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Religion

Hymns through masks: Christians mark another pandemic Easter

VATICAN CITY — Christianity’s most joyous feast day was celebrated worldwide with the faithful spaced apart in pews and singing choruses of “Hallelujah” through face coverings on a second Easter Sunday marked by pandemic precautions. From vast Roman Catholic cathedrals to Protestant ...

Footsteps to Follow: Alleluia. Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! Has it been a year since the start of the pandemic? We have great hope for the world in the next year and how we will celebrate Easter 2022! But for now, life is getting better week by week, and it is a blessing to have some in-person services and ...

Faith Matters: Earth Day 2021

Thursday, April 22, we all participate in Earth Day; we really don’t have a choice. Earth Day, a global event, connects us all. Chief Seattle is credited with this profound statement: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do ...

City woman named head of California Lutheran Homes Foundation

GLENDALE, Calif. — Williamsport-native Nancy J. Ackerman, CFRE, recently was named president and CEO of California Lutheran Homes Foundation and Community Services, an independent not-for-profit social ministry organization. CLH provides affordable housing for seniors, veterans and other ...

Holy days arrive for the faithful as pandemic eases in US

For Christians across the United States, Easter services on Sunday will reflect an extra measure of joy as the nation experiences rising optimism after a year of pandemic. Even if still observing restrictions, many churches may draw the largest numbers of in-person worshippers in ...

Footsteps to Follow: How will you come to the tomb?

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone ...

‘Easter is going to be the highlight of the year’

This time last year, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the nation, closing a number of churches’ doors. This year, with loosened restrictions and vaccine being distributed, many will not only have virtual services but also limited capacity indoor services and even Easter egg hunts. First ...

Easter egg hunts and other ministry related Easter events:

Calvary Baptist Church: • April 3, Easter egg hunt from 1 to 4 p.m., ages 2-12 • Maundy Thursday, 7 p.m. • Good Friday, 7 p.m. • Easter Sunday, 10:40 a.m. The Beacon: A United Methodist Church, Hughesville: • Nighttime Easter egg hunt, from 8 to 9 p.m. today Big Woods Bible ...

Footsteps to Follow: Mourning and rejoicing

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15 NIV). This simple sentence is found in the middle of a long letter from the apostle Paul to the scattered Christian community in Rome. Paul originally wrote these words as part of a larger section of the letter, ...

Faith leaders’ year of pandemic: grief, solace, resilience

In a pandemic-wracked year, religious leaders and spiritual counselors across the U.S. ministered to the ill, fed the hungry, consoled the bereaved. Some did so while recovering from COVID-19 themselves or mourning the loss of their own family members and friends. At times, they despaired. So ...

Footsteps to Follow: The way of the cross 2020

One thing that the Catholic Church is known for in our prayer life is devotionals. Simply put, a devotion is a way of praying that leads us closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One devotion that takes center stage during the season of Lent is the Stations of the Cross. As we prepare our ...

Faith leaders get COVID-19 shot to curb vaccine reluctance

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two dozen clergy members from the capital region rolled up their sleeves inside the Washington National Cathedral and got vaccinated against the coronavirus Tuesday in a camera-friendly event designed to encourage others to get their own COVID-19 shots. The ...

Vatican cardinal defends gay union blessing ban amid dissent

ROME (AP) — A cardinal close to Pope Francis defended a recent Holy See pronouncement that priests cannot bless same-sex unions as the Vatican faced outright dissent from some Catholic clergy and questions about the pontiff’s role in approving the document. Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head ...

Pope weighed Iraq virus risk but believes God will protect

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis said Monday he weighed the risks of a high-profile trip to Iraq during the coronavirus pandemic, but said he decided to go ahead with it after much prayer and belief that God would look out for the Iraqis who might get exposed. Francis described his ...

Faith Matters: Reflections for renewal

A poem I received at a women’s retreat almost a decade ago showered light on the activity of this past year. Selected below are four parts of Rev. Dr. Alla Bozarth-Campbell’s 16 verses of “Passover Remembered” with my thoughts interjected between the phrases. I hope other readers can ...

Footsteps to Follow: Great things come in small packages

Proverbs 30:24-28 states, “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet ...

A month of holy days and festivals

Worshippers burned aromatic incense sticks beneath red and yellow paper lanterns to celebrate the Lunar New Year outside a famed Taoist temple in Hong Kong. A holy man lay on the ground before an image of the Hindu goddess of learning during the Magh Mela festival in Prayagraj, India, ...

Footsteps to Follow: Silence with God – How do you find your solitude?

Is silence a dirty word? Seriously. How do you feel about solitude? The answer to this question can vary widely depending on our personality and state in life. It does not matter if you are an extrovert or an introvert, a single person, married, an empty nester, retired, working from home, ...

Intense preparations before pontiff meets Iraqi ayatollah

BAGHDAD (AP) — In Iraq’s holiest city, a pontiff will meet a revered ayatollah and make history with a message of coexistence in a place plagued by bitter divisions. One is the chief pastor of the world-wide Catholic Church, the other a pre-eminent figure in Shiite Islam whose opinion ...

United Methodist conservatives detail plans for a breakaway

Conservative leaders within the United Methodist Church unveiled plans Monday to form a new denomination, the Global Methodist Church, with a doctrine that does not recognize same-sex marriage. The move could hasten the long-expected breakup of the UMC over differing approaches to LGBTQ ...