- Created on 09 May 2013
DETROIT — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan plans to visit Detroit next week and says he wants to help revitalize the city.
The Chicago-based Nation of Islam announced Thursday that Farrakhan plans to visit starting May 16 and give a public address May 17.
The Nation of Islam was founded in Detroit the 1930s. In a statement, Farrakhan says he plans to look at the condition of Detroit and consider buying properties to help in revitalization efforts. He says there's a need for help in the schools and city government.
Detroit's problems include crime and abandonment, and its finances are being run by a state-appointed emergency manager. Its budget deficit is $327 million and the city has a long-term debt of more than $14 billion that includes retiree and other obligations.
- Created on 03 May 2013
Dr. Alfred Wheeler and Blessed invites all to their 10th year anniversary tonight at St. Paul CME Church, 4644 S. Dearborn, at 7 p.m. The choir will share favorite songs from a decade in ministry. The event is free and all are welcome.
Join WGCI-FM/107.5’s Dana Divine Saturday, May 4 for the annual “Stroll Down the Boulevard” to encourage breast cancer survivors. The Sunday morning radio host and cancer survivor, along with other survivors, will band together in pink as they celebrate and showcase the new look of breast cancer. The effort also promotes the Tatisa Joiner Foundation and W.O.T. Foundation. The foundation is an inclusive sisterhood that sponsors “Pillowtalk” designed to educate, celebrate and demonstrate that there’s life after cancer. The stroll kicks off at 9 a.m. at 5100 S Hyde Park Boulevard. For details visit www.everydayisoctober.com
The Sisters and Mothers Foundation, in collaboration with Gods Battalion of Prayer Church and Living God Ministry Church of New York, will come to Chicago Saturday, May 4 for the 3rd Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon. The celebration honors distinguishing mothers, who have dedicated their lives to servicing their church and community. Contact mysmf.org for more information.
Condolences to the family and friends of Bishop Gerald Long Jr. Home going services are this Saturday May 4 at Life Center Church of God in Christ, 5500 S. Indiana Ave. The wake is at 9 a.m. and the funeral service immediately follows. Long sang with Angie Spivey and the Voices of Victory as well as Ricky Dillard and New Generation Chorale.
- Created on 05 April 2013
Advocates of same-sex marriage in Illinois turned up the pressure on state lawmakers Thursday as a group of black Chicago-area clergy members cast their support, calling it a bold step forward for equality — even in the face of potential backlash from colleagues and congregants.
Their message was geared toward those who've been reluctant to endorse legislation legalizing gay marriage, including black lawmakers, and came as another group of prominent black pastors from Chicago mega-churches launched an aggressive opposition campaign.
Pastors from suburban and urban churches, some small and already liberal in their views, backed the measure Thursday; one is openly lesbian. Several of them acknowledged the difficulty in supporting gay marriage professionally, and one said his church still wouldn't allow him to perform same-sex marriages even if the law allowed it. They said they endorsed it as a matter of equal legal rights and the next step in the struggle for civil rights.
"We're all taking a risk by openly endorsing this bill, but I happened to know there are hundreds of pastors who cannot put themselves in this vulnerable position," said the Rev. Carlton Pearson, who was once one of the leading Pentecostal ministers nationwide until he began teaching that everyone goes to heaven, including gay people. The move angered many and he now runs his own church, New Dimensions Chicago.
Legislation granting same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones has passed the Illinois Senate, but faces a tough vote in the House, where it needs 60 votes. House Speaker Michael Madigan has estimated the measure is a dozen votes shy. A key sponsor and advocates say the number is less.
Lawmakers and advocates have been vague on exactly whose support they're targeting, but both sides have become more vocal recent weeks in anticipation of a vote sometime this month. Most recently, the focus has zeroed in on groups whose votes are likely difficult to get, suburban Republicans and the 20 black House members. All are Democrats and mostly from the Chicago area, but several are still undecided.
Messages left for a half-dozen legislators Thursday were not immediately returned.
Last month, prominent pastors of several black Chicago churches launched their opposition with 60-second commercials on black radio stations. The group, called the African American Clergy Coalition, includes former state senator the Rev. James Meeks.
The group was scheduled to meet Friday with Cardinal Francis George who also opposes same-sex marriage on moral grounds. George is the head of the Archdiocese of Chicago, which serves more than 2 million Roman Catholics.
In one ad, Bishop Larry Trotter of the Chicago's Sweet Holy Spirit — which boasts up to 9,000 members —tells listeners to urge lawmakers to vote no.
"I, too, am opposed to same sex marriage as you and every Christian should be," he says. "Marriage was the first institution created by our God. He tells us in the word that marriage should be between a man and a woman and not those of the same sex."
Pastors at Thursday's event countered religious arguments by playing up legal and civil rights.
"This is about equality and justice. This is a matter of equal protection under the law for all citizens. This is not a religious issue." said the Rev. Richard Tolliver of St. Edmund's Episcopal Church in Chicago. "Nothing in your church will change."
The legislation says that religious institutions can't be forced into performing ceremonies.
Advocates — including the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal — have pushed a diverse and intense campaign for months, calling on Hollywood celebrities, businesses, congressional leaders and lawmakers. They say opinions on the matter are rapidly shifting and point to U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, the second sitting Republican senator to recently step forward in support of gay marriage.
