Category : Pentecostal

(NPR) U.S. Hispanics Choose Churches Outside Catholicism

As their numbers grow, Latinos are not only changing where and how they worship; they’re also beginning to affect the larger Christian faith.

You can see evidence of that in the Assemblies of God, once a historically white, suburban Pentecostal denomination. When you walk into the denomination’s largest church, it’s sensory overload: The auditorium is jam-packed with hundreds of Latino worshipers singing in Spanish, swaying and dancing.

In little more than a decade, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago has grown from 68 people to more than 4,000 members; it had to abandon its old building and meet in Clemente High School. When you include the other churches New Life has started, its membership comes to some 12,000 people.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Ken Carter–Why congregations need Denominations

I share these two experiences alongside a comment I came across years ago: every church and every member of the clergy, over a span of time, needs to belong to a denomination. I serve as a district superintendent, and I am aware of the church’s imperfections, and my own. I watch over 69 local churches and a few assorted institutions within our geographical boundaries, and we are at work on the development of a new church plant and the development of a missional church network. At any given time about 3-5 of these churches are in real crisis: they are in need of outside intervention, mediation, conflict resolution and spiritual guidance. A denomination, at its best, provides a framework for the protection of the clergy in a workplace and supervision of even the most powerful clergy leaders. In addition, a denomination works out the implications of a missional strategy in an area that is more nuanced than simply whatever the market can bear.

I share these experiences at a time when there is much rhetoric around moving energy, resources and attention to the local church. I love the local church. It is the basic context for the mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world. At the same time, the local church will, on occasion, be stronger as it accomplishes mission that is beyond its own capacity, and as it is accountable to a wisdom that is outside its own day to day movements.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Baptists, Consumer/consumer spending, Disciples of Christ, Ecclesiology, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Psychology, Reformed, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, United Church of Christ

Few suitable choices for Scottish worshippers who want to find new theological home

For those Kirk members who feel compelled to leave the Church following today’s vote, the question of where they go is littered with potential problems, both theological and practical. If, as it would seem, it is more likely those in the traditionalist wing of the Church walk, then there are two options.

The first is to splinter entirely and form themselves into an entirely new presbyterian church. Such an outcome would be similar to that of the Disruption in 1843, when the Kirk split over the Church’s relationship with the state, resulting in the formation of the Free Church of Scotland….

The second path would see members of the Kirk moving to the Free Church of Scotland, which holds a staunchly conservative view on homosexuality….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

More churchgoers ditch their denominations

At the same time mainstream denominations lose thousands of members per year, churches such as Crosspoint are growing rapidly ”” 15 percent of all U.S. churches identified themselves as nondenominational this year, up from 5 percent a decade ago. A third dropped out of major denominations at some point.

Their members are attracted by worship style, particular church missions or friends in the congregation.

“They no longer see the denomination as anything that has relevance to them,” said Scott Thumma, a religion sociology professor at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. He’s compiling a list of nondenominational churches for the 2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Study. “The whole complexion of organized religion is in flux.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Evangelicals, Lutheran, Methodist, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ

Peter Berger–Pentecostalism ”“ Protestant Ethic or Cargo Cult?

…there are two distinct views on how Pentecostals relate to society. David Martin, the British sociologist who has pioneered in this area since the mid-1980s (Tongues of Fire, 1990), has been proposing that Pentecostals are a new embodiment of what Max Weber called the “Protestant ethic”””a morality of self-discipline, hard work and saving””which, he argued, was an important factor in the birth of modern capitalism. The research center which I founded in 1985 at Boston University supported Martin’s early work, which focused on Latin America. I liked to give nicknames to our projects. This one I called “Max Weber is alive and well and living in Guatemala” (that country, for reasons I don’t quite understand, has the highest proportion of Pentecostals in Latin America, somewhere between one third and one half of the population). If Martin is right, Pentecostalism is a modernizing force, certainly in terms of economic behavior, possibly also as a “school for democracy”. Not least of its revolutionary qualities is the transformation it seeks in family life and the role of women””broadly speaking, toward gender equality. Bernice Martin, David’s wife and collaborator, has paid special attention to this aspect.

