Faith/Religion

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

Palm branches waived above umbrellas on Sunday (April 13) at the annual Blessing of the Palms, a short ecumenical service held in downtown Columbia each year on Palm Sunday.

Clergy and congregants from the downtown churches converged on the corner of Ninth Street and Broadway at 10:30, and clergy from each church took turns leading the service.

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban's Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn't.

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

 

When a tornado devastated Joplin in spring 2011, South Joplin Christian Church didn’t have a plan.

“The reality is that I remember no conversations where we said, ‘We could do this and this, and be prepared for part of our town being wiped off the map, for our church being damaged, and for many of our families losing their homes and businesses,” said Jill Michel, the church’s pastor. “There were no conversations that started that way.”

fort hood
U.S. Army / Flickr

A 37-year-old soldier killed by a gunman in the recent shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, will be honored with a procession before being laid to rest.

In Western media, we hear reports that Muslim women are relegated to a second class, largely powerless status and are denied education, independence and employment. We hear stories of women brutalized and abused.  

Abigail Keel, ColumbiaFAVS.com

Three years ago, Larry Lile became his own boss. He started a consulting group that does energy audits of businesses and helps plan sustainable buildings.

His favorite part is the short walk to work: “I have about a 15-step walk to the office.”

But Lile also finds purpose in his work. Energy decisions, he said, are some of the most important issues we as a culture are making. He is dedicated helping businesses see that sustainable decisions are not only more ethical, but also economical. His personal life is proof of that.

MU skeptics group brings big-name atheists to campus

Mar 17, 2014
Heather Adams, ColumbiaFAVS.com

A conference this weekend -- the first conference ever hosted by the student skeptics organization at MU -- brought in well-known atheist speakers from around the country.

The conference, SashaCon, had been in-the-works since summer. It all started when MU SASHA (Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists and Agnostics) heard the story of Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, an up-and-coming atheist speaker who first came to the U.S. as a refugee from Iraq. 

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

Christianity is in the midst of a major shift, according the scholar and author Phyllis Tickle. And that shift could involve making more room for the Holy Spirit.

Tickle, respected internationally as an authority on religion, is the founding editor of the religion department at “Publishers Weekly.” She is the author of more than two dozen books, and has received awards for her accomplishments, along with two honorary doctorate degrees.

She spoke at an event on Friday and Saturday in Columbia focused on one question: “What is the future of faith?”

Image courtesy Missouri United Methodist Church.

Christianity is due for a major transformation – potentially, something as big as the Protestant Reformation.

At least, that's how Phyllis Tickle sees it.

Tickle is the founding editor of the religion department at "Publishers Weekly," and the author of more than two dozen books. One of them, "The Great Emergence," explores where Christianity has been, is now, and could be headed.

This weekend, Tickle is visiting Columbia for two days of talks focused around one question: "What is the future of faith?"

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

Faith-based advocacy groups are uniting with hopes of making change in Missouri on behalf of the state's most vulnerable and marginalized population.

Representatives from groups around the state met Friday (March 7) in Quinn Chapel AME Church in Jefferson City to share the action they’re taking in their communities, and develop strategies on how to work together.

On their agenda: pushing for early voting. Improving public education. Expanding Medicaid.

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, visited Fulton on Thursday (Feb. 27) to deliver a guest lecture and preside over a service at Westminster College. The lecture was held in the historic Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury. 

Memorial service honors firefighter Lt. Bruce Britt

Feb 27, 2014
Tony Nochim / KBIA

A memorial service was held at The Crossing Thursday in honor of Lieutenant Bruce Britt, who served on the Columbia Fire Department for 23 years and died in action last weekend.

Photo courtesy Daniel Vernon

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Fest.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

Films and filmmakers from around the world are converging in mid-Missouri this weekend for the annual True/False Film Fest.

Image courtesy Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Fest.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

This weekend is the annual True/False Film Fest, bringing documentary films and filmmakers to Columbia from all over the world.

This story was originally published on Columbia Faith & Values (ColumbiaFAVS.com).

Room at the Inn, the emergency winter homeless shelter run as a collaboration among churches, will stay open until March 6 – about one week later than originally planned.

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

 

It’s a chilly Thursday at noon, and there are 4 of us gathered in a tiny chapel on College Avenue for a mid-day service. I’m observing as Father John Prenger leads two other people through liturgy.

There are Bible readings, some responses from the Book of Common prayer, and a short message. 

