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On Supreme Court – Let the people speak first, NRB says

MANASSAS, Va. – National Religious Broadcasters support Congressional leaders in their resolve to allow the American people to have a voice at the ballot box before anyone is considered to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court following last month’s passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, leaders said today in response to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. “Let us remember that Justice Scalia was an exceptional jurist with unwavering commitment to the integrity of the United States Constitution,” stated Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “We know the poor track record of the Obama Administration on respect for freedom and the rule of law.  The American people should at least have a chance to vote in November before this President gets to place a third and likely generational-altering pick on the Court.”

Last month in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Dr. Johnson assured him the NRB would stand with him in his decision to wait on consideration of any Scalia successor until after the November elections.  In that letter, Dr. Johnson declared:
The Constitution that Justice Scalia fought for decades to uphold provides the President the power to nominate judges and the Senate the power of advice and consent.  This is a key principle in the separation of powers between the branches of our nation’s government.  Unfortunately, America’s current President has shown little restraint in asserting authority in areas properly belonging to other federal branches, the states, or the people themselves.  I urge you to do all that you can to prevent the President from attempting to work around the will of the Legislative Branch in this matter. Moreover, Dr. Johnson noted, “The American people began to vote for change in 2014 by giving a new party control of the chamber, and the people will have a chance to speak again in the months ahead essentially on the fate of all three branches of government.”

The full text of Dr. Johnson’s letter to Leader McConnell is here.  Also, a letter signed by Dr. Johnson and more than 100 other leaders committed “to make clear to the American people what is at stake and to rally our fellow citizens to the cause of saving the Constitution” is here. About NRB
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers.


Proclaim 16 to feature presidential candidates forum

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Proclaim 16, the NRB International Christian Media Convention, will feature a Presidential Candidates Forum. Taking place just days before the “Super Tuesday” primaries in Tennessee and many nearby states, this will be an opportunity not to be missed. “This is a pivotal year for our nation, and Christian communicators will be well-served to hear firsthand from those candidates who seek to hold the highest office in the United States,” said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “The policies and priorities of the next President of the United States will have major ramifications for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, so we must pay attention.


Thousands of Christian ministry and media professionals to gather in Nashville for Proclaim 16

MANASSAS, Va. – Next month, thousands of Christian media and ministry professionals will make their way to Proclaim 16, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, TN, to make strategic connections, to acquire new resources, and to discover the latest tips, trends, and insights in their respective field of work. Every year, the Convention draws a wide range of participants, including radio and TV station owners and operators, pastors, church media professionals, radio and TV program producers, college educators, students, filmmakers, Web and mobile developers, social media managers, marketing representatives, and ministry staff members. “Thousands of Christian communicators come to our annual Convention to find the connections, resources, and insights that will help them advance their organizations, their careers, and their mission,” said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). “If you’re in the business of reaching people for Jesus Christ through media, you have got to be here!”

A highlight of the annual gathering is the bustling Exposition, the world’s largest marketplace dedicated to Christian media and ministry professionals seeking to harness the power of electronic media to spread the Gospel.

Jerome Socolovsky named Editor-in-Chief of Religion News Service

(RNS) Jerome Socolovsky, an award-winning journalist with experience at some of the world’s leading media organizations, has been named Religion News Service’s new editor-in-chief. Socolovsky, a seasoned religion reporter and editor who has worked for Voice of America, National Public Radio, The Associated Press and United Press International, will lead an editorial staff of six reporters and editors, and dozens of bloggers and freelancers. He will begin his new role in November. “I’m honored and thrilled to have been chosen to lead such a superb team of reporters and commentators,” Socolovsky said. “Their clear and balanced reporting on religion has never been more vital in our world, where belief is a crucial and often misunderstood component of so many news stories.