The other interpretation sees Pentecostalism very differently””as a kind of “cargo cult”. This was a curious movement in Melanesia in the first half of the twentieth century. Its core belief was that ships (and, later, airplanes) would come and shower the inhabitants of those Pacific islands with all the material goods of modernity””and that magic and ritual practices could make this happen. No special effort was required by the recipients of the “cargo”, other than the faith that the magic would work””certainly not sweaty Protestant entrepreneurship. Two scholars who, cautiously, tend toward such a non-Weberian approach are Birgit Meyer in the Netherlands (Translating the Devil, 1999) and Paul Freston, who has been teaching in Brazil and North America (Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Latin America, 2008). If that interpretation is correct, Pentecostalism is not modernizing at all””in fact, is a carry-over from a pre-modern worldview that actually inhibits modernization.

Both interpretations have data for backup. My view of the matter is quite simple: Given the enormous number of people involved in the Pentecostal phenomenon worldwide, it is very plausible that both types can be found””the busy Protestants working to produce the “cargo”, and those who sit back and wait for the magic to bring the goodies to them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture

NPR–Robert Duvall's Cinematic Take On Faith

Duvall pioneered this more understated approach to faith in his 1983 film Tender Mercies. His performance earned him an Oscar and the enthusiasm of Christian moviegoers. His character, Mac Sledge, is a once-famous country music star who is broken by drink. He does not find redemption in a fiery born-again experience; indeed, after his baptism he confesses he doesn’t feel very different ”” “not yet” at any rate. His redemption comes gradually, through his love for the Christian woman who befriends him.

Jesus doesn’t fix his problems or make for smooth sailing, either, and he has a crisis of faith when his daughter is killed in a car accident.

“I don’t trust happiness,” the character says. “I never did and I never will.”

His faith survives, but the movie never tells us why.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture

Gulf oil spill: Grand Isle residents turn to church for solace

Thirty members of the United Pentecostal Church of Gretna, La., made the two-hour drive to Grand Isle to baptize new parishioners on the beach where they usually conduct the ceremony. But sheriff’s officers riding four-wheel-drive dune buggies blocked the entrance.

Pastor Vidal Galvez, 40, and the caravan of the faithful drove a few hundred yards away to the bay-side waters and got on with the service. They strung a tarp between two vans, put a few beach chairs in a circle and set up a card table for the altar. Two Guatemalan guitarists started off the service with baptismal hymns.

After the 30-minute service, Galvez led congregants into the calm backwaters, where Diana Perdomo and Danilo Garcia were baptized with song and prayer.“This contamination is bad for the fishermen, and the animals,” Galvez said in Spanish. “It ruins the environment.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Energy, Natural Resources, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Historian Vinson Synan reflects personally on the Pentecostal movement

The charismatic movement in the U.S. marks its golden anniversary this year, having begun with Episcopal priest Dennis Bennett in 1960. For more than a hundred years, its parent movement, Pentecostalism, has popularized practices such as speaking in tongues and prophesying. The younger charismatic movement surfaced when many North American Christians in mainline denominations began adopting similar practices.

Vinson Synan, a professor of church history at Regent University in Virginia Beach, documents the movement’s development in An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit (Chosen/Baker). CT online editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey spoke with Synan about Pentecostalism’s past and future.

What to you has been one of the most unexpected changes of the past century?

The biggest surprise was the Catholic-charismatic renewal that started in 1967. That came as an utter shock to me, to most of my friends, and probably to the Catholic Church. It gave legitimacy to the movement, that the largest and one of the oldest churches in the world was seeing a Pentecostal movement.

What has been the high point of the movement?

The movement reached a climax in America around 1977 during the Kansas City Conference, because all the different streams came together.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Pentecostal

Charisma Magazine: Study Shows Pentecostal Generation Gap

Some 21 percent of all adults””and a quarter of all Christians””consider themselves Pentecostal or charismatic, according to a new Barna Group poll.

The study found that the demographic crosses denominational, geographic and political lines, with 20 percent of Catholics and 26 percent of Protestants stating that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit and operate in at least one charismatic gift, such as tongues, prophecy or healing. Nearly a quarter of Republicans, 23 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independent voters identify themselves as Pentecostal or charismatic.

But the national telephone survey of 1,005 adults found striking generational differences among the group. Baby busters, or those ages 26 to 44, were the most likely to describe themselves as Pentecostal or charismatic, with 29 percent embracing that label. Some 26 percent of Mosaics, or 18- to 25-year-olds, and 25 percent of Christians aged 64 and older described themselves as Pentecostal-charismatic. Only 20 percent of baby boomers, or those between the ages of 45 and 63, described themselves as Pentecostal or charismatic.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

T.D. Jakes counsels patience in economic 'sorrows'

As the economy continues to grind away at jobs, homes and lifetimes’ of savings, Bishop Thomas D. Jakes looks back from his position as one of America’s most successful preachers and remembers his own hard times.