When it’s time for holy communion, they gather around the altar. From one person to the next, they pass a tiny piece of bread, and a small chalice of wine. But it’s not just the bread and wine – to them, the body and blood of Jesus Christ are present. 

Byndom making Baha’i history with City Council run

Feb 11, 2014
Photo courtesy Tyree Byndom, via Facebook.

This story was originally published on Columbia Faith & Values (ColumbiaFAVS.com).

Tyree Byndom’s decision to jump in to the City Council race for the First Ward representative spot involved serious prayer. There was the typical prayer seeking God’s guidance. After hearing “yes” coming from that place deep in his spirit, Byndom had to receive sanction from leaders of his faith tradition.

Churches reach out to children with special needs

Feb 1, 2014
Heather Adams, Columbia Faith & Values

Lora Hinkel grew up going to church with her family. Now that she has her own family, she has continued this tradition. But her son found it difficult to sit through services.

Her son, Blake, has autism. She tried to make accommodations by taking her son out into the hall or into another room. But eventually, they stopped going to church altogether.

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

The winners of this year's Columbia Values Diversity Awards both have close ties to education – and to longtime Columbia educator Eliot Battle, who died last year. 

The awards, which are given out at the annual Columbia Values Diversity Celebration, honor those who have helped the community better appreciate diversity and cultural understanding. It's also a chance to remember the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Julie Middleton

Courtesy American Humanist Association

 

A nativity scene displayed on the lawn of the courthouse in Oregon County, Mo., has been called unconstitutional by the American Humanist Association, a secular advocacy group.

The county has displayed the nativity scene on the courthouse lawn for the past four or five years.

Kellie Moore, ColumbiaFAVS.com

Hal Donaldson remembers the day well: It was August of 1969, and he was 12 years old. His parents were off to a business meeting, and Donaldson and his three siblings were home with a babysitter.

But his parents never made it to that meeting. On the way there, their car was hit by a drunk driver.

A policeman came to the house, and neighbors crowded around as the officer told Donaldson and his siblings the news: Their father had been killed, and their mother, severely injured.

The Interfaith Day Center in Columbia was packed full on Monday as people sought refuge from the cold temperatures. The high for the day was 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

The center, which is a daytime resource for those who are homeless, is expected to move to Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church soon. In the current location on Park Avenue, there’s only seating for about 20 people.

Nate Anton / Columbia Faith & Values

This story was produced in partnership with Columbia Faith & Values (ColumbiaFAVS.com.)

Editor's note: We'd like to tell more stories of rural churches and their role in the community. If you think your church would be a good fit for one of our stories, or if you know of another church we should profile, please email Columbia Faith & Values Editor Kellie Moore at Kellie.Moore@ReligionNews.com.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia is working to recruit enough volunteers to keep its temporary homeless shelter open until Dec. 31 – a week and a half longer than originally planned.

Kellie Moore / FAVS/KBIA

It all started with two sisters, Lois Knowles and Beulah McFarland, back in the early 1970s.

A member of their church – Calvary Episcopal Church – had moved to Columbia from Virginia. With her, she brought a cute little felt mouse, dressed to be in a church choir.

Knowles and McFarland decided to try making mice of their own. “Choir mice,” they called them. Each stood at just three or four inches tall, wore a red cassock with a lacy top and held a tiny prayer book. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

Faith communities around Columbia are preparing for the annual start of Room at the Inn, a homeless shelter open in January and February.

Chabad marks end of Hanukkah with giant menorah lighting

Dec 5, 2013
Mary Lorenzo, Columbia Faith & Values

The lighting of a giant menorah marked the final day of Hanukkah on Wednesday night at Tiger Plaza.

Hosted by Chabad, about 35 people attended this year’s event.

“Chabad is a Jewish organization for Jewish students on campus,” Rabbi Averham Lapine said. “It’s mainly MU students, but everyone is welcome.”

This is the MU Chabad chapter’s second year of hosting a public menorah lighting. The ceremony included blessings by the rabbi, Hanukkah songs, traditional food and even dreidel-shaped glasses.

Nate Anton / Favs Columbia

Death. It's often a taboo topic of conversation, despite its inevitability.

But that's not the case for everyone. David Oliver, retired medical professor at MU, and his wife, Debbie, gave a presentation yesterday evening (Dec. 3) titled, "Our Exit Strategy: Depriving Death of Its Strangeness."

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