Faith/Religion

The American Humanist Association filed a federal lawsuit against Missouri's Fayette School District on Wednesday (Nov. 20), saying Fayette High School is unconstitutionally promoting Christianity through teacher-led prayer.

The lawsuit focuses on the activities happening in the classroom of Gwen Pope, a math teacher at the school. Pope was the faculty advisor for the Christian student group at the school.

 The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City is seeking public input on the need for a possible new parish church and school in Columbia. A listening session Monday night at the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Columbia was part of a series of sessions at Catholic Churches in Columbia. Sister Kathleen Wegman, Chancellor of the Diocese of Jefferson City says that the listening sessions are in response to questions about the growing needs of Columbia’s growing Catholic community.

Worshippers at Islam Center
File Photo / KBIA

The Islamic Center of Central Missouri celebrated its 30th anniversary Sunday by assembling a group of volunteers and packaging 30,000 meals to feed the hungry in several countries. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

The Diocese of Jefferson City is planning meetings this week to discuss the possibility of starting a new parish and school in Columbia.

We've got an exciting transition coming up at Columbia Faith & Values, the religion news website partnered with KBIA.

Some of you have heard our updates on KBIA on Saturday mornings. Since summer 2012, we've had a 3-minute time slot that starts at 8:34, which we've used to bring you feature stories, interviews and more. 

Listen to 3 minutes of our favorite soundbytes – the "best of" FAVS:

 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

More than one year after the Islamic Society of Joplin was burned to the ground, an arrested man has confessed to setting the fire.

“The arrest will not bring the mosque back, but at least it will stop him from doing things like this again,” said Lahmuddin Lahmuddin, the mosques imam, on hearing the news.

A traditional goat slaughter: Sounds and images of Eid

Oct 19, 2013
Ryan Schuessler, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

Viewer and listener discretion: Some of the images below contain blood and show the slaughtering of a goat. The audio includes moments of this, as well, though we've made sure it's not gratuitous.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values

Note: Kellie Kotraba is the editor of Columbia Faith & Values (ColumbiaFAVS.com), which runs KBIA's Faith & Values desk. 

When I accepted my job, I didn’t realize “tour guide” would be part of the job description. But here I am, preparing to lead a tour of some of Columbia’s downtown houses of worship. And it’s not the first time, either.

What comes after death in the Abrahamic faiths?

Oct 12, 2013
Katy Mersmann, Columbia Faith & Values

  When Rashed Nizam went home to Bangladesh this spring, he knew his father was close to death.

“All his life he was healthy,” Nizam said. But now, he was 90 years old. When Nizam got there, he could tell his father’s last moment was coming – he just didn’t know exactly when.

He prepared his family: “I said, ‘OK, you recite Quran, you say all the good, things, reminding him.’”

Two days later, on May 1, his father died.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

Before she began her lecture, the Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni looked out at the people standing in the doorway. With every seat filled, the crowd spilled into the hallway, standing room only.

She called them in, inviting students to come sit on the steps leading up to the platform she sat on, or at least sit on the floor up front.

She knew it was a formal setting, she said, but she gave all that up years ago – and she likes her life better this way.

Jill Ornitz, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

For George Frissell, giving students the opportunity to talk to Champa Lhunpo, a Tibetan monk, for the past 15 years has been a highlight of the world religions course he teaches at Hickman High School.

“Here’s someone who was a member of the Dalai Lama’s own monastery, and offers them [students] perhaps a perspective that’s one that they really can’t get from a book or from watching a video,” Frissell said.

Auzigog / Flickr

  Longtime traveling preacher Brother Jed Smock announced that he and his family will be the stars of a new reality TV show, “Brother Jed and Company.”

Ryan Schuessler, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

Worshippers rhythmically sign songs to each other. A flurry of hand motions spells out which Bible verses are to be read. The pastor moves his hands dramatically, with impassioned facial expressions to accompany the movements. The only sounds you hear are the occasional cough, maybe knuckle cracking, or the sound of one hand hitting the other in the sign for “Amen.” 

Belief systems impact educator performance, Mizzou researcher finds

Sep 7, 2013
Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

 

Belief systems have a role in shaping the performance of teachers and principles – that’s what MU researcher Noelle Witherspoon-Arnold has found. According to Witherspoon-Arnold, educators with strong belief systems are more connected to their work and their students, and they are more likely to be social justice-oriented than educators without strong belief systems. But “belief system” doesn’t always mean religion – and whatever that system is, there are often tensions at play.

We sat down with her to find out more. Answers have been edited for length and clarity. 

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

This week, Columbia Faith & Values and its partner sites explored what happens when violence crosses thresholds in churches, synagogues and mosques. You can read the whole series on ColumbiaFAVS.com.

