News & Ideas

Thursday's News & Ideas - 3/28/2024

  • Easter & Black church attendance
  • LGBTQ-affirming clergy investigation
  • Scorsese to host Fox religious series
  • German citizenship test adds Judaism questions
  • A Eucharist of sourdough or wafer?
  • Toni Morrison’s rejection letters

News & Ideas will resume publication on April 1, 2024. 

Black pastors see popular Easter services as an opportunity to rebuild in-person worship attendance
Associated Press: This Easter is also an opportunity for Black churches to welcome more visitors to their pews and try to begin reversing attendance trends. More than a dozen Black clergy said their churches are still feeling the pandemic’s impact on already-waning attendance, even as they have rolled out robust online options to reach new people.

17 LGBTQ-affirming ministers face church investigations for signing belief statement
Religion News Service: The investigation by Indiana Ministries — a jurisdiction within the Anderson, Indiana-based Church of God movement — could result in the withdrawal of the ministers’ credentials.

Martin Scorsese to headline a religious series for Fox Nation*
The New York Times: The Oscar-winning director is the latest Hollywood name to sign up for the Fox News streaming platform, joining Kevin Costner, Rob Lowe and Dan Aykroyd.

Germany set to add citizenship test questions about Jews and Israel*
The Washington Post: Those seeking German citizenship could soon have to answer test questions about antisemitism, Germany’s commitment to Israel and Jewish life in Germany.

A Eucharist of sourdough or wafer? What a thousand-year-old religious quarrel tells us about fermentation
The Conversation: A nasty quarrel arose in the 11th century over what kind of bread should be used in Holy Communion. It might sound like a storm in a chalice, but it mattered a lot because church authority seemed to be at stake.

The Spark

Toni Morrison’s rejection letters 
During her 16 years at Random House, Morrison wrote hundreds of rejection letters. Regardless of destination, Morrison’s rejections tend to be long, generous in their suggestions and direct in their criticism, says The Los Angeles Review of Books.

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Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative

A new grant is available to support endeavors that help children come to know and love God and grow in faith.

The Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative aims to support programs that help congregations strengthen worship and prayer practices that respect how children experience God and express their faith, include children with disabilities, draw upon the arts, create opportunities for Bible storytelling, and connect worship to the daily lives of children and families.

Proposals are due by 5 p.m. (ET) on May 6, 2024.

Learn More