Billy Graham’s grandson Jonathan Lotz, son of Anne Graham Lotz, in hospital with COVID-19


(RNS) — Jonathan Lotz, the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and son of Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz, has been hospitalized and is in critical condition with COVID-19. His mother announced her son’s illness via social media and asked for prayers for him. “Fifty years ago I could hold my son in my arms. Now … Read more

Reparations bill gains momentum as an interfaith cause


(RNS) — A pastor in Evanston, Illinois, the first U.S. city to adopt a municipal initiative on reparations, told a gathering of faith leaders on Thursday (July 22) that they can play a key role in moving a community toward action on the long-debated issue, even if it takes a while. The Rev. Michael C.R. … Read more

Former NBA player Stan McKenzie, husband of first woman AME Church bishop, dead at 76


(RNS) — Stan McKenzie, the first male episcopal supervisor of missionary work in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the husband of Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, has died. The Christian Recorder, the official publication of the denomination, announced his death, which occurred on Wednesday (July 21). Stan McKenzie, 76, died in Dallas after a brief … Read more

Retiring Bishop Vashti McKenzie, first AME Church woman prelate, reflects on a groundbreaking career


(RNS) — Just-retired Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie is an apologist for an adaptive style of leadership. It’s what has helped her succeed as the first woman to hold many roles in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. And it’s a style of leadership she said was needed during the pandemic. “Adaptive leadership means that you are … Read more

Gordon Conwell seminary alumni and staff protest loss of Black professor


(RNS) — A group of alumni and staff of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and other regional clergy are expressing concern that the school decided not to renew the contract of its sole Black full professor.  The Rev. Emmett Price III was the founding executive director of the seminary’s Institute for the Study of the Black … Read more

AME Church bishops address COVID-19, critical race theory as major meeting opens


(RNS) — The bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church opened their denomination’s major meeting — a year after it was delayed due to the coronavirus — with a call for greater worldwide access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing. “Joining our ecumenical and interfaith partners, we call on the United States government to expedite equity … Read more

Questlove’s ‘Summer of Soul’ documentary captures emotions of 1969 Harlem music fest


(RNS) — Black gospel music is often portrayed as uplifting, an expression of joy in faith. But Questlove, the director of a new documentary about a pathbreaking Harlem music festival that took place over six weeks in the summer of 1969, said there is another side to gospel that is no less a release. “There … Read more

‘Denomination matters’ in Black-focused faith-based health programs, scholars say


(RNS) — The health of Black churchgoers can differ depending on the denomination and the gender of the people in the pews, Duke University researchers have found, and scholars are urging more nuanced examination of the data to help address medical issues such as hypertension, obesity and depression. A five-year project of the university’s Samuel … Read more

Former megachurch pastor and presidential adviser Kirbyjon Caldwell enters prison


(RNS) — Kirbyjon Caldwell, the former United Methodist megachurch pastor and presidential adviser who was found guilty of being involved in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme, has begun his six-year prison sentence. Caldwell, who had been scheduled to arrive in prison on Tuesday (June 22), is listed on the Bureau of Prisons website as an inmate … Read more

J.D. Greear’s legacy as Southern Baptist president: Grappling with abuse, pushing diversity


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — It’s traditional for the Southern Baptist Convention president to serve two one-year terms. But J.D. Greear had a lengthy bonus round due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 48-year-old leader of a Durham, North Carolina, megachurch was thrust into the national limelight as the leader of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination while … Read more