Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national correspondent at RNS.

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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: Anglican Leaders Did Not 'Vote Us Off the Island'

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Image via Jerome Socolovsky/RNS

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is describing the recent censure of his church over allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriages as a “fair” move by the wider Anglican Communion. Anglican primates voted last month in Canterbury, England, to remove the Episcopal Church from votes on doctrine and to ban it from representing the communion in ambassadorial relationships for three years.

Obama at Prayer Breakfast: ‘Jesus Is a Good Cure for Fear’

President Barack Obama bows his head in prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Feb. 4, 2016. Image via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/RNS.

Speaking slowly at times as he talked about how he is comforted by Scripture and the faith of others, Obama said he has lately focused on a Bible verse from 2 Timothy: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

He said now is the best period to have that scriptural assurance.

“What better time in these changing and tumultuous times to have Jesus standing beside us, steadying our minds, cleansing our hearts, pointing us towards what matters,” he said.

Obama Nominates New Faith Leaders to Advise White House

Image via /Shutterstock.com

The White House has announced plans to add an evangelical-turned-Episcopal blogger, a Ferguson, Mo., activist, and a Methodist megachurch pastor to President Obama’s list of faith-based advisers.

Religious Voices Respond to State of the Union

President Obama SOTU

U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address in Washington Jan. 12. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool.
 

In his last State of the Union address, President Obama made an impassioned case against religious bigotry and cast other key issues in moral terms.

He rejected “any politics that targets people because of race or religion.”

“This is not a matter of political correctness,” he said. “This is a matter of understanding just what it is that makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.”

Franklin Graham Starts Cross-Country Rallies: ‘America Needs the Christian Vote’

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, addresses the crowd at the Festival of Hope in Haiti, on Jan. 9, 2011. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Allison Shelley

Evangelist Franklin Graham kicked off a “Decision America Tour” on Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa, urging evangelical Christians to pray about the upcoming election and vote for candidates of any party who agree with their biblical values.

“Our moral walls and gates are down,” said Graham, standing before 2,600 people at the state’s gold-domed Capitol. “Any type of wicked thought and activity can come and go and our educators and our politicians and our churches seem many times to be more concerned about political correctness than God’s truth and his righteousness.”

Black Church Group Holds First-Ever Cross-Racial Gathering to Tackle Racism

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

The massacre of nine African-American worshippers during a Bible study at a church in Charleston, S.C., earlier this year has led black and white churches to come together in an effort to improve race relations.

On Dec. 15, the Conference of National Black Churches, a decades-old black church organization, hosts the latest such interracial religious gathering in the city where the shooting occurred in June.

More than 300 clergy and community leaders are expected to attend the three-day (Dec. 15-17) conference. It will include a worship service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the place where the Bible study was being held. Dylann Roof, the white suspect in the killings, who had hoped to “start a race war,” has been charged with federal hate crimes.

Churches Settling Refugees Against Governors' Wishes

Image via REUTERS / David Ryder / RNS

Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch north of Atlanta, has helped resettle a Syrian family, despite an order from Gov. Nathan Deal that the state would not accept Syrian refugees.

Bryant Wright, the church’s pastor and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told CNN Dec. 9 he understands the governor is “concerned about the security of the citizens of the state. But as Christians and as a church, we want to reach out with the love of Christ to these folks.”

He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his church had been planning to help the family before the recent attacks in France.

Bishop Michael Curry Recovering From Surgery

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Image via Adelle M. Banks / RNS

The presiding bishop released a video Dec. 6 from his hospital bed, from which he asked a nurse to explain his condition. The nurse said that because of the subdural hematoma, Curry had some “word-finding difficulty” but should be in “great shape” as soon as the end of the week.

The medical setback for the church’s leader comes as the 1.9 million-member faith group released new statistics indicating its continuing slide in membership and participation.

There has been an almost 20 percent drop in active members in the last 10 years and a 25 percent drop in the average Sunday attendance in that same period. More than half of Episcopal parishes — 53 percent — have seen a decline in average Sunday attendance of at least 10 percent in the last five years.

Bread for the World Says Hunger Costs U.S. $160 Billion in Health Care

Hunger and food insecurity are so widespread in the United States they add $160 billion to national health care spending, according to a Christian advocacy group.

The Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said on Nov. 23 that hunger was a key factor in the U.S. having the worst infant mortality rate among developed countries.

“It is like a massive terrorist attack,” he said at the presentation of the group’s annual Hunger Report.

'Black Lives Matter' Signs at Churches Vandalized

Image via River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation / RNS

Banners posted at predominantly white churches across the country in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement have been vandalized — some of them more than once.

Since the Unitarian Universalist Association passed a resolution last summer affirming the movement, 17 of more than 50 congregations that have posted signs have seen them vandalized or stolen.

The Rev. Neal Anderson, senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada in Reno, said his largely white congregation posted its fourth sign after the third one was stolen on Halloween weekend. The first banner was vandalized in August.

“For me the vandalism was sort of this physical and visible sign of white supremacy,” he said of the first act of vandalism.

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