A town in New York that is awaiting a decision from the United States Supreme Court on the constitutionality of prayers held during its town meetings continues to observe the practice.
Town of Greece, a community whose prayer policy for meetings sparked a major church-state lawsuit, opened their latest monthly meeting with a prayer.
"Leaders of this town of 96,000 outside Rochester say they have no plans to shake up the longtime routine unless, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court orders them to," reported The Associated Press. more >>
Members of the Thankful Baptist Church in Rome, Ga., were thrown into world of sorrow Sunday night after their pastor, Nim Russell, 55, was killed in a car accident hours after celebrating his 23rd year as their leader in a powerful worship service. His wife, Julia, was also injured.
"Right now we are really grieving; we have really been given a shock," Carlton Gibson, associate pastor at Thankful Baptist Church, told CBS Atlanta surrounded by mourning parishioners. "We never expected this to happen. In fact, we were just ministering to our pastor yesterday for his 23rd anniversary here at Thankful."
Virginia's Democratic Party has elected a new chairman despite initial opposition from gay rights activists over his lack of support for state recognition of same-sex marriages.
Dwight Jones, mayor of Richmond and a Baptist preacher, was recently elected to the position of party chair by a majority of the DPVA's State Central Committee, which has 300 members.
In a statement released after the results, Mayor Jones said that he looked forward to the position, as he has been a "Democrat my whole life." more >>
Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong Church in NYC, recently expressed strong support for pop star Justin Bieber, who has attended the Pentecostal megachurch and reportedly sought to get baptized through the ministry.
"I love Justin, he's a good kid. He's trying to figure this out," Lentz told CBN. "His behavior ... you know, he's figuring it out."
Lentz added, "What should we do? … People who are like, 'Is he even a Christian?' With Justin, I tell people grace and acceptance does not mean approval. I can accept you as a human being and not approve of your actions. That's how we've been loved. We love because we were first loved." more >>
Brian C. Houston, leader of one of the world's largest Christian churches, is denying allegations that he promotes "Chrislam," a theological blend of Christianity and Islam, after stating in a December 2013 sermon, "Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God."
With a firestorm raging online among his critics for more than a week, the influential Sydney, Australian pastor of the 30,000-member Hillsong Church finally issued a statement Thursday night (or late Friday morning his time) regarding allegations that he was promoting "Chrislam."
"The spirit of the message was exactly the opposite of what some critics are claiming. If you listened to the message in its entirety, my point was that; who a Muslim extremist believes God is, determines what they believe God does, and what they believe God loves," Pastor Houston insists in the statement, titled "Correction of Misinformation," which can be read in full below. more >>
Nearly a year after a now former elder filed charges of mistreatment against Pastor Mark Driscoll and other leaders at Mars Hill Church, a board of advisors and accountability for the church said the charges were determined to be non-disqualifying. At the same time, the church has taken the charges seriously and "corrective actions" have been taken.
In a letter to church elders and leaders sent late Wednesday, Michael Van Skaik, who is chairman of the Board of Advisors and Accountability for Mars Hill, wrote that the Board made an effort to substantiate the charges made by former elder Dave Kraft (although his name was not mentioned in the letter) and at least seven unnamed witnesses.
"In an effort to substantiate the validity of the anonymous charges, we immediately sent out over one hundred letters to former elders and staff at Mars Hill Church from the previous two years, inviting their feedback and perspectives regarding their time on staff at the church, particularly their interactions with Pastor Mark and the Executive Elders," Skaik stated in the letter (full letter below). more >>