James Forbes’ ode to Juneteenth calls on Americans to embrace the promise of freedom

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(RNS) — The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr. was already an adult when he first began to understand the significance of Juneteenth. It was his wife, Bettye, whom he met in the early ’60s when they were both students at Howard University, who helped him gain an appreciation for the commemoration. She had grown up … Read more

‘An excuse for the feast’: Witches celebrate the summer solstice with cakes, mead — and salsa

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(RNS) — To Lidia Pradas, the summer solstice “always recharges my energy and makes me want to start new projects,” she shared on her popular Instagram account, Wiccan Tips. Usually, Pradas celebrates by watching bonfires burn and people jump the fires where she lives in Zaragoza, Spain, she told Religion News Service in an email. … Read more

‘We still have work to do’: How to understand the new Juneteenth holiday

‘we-still-have-work-to-do’:-how-to-understand-the-new-juneteenth-holiday

(RNS) — President Joe Biden signed legislation on Thursday (June 17) recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday, marking June 19 as a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States and be mindful of Black Americans’ struggles for freedom. Celebrated for more than 100 years, though mostly in Black communities, and already … Read more

Michael W. Smith: ‘Six principles I learned from my dad’s life’

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(RNS) — My dad was an incredible baseball pitcher, taking his career all the way up to the minor leagues. Growing up, we spent many late afternoons out in the yard throwing a ball back and forth. Catching my dad’s pitches from his left-handed throws became second nature for me. But as the years went … Read more

AOC, other Catholic Democrats urge bishops against ‘weaponization’ of Communion

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WASHINGTON (RNS) — A group of 60 Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives, including Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, released a “statement of principles” Friday (June 18) calling on U.S. Catholic bishops to avoid “weaponizing” the Eucharist. The statement was announced shortly after clerics voted to draft a document on Communion following debate … Read more

After politically charged debate, bishops vote to draft controversial Communion document

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(RNS) — Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have voted to draft a document on the Eucharist, green lighting a controversial effort championed by a group of conservative clerics who have called for denying Communion to President Joe Biden and other Catholic Democrats who support abortion rights. The vote was announced Friday (June … Read more

High court ruling cited in Kentucky child services dispute

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(AP) — Republicans turned up pressure on Kentucky’s Democratic governor Thursday to renew a contract with a Baptist-affiliated children’s agency, reacting to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling they say should settle the dispute between religious beliefs and gay rights. Gov. Andy Beshear was noncommittal about the future contract status of Sunrise Children’s Services. The foster … Read more

Albert Mohler’s darkest hour

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(RNS) — For more than 30 years, Dr. R. Albert Mohler has been among the best known and most revered leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, and when he chose to run for president of the country’s largest Protestant denomination, he was widely considered the favorite. But at their annual gathering this week, the 17,000 … Read more

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

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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

Rep. Ilhan Omar, others encourage US to rebuild refugee resettlement ahead of World Refugee Day

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(RNS) — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota thanked Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service during an online event Thursday (June 17), in the name of “all the refugees you have settled and the millions around the world who have benefited from your work.” Omar knows, she said, because she is one of those refugees. “After … Read more