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Religion

Frank McSwain Sr.
Mt. Pisgah Church

A pastor who served his west Bloomington church for 35 years is being remembered as a dynamic, kind-hearted man who helped many people far beyond the churches walls.

Moses Montefiore Temple

Last weekend’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue is only the latest in a recent increase in threats toward the Jewish community. That's according to the Anti-Defamation League, which says antisemitic incidents rose 60 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Sally Dyck speaks at podium
United Methodist Church

It's a difficult time in the United States for a lot of big tent mainline religious denominations who have members across the wide breadth of the political spectrum.

Facebook

The Catholic bishop of Peoria is expressing sorrow at the results of an investigation showing about 1,000 Pennsylvania children were abused over decades by 300 priests.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke is calling for a new investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Church authorities are doing just that, but Burke says the matter cannot be left to the Catholic heirarchy.

Joe Walters
Eric Stock / WGLT

The new head football coach at Central Catholic High School is grateful he can now be more open about his faith.

Joe Walters coached football for two seasons at Bloomington High School, after coaching previously at Peoria Notre Dame. Walters told GLT's Sound Ideas he realized after the first season at BHS he had to be careful giving any appearance that he was trying to impose his faith on others, particularly his players.
 

Todd Fuist
Eric Stock / WGLT

A professor who has studied religious activism says progressives are getting more comfortable invoking their faith to push for political causes in much the same way the Christian right has done for decades.

JONATHAN AQUINO / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria on Friday hailed a New York court ruling that may finally clear the way for Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s remains to be brought to central Illinois.

Courtesty of Valarie Kaur

Activist Valarie Kaur acknowledges that many people "want to gag" when she starts talking about love as the spark for social change. She tries to convince them she is advocating for a "revolutionary love" that is the best answer to solving many of society's problems.

Same-Sex Issues Split Lutheran Congregation

Dec 18, 2017
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

It’s a Sunday morning service at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. About 200 people gather before a simple, unadorned altar to sing hymns, pray, listen to a sermon and share communion in a long tradition of Lutheran worship.

Historic St. John's Bible Comes To Illinois Wesleyan

Nov 30, 2017
Courtesy of St. John's University

The St. John's Bible is the first hand-painted, hand-written Bible created since the invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago.

Pastors Debate What To Say About Trump From Pulpit

Oct 4, 2017
Associated Press

A majority of evangelical Christians threw their support to President Donald Trump in the 2016 election, as did a large number of conservative Catholics and mainline Protestants who agreed with candidate Trump's positions on abortion and the economy.

Illinois Catholic Group Won't Oppose ERA

Sep 20, 2017
Cindy Le/GLT News

The Catholic Church in Illinois played a large role in defeating passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution in the 1980s. However, the church's lobbying group in the state doesn't plan to take a stand this time around.

Eastview Pastor's Sex Sermon Called 'Offensive'

Aug 31, 2017
Eastview Christian Church

Pastor Mike Baker stands on a large stage at Eastview Christian Church that serves as a pulpit. He is dressed casually in a summer suit, open collar shirt, and loafers with no socks. Behind him, lit up in stage lights, are the letters: S E X.

Pope To Young Catholics: Let's Hear From You

Aug 7, 2017
Elyse Shoenig

It’s the 5:30 p.m. Sunday Mass at Epiphany Catholic Church in Normal. This used to be the parish’s “Life Teen Mass,” but it isn’t any longer. White-haired and middle-aged people fill the pews—even some couples with children. But there are few teens or young adults. That concerns Father Eric Powell, Epiphany’s pastor.

Guy with camera and people sitting on bar stools at Six Strings local nightclub.
Jennifer Feaman

A one-time pastor from a church in Towanda felt called to a new mission a decade ago. Kevin Mounce left the flickering lights of liturgical candles for the bright lights of Hollywood to pursue his dream of making movies.

Springfield Bishop Decree Tests Parishioner's Faith

Jun 29, 2017
Steve Rainwater / Flickr

John Freml grew up in a Catholic family and attended parochial schools. He is an active member at his parish in Springfield and says he loves the Catholic Mass.

Springfield Bishop's Guidelines On Gays Stir Backlash

Jun 26, 2017
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

A new set of guidelines issued by Springfield's bishop, aimed at denying a role in the church for  married gay Catholics, has prompted an immediate backlash.

Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

The Southern Baptist Convention, one of the largest denominations in the country, voted recently to denounce white supremacy and the alt-right movement, but not without controversy.

Scott Vogel / Bloomington Central Catholic High School

The last eight years have been difficult for people who oppose abortion. The Obama administration was not receptive to that message.

But, Bloomington Central Catholic High School students headed to Washington for the annual national March For Life feel excited this year because of the change in administration.

Time In Buddhist Monastery Shaped ISU Professor's Life

Oct 19, 2016

Mindfulness, meditation, non-violence, non-attachment. These are all key practices of Buddhism.

In fact, Buddhism has been described as a practice rather than a religion.

In Bloomington- Normal, there are are not Buddhist temples where people can go to practice their faith in community. But individuals manage to practice the principles of the faith on their own, said Illinois State University Professor Pruthikrai Mahatanankoon.

Leroy Church Aims To Connect With Spirit World

Oct 4, 2016
Eric Avarado

It’s a colonial-style brick church with tall pillars and Georgian windows in downtown Leroy.

Seated on a stool in the church basement, Pastor Emeritus Sharon Bianchi answers questions about the spirit world from visitors and congregation members. Are there guardian angels? Is there such a thing as a bad spirit? And this one, about why a heated room might suddenly feel cold.

Vivien Evans, Flickr

The circular design known as the mandala is an ancient symbol that represents wholeness. Mandalas usually have a focal point in the center that can represent the divine presence within.

Coloring Can Be Prayerful

Sep 26, 2016
Paraclete Press

Adult coloring books have grown into a significant segment within the publishing market, and spirituality book publishers are picking up on the trend.

 Laura McKendree, national marketing representative of Paraclete Press, a spirituality book publisher in Orleans, MA, says doodling with crayons can be a pathway to prayer.

Willamor, Flickr

Is Christianity a fading religion? Can the faith be born anew?

These are some of the questions that will be explored this weekend at the annual Jim and Gwen Pruyne Lectureship in Progressive Christianity, sponsored by New Covenant Community Church in Normal.

This year’s speaker is theologian and author Brian McLaren, known primarily for his writings on what’s called the “emergent church.” McLaren comes from an evangelical tradition, but often takes issue with traditional teachings and practices.

A Ride With The Nuns On The Bus

Jul 14, 2016
Judith Valente

Welcome to the Nuns on the Bus tour, 2016.

The socially-conscious nuns who gained national attention during the last presidential election, rolled through Bloomington-Normal this week as part of a 13 state tour that will include stops at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

Michael Hill / WGLT

People from different parts of Illinois are agreeing to "mend the gaps" when it comes to issues such as healthcare, taxes, education and pay inequality. Residents from Bloomington, Normal, the Chicago area and other Illinois communities attended a discussion called the "Caucus to Mend the Gaps." The event is part of the "Nuns on the Bus" tour.

Two religious leaders hold hands on sanctuary
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Leaders from five area religious denominations came together last night for what is becoming a hallmark of Bloomington-Normal’s Not In Our Town efforts -- a bringing together of all faiths and even those questioning their faith. This time it was for prayer service, including a reading of names and moment of silence for victims and the families of shooting victims in Dallas, Minnesota and Louisiana.

The Reverend Frank McSwain from Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Bloomington delivered a fiery message in which he called racism a moral issue.

LGBT Community Welcome In Twin Cities Churches

Jun 27, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Religious leaders in the Twin Cities are reaching out to LGBT individuals to let them know that Bloomington and Normal offer open places for spiritual growth. Representatives from Christian, Unitarian Universalist and Jewish faiths gathered at a panel discussion to give their perspectives on the importance of welcoming all people into their faiths.

Illinois Imam Reflects On Orlando Shooting

Jun 23, 2016

A prominent Illinois imam said young American Muslims who are attracted to radical groups might be motivated by a mentality of "two-fold inferiority."

Imam Rizwan Ali of the Islamic Center of Naperville said it is a mentality found in a variety of immigrant families.

"Immigrants from different backgrounds have a concept of something called two-fold inferiority. They are not assimilated with their current host country and their (former) country," the imam said.

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