Faith/Religion

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."

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.

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