"We're really close, certainly within striking distance," said Bernard Cherkasov the head of Equality Illinois, who noted the group was focusing efforts on black and Latino caucuses. "This is going to be a strong bipartisan vote. "
He said Kirk's support would resonate with moderate Republicans.
Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has said that he would sign the legislation if it comes to his desk. It would make Illinois the 10th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. The state approved civil unions in 2011.
- Created on 02 May 2013
Gospel songwriter and recording artist Desmond Pringle will present in Chicago Thursday the first of a three-city tour that celebrates his new CD and honors cancer patients.
Pringle has teamed up with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America to put on concerts in Chicago, Los Angeles and Charleston, S.C. and Los Angeles. Thursday’s Chicago concert, "An Evening of Inspiration,” will be held at Grace Apostolic Faith Church.
The two-fold purpose of what is billed as a gospel extravaganza includes inspirational music presented by a lineup of special guest artists and choirs, and Pringle performing songs from his new “Fidelity” CD. Also, Pringle is expected to join CTCA’s pastoral care director, Rev. Percy McCray, and help spiritual and faith-based training for people who care for cancer patients and others with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
McCray heads the Our Journey of Hope program for the CTCA in Illinois, a community outreach initiative that helps faith-based organizations start ministry programs to support congregants facing mortality and their family members.
“We are so grateful to the Lord for providing us with this opportunity to serve our congregations’ most challenged members,” said Pringle, senior pastor of The Watered Garden Fellowship in Los Angeles.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
“We are going to have a beautiful and inspired time,” said McCray, emcee for Thursday’s concert. “We are extending an invitation to all of the people living with cancer and their supporters to come and bask in the glory.”
- Created on 29 March 2013
ROME — In his most significant break with tradition yet, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center — a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.
No pope has ever washed the feet of a woman before, and Francis' gesture sparked a debate among some conservatives and liturgical purists, who lamented he had set a "questionable example." Liberals welcomed the move as a sign of greater inclusiveness in the church.
Speaking to the young offenders, including Muslims and Orthodox Christians, Francis said that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service.
"This is a symbol, it is a sign. Washing your feet means I am at your service," Francis told the group, aged 14 to 21, at the Casal del Marmo detention facility in Rome.
"Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us," the pope said. "This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty. As a priest and bishop, I must be at your service."
In a video released by the Vatican, the 76-year-old Francis was shown kneeling on the stone floor as he poured water from a silver chalice over the feet of a dozen youths: black, white, male, female, even feet with tattoos. Then, after drying each one with a cotton towel, he bent over and kissed it.
Previous popes carried out the Holy Thursday rite in Rome's grand St. John Lateran basilica, choosing 12 priests to represent the 12 apostles whose feet Christ washed during the Last Supper before his crucifixion.
Before he became pope, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio celebrated the ritual foot-washing in jails, hospitals or hospices — part of his ministry to the poorest and most marginalized of society. He often involved women. Photographs show him washing the feet of a woman holding her newborn child in her arms.
That Francis would include women in his inaugural Holy Thursday Mass as pope was remarkable, however, given that current liturgical rules exclude women.
Canon lawyer Edward Peters, who is an adviser to the Holy See's top court, noted in a blog that the Congregation for Divine Worship sent a letter to bishops in 1988 making clear that "the washing of the feet of chosen men ... represents the service and charity of Christ, who came 'not to be served, but to serve.'"
While bishops have successfully petitioned Rome over the years for an exemption to allow women to participate, the rules on the issue are clear, Peters said.
"By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive," Peters wrote. "What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example."
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he didn't want to wade into a canonical dispute over the matter. However, he noted that in a "grand solemn celebration" of the rite, only men are included because Christ washed the feet of his 12 apostles, all of whom were male.
"Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women," Lombardi wrote in an email. "Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn't include experts on liturgical rules."
Others on the more liberal side of the debate welcomed the example Francis set.
"The pope's washing the feet of women is hugely significant because including women in this part of the Holy Thursday Mass has been frowned on — and even banned — in some dioceses," said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of "The Jesuit Guide."
"It shows the all-embracing love of Christ, who ministered to all he met: man or woman, slave or free, Jew or Gentile."
For some, restricting the rite to men is in line with the church's restriction on ordaining women priests. Church teaching holds that only men should be ordained because Christ's apostles were male.
"This is about the ordination of women, not about their feet," wrote the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist blogger. Liberals "only care about the washing of the feet of women, because ultimately they want women to do the washing."
Still, Francis has made clear he doesn't favor ordaining women. In his 2011 book, "On Heaven and Earth," then-Cardinal Bergoglio said there were solid theological reasons why the priesthood was reserved to men: "Because Jesus was a man."
On this Holy Thursday, however, Francis had a simple message for the young inmates, whom he greeted one-by-one after the Mass, giving each an Easter egg.
"Don't lose hope," Francis said. "Understand? With hope you can always go on."
One young man then asked why he had come to visit them.
Francis responded that it was to "help me to be humble, as a bishop should be."
The gesture, he said, came "from my heart. Things from the heart don't have an explanation."