be dismissed.
"TEC has no more control over Appellants' property or affairs than Royal Dutch Shell has over the property or affairs of ExxonMobil," reads the response in part. "The Court noted probable jurisdiction of this direct appeal two years ago. By May 2014, it will have been on this Court's docket for three years. It is time to dispose of it." more >>
Church leaders around the world have paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, with Pope Francis praying that people will follow the example of justice and common good set forth by South Africa's first-ever black president.
"In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss," Francis wrote in a telegram on Friday, sending his condolences to Mandela's family and all the people in South Africa.
"Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation's citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President's example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations." more >>
The United Methodist Church had its largest amount of funds donated online in a single-day during the #GivingTuesday observance, the denomination's leaders report.
About $6.5 million was donated to UMC missions on the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to the UMC General Board of Global Ministries. The idea of putting a focus on "giving" rather than "shopping" on the day after Cyber Monday and three days after Black Friday appears to have gained momentum this year thanks to social media.
Leaders from the Assemblies of God and Church of God in Christ participated in a historic meeting in Springfield, Mo., earlier this week, marking the first time two of America's largest Pentecostal movements gathered for dialogue.
"This is a wonderful day," said AG General Superintendent George O. Wood. "Meeting with our like-minded brothers from the Church of God in Christ is something we and the leadership of COGIC have longed to do for years, and now it has finally happened!"
During a chapel service, Wood reflected that the long-standing separation between the two groups occurred because of the racial culture in America almost a century ago, which shaped the church rather than the Bible. He added that the meeting represents a step toward healing that rift and moving forward. more >>
The Episcopal Church has filed a new motion against a diocese that broke away from the liberal mainline denomination over theological differences and the treatment of its bishop.
In a motion delivered Monday against the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, The Episcopal Church named four diocesan leaders including its bishop, the Rev. Mark Lawrence.
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), the group within the Diocese that remains with the national denomination, is arguing that the diocesan leadership violated state law. more >>