As millions of Americans go to the stores for frenzied shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, a group of Texas churches have sought to provide an alternative.
"Bless Friday," a time away from the shopping centers and the seasonal sales, involves congregations organizing community service projects for Black Friday, with the hopes of someday making such volunteer work the norm.
For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time of plenty, where tables are overflowing with all manners of foods and drinks.
The turkey often gets the prominent placing, along with mash potatoes, pumpkin pies, salads, cranberry sauce, and many other items that remind people of all they have available.
Yet for some, Thanksgiving is not a holiday of abundance but deprivation, where neither a food-filled table nor extended family are present. more >>
Thanksgiving is as wonderful a holiday as they come. This American holiday represents the commencement of "the most wonderful time of the year" and celebrates the thankfulness of the early American settlers for their survival. It is a day for reflection in the heart and celebration of the hearth, and in a pluralistic America, it is a holiday sacred to all.
In recent years, Black Friday has been celebrated as a holiday in its own right, with its own rites and virtues, plundering other holidays' themes and imagery to create a bizarre tradition all its own: The day of hysterical shopping blends Christmas marketing with Back-to-School season commercialism and a New Years' Eve-like countdown to midnight.
But this year, corporate marauders have chosen to literally pillage time from Thanksgiving Day itself. Many American retailers will be commencing their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, rather than doing families the courtesy of waiting until midnight. USA Today reported recently that Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Macy's, Kohl's, J. C. Penney, and Old Navy are among the chains that will have locations open for business on Thanksgiving. Their likely reasons include a short holiday season and shaky profits in light of a weak American economy. more >>
One of the largest churches in North America will soon be charging entry fees for visitors who are there for sight-seeing purposes.
Washington National Cathedral, located in the District of Columbia, announced Monday that it will begin charging an entry fee in January for a "six-month trial period."
Possibly signaling a national trend, The Cleveland Clinic, ranked the fourth-best American hospital by U.S. News & World Report, announced that it plans to cut $330 million from its 2014 budget, and attributed about half of those cuts, roughly $165 million, directly to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as "Obamacare."
Massachusetts General Hospital, ranked number two by U.S. News & World Report, also reported increased budget cuts but did not have a specific number.
"We had to take about $330 million out of next year's budget," Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications at the Cleveland Clinic, said in an interview on Monday. Sheil told The Christian Post that "half of the 330" is directly attributable to Obamacare. more >>
A United Methodist Church leader has been elected to the post of General Secretary/President for the National Council of Churches.
James E. Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, was elected earlier this week by the NCC Governing Board.