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A crowd cheers while Rene Alex Garcia Maldonado, center, exits Christ Church United Church of Christ in Maplewood, Missouri, as he leaves sanctuary, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Video screengrab via KMOV

Two more leave church sanctuary as immigration policies ease

By Yonat Shimron — February 24, 2021

(RNS) — The two are the latest beneficiaries of new Biden administration guidelines that restrain ICE from arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety.

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Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David speaks during the 37th annual HRC New England dinner on Nov. 23, 2019, in Boston. The annual event brings hundreds of LGBTQ advocates and allies together for an evening of celebration across greater New England. (Josh Reynolds/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)

Human Rights Campaign urges Black church LGBTQ acceptance via video

By Adelle M. Banks — February 24, 2021

(RNS) — The video features prominent church leaders and LGBTQ advocates sharing their perspectives — and sometimes evolving attitudes — on LGBTQ identity while images highlight Black history and congregational life.

The Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, speaks during services in Arlington, Texas, on June 7, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Dwight McKissic living at seminary after storm: ‘God is making sure our needs are met’

By Adelle M. Banks — February 23, 2021

(RNS) — The Texas pastor said any differences he may have with seminary President Adam Greenway did not prompt him to refuse an offer of housing.

Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia, was one of four churches disfellowshipped by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee on Feb. 23, 2021. Photo by Maina Mwaura

Southern Baptists expel four churches for abuse and LGBTQ membership

By Bob Smietana — February 23, 2021

(RNS) — Denominational leaders also accepted a report on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission but took no action.

Carman died Feb. 16, 2021, at the age of 65. Photo courtesy of Conduit Media Solutions

Carman, beloved by ’90s evangelical kids, was a Pentecostal showman at heart

By Leah Payne, Dara Coleby Delgado — February 23, 2021

(RNS) — The wildly popular troubadour was equal parts Pentecostal flair and Disney levels of cartoonish imagination.

A statue of Bishop Richard Allen outside the historic Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

How Philadelphia’s Black churches overcame disease, depression and civil strife

By Stephanie Clintonia Boddie — February 23, 2021

(The Conversation) — The story of how three Black churches endured events similar to those afflicting society today can give both solace and hope.

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear addresses the denomination’s Executive Committee on Feb. 22, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo courtesy of Baptist Press

SBC President J.D. Greear: ‘God did not call Southern Baptists to save America’

By Bob Smietana — February 22, 2021

(RNS) — In a speech to the SBC Executive Committee meeting, Greear asked, ‘Do we want to be a gospel people, or a Southern culture people? Which is the more important part of our name — Southern or Baptist?’ 

Bestselling author Shauna Niequist speaks on Oct. 21, 2016, at the Belong Tour stop at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Author Shauna Niequist apologizes for her silence following allegations against father, Bill Hybels

By Emily McFarlan Miller — February 22, 2021

(RNS) — Niequist spoke out about the allegations for the first time in a long Instagram caption posted Monday (Feb. 22)

In this Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, photo the Rev. James Coleman, 70, is vaccinated for COVID-19 by nurse practitioner Ifreke Udodong at United Medical Center in southeast Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Washington taps pastors to overcome racial divide on vaccine

By Ashraf Khalil, Hilary Powell — February 22, 2021

(AP) — Health officials in the nation’s capital are hoping religious leaders will serve as community influencers to overcome what officials say is a persistent vaccine reluctance in the Black community.

Peter Carrell, the Anglican bishop of Christchurch, outside the 2011 earthquake damaged Christ Church Cathedral in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb 11, 2021. The Christ Church Cathedral was arguably New Zealand’s most iconic building before much of it crumbled during an earthquake 10 years ago. The years of debate that followed over whether the ruins should be rebuilt or demolished came to symbolize the paralysis that has sometimes afflicted the broader rebuild of Christchurch. But as the city on Monday marks one decade since the quake struck, killing 185 people and upending countless more lives, there are finally signs of progress on the cathedral. It’s being rebuilt to look much like the original that was finished in 1904, only with modern-day improvements to make it warmer and safer. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)

10 years after quake, Christ Church Cathedral finally rising

By NIck Perry — February 21, 2021

(RNS) — After years of debate over whether to restore the building or start from scratch, it’s being rebuilt to look much like the original that was finished in 1904.

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, a masked worker cleans a street in the Chinatown district in San Francisco. Police are stepping up patrol and volunteers are increasing their street presence after several violent attacks on older Asians stoked fear in the San Francisco Bay Area's Chinatowns. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Let the church declare: Asian Lives Matter

By Raymond Chang, Michelle Ami Reyes — February 19, 2021

(RNS) — Anti-Asian attacks have been skyrocketing at an alarming rate since the start of the pandemic. Yet there has been a gaping void of evangelical voices publicly speaking up to defend their Asian American brothers and sisters.

Worshippers clap during a 2016 service at the First Baptist Church, a predominantly African-American congregation, in Macon, Georgia. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

Want to understand Black experience? Learn about African American faith, survey finds

By Adelle M. Banks — February 19, 2021

(RNS) — A significant percentage of Black church attendees — 69% — agree that pastors of Black congregations are the African American community’s most important leaders.

In this May 29, 2020, file photo, images of Ravi Zacharias are displayed in the Passion City Church during a memorial service for him in Atlanta. A posthumous sex scandal involving Zacharias, who founded the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, has placed the global organization in a wrenching predicament. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Ministry leaders’ rush to empathize with Ravi Zacharias is beyond alarming

By Kyle J. Howard — February 19, 2021

(RNS) — It is deeply troubling to see so many men, especially in ministry leadership, find a more immediate connection with the abuser rather than the abused.

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