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Bob Smietana

Bob Smietana is a veteran religion writer and national reporter for Religion News Service.

All Stories by Bob Smietana

Saddleback ordains 3 women, leading to another Mother’s Day dust-up over women pastors

May 10, 2021

(RNS) — The two largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention featured women preachers on Mother’s Day, despite the convention’s ban on women pastors.

For some pastors, the past year was a sign from God it was time to quit

May 7, 2021

(RNS) — Already stretched thin, these clergy found the demands of the pandemic — from producing video church to combating conspiracy theories — took all the joy out of the job.

A church coffee hour staple: Quiwie’s cardamom coffeecake

May 6, 2021

(RNS) — A dense, tasty treat to go along with the return of coffee hour.

The beloved church coffee hour may soon return as COVID-19 fades

April 29, 2021

(RNS) — The first time coffee showed up in church, things did not go well. Now it’s a staple that many churches have missed during the pandemic.

Why some preachers rely on holy ghostwriters and other pulpit helps

April 28, 2021

(RNS) — To keep up with the demand for high-quality sermons, preachers often turn to ghostwriters and researchers, without telling their congregation. At least one expert calls that ‘cheating.’

For evangelical leader Jamie Aten, advocating for vaccines led to a death threat

April 27, 2021

(RNS) — Aten, who teaches at an evangelical college, has received swarms of angry anti-vaxxer emails — including one saying his work was ‘punishable by death.’

‘If you have eyes, plagiarize’: When borrowing a sermon goes too far

April 27, 2021

(RNS) — Preachers love to borrow from each other, but the practice can sometimes lead to plagiarism.

Will COVID-19 finally be the end of the church collection plate?

April 22, 2021

(RNS) — COVID-19 and the rise of a cashless society may make passing the collection plate, which once was crucial to church finances, less important.

Barring women as leaders in church may be bad for their health, new study finds

April 19, 2021

(RNS) — Past studies have shown participating in religious services and in the life of a religious community can be good for your health.

Ole Anthony, longtime critic of prosperity gospel televangelists and head of Trinity Foundation, dies at 82

April 18, 2021

(RNS) — Anthony came to fame after his investigation of televangelist Robert Tilton was featured on ABC News’ Prime Time Live program.

Liberty University sues former President Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 million, citing conspiracy, breach of contract

April 16, 2021

(RNS) — Liberty University claims its former president failed to live up to the school’s moral code.

Former employee sues Dave Ramsey’s company for alleged religious discrimination, ‘cult-like’ atmosphere

April 15, 2021

(RNS) — The lawsuit claims employees have to submit to Ramsey as a spiritual leader and agree with his views on COVID-19, with no questions allowed.

Meet Mercy Haub: The 16-year-old cancer survivor and preacher’s kid who inspired Ellen

April 14, 2021

(RNS) — After a friend’s dad died of cancer, a Seattle teen made raising money to fight cancer one of her life’s goals. Then she faced her own illness.

Julian Edelman, the first Jewish football player named Super Bowl MVP, retires

April 12, 2021

(RNS) — Edelman, whose parents didn’t practice any religion when he was growing up, embraced his Jewish identity during his NFL career.

Robert Lesslie, slain doctor, saw ‘Angels in the ER’ and wrote hopeful stories of faith in tragedy

April 9, 2021

(RNS) — The longtime ER doctor and writer said he often saw God at work in tragedy and crisis.

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