Christina Colón is a writer and editor. Follow her at cjcreativecontent.com and @CJaneColon

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Nationwide Observances of 'Day of Mourning and Lament' Grieve Two Pandemics

by Christina Colón 06-01-2020

A man passes graffiti on a building a day after protests over the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

In more than 60 cities across the country, people stopped on June 1 to remember the more than 100,000 people who have died from COVID-19 as part of a National Day of Mourning and Lament.

A 'Momentous and Tragic' Moment as U.S. Surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths

by Christina Colón 05-27-2020

The body of a deceased person is prepared to be transferred at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brooklyn. April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The United States surpassed 100,000 deaths related to the novel coronavirus on Wednesday.

It’s a staggering number representing nearly a third of the 353,011 COVID-related deaths worldwide. In the U.S., more Americans have died of the virus than in the Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Gulf wars combined.

Virginia Pastors Weigh Reopening Churches as State Orders Lift

by Christina Colón 05-15-2020

First Baptist Church of Lexington, Va. will open its doors for services this Sunday. 

This Sunday, churches in parts of Virginia will be permitted to open their doors for services as part of phase one of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan.

It’s a moment many pastors in the state have been eagerly anticipating.

For Seminary Students, Pandemic Brings Change and Questions of Calling

by Christina Colón 05-12-2020

When campus life shuttered in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, more than 14 million students across the nation were forced to adapt to new routines. Campus lawns speckled with students gave way to uniform rows of faces on video calls. The now coined “Zoom fatigue” replaced “pulling an all-nighter” at the library.

While the pandemic has strained students from all academic disciplines, seminary and divinity students have felt unique pressure as they discern calls to enter positions and spaces of worship that may not resemble what they did before the virus took hold.

Four students shared with Sojourners what their studies look like amid the pandemic and how this moment is shaping their call.

In a Pandemic, We Must All Be Fact-Checkers

by Christina Colón 05-05-2020

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

In the 18 hours after President Trump publicly mused at a news conference about treating the coronavirus by injecting disinfectants such as bleach and Lysol, 30 calls were made to New York City’s poison control about toxic exposure to household cleaners.

Protestant Pastors Increasingly See Link Between Global Warming, Human Activity

by Christina Colón 04-21-2020

Photo by Harrison Moore on Unsplash.

It’s the first time that a majority of Protestant pastors have according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

Amid Pandemic, the Way We Talk About Death Is Changing

by Christina Colón 04-15-2020

A pastor wearing a protective mask is seen at The Green-Wood Cemetery during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 11, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

As of April 15, more than 101,000 people worldwide have died of the novel coronavirus. In the U.S., 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have issued orders for people to stay in their homes to slow the spread. But with at least 1.6 million infected globally, the mortality rate has forced an increasing number of people to confront a topic they tend to otherwise avoid: death.

The Peace Poets are Expanding the Circle

by Christina Colón 07-01-2019
The group is creating community across racial, national, and religious borders.

The Peace Poets.

BEFORE THEY ARE hip-hop performers, educators, and poets, the Peace Poets are a family. “It’s been a development of a brotherhood,” Frank Antonio López (aka Frankie 4) says of the group’s formation. López and Abraham Velazquez Jr. (aka A-B-E) met when they were 3 years old. Enmanuel Candelario (aka The Last Emcee) was introduced to the pair in grade school and introduced to Frantz Jerome (aka Ram 3) in high school. Candelario would go on to meet Luke Nephew (aka Lu Aya) at Fordham University in New York.

Much of the Peace Poets’ foundational development occurred in Harlem at Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a leadership and educational organization for black and Latinx youth. It was there, López says, that the Peace Poets were “politicized through art.”

When Your Sexual Harasser Has Keys to Your Apartment

by Christina Colón 03-18-2019
Bringing Sexual Harassment in Housing Out from Behind Closed Doors

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.

Stormwater Pollution Is On the Rise. These People of Faith Are Trying to Change That

by Christina Colón 01-03-2019

The Chesapeake Bay in Md. Shutterstock. 

Stormwater pollution is the fastest growing source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed—a 64,000 square mile drainage basin that sprawls across parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, New York, and Washington, D.C. One of the contributors: religious congregations. 

Nearly 150 Climate Activists Arrested in Mass Demonstration for Green New Deal

by Christina Colón, by Kayla Lattimore 12-10-2018

More than 1,000 young adults risked arrest Monday in Washington, D.C. by flooding the offices of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). It’s the second time this winter that the Sunrise Movement has taken to the capitol in what Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash referred to as part of a concentrated effort, “[to] build policy support and people power” around a Green New Deal.

