Anna Sutterer 3-18-2019

Photo by Anna Sutterer

Churches across the nation are recognizing the value of their land how it can be leveraged to address the scarcity of affordable housing. An interfaith alliance in Colorado, which found faith organizations own more than 5,000 acres in the Denver metro area, communicated with 20 churches interested in transforming their unused land into housing. According to project reports from several church networks and partnered developers in northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, more than 5,000 affordable housing units have been built, preserved or are being aided by church organizing in the area.

Abby Olcese 3-18-2019

Co-directors and writers Dan Madison Savage and Britt Poulton made Them That Follow out of a shared interest in religious communities, their long-term effects on the people raised in them, and encouraging empathy toward misunderstood population groups. Sojourners spoke with the filmmakers and star Thomas Mann about how those motivations manifest in the film, and how movies can help build our capacity for empathy.

Christina Colón 3-18-2019

Illustration by Rebekah Fulton

A murkiness in the numbers, combined with a lack of training and awareness, has made sexual harassment in housing a widespread, yet under the radar, problem. But local housing authorities are working to combat the problem on the ground. Their efforts could serve as a model for other communities.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks on live television following fatal shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand. March 15, 2019. TVNZ/via REUTERS TV

At least one gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 40 during Friday prayers at two New Zealand mosques in the country's worst ever mass shooting, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as terrorism.

Anna Sutterer 3-14-2019

Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother and prominent activist under threat of deportation, on Thursday called to thank faith leaders and supporters who petitioned at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in Washington, D.C., for a stay of removal and visa approval for Vizguerra.

Kietryn Zychal 3-14-2019

Image via Rebecca McHood

Arizona is the birthplace and home of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She became the first woman appointed to the high court in 1981 and sponsored ERA legislation in her home state in the 1970s when she was a Republican state senator.

California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks after being elected governor of the state during an election night party in Los Angeles. Nov. 6, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will impose a moratorium on the state's death penalty on Wednesday, granting reprieves to all 737 inmates on death row and closing the state's execution chamber, an administration source said.

Sandi Villarreal 3-11-2019

Rev. Lacette (Rev. L) Cross

Amid ongoing conversations about the harm caused by a “purity” ethic taught within mostly evangelical churches in the 1990s-2000s (and for some, still today), a number of ethicists, theologians, pastors, and educators have been quietly shaping a new ethic — some for years.

Sandi Villarreal 3-07-2019

Some credit the negative reactions to purity culture as fueling the exodus of young adults from the evangelical church — in 2006, white evangelicals comprised 23 percent of Americans, and that dropped to 17 percent by 2016. As they have entered adulthood, become parents themselves, and have perhaps long since rejected a purity culture that they experienced as harmful to body and spirit, many find themselves left without anything to replace it. But a handful of pastors, writers, and activists have been finding their way forward — through shared storytelling, interpreting a more inclusive biblical sexual ethic, and offering new models for the church to talk about sexuality in a holistic, faithful way.

Pastor Corey Brooks lived on a motel roof for 94 days with just a tent, a portable toilet, and daily meals from a trusted friend during the 2012 Chicago winter to protest sex trafficking inside the motel. Photo courtesy Project H.O.O.D.

In 2012, Pastor Corey Brooks spent 94 days living on a motel roof. He only came down for two funerals, which happen often in his community. He was protesting the motel owners, who were involved in local sex trafficking and gang violence that had a stronghold on his South Side Chicago community. Brooks’ goal was to convince the owners to sell the property and end the illicit activities. Eventually they caved, and Brooks was able to buy the lot with help from actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry and Ozinga Concrete, one of the longest-serving family businesses in Chicagoland.

Liam Adams 3-07-2019

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

For over a decade, activists have pushed for the creation of a database in the Southern Baptist Convention that would list credibly accused predators. They argue that, using such a database, a church’s hiring committee could check candidates against the list, thus preventing some of the shuffling of predators that the SBC and other denominations have seen. The SBC has yet to adopt the idea, however, arguing they can’t exercise authority over local, autonomous churches and make them report abuse. Survivors and activists , however, say that shouldn’t stop the SBC from trying.

