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JERUSALEM — Eating apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashana is a Jewish tradition to symbolize a sweet start of the New Year. But in Israel, bitterness prevails for the holiday as the country faces a second nationwide lockdown to stem a raging coronavirus outbreak.

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The Rev. John Kenny, pastor of First Reformed Church in Grand Haven, says there are a couple of unexpected blessings that have turned up since restrictions went into place for the pandemic in March.

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Working to help others is actually turning out as a means to help some people get through the pandemic and feel good about themselves.

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I have been troubled recently. Really troubled. And I’ve be saddened, disappointed and upset. I asked my wife recently, “What country is this anyway? Are we living in America yet?” I hardly recognize it sometimes. It does not seem like the country I grew up in.

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LOS ANGELES — The FedEx envelopes landed at dawn on the doorsteps of some of Orange County’s most influential Catholic philanthropists – real estate developers, attorneys, CEOs and other church stalwarts who had raised tens of millions of dollars over the years for the local diocese.

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DALLAS — I’ve discovered a contemporary rendition of the New Testament’s “five loaves and two fishes” story taking place at a Dallas church as it works daily miracles in one of the Texas city’s poorest communities.

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Dr. Albert Schweitzer was a well-known missionary doctor to Africa. He could have had a medical practice anywhere in the world, but he chose to work among the poorest of the poor in Lambarene and Gabon. He was a theologian as well as a musician. He worked as a missionary until he was in his …

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Rev. John Stowe has long been critical of President Donald Trump, and the Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky) did not hold back in recent comments about what it means to be pro-life.

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In all his years walking into homes with a little white bottle of holy water, the Rev. Kristopher Cowles had never received a request like the recent one when a parishioner led him to a basement and pointed to a bed near a poster of the Virgin Mary and a carton of Clorox wipes.

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LANSING — Parishioners of St. Casimir Catholic Church lined Lansing’s Sparrow Avenue on Aug. 2 getting one last sight of the parish many called home for decades.

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DETROIT — For more than 45 years, Dignity Detroit has been a haven for LGBTQ Catholics looking to practice their faith in a respectful space for those with different sexual orientations.

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SPRING LAKE TWP. — The congregation of St. Matthew Lutheran Church celebrated the installation of a new pastor on July 5.

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Things sound different in a lockdown. The silence of usually bustling streets, the two-tone whirr of ambulance sirens and the sudden awareness of birdsong, all formed an aural backdrop to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Local Catholic organizations rallied together to help Positive Options — a nonprofit agency dedicated to helping women with unplanned pregnancies – by donating a new ultrasound machine at its Grand Haven center.

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Over the course of the last several months, COVID-19 has dominated our lives. Schools closed, churches closed, theaters, bars and restaurants have all closed. For months we were told to stay home and stay safe. We lived in lockdown except for the occasional trip to get groceries.

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The Church in America is abandoning the Gospel, forsaking Christ and adopting a false religion that, if left unchecked, will destroy more than the Christian faith. Today, misguided Christianity is destroying the heart of America with an unholy fear, misguided allegiance and idolatrous nationalism.

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HOLLAND (The Holland Sentinel) — Dr. Angela Carpenter’s book, “Responsive Becoming: Moral Formation in Theological, Evolutionary, and Developmental Perspective,” has been awarded the 2020 Dallas Willard Book Award.

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The Catholic Church held what is being termed as the first online pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. Earlier this spring, for the first time in its 162-year existence, the shrine was closed as part of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — A minister sued Ohio’s Cuyahoga County this week, alleging its anti-discrimination law violates her constitutional freedoms to avoid marrying same-sex couples.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Crossroads Community Church Senior Pastor Jim Clark wants to keep his 1,500 parishioners safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but he’s drawing the line at a new California ban on singing or chanting at religious services.

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday banned teachers who work at church-run schools from filing discrimination lawsuits against their employers, ruling that the Constitution’s protection for religious liberty exempts church schools from state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

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SEATTLE — Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, an evangelical school in Kirkland, Washington, was sitting at his desk in early May when he started seeing Facebook posts about a Black man killed while jogging through a coastal Georgia town.

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NEW YORK — Black Roman Catholics are hearing their church’s leaders calling for racial justice once again after the killing of George Floyd, but this time they’re demanding not just words but action.

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho is suing a group of anti-abortion protesters who lead frequent religious services outside the health care provider’s Spokane clinic, alleging the noisy demonstrations have interfered with treatment and intimidated pati…

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BOISE, Idaho — One of Boise’s largest churches is removing a controversial reminder of Idaho’s connections to the Confederacy – a stained-glass window featuring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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LUDINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has caused obstacles for the Oceana/Mason County Inmate & Family Ministries (OMCIFM) leadership. But they are determined to find different avenues to reach inmates, their families and the public with their message of hope.

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Catholic schools have faced tough times for years, but the pace of closures is accelerating dramatically amid economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, sparking heartbreak and anger in scores of affected communities.

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PHILADELPHIA — It used to be that David Kushner would receive a call to report to one of the area’s Jewish funeral homes once every few weeks. In the pandemic, his phone has buzzed every single day, sometimes more than once.

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Several weeks ago, I was watching a television program on C-SPAN. At the time I had no idea how timely the broadcast of that show would be. I wish that all Americans could watch that program because the lecture by historian Jonathan White portrays the way all people of every race should trea…

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Standing up for peace is nothing new for Chrys Moelter-Gray she’s been doing it for the past year.

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BALTIMORE — When the Rev. Jeffrey Dauses was starting out in his life as a Catholic priest, tradition held that the parents of a newly ordained young man should give him a special gift to mark the occasion: the chalice, or goblet, he’d use to offer Holy Communion to the faithful.

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WASHINGTON — The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., sharply criticized President Donald Trump for staging a visit to the historic St. John’s Church across from the White House, where he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters.

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The Rev. Dan Anderson has a unique personal perspective on the protests and riots exploding across the nation. He’s served as both protector and as a pastor.