T.D. Jakes”” known internationally by those first two initials, or simply as “bishop” to the people at his 30,000-member Dallas megachurch The Potter’s House”” began his life and ministry in West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley. As a young husband and father, he lost his job when the local Union Carbide plant closed, and found himself slipping out of the middle class, working for years at hard jobs for low pay.

Eventually, though, he turned a seven-member church in the tiny town of Montgomery into the vast territories known today as T.D. Jakes Ministries and TDJ Enterprises ”” discrete kingdoms that nonetheless complement each other, with the Pentecostal-honed Christianity of the former blending with the empower-and-entertain entrepreneurship of the latter.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Peter Duffy–A Calling Higher Than Journalism: Who Knew?

For two decades beginning in the early 1950s, John McCandlish Phillips composed elegant newspaper stories under grueling deadline pressure for the New York Times, earning a reputation as one of his generation’s great reporters. In his 2003 memoirs, Arthur Gelb, a longtime editor at the paper, described him as “the most original stylist I’d ever edited….”

Mr. Phillips stunned the staff when he decided to leave full-time employment in 1973 at the age of 46. The New Yorker magazine much later called him “The Man Who Disappeared” and wondered why a figure with so much talent would “walk away from it.”

But Mr. Phillips did not disappear. He channeled his imagination into the church he had co-founded with Hannah Lowe a decade or so earlier, the Manhattan-based New Testament Missionary Fellowship, a small Pentecostal congregation. His dream was to spur a massive evangelizing campaign in New York City that would result in waves of born-again Christians.

“What everyone in this city needs, with scarcely anyone knowing of it, is the one salvation that God has provided in His son, Jesus Christ,” he told me in a recent interview. “My life was changed in a moment of time, permanently, by an act of evangelism [in 1950]. I know its power. And I have no chiefer desire than to see as many individuals as possible come to that same threshold and cross it.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture

Newsweek Profiles E. A. Adeboye

You may never have heard of E. A. Adeboye, but the pastor of The Redeemed Christian Church of God is one of the most successful preachers in the world. He boasts that his church has outposts in 110 countries. He has 14,000 branches””claiming 5 million members””in his home country of Nigeria alone. There are 360 RCCG churches in Britain, and about the same number in U.S. cities like Chicago, Dallas, and Tallahassee, Fla. Adeboye says he has sent missionaries to China and such Islamic countries as Pakistan and Malaysia. His aspirations are outsize. He wants to save souls, and he wants to do so by planting churches the way Starbucks used to build coffee shops: everywhere.

“In the developing world we say we want churches to be within five minutes’ walk of every person,” he tells NEWSWEEK. “In the developed world, we say five minutes of driving.” Such a goal may seem outlandish, but Adeboye is a Pentecostal preacher: he believes in miracles. And Pentecostalism is the biggest, fastest-growing Christian movement since the Reformation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Nigeria, Other Churches, Pentecostal

David Van Biema of Time: Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess

Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants ”” and hence, victims ”” of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise ”” that God will “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life ”” had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in Pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York: “The pastor’s not gonna say, ‘Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,’ but I have heard, ‘Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you ”” if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house or that car or that apartment.’ ” Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘If you give this offering, God will give you a house.’ And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.” If so, the situation offers a look at how a native-born faith built partially on American economic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.

Can we please not blame God but instead this awful theology? Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Theology

Wilmington Star News: Churchgoers describe what it feels like to be filled with the Holy Ghost

All these people claim a special happening – contact with the Holy Spirit. For many of them, “getting the spirit” or feeling God’s presence is a real, tangible and bodily experience. Shouting, seeing visions, speaking in tongues, jumping, dancing or falling limp to the floor (“falling out”) are just a few ways people say the Holy Spirit’s manifests its presence in their bodies.

But not every church group or individual Christian experiences the Holy Spirit. Some churches don’t welcome the bodily expression of spiritual experience. But even for those who do, the manifestations of the Spirit often vary from person to person, said William Turner Jr., a professor of ministerial studies at Duke Divinity School.

People seek the Holy Spirit because “consistently, the New Testament teaches that the basic components of the Christian life are: believing on the Lord Jesus; being baptized; and receiving the Spirit,” Turner said.

