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Peter Smith

Peter Smith is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Peter Smith

Prayer for kidnappers deeply rooted in mission group’s faith

By Peter Smith — October 28, 2021
The missionary group was kidnapped Oct. 16 while returning from a visit to an orphanage supported by Christian Aid Ministries. The 400 Mawozo gang has threatened to kill the 16 Americans and one Canadian if ransom demands aren’t met.

Biden, orthodox patriarch discuss climate, religious freedom

By Peter Smith — October 25, 2021
President Joe Biden and the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians discussed ways to fight climate change and to end the coronavirus pandemic as well as the importance of religious freedom during an Oval Office session Monday. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, 81, met separately with Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken not long after being […]

Orthodox Church’s top patriarch to visit US, meet with Biden

By Peter Smith — October 22, 2021
Making the latest of several trips to the country during his 30 years in office, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is expected to address concerns ranging from a pending restructuring of the American church to his church's status in his homeland, Turkey.

3 years after Pittsburgh synagogue attack, trial still ahead

By Peter Smith — October 22, 2021
PITTSBURGH (AP) — As the three-year mark since the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue approaches, survivors are planning now-familiar annual rituals of remembrance, the criminal case involving the suspect plods on, and the site is in line for restoration. The landmark synagogue in Pittsburgh’s leafy Squirrel Hill neighborhood remains dormant, but a renowned […]

Greek Orthodox Church at ground zero still unfinished, 20 years later

By Karen Matthews — September 9, 2021
NEW YORK (AP) — Slated for completion next year, the church is surrounded by a small public park and features a Byzantine-style dome and marble cladding that can be lit from within.

US churches reckon with traumatic legacy of Native schools

By Peter Smith — July 23, 2021
(AP) — The discoveries of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential schools for Indigenous children in Canada have prompted calls for a reckoning over similar schools in the United States.

Court: If bias rules have exceptions, faith groups qualify

By Peter Smith — June 18, 2021
(AP) — A ruling Thursday that favored Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia was far from the constitutional gale wind that would have reshaped how courts interpret religious liberty.

Hundreds gather at historic Tulsa church’s prayer wall

By Peter Smith — June 1, 2021
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — As the ceremony came to an end, participants put their hands on the prayer wall along the side of the sanctuary while soloist Santita Jackson sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Tulsa pastors honor ‘holy ground’ 100 years after massacre

By Peter Smith — May 31, 2021
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Six congregations gathered to mark the centennial of the massacre and to honor the persistence of the Black church tradition in Greenwood.
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