Beverly Banks 3-05-2019

Image via Beverly Banks 

After three months, Mirzai traveled to the Oinofyta camp near Athens. Mirzai recounted his difficult journey from Greece to Italy, riding for 36 hours under a truck before reaching the border. He said he then spent 15 days in Italy before traveling to Paris with a smuggler.

Andrew J. Wight 3-05-2019

Daniela Benavides, 12, Anye Manco, 15, and Shirley Moreno, 15, are three of the female students in the Robotronics team at the Luis Maria Jimenez school in Aguazul municipality, Casanare, Colombia. Photos by Andrew J. Wight for Sojourners.

In an isolated part of Colombia better known for rice, pineapples, and paramilitaries, something else is taking root: the next generation of female scientists. In 2016, Colombia’s government signed a peace treaty with the FARC guerilla group to bring an end to the country’s 50-year civil conflict — but the scars and traumas of that era echo throughout the countryside. As Sojourners visited the tiny town of San José del Bubuy, in Casanare department (state), physicist turned school teacher Jhon Vega tells of some of the challenges in this new era.

Jessica Kantrowitz 3-04-2019

Sandra Cordero, director of Families Belong Together and Erika Pinheiro, attorney and co-founder with Al Otro Lado, in Mexicali-Calexico, Mexico March 2. REUTERS/Cristian Torres

Saturday evening a story broke on The Washington Post that 29 parents were at the U.S. border with legal advocates, reapplying for asylum and attempting to get back the children that had been taken from them into U.S. custody. At the same time, Glennon Doyle and her nonprofit group Together Rising sent out an email giving more background on how those 29 parents were found and brought together to the border. Two of Together Rising’s board members, Liz Book and Glennon’s sister Amanda Doyle, were there with the families and sending live video updates. Initially, they were told that there was no capacity to process the asylum seekers — but around 8 p.m. Saturday they began allowing all 29 parents and their families to enter.

Kietryn Zychal 2-28-2019

Image via Kietryn Zychal 

Inside the court, the arguments were more complicated and hinged on previous decisions about the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Justices questioned what constitutes an endorsement of religion? Which precedents from which cases should apply?

the Web Editors 2-26-2019

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

The decision-making body of the United Methodist Church on Tuesday voted to clarify and strengthen the restrictions on LGBTQ members, in a plan that many observers say is unconstitutional. The Traditional Plan passed by a vote of 438-384.

 

 

Kietryn Zychal 2-25-2019

Image via Rebecca Drobis

CNN commentator Van Jones, co-founder of #cut50, an initiative to reduce the prison population, moderated a Saturday morning panel at the annual winter meeting of governors. Jones worked with the Trump administration to rally support for the First Step Act, which the president signed into law in December. Jones called Republican Gov. Phil Bryant “our secret weapon” in convincing Donald Trump to support the criminal justice reform bill.

Alessandro Battaglia, a survivor of sexual abuse reacts as founding member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) Denise Buchanan looks on, in front of Saint Peter's Square. Feb. 24, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Pope Francis ended his conference on the sexual abuse of children by clergy on Sunday by calling for an "all-out battle" against a crime that should be "erased from the face of the earth." But victims and their advocates expressed deep disappointment, saying Francis had merely repeated old promises and offered few new concrete proposals.

2-23-2019

Pope Francis attends the four-day meeting on the global sexual abuse crisis, at the Vatican Feb. 22, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

A nun and a woman journalist delivered the toughest criticism of Church leaders heard so far at Pope Francis' sexual abuse conference on Saturday, accusing them of hypocrisy and covering up horrendous crimes against children.

Demonstrators carry a crucifix while clashing with security forces in Urena, Venezuela, February 23, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

The clashes occurred as Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who most Western nations recognize as Venezuela's legitimate leader, gave a personal send off to an aid caravan from the Colombian city of Cucuta.

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