Sometimes fear of the unknown can keep worshippers from fully sensing God’s presence, he added.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Spirituality/Prayer

RNS: Sarah Palin offers a window into Pentecostal beliefs, practices

George O. Wood, who leads the Assemblies of God from its headquarters in Springfield, Mo., said Palin should not be expected to be responsible for, or supportive of, words of Pentecostal pastors any more than Obama should be held responsible for his spiritual leader.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” he said.

A.G. Miller, associate professor of religion at Oberlin College and an Ohio pastor of a small Pentecostal church, said: “Obviously, politics is not always fair. … It makes you even think twice about whether you want to put your sermons online.”

Several churches cited for ties to Palin have posted statements online extolling her leadership but saying they cannot speak for her or endorse her.

Palin, at the appearance last June at Wasilla Assembly of God, jokingly referred to her travels around the state as governor, when pastors might warn her that she might be surprised by the raising of hands or clapping in a congregation she visits.

“I say, I grew up at Wasilla Assembly of God,” she said. “Nothing freaks me out about the worship service.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Jeff Weiss: Religion and Sarah Palin — her history

Apparently, her denominational affiliation is Assemblies of God, which is Pentecostal (as was John Ashcroft). This is from an recent Alaska Assemblies of God newsletter:

Superintendent Ted Boatsman, who was Palin’s junior high pastor at Wasilla Assembly of God, along with Pastor Mike Rose of Juneau Christian Center, where Palin presently attends church when in Juneau, laid hands on the Governor and led the Council in prayer.

Would that make her the first Pentecostal to be on any major party ticket?….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

LA Times: Leah Daughtry is on a mission to narrow the 'God gap' in politics

Leah Daughtry is preparing to pray.

Hands clasped, elbows on the table, the Pentecostal minister leans toward the conference phone and speaks. “We’ve confirmed all the readings except the Buddhist person,” she says.

Daughtry is planning the interfaith celebration of song and prayer that will kick off the Democratic National Convention. Still needed are a Muslim, a Jew, a Catholic and a white evangelical to close. Then another wrinkle: Staffers say the Buddhist may have to yield to a congresswoman angling for a spot onstage. “More women is never a bad thing,” Daughtry allows, quickly moving on.

As a fifth-generation minister and veteran political planner, Daughtry seems perfectly suited for the administrative and ecumenical task posed by the gathering and its Noah’s Ark of speakers. But her work goes far beyond that one event and even her duties as chief executive of the Denver convention, which opens Sunday.

Daughtry, who keeps an altar at home and devotes a predawn hour a day to prayer and Bible study, is on a mission to narrow the “God gap” between Democrats and Republicans by winning over religious voters who have flocked to the GOP over the last 20 years.

“There are millions of Americans across this country for whom faith is important,” says Daughtry, who leads an unprecedented party effort targeting the devout. “And whether they vote on the basis of their faith, or whether they vote about issues that are somehow connected to their faith, we should be reaching out to them.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Pentecostal, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Lauren Winner: Suffering, prayer, and divine healing

Where did this 19th-century movement lead? Although the Pentecostal embrace of divine healing in the 20th century is outside of the scope of Curtis’ study, she suggests some of the ways that Pentecostalism both borrowed from and reshaped the 19th-century tradition of faith healing. And Curtis also pokes, gently, at some of the subtle, and subtly pernicious, effects the faith healing movement might have had on the larger American cultural imagination. She suggests, intriguingly, that perhaps one of the more worrying fruits of the movement was the stigmatizing of invalids: in the context of a God who promised health, “chronic illness or infirmity became increasingly problematic.” Thus, likely unintentionally, the faith cure movement may have “helped foster disparaging attitudes toward the body in pain that have persisted” to the present. The faith healing movement, in other words, contributed to our culture’s assumption that God prefers the able-bodied to the infirm, the vigorous to the halt and the lame.

Heather Curtis has done both the historical guild and the church a great favor in so elegantly narrating the history of a movement that challenged long-standing assumptions about the spiritual utility of corporal pain””and, in so doing, remapped our imaginations and transformed our understanding of suffering.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pentecostal, Theology

A Populist Shift Confronts the U.S. Catholic Church

To say she was a practicing Catholic would be an understatement. For years, Maria Aparecida Calazans was a mainstay at her Long Island church, joining dozens of fellow Brazilian immigrants for the Portuguese language Mass on Sunday mornings. She and her husband, Ramon, were married at the church. Their two daughters were baptized there, and every Friday she attended a prayer meeting that she had helped organize.

But six years ago, her husband went to a relative’s baptism at a Pentecostal church in a warehouse in Astoria, Queens, and came home smitten.