Francis of Assisi will come to life for 800 children from New York City

In honor of Pope Francis’s visit to New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, has invited the Francis in the Schools program from California to stage a celebration of the inspiring life of the pontiff’s namesake, Francis of Assisi, for 800 third- through-fifth-grade children from nearly a dozen schools in the Bronx and Washington Heights- Inwood neighborhoods of New York City. Francis in the Schools, a day-long field trip, will be presented on September 28, three days after the pope’s visit. It will begin with a lively musical play about Francis’s life at the Church of the Good Shepherd, followed by a festive Umbrian Renaissance-style “Faire” at a nearby park. There the children will enjoy a nutritious lunch, live music, games, dancing, a puppet show, face and hand painting, flower arranging, and a chance to meet “Francis” and other characters from the play. Founded in 2011, the nonsectarian Francis in the Schools program has been presented 17 times, serving more than 7,000 children from underserved communities, on the West Coast and most recently in Baltimore and Washing- ton, DC.


Oliver Crisp of Fuller Seminary Awarded $2 Million Templeton Grant for Analytical Theology Research

Fuller Theological Seminary is proud to announce the award of a John Templeton Foundation grant to Professor of Systematic Theology Oliver Crisp. A three-year grant that began September 1, 2015, the award of $2 million will fund a major undertaking in Analytical Theology research. Analytic Theology (AT) is an approach to theology that seeks integration between theological investigation, on the one hand, and the methods and results of progressive and truth-oriented disciplines such as the empirical sciences and analytic philosophy, on the other. Dr. Crisp (PhD, King’s College, University of London) and his team, including colleagues Dr. Justin L. Barrett and Rebecca Sok, will be joined by two postdoctoral research fellows, an administrator, and two doctoral students. The project, titled Prayer, Love, and Human Nature: Analytic Theology for Theological Formation, hypothesizes that AT supplies an intellectual framework for the training and formation of church leaders.

New Anthology Reveals Evangelicals’ Role in Shaping Modern Christian Ethics

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new collection from RNS blogger David Gushee, along with Isaac Sharp, explores the different roles that scholars and popular figures have played in forming evangelicals’ understandings of Christian ethics. Bringing together both senior and emerging voices from across the spectrum of post-World War II American evangelical ethical thought, Evangelical Ethics: A Reader (Westminster John Knox Press) demonstrates that evangelical social ethics always involves offering significant critique, accompanied by the effort to renew, convert, or transform. It further argues that more conservative voices tend to look at a (morally declining) society as the object of transformation, whereas for more progressive voices the object of transformation efforts is often evangelical Christianity itself. Contributors include evangelical stalwarts like Carl F. H. Henry, Francis Schaeffer, and Jim Wallis, together with younger voices like Soong-Chan Rah and Jennifer McBride, and ethicists like the late Allen Verhey and Glen Stassen.

Gushee is one of the most prominent Christian ethicists today.


The Monks of Norcia’s BENEDICTA:  Marian Chant from Norcia

“music of simplicity and warmth…. like staring through a time telescope into the past to something simple and pure” – All About Jazz
NPR’s Weekend Edition Features Moving Interview With Fr Cassian Folsom
Watch CBS Newspath
NEW YORK – BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia is Billboard’s #1 Classical Traditional Album for the third week in a row. The Monks’ success continues following their #1 trend, where they also bested superstar recording artists such as Taylor Swift and Willie Nelson as the #1 Best-seller at Barnes &, #2 Best-seller at and Top 40 on iTunes’ overall chart respectively. Competing with pop, rap and country superstars, these Monks’ located in Italy, have miraculously struck a global chord with consumers and media alike via their transformative, ethereal music and fascinating human-interest story. BENEDICTA is available now on De Montfort Music & Decca Records/Universal Music Classics.

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Religion Newswriters Association Announces 2015 Lifetime Achievement Recipient

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Richard Dujardin, former religion reporter for The Providence (R.I.) Journal, will be honored with the William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award at the 66th RNA Annual Conference awards banquet Aug. 29, 2015, in Philadelphia. Created in 2001, the award is presented to individuals who demonstrate exceptional long-term commitment and service to the Religion Newswriters Association and its members, and to the field of religion reporting. “Religion writing, as most of us in the field know, is a satisfying experience,” said Dujardin.

