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April 21, 2014
World Harvest Mission Gains New Name: Serge

Growing Organization Points to God’s “Grace at the Fray”

JENKINTOWN, Penn. — World Harvest Mission is changing its name to Serge. The name was made public on April 21, 2014. The discipleship and missionary-sending ministry hopes to more clearly represent its work with the new name. Serge is a metaphor referring to a sewn seam that joins two pieces of frayed cloth together. The organization’s new motto is “Grace at the Fray.”

“We needed a name that represented all of what we do,” said Bob Osborne, Executive Director. “The name World Harvest Mission defined us solely as a mission sending agency. We are an overseas sending agency, but our work also goes beyond that. We provide resources like Sonship and disciple believers in churches throughout the United States. So we chose a metaphor to point to God’s grace healing a broken world. That grace always motivates us to mission.”

Serge was founded in 1983 by pastor, author, and Westminster Seminary professor Jack Miller. Miller was known for his commitment to personal renewal and mission, motivated by the grace of God in Christ. READ MORE...

April 21, 2014
Yale Institute of Sacred Music Fellows 2014-2015

Six new fellows to join interdisciplinary community

New Haven, Conn. – The Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) is pleased to announce that six new fellows will be joining its interdisciplinary community for the 2014-2015 year.

The Institute is an interdisciplinary graduate center educating leaders who foster, explore, and study engagement with the sacred through music, worship, and the arts in Christian communities, diverse religious traditions, and public life. With a core focus on Christian sacred music, the ISM builds bridges among disciplines and vocations and makes creative space for scholarship, performance, and practice.

The ISM Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts are established scholars, religious leaders, or artists whose work is in or is turning toward the fields of sacred music, liturgical/ritual studies, or religion and the arts. The Fellows have numerous opportunities to share their work with the community and to teach, as well as to work on their individual projects using Yale’s vast resources. Following in the footsteps of previous cohorts of ISM fellows, the 2014-2015 fellows represent a cross-section of cultures and disciplines. READ MORE...

April 21, 2014
Claremont School of Theology Ends Relationship with Claremont Lincoln University

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Board of Trustees of Claremont School of Theology today announced the seminary has ended its relationship with Claremont Lincoln University.

“Our joint venture began in May 2011 with a shared vision to offer interreligious graduate education,” Board Chair The Rev. Dr. David Richardson said. “The two schools have mutually agreed that our fundamental philosophies have diverged,” leading to the decision to end the relationship.

The process leading to the separation began earlier this year when Claremont Lincoln decided to move away from its interreligious roots and become a secular-focused university seeking its own accreditation.

Claremont School of Theology’s trustees ask all who care for the seminary to hold both schools in prayer as they move forward on separate paths.

This decision ends academic, administrative, and fiduciary connections between the schools. Some actions will take place in phases, and negotiations are underway to reach a financial settlement between the university and the seminary. READ MORE...

April 18, 2014
Simon Wiesenthal Center: Newly Sainted Popes are Heroes to the Jewish People  

The Simon Wiesenthal Center joins with Catholics around the world in acknowledging the remarkable contribution of the two Popes canonized this Easter Sunday.

“Jews will always remember Pope John XXIII as the animating force behind the Vatican II Council that changed the way Catholics looked at other faiths, especially Judaism.  The Nostra Aetate document that ensued from it pulled the plug on centuries of theological anti-Semitism and put relationships between Christians and Jews on a new footing of mutual respect”, observed Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs. READ MORE...

April 14, 2014
Easter and State Academic Standards

Public schools are expected to teach about Jesus

Lake Forest, Calif.—While two billion Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, millions of public school children in America won’t be learning about the religious aspects of this holiday.

A new report released this week documents that state academic standards not only allow, but in some cases, expect public schools to teach about Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity. Gateways to Better Education has published its online report The Bible in State Academic Standards. The 230-page report highlights state-by-state, academic standards indicating ample opportunity for educators to teach about the Bible, Christian beliefs, and Christians who were influential in history.”

“There is a common misconception among many educators that teaching about the Bible and Christianity is not allowed in public school classrooms because of concerns over the establishment of religion,” says Eric Buehrer, president of Gateways to Better Education. “The fact is public school students are expected to learn these things.” READ MORE...

April 14, 2014
The Benedictines of Mary continue to touch hearts with Lent at Ephesus going into Holy Week

Seven week reign as Billboard’s #1Classical Traditional Album


ATLANTA—As Holy Week approaches during the height of the Lenten season, the Benedictines of Mary continue to emotionally connect with music lovers across the country with their latest recording, LENT AT EPHESUS.  The reflective and stirring album has spent seven consecutive weeks at No.1 on Billboard’s Classical Traditional Album Chart.

Both of the Sisters’ previous recordings debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical Traditional Chart; however, LENT AT EPHESUS’ first week numbers surpassed their own prior sales successes, outselling artists on both the Traditional and Crossover Charts, including more commercial, “crossover” classical musicians such as Lindsey Stirling, The Piano Guys and Il Divo, among others. READ MORE...

April 11, 2014
A Voice in the Church and the World

Presidential Addresses from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)

Maryknoll, N.Y.—American Catholics discovered the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in April of 2012, when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) announced that, after a 4-year assessment, the organization—whose members represent 80% of the Catholic sisters in the United States—and its pastoral and doctrinal situation presented “a matter of serious concern.”  Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle was named Delegate for the Initiative of reforming the LCWR, along with Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois.

The international storm that followed included a 60 Minutes segment as well as tens of thousands of communications to and about LCWR, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Many American Catholics expressed support, finding it difficult to square the CDF’s conclusions with their experience of the sisters as teachers, healers, and role models. Indeed the hunger for the type of leadership the LCWR demonstrates was one of the reasons behind the decision to publishing Spiritual Leadership for Challenging Times.

