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Religion

Local churches to host Christmas services

Calvary Baptist Church Christmas Day service will be held at 9:30 a.m. The church is located on 930 Haner Ave. For more information call (217)-824-2324. First United Pentecostal Church of Pana The church will be hosting their Christmas Concert Dec. 18, at 9:45 a.m. The church will be hosting a live Nativity play at Kitchell…

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Santa’s reindeer cleared for flight after annual veterinary exam

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., —Children around the world received some good news today, with officials from the North Pole confirming that Santa’s reindeer have been approved for their Christmas Eve flight, following a health checkup from Santa’s veterinarian. Dr. Lori Teller, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), flew to the North Pole earlier this month…

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Long history behind bitter Orthodox schism in Ukraine

Terry Mattingly After the Soviet Union’s collapse, Orthodox Christians throughout the Slavic world celebrated the slow, steady construction of churches after decades of persecution. In 2004, the poet Nina Borodai wrote a long prayer — “Song of the Most Holy Theotokos” (Greek for “God-bearer”) — seeking the prayers of St. Mary for the lands of…

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At ‘Church City,’ a taste of Catholic life in Qatar

MARIAM FAM Associated Press DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Hymns echo through the spacious, blue-walled church. The congregants listen to the Gospel and the homily. They kneel, eyes closed and hands clasped in prayer or palms turned skyward. They line up to receive Communion as a choir belts out: “Lord, for my sake, teach me to…

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When is Christmas? That’s complicated for church leaders

ON RELIGION By Terry Mattingly On church calendars, parents and grandparents circle this December event with red ink. The problem for clergy is simple: When do they schedule that special Christmas service, or that concert full of Christmas classics? “Evangelicals, and especially Baptists, tend to be rather pragmatic about these decisions. We want the most bang…

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Pope reschedules Congo, South Sudan trip for Jan. 31-Feb. 5

NICOLE WINFIELD and DENG MACHOL Associated Press VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has rescheduled his delayed trip to Congo and South Sudan for Jan. 31-Feb. 5, cutting out a stop in Congo’s conflict-ravaged east but fulfilling a years-long wish to accompany other Christian leaders to the young nation of South Sudan. The Vatican on…

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James C. Jones Lead Minister Taylorville Christian Church

Recently I was reading Donald Spoto’s book Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi, in which he recounts the difficult life of a man who has been much revered in the nearly 800 years since his death. Spoto tells the story of a Christmas, not long before the death of Francis, in which he…

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Who’s giving Americans spiritual care? As congregational attendance shrinks, it’s often chaplains

Wendy Cadge Brandeis University (THE CONVERSATION) When Americans picture a chaplain, many of them likely think of someone like Father Mulcahy, the Irish American priest who cared for Korean War soldiers in the classic TV show “M.A.S.H.” The reality is much more complex. Today’s chaplains are diverse in gender, age, religious background and sexuality. They…

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Do churches still have money for missions and charity?

Terry Mattingly Back in the heady church-growth days of the 1980s and 1990s, researchers John and Sylvia Ronsvalle began hearing caution creep into their interviews with church leaders. Denominational leaders were especially uncomfortable when asked about declines in giving to overseas missions and projects to help the poor. Sylvia Ronsvalle said the leader of one…

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MINISTER’S MESSAGE

Surrender to a Spiritual Revolution I often catch myself thinking that in order for humankind to redirect its trajectory, we must have a ‘revolution’ of sorts. Not the one that is violent, spills blood, or anything terrible like that. But rather a ‘spiritual revolution’. A revolution where Christ is at the center of our worldly…

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