From Grassroots to Government: A Climate Assessment Presents a Moral Opportunity

by Christina Colón 12-03-2018
Editorial credit: Rachael Warriner / Shutterstock.com.

Washington DC/USA- November 13, 2018:Student activists with the Sunrise Movement occupy Nancy Pelosi's office to demand that she and the Democrats act on climate change. Editorial credit: Rachael Warriner / Shutterstock.com.

A recent U.S. climate assessment made headlines last week for its conclusion that the victims of climate change are no longer some future generation, but us — and we’re feeling the effects now.

The Power of the Pulpit

by Christina Colón 11-21-2018
Review of 'She Preached the Word: Women's Ordination in Modern America' by Benjamin R. Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin.

WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE, I asked one of my faith leaders at the time why no women were in positions of authority in that ministry. He said that the male leaders’ wives were always available to serve as mentors. Besides, he added, if they hired a woman, she would just get married and quit to raise a family.

I left, I fumed, and then I read Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist, which told me that not only could women serve as pastors and leaders in the church, but that Jesus wanted them to.

If that were so, I wondered, why had I encountered so few female faith leaders?

Benjamin R. Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin have provided an answer. In She Preached the Word: Women’s Ordination in Modern America, Knoll and Bolin examine why women still make up just 15 percent of congregational clergy.

'The Many' Creates Liturgies that Leave Room for Lament

by Christina Colón 11-09-2018

The Many: Darren Calhoun, Hannah Rand, and Leslie Michele. 

The Many is an indie folk/gospel, liturgically-grounded worship band that creates music for people to sing together. Assistant Web Editor Christina Colón spoke with producer Gary Rand, manager and writer Lenora Rand, and lead singer Darren Calhoun, to learn more about how The Many is creating liturgies that speak to issues of injustice and leave room for lament.

New Name, Same Commitment to Justice and Community

by Christina Colón 11-08-2018
Introducing The Sojourners Fellowship Program

Former Sojourners interns in Washington, D.C. 

More than 30 Augusts have come and gone, and nearly 300 people have held the title of being a Sojourners intern. This year, it was announced that the 34th cycle would be the last to hold that name.

Report on Workplace Diversity Shows Who Holds the Power ... and Where

by Christina Colón 11-06-2018
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

In two stunning interactive visualizations, individuals are able to examine workplace diversity state by state - controlling for factors such as race, sex, and occupation. One visualization ranks states according to representation, with red and green bars showing what percent under and overrepresented certain populations are in relationship to their presence in the labor force. The other visualization allows users to compare states - giving a clear breakdown of representation at  each occupation level.

More Than 100 Faith Groups Denounce Trump's Environmental Protection Rollbacks

by Christina Colón 10-31-2018
Photo by Sebastian Grochowicz on Unsplash

Photo by Sebastian Grochowicz on Unsplash

More than 100 faith groups sent a letter to President Trump on Tuesday denouncing the administration's rollbacks of environmental regulations.

“At the outset of this current administration, faith communities outlined to the Administration our shared principles of stewardship, sustainability, justice, and dialogue, as well as environmental policy recommendations that adhered to these principles,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, these principles and policy recommendations have not been heeded.”

 

Faith Communities to Carry Message of Climate Justice from Pews to Policy Makers

by Christina Colón 10-05-2018

BALTIMORE, MD - February 6, 2015: The Wheelabrator Baltimore incinerator in operation on a winter day, has been converting solid waste to electricity since 1985. Editorial credit: duckeesue / Shutterstock.com

This weekend, more than 80 faith communities in Maryland will lift up climate justice as part of the fourth annual “Climate in the Pulpits / on the Bimah / in the Minbar” event. Jointly organized by Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVa) and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the event is a multi-faith effort to carry the message of creation care from the pews to policy makers.

When the Freedom to Breathe Is a Privilege

by Christina Colón 09-07-2018

Organized by a number of local and national partners, the Freedom to Breathe tour bus is a “vehicle for social change” and moving art installation. The bus has been on the road since Aug. 25, capturing the stories of climate leaders and organizers in impacted communities across the United States and sharing them out under the hashtag #FreedomToBreathe.

New Study Puts Hurricane Maria Death Count at Nearly 3,000

by Christina Colón 08-29-2018
Shutterstock

Shutterstock 

A recent study reveals that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. The researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health adjusted for various factors, including the some 241,000 residents who were displaced from the island. In the end, the number of deaths that could be directly or indirectly attributed to Hurricane Maria was reported at an estimated 2,975 - a number that stands in stark contrast to the previously reported 64.