Archives for April 2013

History of Hymns: Sermon on the Mount inspires ‘Purify My Heart’

One of Mr. Leach’s most beautiful hymns is “Purify My Heart” which was part of a self-assigned project of writing hymns based on the Beatitudes. It is sung with a wonderful tune in F minor, TURN MY HEART, that was composed by Amanda Husberg, a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod musician in New York City.

Consider the consequences of a UMC breakup

By Ted Campbell, Special Contributor… The possibility of dividing the United Methodist Church as a way out of persistent conflicts over homosexuality has been raised enough times in recent years to warrant serious reflection on what it would entail. The fact that Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans have all seen either formal divisions or significant withdrawals […]

George W. Bush Presidential Center dedicated at SMU

The George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University was dedicated this morning in Dallas, with President Barack Obama and all living former presidents and First Ladies attending. A large crowd, including Bush administration alumni, family members of former presidents and numerous foreign dignitaries, gathered outside in mild weather by the $250 million facility, a new anchor for the east […]

Image of dark-skinned Satan has long history

When some people recently started questioning whether the Satan character on The Bible miniseries resembled President Obama, others posed a broader question: Why does Satan need to be dark-skinned at all? Religious experts and historians say the controversy points to a centuries-old tradition where dark is bad, light is good. “It’s just part and parcel […]

Church opens doors to mobile Mexican consulate

By Anne Marie Gerhardt, Special Contributor… AURORA, Ill.—Miguel Rivaz of Melrose Park appreciated a shorter drive to get his wife Maria a passport. The couple recently visited the mobile unit of the Mexican consulate held at Nueva Vida United Methodist Church in Aurora. “This is a lot closer than the Chicago Mexican consulate, and there it takes […]

HBO documents saviors of 50 Holocaust children

By Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service… Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus lived a comfortable life in 1930s Philadelphia, where he made a good living as a lawyer, and she kept a stylish house. They were secular Jews who sent their children to a Quaker school, and unlikely candidates for the mission they assigned themselves. Gilbert revealed […]

Ten reasons why UM bishops shouldn’t meet in private – from a retired bishop

By Joe E. Pennel Jr., Special Contributor… As one of the retired bishops I join those who are concerned about the active bishops meeting as a closed “forum,” as they are scheduled to do in San Diego from May 5-8. The word “forum” is a public word. Its derivation comes from the open space or […]

When it happens where you live

By Cheryl Smith, Special Contributor… As any realtor will tell you, the most important factors in buying property are location, location, location. Where you are really does make a difference. Before June 2011, by virtue of my distance from it, I could ignore the state-imposed death penalty in Texas. Sure, I might have known that […]

Bob Edgar, UM pastor, led NCC and Common Cause, and served in Congress

The Rev. Bob Edgar, a Democratic congressman and United Methodist minister who went on to lead the National Council of Churches through a painful series of restructuring cuts, died suddenly Tuesday (April 23) at age 69. The man religious leaders remembered as a “bridge builder,” suffered a heart attack and had been exercising on a […]

At 75, AA wrestles with its spiritual roots

By G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Religion News Service… BEVERLY, Mass.—For Alcoholics Anonymous to continue helping addicts find freedom in sobriety, the 75-year-old organization has to reclaim its spiritual roots. That’s the message coming from reformers who say the group has drifted from core principles and is failing addicts who can’t save themselves. But what constitutes the […]