Cicyfarth and four other members of the White Hawthorne Protogrove talk over food at a restaurant in downtown Columbia, planning their ritual to recognize the spring equinox.
These five have been meeting periodically for sandwiches and fellowship for nearly half a year. They are neo-druids, people who draw on a multitude of pantheons to find positive ethics, natural harmony, and spiritual connection. Since the fall of 2012, Cicyfarth and the others have been fighting to become a church.
On Wednesday, the Cardinals of the Catholic church elected Jorge Mario Borgeglio of Argentina to be the new pope. He’s the first pope from South America, and the first from the Jesuit order of priests. He’s also the first to choose the name Francis.
We spent part of Wednesday and Thursay at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School in Columbia to find out what some of Columbia's young Catholics think of the new pope.
Like many other people, Corrine Hubbard admires his humility.
In some Christian denominations, it’s getting more common to see women preaching from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. Still, it’s a slow cultural shift – some denominations don’t allow female pastors, and many churches that do are just getting female pastors for the first time. All that’s to say that being a clergy woman has its own set of challenges – and those challenges come into play on the dating scene.
Awareness of death can lead people to strengthen and defend their own religious beliefs, according to a recent psychological study led by MU researcher Kenneth Vail.
And that doesn't just apply to those who believe in a higher power already.
The foundation of Vail's researcg comes from the idea that part of the motivation for religious belief is the awareness of death – an idea that has deep philosophical roots, Vail said. Recent experimental research also points to the notion that people use belief to help manage awareness of mortality.
It's one thing to say you'll go on a big volunteer trip. But doing it? That seems much harder. Just ask Jimi and Cristi Cook.
The Cooks are the co-founders and directors of Be the Change Volunteers, an organization that coordinates trips to impoverished countries around the world to build schools. It's the kind of volunteer effort the Cooks refer to as "the big one" – the kind that takes people out of their comfort zones.
By Ryan Schuessler & with Megan Rentschler and Evan Townsend
Since 2008, the Islamic Center of Central Missouri has been without an imam – a central community leader in Islam. Although Columbia’s Muslim community has found ways to stay active, it is without a formally trained spiritual leader.
Imams lead prayers, serve as religious scholars and assist with weddings and lectures, among other things.
Without an imam, “You won’t have someone who you can ask questions to frequently,” mosque Secretary Rafa Nizam said. “The access to knowledge might not be as easy.”
In this week's faith and values update, we hear from Kelsey Gillespy, the Catholic writer for Columbia Faith and values. She just finished a made-at-home documentary called "This Little Light," which aims to dispel misconceptions about Christianity – some of which she used to have herself, even though she grew up Christian.
Columbia’s Orthodox Christian community is growing – at least, that’s what churchgoers say it feels like.
*Clarification: The audio version of this story contains misleading information about the church's connection to the Great Schism of 1054. The church was among five patriarchates dating from the third century, and the schism was a time of separation -- the Roman Church split from the other four -- not a time of origin.