The couple made a deal. “We would go to the Pentecostal service on Thursdays and to Mass on Sundays, and then we would decide which one we felt most comfortable with,” Mrs. Calazans said.

Within 40 days, they had given up Roman Catholicism and embraced Pentecostalism, following the path of the estimated 1.3 million Latino Catholics who have joined Pentecostal congregations since immigrating to the United States, according to a survey released in February by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

“I feel whole here,” Mrs. Calazans, 42, said one recent Sunday in the Astoria sanctuary, the Portuguese Language Pentecostal Missionary Church, as she swayed to the pop-rock beat of a live gospel band. “This church is not a place we visit once a week. This church is where we hang around and we share our problems and we celebrate our successes, like we were family.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic

Orlando-area church that left Episcopal diocese finds home with Pentecostals

The only Episcopal congregation in Lake County to leave the national denomination over the issue of homosexuality and other doctrines has found a new home and ally in its quest to begin worshipping anew — a tiny Pentecostal congregation.

The Rev. Woodleigh Volland and an overwhelming majority of his congregation at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church departed the national Episcopal Church in late October but remained with the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican community.

The dissidents regrouped and formed a new church, Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church, but quickly found themselves with nowhere to worship or hold services.

“We had to move nearly the entire congregation and didn’t have anywhere to go,” said Volland, an ordained minister since 1990 and pastor at St. Edward’s for six years.

Four of the five staff members and 10 of 12 vestry members opted to leave along with 130 of the roughly 170 regular church worshippers, Volland said.

“We stepped out in faith and started completely over,” he said. “It was an extraordinarily difficult decision.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pentecostal, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Departing Parishes

Pastor Bob Birch RIP

(His picture is here).

I received the following via email this week:

Dear Pastors & Ministry Leaders,

Our dear elder brother, Pastor Robert Birch, went to be with the Lord on December 4th just three weeks short of his 100th birthday. This coming Saturday afternoon, January 5th, will be the occasion for the city church to come together for a Service of Thanksgiving to the Lord and a celebration of his life. Pastor Bob lived through every decade of last century and there is much to tell.

The service is at 2:00 pm at Harvest City Church. Please come early to park at HCC or else be prepared to park within a couple of blocks. Instead of sympathy cards we are invited to sign special greeting sheets for a remembrance for Margaret Birch and the family. Instead of flowers it is suggested to make a donation to the Bible Society for Bibles for orphans in India, envelopes will be available. After the service refreshments will be served in the church hall, where the biography of Pastor Bob in book and DVD will be on sale. The service will also be recorded for future availability.

Please forward this e-mail to your list to make sure no one misses out on this historic event. As Pastor Bob would have said: ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

Yours in Christ for the City,
Pastor David Carson
On behalf of the Vancouver City of Destiny Exec.

He was one of the remarkable Christian leaders of the 20th centruy, and he will be sorely missed–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal

Springfield Church Welcomes Many Nations Under God

Even in an era of mass immigration that has produced suburban tamale shops alongside halal meat markets and created a market for television programming in Hindi and Arabic, places of worship remain bastions of racial and ethnic uniformity. And that makes the case of one brick church in Springfield particularly remarkable.

On a recent Sunday morning at the Word of Life Assembly of God Church, pink-cheeked Virginia native David Gorman skipped in a conga line in Swahili Sunday school while a Kenyan preacher played an accordion and a Singaporean woman led jubilant hymns. Filipinos analyzed Bible passages in a classroom.

Later, as the Sierra Leonean choir prepared to perform in the sanctuary, D. Wendel Cover, the folksy white pastor, listed the nations of the world and asked worshipers to stand when they heard their homelands.

He seemed a bit dismayed to find just 80 represented.

“Our country’s becoming more international,” Cover, 73, said in an interview. He has led the formerly majority-white Pentecostal church for three decades. “The next generation is going to be American. If the church doesn’t realize that, they’re going to lose a whole generation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal

An NBC News Report on Pentecostalism in Africa

Watch it all and note carefully the man who says Christianity is not a religion but is instead something else.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Other Churches, Pentecostal

A NBC News Video Report on the Pentecostal Church

Watch it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal

Pastor from Nigeria who built megachurch in Ukraine expands reach into U.S.

Nearly every week, new visitors arrive. They want to see the megachurch that was built in the unlikeliest of places by the unlikeliest of men.

The Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations was founded 13 years ago by a Nigerian immigrant, Sunday Adelaja, in Kyiv, Ukraine. In a predominantly Orthodox Christian country where racism is pervasive, Adelaja created a Pentecostal church with 30,000 members.