April 8, 2014
Priest. Messenger of the Truth. Died for Religious Freedom. Future Saint. Do you know him?

Award-winning documentary reveals the modern true story of heroic Polish martyr

ATLANTA—Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko was the courageous chaplain of the Solidarity movement in Poland in the early 1980’s, and it was his strong faith, conviction and courage that mobilized a nation to stand against the communist regime there. The remarkable story of Father Jerzy, a 21st century hero of human rights who was murdered is 1984 by the Polish government, is told in the award-winning documentary Messenger of the Truth, which became available on DVD and public television on April 1.

Narrated by Catholic activist and actor Martin Sheen, Messenger of the Truth chronicles Father Jerzy’s opposition to Poland’s oppressive Communist leaders, who harassed, arrested, threatened, imprisoned and, eventually, murdered him for speaking the truth in a country full of propaganda, oppression and social injustice.

“A must-see documentary for all who believe in the rights of religious liberty, the dignity of the human person, and those who are lovers of freedom and defenders of the truth,” says His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

April 4, 2014
Desmond and Mpho Tutu Challenge the World to Forgive

CAPE TOWN, South Africa—Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu today announced the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge, a free online program starting May 4, 2014, designed to teach the world how to forgive. In early registration people from over 100 countries have already signed up to participate.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in leading non-violent
opposition to South Africa’s apartheid system of racial domination. The Truth and
Reconciliation Commission that he chaired created a way to address the overwhelming suffering and grief that were the legacy of over four decades of racial oppression. Since then he has taken his deeply human approach to resolving conflict to many other countries including Northern Ireland and Rwanda. His daughter, Mpho Tutu, has helped rape victims and refugees displaced by war and is currently completing a Ph.D. on the topic of forgiveness.

“Forgiving is a choice. A choice I have seen profoundly transform lives time and again,” says
Archbishop Tutu. “As Nelson Mandela said when he walked free after 27 years of prison, ‘I
knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.’ Mpho and I share a vision to bring the transformative power of forgiveness to people everywhere and to see it spread through families, communities, countries and our whole world."

April 1, 2014
Country Music Star Collin Raye Releases Powerful Memoir

‘A Voice Undefeated’ chronicles inspirational story of faith, tragedy and triumph

SAN FRANCISCO—Collin Raye is one of America’s best-loved country music singers, with 24 Top Ten Singles, including 16 No. 1 hits and a total of five straight platinum and two gold albums, a record for the Epic label. But perhaps most noteworthy is Raye’s remarkable personal story outside of country music, which includes his conversion to Catholicism; overcoming a devastating tragedy in his family; and his profound advocacy and love for the poor and disabled. Raye chronicles his unique and unforgettable religious journey and life as a country music star in his new memoir, A VOICE UNDEFEATED. READ MORE...

April 1, 2014
Share Your Prayer campaign urges video and faith-driven response to child abuse and neglect

Each year, more than 680,000 children are abused or neglected, and as many as 1,500 die as a result.  In an effort to protect these vulnerable children, Shepherding the Next Generation, a network of more than 300 evangelical pastors and faith leaders, is encouraging people nationwide to share their prayers for these children through online videos in advance of the Blue Sunday Day of Prayer on April 27. READ MORE...

April 1, 2014
New Book by Award-winning Religion News Service Columnist Jonathan Merritt Challenges the Legalistic God Many Worship

Though Jonathan Merritt has been a Christian for two decades, he came close to losing his faith in a spiritual drought that overwhelmed him with emptiness. An award-winning columnist for Religion News Service and a prolific commentator on faith and culture, Merritt believes there are many people struggling as he was—he calls it an “emptiness epidemic.” In his new book, Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined (Hachette Book Group/FaithWords, $20.00 hardcover, April 1, 2014, foreword by John Ortberg) he recounts unexpected encounters with Jesus that renew his faith, liberate him from the shame of a long-held secret, and transform his life.

Merritt offers his own experiences as a guide for those who seek to meet this surprising God.

March 31, 2014

Servant Leadership School to Hold Second Co-Creation Conference in 2014Survivors Petition Governor & General Assembly

SCHEREVILLE, Ind.—Sexual assault survivors and supporters have collected almost 1,700 petition signatures in less than three weeks to eliminate the statute of limitations (SOL) on sexual assault in Indiana. They have added the members of the State Senate and House to receive their petition, along with Governor Mike Pence.

The Governor's Director of Policy for Criminal Justice, Christina Trexler, received the petition of over 1,000 signatures collected in the first four days of their petition drive in a meeting March 13, 2014 with survivors' advocates Joy Evans Ryder, Jason Benner, Cheryl Lewis Colsten, Keith Morris and Anita Carpenter, CEO of the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault (INCASA).

March 26, 2014
JESUS: A Pilgrimage by James Martin, S.J. Debuts at #9 on New York Times Bestseller List

JESUS: A Pilgrimage, the new book by James Martin, S.J., debuts at #9 on the New York Times Bestseller List in the Hardcover Nonfiction category on Sunday, March 30—just two and a half weeks after its release.

The book also hit the Publishers Weekly nonfiction bestseller list this week at #20.

In JESUS: A Pilgrimage (HarperOne; Hardcover; March 2014)—25 years in the making, and, as Martin notes, “the result of a lifetime of passionate prayer, study, and work”— Martin recreates the world of first-century Galilee and Judea to usher readers into the life of Jesus. Painting a vivid picture of a man many still struggle to understand today, he addresses both Jesus’ human emotions and his divine activities, allowing readers a unique look into the life of a man who experienced joy and sorrow, triumph and grief, as well as friendship and fear. READ MORE...

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