Hoping to challenge his congregation's beliefs on poverty, a Mormon Bishop transformed himself into a homeless man and loitered outside the church before service started last Sunday.
With the help of a makeup artist friend, the Utah-based David Musselman adopted a disguise that added mutton-chops, dark bags under his eyes and disfigured teeth. He added a crutch and then waited outside to see his church's response.
While Musselman had braced himself for a mean response from passerbyers, "what surprised me the most was the reaction of indifference." more >>
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 >>
A Georgia pastor began a small "bridge ministry" by feeding 50 homeless people who live under bridges and sharing the Gospel with them seven years ago. However, last weekend that number grew to 1,500 people who were in need of a pre-Thanksgiving dinner that was prepared and served by hundreds of volunteers.
"It was amazing. We usually grow about 200 a year but it seems like there's more desperation in our nation today than there was a year ago," said Pastor Roger Gardner from the New Hope Worship Center in Augusta, Ga., reports Fox News.
Their outreach event was a part of their annual tradition to feed the homeless the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day as they believe that individuals who live in the streets should be embraced, not abandoned. more >>
Pastor Creflo Dollar's World Changers International Church in Georgia has sent 3,000 boxes with everything needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the Atlanta area, as part of the "Thanksgiving Feeding Families" initiative.
"One of the best ways to express gratitude to God for what He has done for us is to serve others," Dollar said in a statement. "We commend the hundreds of volunteers and those who supported this ministry financially to make it possible for us to serve 3,000 families who need our help this Thanksgiving season."
"Some church volunteers chose to participate as a family as a hands-on servanthood lesson," added Minister Kenneth Terry, director of ministry affairs and outreach. "They arrived early Saturday morning, and many stayed for hours to interact with recipients." more >>
In his first major written work as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis denounced the world's "tyrannical" economic system while urging further support for the poor, arguing that the church must be poor and be for the poor.
Francis criticized "ideologies that defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation," which he attributed to an "idolatry of money" – much like he has done in the past, when he blasted the free market system and claimed that a global "cult of money" was holding the world captive.
The Vatican leader added in his 50,000-word "apostolic exhortation" that the current economic system is "unjust at its root." more >>