The next stop in his bid for global reach is the United States.

“America is fast becoming a mission ground again,” Adelaja said in a phone interview from Sacramento, Calif., during his latest trip through the country. “We are surprised that the Americans who preached to us, the passion they had is almost already gone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Europe, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Russia

Church Expands Its Mission to Immigration Advocacy

For five days and nights last summer, the Rev. Edwin Mieses saw the kingdom of God on the playgrounds of this hilltop mining town. The occasion was the array of basketball games, clown shows and worship services that go by the title “Rock the Block.”

Mr. Mieses concocted the event with another local pastor as a way for that minister’s mostly white congregation and Mr. Mieses’s largely Hispanic flock to carry the Gospel together as Pentecostal Christians. And as Mr. Mieses heard the childish glee in response to his puppetry, as he watched a local drug dealer lurch tearfully toward the altar to accept Jesus, he believed he was doing what the Almighty had asked of him.

“To see the body of Christ working as one gives you a glimpse of what will be when the Lord returns,” Mr. Mieses recalled in an interview. “It’s what we’re called to do. It’s why we do this work. To bring forth a positive message with no racial lines, no color lines.”

By the time “Rock the Block” returned this summer, however, Mr. Mieses’s priorities had changed and his spiritual mandate had expanded in an unexpectedly political direction.

As Hazleton has become a national center for opposition to illegal immigrants, as members of Mr. Mieses’s congregation have experienced suspicion merely for being Hispanic, he has begun attending rancorous public meetings and sharing bulletins from his pulpit. In addition to staples like youth ministry and Bible study, his church has begun holding citizenship and English classes for adults.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal

N.Y. Church Goes Into the Bar and Finds a Flock

A rock ‘n’ roll bar with a neon “Pabst Blue Ribbon” sign in its window and truck-driver kitsch seems an unlikely setting for a room full of devout Christians gathered for prayer.

But on a recent Sunday evening, a small crowd gathered in the back room of Trash Bar in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood as a band warmed up onstage. Friends greeted each other with handshakes and hugs by the bar; some sat in the ripped-out car seats that line the bordello-red walls to chat.

By the time the band began to play “Glory to God,” about 40 people had assembled. Some were clean-cut, casually dressed young professionals; others sported tattoos, T-shirts, and sneakers. Many closed their eyes and lifted their hands while they sang along with the band. Some knelt to the floor or sat with their heads in their hands as they prayed.

A small crop of evangelical groups like the Church at Trash Bar have begun gathering in informal locations throughout Williamsburg over the past year, holding services in bars and cafes and promising an open environment for those who have given up on traditional churches but remain interested in worshipping in casual settings.

The Church at Trash Bar is one of a handful of New York congregations affiliated with the Vineyard Church, a looseknit Pentecostal denomination of about 1,500 churches worldwide.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal

Assemblies of God Elect New Leader

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal

Of Disparate Faiths, but of Like Mind on Dress Code

From yesterday’s New York Times, page B5:

On a Saturday morning in September 1987, Eric Stern stood before the congregation of a Queens synagogue, chanting the Torah part for his bar mitzvah. His passage spanned several chapters of Deuteronomy and was notable for containing 74 of the 613 commandments that govern observant Jewish life.

One verse stipulated that a woman should never wear male clothing, or vice versa, or else be “abhorrent” in the eyes of God. The rule forms one strand in the fabric of biblical statements and Talmudic commentaries that espouse and indeed hallow a concept of modesty, known by the Hebrew word “tznius.”

About the same time that Mr. Stern was intoning the religious dress code, a teenage girl, Tahita Jenkins, was learning the same concept from the same passage a few neighborhoods away in Far Rockaway. Ms. Jenkins, though, happened to be an African-American Christian, and her Pentecostal church imbued her with the belief that, among other things, a woman should never wear pants.

While Ms. Jenkins gave over to that particular temptation a few times in high school, she stuck with long skirts all through her studies in technical college and jobs with a bank, hospital, grocery store and three bus companies. Only when she was hired as a New York City bus driver two months ago did her attire become an object of controversy, leading to her dismissal.

The dismissal, in turn, brought her to Mr. Stern, who is now her lawyer, and to a seemingly unlikely partnership that is, on closer inspection, altogether logical. The common bond of Orthodox Jew and Pentecostal Christian is a belief in the right of a devout person to dress according to religious belief, without the risk of being fired.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture