Religious News From Around the Web Feb. 24, 2020

Church for Sale, Coronavirus, Kirk Douglas, LGBT Services, Lent, Latter-day Saints and Gender, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Chinese Churches

Christ Church Cathedral Begins LGBT+ Services
Christ Church Cathedral By Diliff CCChrist Church Cathedral in the U.K. held a special LGBT+ service on Feb. 23rd to start a six-month series. Rev. Marcus Green, who identifies as gay, led the services, and said that LGBT+ people are not always valued by evangelicals, but these services will offer no condemnation and will be a safe space for all.

World Vision Assisting Fight Against Coronavirus in China
World Vision has over 300 members in China, and is helping counter the Coronavirus with a $3.7 million campaign to aid nearly 400,000 people. The Coronavirus has killed some 1,600 people in China and many children sponsored by World Vision live in areas impacted by the virus.

How Kirk Douglas Rediscovered his Jewish Heritage
Kirk Douglas StarAt age 74, Actor Kirk Douglas survived a helicopter crash that killed two others. His brush with death spurred him to begin investigating his Jewish heritage. Feeling that there was a higher power, he plunged into study of the Torah. Douglas passed away on Feb. 5 at 103 years of age.

First Presbyterian Church of Utica for Sale
With declining numbers of regular churchgoers, some Christian churches have been put on the real estate market, and the sight of a “for sale” sign in front of a historic church can be a shock to parishioners. First Presbyterian of Utica, is one such church, although the congregation voted to sell, not the church board. Nevertheless the challenges faced by the church and its members are not unique, and decisions as to where to go and what to do face many congregations today.

What is Lent and Why 40 Days?
Lent is a time of preparation, fasting and repentance before Easter, and the 40 days represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness. The word “Lent” comes from Anglo-Saxon and refers to the lengthening days of spring.

Latter-day Saints Handbook Addresses Gender Issues
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently published: General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on its website. The handbook carries some changes, notably regarding gender issues and transgenderism. The earlier editing did not mention the subject, but the 2020 edition contains a section on transgenderism under Policies on Moral Issues.

Sen. Orrin Hatch to Receive Honor for Religious Liberty
Sen Orrin HatchSen. Orrin Hatch will receive the Becket 2020 Canterbury Medal, religious liberty’s highest honor, in recognition of Hatch’s “civil discourse, principal leadership, and unfailing dedication to the defense of religious liberty for all.” The award website goes on to say that the award honors “someone who has resolutely and publicly refused to render unto Caesar that which is God’s.” Hatch served in the senate for 42 years before retiring in 2019.

Chinese Churches Must Support Communist Party and Government
The latest development in the Chinese government’s tightening of restrictions on churches is a law that requires churches to support the Communist Party and the government. Churches must also undergo an examination before granted the right to operate. Bitter Winter, a Human Rights Organization focused on violations in China published an English translation of the administrative measures.