The story we bring you today takes us to Joplin. What happens when your worship space burns to the ground, and no one even knows who or what is at fault? How do you go on?

Courtesy MU Department of Health Psychology

What goes on in the brain during a spiritual experience?

The answers to that question are Brick Johnstone’s specialty.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

Community members gathered in Flat Branch Park on Sunday for an interfaith worship service as part of MidMissouri PrideFest, which celebrates the LGBTQ community. The theme of the worship service was "let your light shine." Check out the highlights in this video from our local media partner, Columbia Faith & Values.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

When school begins on Wednesday at Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School, students will meet a new principal – again. 

Since 2007, the school has gone through four principals. That makes Elaine Hassemer, the new principal, the fifth one in six years.

Heather Adams, Columbia Faith & Values

 

At 12 years old, Summer Davis was frustrated with the amount of weight she had gained.

“I started getting really annoyed and mad at myself for being overweight,” she said.

She began researching weight loss tips online when she stumbled across the website for a camp near St. Louis: Camp Jump Start, a weight loss camp for 10- to 18-year-olds. “I realized you have to work hard instead of taking a pill or doing some weird thing to lose weight fast – you have to actually work hard,” Davis said.

New Generation Singers take music to the road

Aug 3, 2013
Heather Adams, Columbia Faith & Values

 

The message of music is even more meaningful when it's taken on the road – at least, that's how the New Generation Singers see it. 

Looking back: A year of faith & values news

Jul 26, 2013
Photo by Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Columbia Faith & Values, the website behind KBIA's faith and values desk, just celebrated its first anniversary. We've put together some of the best sounds from our first year. 

Once your curiosity has been piqued by listening, take a look at the stories those sounds came from, in the order they were played. 

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

 

When Catholics used to abstain from eating meat every Friday, often eating fish instead, they earned a nickname: "mackerel snappers."

That practice has gone away – except during Lent, the season before Easter – and so has the nickname. 

 

But that nickname is now the title of a new book that seeks to explain often misunderstood teachings of Catholicism. 

 

The man behind the book is Spencer Allen, an apologist, husband, father of four and the principal of St. Joseph Cathedral School in Jefferson City. 

 

Interfaith gardens grow food and fellowship

Jul 12, 2013
Photo courtesy Lily Chan

 

Volunteers from different faith communities have been working together to grow food. Columbia has more than 30 community garden plots, and several of them are interfaith gardens. 

Monta Welch is the founder of a group called Interfaith Care for Creation, which has started an interfaith garden project in Columbia.  The goal of the program is to educate different faith communities about environmental stewardship, she said. 

Pope Francis released his first encyclical this morning, completeing the work that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had begun.

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

Joyu Wang / KBIA

National advocates called for local support against alleged U.S.-sponsored torture during the period following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

This was the main theme of a lecture held at the Islamic Center of Central Missouri on Saturday evening.

Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, said torture is illegal and immoral.

"It doesn't only violate tenets of all religions, but torture also has made the country more insecure and unsafe," he said.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

 

When Gavin Hooks' parents divorced, his Christian faith faded.

"I felt like God had left me, or I felt like my faith wasn't sufficient to work through this problem," he said. He didn't stop believe in God, but for about a year, he "dropped out" of his faith walk. 

Eventually, he returned. He'd worked through the issues of his parents' volatile split – or so he thought. 

Fast forward 20 years. Hooks' mother died, and he realized something: He still had deep issues that he hadn't dealt with. 

Prayer shawl ministries create comfort and community

Jun 1, 2013
Bridgit Bowden\ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

 

When you walk into Kathie Jackson’s office at First Presbyterian Church, the first things you see are a huge basket of yarn, and shawls draping every wall. Jackson is the associate pastor, and she helps with the church's prayer shawl ministry.

"Prayer shawls are a tangible way of showing people and helping people be reminded on a daily basis that there are people that they know – and sometimes people that they don’t know – who pray for them daily," she said.

Church holds active shooter training

May 25, 2013
KBIA

 

When Michael Hestir visited Alive in Christ Lutheran Church earlier this month, he wasn't there to worship. He was there to help churchgoers prepare for a possible emergency.

Hestir, a sergeant of the Columbia Police Department, has been going to churches around Boone County for the past five years to raise awareness on church violence and how to act.

In the past decade, America has seen an increase in people coming into church buildings and taking lives.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

There are enough former Catholics in the United States to make up a large Christian denomination of their own.

According to the Religious Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2008, one in 10 American adults identifies as an ex-Catholic. And of the 25 percent of American adults who are still Catholic, only one in four attend mass regularly.

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