The United Methodist Committee on Relief is known for its expertise in “case management.” After the initial cleanup — where the Methodists have work crews helping pull mud out of houses — the church sends trained volunteers into the wreckage to help families navigate the maze of FEMA assistance, state aid programs, and private insurance to help them rebuild their lives. UMCOR also trains other non-profits to send their own case managers into the disaster zone.
Some male pastors of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have changed their credentials in an act of solidarity with women who are not allowed to be ordained in the denomination.
The protest has occurred in several states across the U.S. after the global denomination voted in July not to allow regional church bodies to ordain women pastors.
Despite a worldwide ban, several U.S. conferences of Adventists have ordained women in recent years. But usually women may only hold a “commissioned” credential without being formally ordained.
Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon once best known for separating conjoined baby twins, announced May 4 that he will pursue the Republican nomination for U.S. president. Carson is now known as a culture warrior whose criticisms of President Obama have made him a favorite of conservatives. Here are five faith facts about him:
1. He’s a twice-baptized Seventh-day Adventist.
In his book Gifted Hands, Carson, 63, describes being baptized as a boy by the pastor of Detroit’s Burns Seventh-day Adventist Church. At age 12, he told the pastor of another Adventist church in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, that he hadn’t completely grasped his first baptism and wanted to be baptized again.
Carson has served as an Adventist local elder and Sabbath school teacher. But he attends other churches. “I spend just as much time in non-Seventh-day Adventist churches because I’m not convinced that the denomination is the most important thing,” he told RNS in 1999.
“I think it’s the relationship with God that’s most important.”
I have to force myself to go to church.
Saturday mornings, when Seventh-day Adventists like me observe Sabbath, I lie in bed extra-long. Sometimes, I roll over and shut my eyes. Other times, I have to physically force myself to get up and prepare, both mentally and physically, to go.
It didn’t use to be this way. I remember waking up extra early as a preteen when I was excited to go to church. More than likely, I would be singing at both services, either in a choir or in special music. I would stay long hours after the service for evening vespers.
That all changed when I came out as bisexual. I no longer felt welcome at worship.
Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon once best known for separating conjoined baby twins, is expected to announce May 4 that he will pursue a GOP candidacy for U.S. president. Carson is now known as a culture warrior whose criticisms of President Obama have made him a favorite of conservatives.
Here are five faith facts about him.
Seventh-day Adventists opted for a middle-way approach on the divisive issue of women’s ordination on Oct. 14, kicking the question to next year’s worldwide meeting without taking a firm stance either for or against women’s ordination.
Next year’s debate will come nearly 100 years after the death of Adventist matriarch Ellen White and could settle decades of disagreement over whether women should be allowed to be ordained in the 18 million-member church she co-founded.
The church’s Annual Council voted to refer the matter to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio. Under the proposal, regional church bodies would be able to decide whether to ordain women pastors.
California pastor Ryan Bell has a novel New Year’s resolution. For one year, he proclaimed, he will “live without God.”
It’s an odd resolution for an ordained minister, former church pastor, teacher at two highly regarded Christian universities, and church consultant. Yet for the next 12 months, Bell, 42, plans to refrain from praying, reading the Bible, and thinking about God at all.
Instead, he will read atheist authors, attend atheist gatherings, and seek out conversation and companionship with unbelievers. He wants to “do whatever I can to enter the world of atheism and live, for a year, as an atheist.”
Still, his resolution is only an experiment — he is not, he said, an atheist. “At least not yet,” he wrote in an essay for The Huffington Post, where, on New Year’s Eve, he announced his plan and a new blog to document it.
Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Tuesday said recent decisions by two regional bodies to allow ordained female pastors were "serious mistakes," and women who are ordained won't be recognized — at least for now.
“They directly challenge two world Church decisions on the matter of ordination,” reads a statement, passed by a 264-25 vote during the Annual Council meeting in Silver Spring, Md. “They create doubts about the importance of collective decision-making as a basic feature of denominational life.”
The decisions by the Maryland-based Columbia Union Conference and the California-based Pacific Union Conference came as the worldwide church is in the midst of a broad study of the “theology of ordination” that is expected to be considered at the denomination’s 2015 General Conference Session.
Two U.S. regional groups of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have recently approved the ordination of women pastors, moving faster than the worldwide church’s study of the issue.
The Pacific Union Conference, which includes California and four other Western states, voted 79 percent to 21 percent at a special session on Aug. 19 to “approve ordinations to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.” Weeks earlier, the Maryland-based Columbia Union Conference, which includes eight Mid-Atlantic states, adopted a similar change in its policy, with 80 percent in favor.
World leaders of the church – who appealed for unity before the votes were cast – said they were disappointed with the conferences’ actions. They said the Columbia Union’s July 29 action was “not in harmony” with the general policy of the church, and said the Pacific Union would “preempt the collective decisions of the world church regarding ordination.’’
Leaders of the Maryland-based Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is best known for observing the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday, are in the midst of studying the “theology of ordination” for possible consideration at their 2015 General Conference Session.
Seventh-day Adventists have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of two ordinances in an Alabama city that the church says bars it and other religious groups from door-to-door solicitations unless they first register and pay license fees.
The lawsuit was filed after a member of the church's Summer Student Missionary Program was ticketed in June by a police officer for selling books door-to-door without a City of Alabaster permit, the lawsuit states. After the citation, the group suspended its program in Alabaster, which is about 20 miles south of Birmingham.
"The City of Alabaster has enacted two sweeping ordinances that unconstitutionally restrict the exchange of beliefs and religious principles within the Alabaster city limits," the lawsuit states. The ordinances were enacted in 1994.
The lawsuit seeks a court order that declares the ordinances unconstitutional and bars the city from enforcing them.