Reuters blog archive
from Photographers Blog:
By Paulo Whitaker
In Brazil we have a saying, "Soccer and religion are sacred." Here, as with one’s choice of a favorite soccer team, one’s choice of religion is also not up for discussion. When I discovered here in Sao Paulo a church run by a missionary and a pastor who are lesbian partners, I thought it would be an interesting photo story.
In this megalopolis, there already are a few evangelical churches that are inclusive, accepting people regardless of race, color, economic situation and sexual preference, but the Cidade de Refugio (City Refuge) is the first in Brazil to cater almost exclusively to the gay community. This church, part of the network of the evangelical Assemblies of God, is led by Lanna Holder, a lesbian activist who uses the title of Missionary.
This story was particularly difficult because of the number of subjects involved, and the need to get their and the church’s trust. I confess it took me a while to reach a level of confidence with them so that my pictures were natural. There was also a lot of suspicion among the congregation due to recent financial scandals involving different churches.
Missionary Holder had a complicated past as a young woman, having gone through drug and alcohol addiction, and suffered the discrimination of a lesbian in conservative society. She found her way by converting to Christianity. She says she dropped everything in the name of Jesus and came to join the Assembly of God church where she began to preach. At that time she married a man, had a son, and began preaching against all those aspects of her previous life: drugs, alcohol and homosexuality. Then, fully acknowledging her homosexuality, she separated from her husband and opened the Cidade de Refugio with her new partner, Pastor Rosania Rocha. They call their church a “missionary church.”
from India Insight:
When in church, wear what the preacher tells you. So says the Synod Executive Committee, a decision-making body of the largest church in the north-eastern Indian state of Mizoram.
All women attending places of worship should refrain from wearing see-through dresses, clothes that expose the breasts or are too tight-fitting -- and trousers -- according to a dress code prescribed for Presbyterian Church of India members. The guidelines also say men must wear clean shoes and respectable suits.
from Photographers Blog:
By Mark Blinch
I’ve been to Detroit countless times over the years and though I’ve always known the city to struggle with poverty, I am usually sent to the city to cover another winning Detroit sports franchise, or the glitzy international auto show showcasing the years new cars from all the top auto makers.
As I drove down the highway from my hometown Toronto, I tuned into my favorite Detroit rock radio station 89x as I got close to the border crossing. The radio hosts began to plug an event where people with little means could go and get a free meal. It was just a few days until Christmas, and rockstar Kid Rock, a Detroit native, was putting up the funds to help support his hometown.
from Full Focus:
The brown brick building at 4860 15th Street is at the center of the next downsizing to hit this failing city: the restructuring of the Archdiocese of Detroit. St. Leo Catholic Church was built more than 120 years ago as Detroit was developing into a manufacturing powerhouse – first in shipbuilding and later in car making. Today its neighborhood is one of the most abandoned pockets in one of the nation's most desperate cities. Like many Catholic churches around urban America, it has been hit by a shortage of priests and a dwindling supply of parishioners. Read the full story here and photographer's blog here.
from John Lloyd:
The opinions expressed are his own.
There is a poem, written in 1955, by the English poet Philip Larkin, called Church Going. It tells of the poet’s solitary penchant for cycling about villages, visiting country churches, empty, sometimes ruined, each with a “tense, musty, unignorable silence.” In deft touches, he writes of taking off his bicycle clips in lieu of doffing a non-existent cap; of experiencing an inexplicable pleasure in standing in these “frowsty barns”; yet finishing his visit feeling “much at a loss.”
He ends with a reflection: that the church is “a serious house on serious earth,” and that
from Oddly Enough Blog:
It's been a few weeks since I've written about any new signs of that onrushing Apocalypse, so I foolishly thought things might be getting better.
Let's see here. Roman Catholic bishops in Wisconsin are urging their parishioners not to bring weapons TO CHURCH, now that a new law permits state residents to carry concealed firearms and electric weapons such as stun guns or tasers.
from Photographers Blog:
More than just a photograph, irrefutable proof.
It was three weeks ago when a woman named Carolina called me to denounce abuses inside the Pequeño Cottolengo shelter in the city of Quintero, near Valparaiso. The shelter is part of a chain of homes for mentally handicapped children and youths run by the Catholic Church. Carolina had been working there only three months.
I met with her and saw photos that she had taken with her cell phone during the different shifts she worked there. One of the images showed very clearly the bruises caused by the beating of a young girl, a girl too handicapped to defend herself. Others showed the obvious effects of malnutrition on one young boy.
Malaysia and the Vatican agreed on Monday to establish diplomatic ties, a move seen by analysts as a bid by the Malaysian government to appease minority Christians in the mainly Muslim Southeast Asian country. Prime Minister Najib Razak is trying to mend the government's relations with Christians who make up about 9 percent of the country's 28 million after a rise in religious tensions ahead of general elections widely expected next year.
The Greek Orthodox Church owns more land than anyone except the state, employs thousands on the public payroll, has a stake in the nation's biggest bank, but campaigners say its tax payments are derisory. The Church vehemently denies accusations it is one of Greece's biggest tax dodgers and says it is playing a vital social, economic and spiritual role in this time of hardship.
Ireland's prime minister has said Catholic clerics would be prosecuted if they failed to tell the authorities about crimes disclosed during confession, the latest blow to the prestige of the once-dominant Church. A report this week found that the Church concealed from the authorities the sexual abuse of children by priests as recently as 2009, and that clerics appeared to follow Church law rather than Irish guidelines to protect minors.