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Hollywood Producer Makes Life-Altering Discovery at 50…He’s Jewish

Peter Vanlaw had what many in Hollywood would consider an unremarkable upbringing. Raised in LA’s San Fernando Valley, Peter grew up to enjoy a successful career in television commercial production and documentary filmmaking. An only child of German immigrants, raised in a gentile household where religion was pretty much a non-issue, Peter had no idea of the family secrets he would discover decades later. Following his heart attack at age fifty, Vanlaw’s mother, who was affected by mental issues as far back as he could remember, visited him in the hospital. During what can only be described as a breakdown, she exclaimed repeatedly, “It’s all my fault!” The outburst was so sudden and disturbing that Vanlaw didn’t broach the subject with his mother for two years.

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Release date arrives for the Captivating Music of The Monks of Norcia

NEW YORK – Today marks the release of BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia, the major label debut from The Monks of Norcia. The stirring and spiritually moving music was recorded by a group of 18 men; half American citizens and half representing a variety of cultural backgrounds who collectively are heralded as one of the most authentic active singing communities of Gregorian Chant today. They are led by Fr. Cassian Folsom, Prior – an American who studied voice at the venerable Indiana University before joining the monastery. Watch the cinematic EPK for BENEDICTA:

The story of The Monks of Norcia’s youthful (average age 33) members remains the stuff of legend: in 1998 they journeyed to the quaint Italian village of Norcia, and resurrected the historical holy ground of the birthplace of Saint Benedict.


Hosanna Preaching Seminars Announced

The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is pleased to announce a new initiative. The Hosanna Preaching Seminars, whose inaugural sessions will be Oct 27-28 2015, are designed to be a space where pastors can learn how to challenge and inspire their congregations to participate in God’s work for justice in the world, specifically in Israel / Palestine. Each year, five to ten pastors will meet under the direction of selected resource leaders to study and discuss passages taken from the upcoming year’s lectionary texts which refer to the profound theological concerns voiced directly by Palestinians and Jews. This year’s participants will be chosen by invitation. The sermons which will grow out of the Seminars will be posted on the IPMN website where discussion by people of faith will be encouraged.

Religious Leaders in DC on May 6-9 to Participate in Events to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Promoting Awareness, Gratitude and Unity:
National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial (NCAGC) to Mark 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide May 7-9 in Washington
Armenian President Sargsyan and other prominent officials to participate in events
WASHINGTON, D.C. – From May 7-9 in Washington, D.C., the National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial (NCAGC) will host a series of events to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian genocide. Thousands will gather from across the country, and internationally, to join in remembering and honoring those lost in the Genocide 100 years ago. The Ecumenical Service will serve as an opportunity to thank the institutions and individuals who have helped Armenians to survive and thrive, and to promote unity and awareness as a means of preventing future genocides. Attendees will include Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, prominent Armenian and U.S. officials, diplomats, policymakers, religious leaders, and Armenian descendants from the U.S., Canada, and around the world.  Armenian popes His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia will lead and be present throughout the events. Additional information can be found online at

Brazil Celebrates First Place, But Not in Soccer

By Claudia Augelli
Brazil celebrated a first place finish this week. No, not in soccer, but in religious freedom. Surprised? If yes, you are in good company. This finding from a recent study by the Pew Research Center also surprised Brazil’s Vice President Michel Temer, as religious, political and business leaders just learned in Sao Paulo.

May 6-7: Commemorating the Armenian Genocide 100th Anniversary, Armenian Religious Leaders conduct Conference Call and Ecumenical Service

Commemoration events for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will continue May 7-9 in Washington, DC as thousands will gather to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who perished and pay tribute to those who risked their own lives to save others. The President of Armenia, prominent religious leaders, policy makers, and members from Armenian American diaspora will use the occasion to express unity and gratitude to those who stood by the Armenian people 100 years ago. On a May 6 12:00pmET conference call, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the Primate of the Eastern Diocese, will discuss the need for interfaith cooperation and the importance of uniting together to prevent future acts of genocide. They will say that now more than ever, members of all faiths must come together and call for an end to hate and violence. We must use milestones such as the Genocide centenary as a means to promote unity and peace for all—regardless of color, gender, heritage or faith.