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RNS Morning Report: UMC Protestations; Remembering Charleston Shooting; USCIRF Report

An Easter Sunday service at First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Neb., on April 21, 2019. Eight new confirmands recently addressed the congregation to say that they do not want to become full members at this time. Photo courtesy of FUMC Omaha

Need to know: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Protesting Methodist LGBTQ policy, confirmation class takes a pass

Eight teenagers who make up this year’s confirmation class stood before the congregation on Confirmation and read a letter saying they do not want to join the church at this time.

Widow of Mother Emanuel pastor: ‘Much prayer is needed’ four years after attack

Jennifer Pinckney, whose husband, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was killed in the attack on Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, reflects on her life four years later. She says that listening to his sermons 'ministered to me through some tough moments in my life.'

USCIRF report: China, two dozen other countries top religious freedom offenders list

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom concluded in its Monday report that 'innumerable believers and nonbelievers across the globe continued in 2018 to experience manifold suffering due to their beliefs.'

Rwanda’s genocide at 25: ‘Each soul decides to serve life or death’

We who lived faced a harsher task. How hard it has been, through grueling years: to overcome the loss, battle to forgive, and then bring healing to others — yes, even to killers, writes Denise Uwimana.

BYU valedictorian comes out as gay in graduation speech

Matty Easton, a political science major at the Mormon church-owned Brigham Young University, declared to cheers that he is “proud to be a gay son of God.”

400-year-old Bible stolen from Pittsburgh library is recovered in the Netherlands

A 1615 Geneva Bible stolen two decades ago from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh in a long-running theft scheme has been recovered from a Dutch museum, the F.B.I. announced this week.



Latest news from RNS

Worshipper saved grandson in California synagogue attack

John T. Earnest, 19, surrendered to police after bursting into Chabad of Poway, California, and opening fire with about 100 people inside, killing Lori Kaye, 60.

1 killed in shooting at California synagogue

The shooting came exactly six months since a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

Sunday Mass canceled across Sri Lanka a week after bombings

Catholic leaders canceled Sunday Masses indefinitely across Sri Lanka and officials urged Muslims to stay home for Friday prayers in an extraordinary call by the clergy to curtail worship as fear of more attacks plagued the island nation after the deadly suicide bombings on Easter.

More views from RNS

It is time to publicly protest anti-Semitism

Jeffrey Salkin writes, It is long past time for Jews and others to take the message public: Stop the Jew hatred!

Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ v. the Green New Deal

(RNS) — Legislation can't force an unwilling public to make the dramatic adjustments needed to save the planet. Instead, we should heed the pope's call for a fundamental change of life, like that of the saint he is named after.

How the ‘Harry Potter’ books are replacing the Bible as millennials’ foundational text

Engagement with the Potter texts online brought millions to the World Wide Web, which in turn has indelibly shaped our approach to self and belief, writes Tara Isabella Burton.