The Episcopal Church celebrated the 40th anniversary of the denomination's ordination of the first women as priests Tuesday. In 1974, 11 women were ordained at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Celebrations for the occasion included a service held last Saturday at the Church of the Advocate and hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities has named Shirley Hoogstra as its seventh president, following a tumultuous year under which they fired her predecessor after serving less than a year on the job. Hoogstra, a former practicing attorney turned vice president of student life at Calvin College, will become the first female to hold this position.
"I'm excited for this opportunity because I am passionate about Christian education generally and Christian higher education specifically," Hoogstra said in a statement. "The world is increasingly complex, and the liberal arts education that CCCU institutions offer prepares students to understand why faith deeply matters to people. And the Christian faith gives hope and meaning when hope and meaning in life can seem illusive."
Hoogstra's predecessor, Edward Blews was fired from his position in October, with little explanation from his former employer, aside from releasing a statement that said the decision had been made after "careful investigation and prayerful consideration." Blews had been named CCCU president in 2012 following an 18 month search process. more >>
Hope Hilley Carpenter, wife of Pastor Ron Carpenter, has addressed for the very first time their marital woes that were made public last year before the congregation she and her husband founded over 20 years ago. Mrs. Carpenter repented and apologized to members of Redemption World Outreach Center, but did not cite the specific sins or behavior she regards as stumbling blocks to her husband, family and church community.
This past Sunday, Pastor Carpenter took a few minutes before his wife joined him before the congregation to touch on his sermon series, "What Makes a Man?" Carpenter referenced Ephesians 5:25 and 1 Corinthians 13, the first a Bible passage that call on husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the Church, and the second a reminder to believers that love is the greatest virtue.
When Carpenter finally transitioned from his brief sermon to call his wife before the congregation, worshippers stood to their feet, many of them clapping and some of them hooting in joy, according to a video recording of the service. more >>
Persecution of Christians in Syria is part of the worst displacement of religious communities in recent history, according to a recently released report from the U.S. State Department.
Released Monday by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, the International Religious Freedom Report for 2013 stated that last year "the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory."
"In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs," read the report. more >>
An appeals court has ruled in favor of a small diocese in Illinois that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences, including the denomination's appointment of openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop.
In a ruling handed down Thursday, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court sided with the Anglican Diocese of Quincy over the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
The ruling upheld a lower court decision that ruled the Quincy Diocese's property and funds to be the possession of the Anglican Church North America, the more theologically conservative group that the diocese presently affiliates with. more >>
President Obama has nominated Rabbi David Saperstein to be the next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom at the State Department, a position that has been vacant since late last year. The announcement on Monday also marks the first time that a non-Christian will hold the job, which was created in 1998.
"I am grateful that Rabbi Saperstein has chosen to dedicate his talent to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead," Obama said. Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, now awaits Senate confirmation.
The nomination came with some controversy, namely the fact the post sat vacant for nine months. Intended for the purpose of promoting and defending religious freedom around the world, the position was not filled for two years until Suzan Johnson Cook took the post in 2011. However, Cook left in October during a time of intensified religious persecution globally, especially in the Middle East. more >>