Christianity

New Year's Traditions of the Black Community

January 1, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On January 1, 2001, The Boston Globe reported that every New Year's Eve African-Americans crowd churches in celebration of "Watch Night," a tradition that, according to oral tradition, "dates back to Dec. 31, 1862, the night before the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. That evening slaves gathered at churches to stay awake through the dawn for protection and inspiration. They literally watched the night pass until they were free." The celebration of Watch Night varies from church to church: many pastors in the South,...

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Schoolbus Driver Treats Children To Christmas Gifts

December 31, 2000

Source: The Times-Picayune

On December 31, 2000, The Times-Picayune reported that Debbie Beck, a schoolbus driver in New Orleans, LA, delivered gifts to children in need for the holidays. Rev. Eugene Wellington, director of Community Christian Concern, said that Beck is truly dedicated to the children. She sought to find a family to adopt after she donated more than 40 gifts to CCC for children. At the CCC's Christmas party, children were treated to tours of the city in a limousine. Wellington said that the community's response to the program for children has...

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Pentecostals Celebrate 100-Year Anniversary of Their Movement

December 31, 2000

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On December 31, 2000, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Pentecostal movement, which "has, by some estimates, as many as 500 million members worldwide" turns 100 this New Year's Day. "Several thousand Pentecostals are expected to attend a special celebration of the anniversary at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka" on New Year's Eve. Tim Miller, chairman of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Kansas, says "some scholars describe the rise of the Pentecostal movement as important as the...

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Muslims Celebrate End of Ramadan

December 31, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 31, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that while many were celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, hundreds of Muslims gathered in the San Fernando Valley this year for Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which "commemorates what Muslims believe was God's revelation of their holy book, the Koran, to the prophet Muhammad nearly 1,400 years ago. It is a month of prayer, reflection, goodwill toward those less fortunate and fasting from dawn to dusk. Eid al-Fitr...is celebrated with family and feasts, and...

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Celebrating the Anniversary of the Establishment of Christianity in Armenia

December 30, 2000

Source: The New York Times

On December 30, 2000, The New York Times reported that "the arrival of Jan. 1 will...have a specific meaning within the history of Christianity, for 2001 will mark 1,700 years since the faith's establishment in Armenia," when St. Gregory the Illuminator converted the Armenian king to Christianity. According to Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, head of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in America, "for 1,700 years, enlightened by the faith St. Gregory brought to Armenia, we are able not only to survive but also to have...

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Bishop Oversees Purchase of Entertainment Arena for His Church

December 30, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 30, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported the formal announcement by Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer that the Faithful Central Baptist Church in Inglewood "had signed a $22.5-million deal to buy" the 17,500-seat Great Western Forum. The sale "marks the first time a U.S. church has bought such a large sports and entertainment venue." Since the popular Ulmer "arrived at Faithful Central on Florence Avenue in 1982, the congregation has grown to more than 8,000. That has made it one of the largest in Southern California, but...

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Mormons Will Reenact Journey to 150-Year-Old Trek To Southern California

December 30, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 30, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that "more than 200 Mormons dressed in pioneer garb and traveling in covered wagons" will cover the 800-mile trail between Salt Lake City and San Bernardino this spring and summer to "replicate the Mormon journey to Southern California 150 years ago." "The wagon train is scheduled to leave Salt Lake City on April 25 and arrive in San Bernardino at the end of June for a three-day festival at Glen Helen Regional Park." Most of the pioneers will be southern Californians. "...

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Church Buys 17,500-Seat Forum In Order to Buffer Local Businesses and Community

December 29, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 29, 2000 the Los Angeles Times reported the purchase of the Great Western Forum, a 17,500-seat arena in Inglewood, California, by the Faithful Central Bible Church of Inglewood, for $22.5 million. Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, head of the mostly African-American 10,000-member church, plans to "make this one of the premier family gathering places in Southern California" through a schedule of Sunday services, sporting events, concerts, and ice shows during the week, and religious revival conferences. By bringing business...

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Parishioners Follow Foreign National Traditions on Christmas

December 26, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On December 26, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that "Chicagoans traveled many miles to attend foreign language services, revisit ethnic roots and refresh childhood memories" this Christmas. Susan Remington of Oak Park, the granddaughter of Swedish immigrants, celebrated Christmas in the Swedish tradition at Ebenezer Lutheran Church. During the service "former Swedish opera star Lennart Backstrom sang several traditional psalms and hymns in Swedish." Afterward, "traditional coffee and pepparkakor, or gingerbread snaps...

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Multifaith Families Recognize Hanukkah and Christmas

December 25, 2000

Source: Star Tribune

On December 25, 2000, the Star Tribune reported on the unique ways in which the holidays are celebrated in the home of a junior in high school, who lives in a home with a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. They celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas each year.

Chicago Preachers Speak of the Meaning of Christmas

December 25, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On December 25, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that preachers look to Christmas as a time when they can impart some spiritual wisdom to believers. Rev. Mary Grace Williams said that Christmas should be thought of as a time of "looking right and doing right." The Rev. Peter Semeyn said, "'The light shined in the darkness, but the darkness did not see it,' 'That light in the darkness is supposed to be us. Maybe the reason people don't see it is because we don't let it shine brightly enough.'" Rev. Charles Jenkins said the...

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Black Churches Expanding Their Roles in Community

December 24, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

n December 24, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported, in an editorial, that African American churches are quickly becoming centers of community renewal. Their work goes beyond charity to the use of sophisticated financing as a means to improve real property and attract mainstream businesses. Black churches are revitalizing poorer neighborhoods for three reasons: first, they often confront urgent needs, since poverty, homelessness and unemployment are at crisis levels in these areas. Second, black churches have been an institution in...

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Lexington Creche Issue Causes Bitter Feelings In Town

December 24, 2000

Source: The Boston Herald

On December 24, 2000, The Boston Herald reported that many came from around the state of Massachusetts came to the Lexington Battle Green to re-enact the Nativity in the place where the Revolutionary War began. "Despite freezing temperatures, more than 200 people descended on the historic common for a one-night re-enactment of the birth of Jesus, complete with animals, music and signs demanding, 'Put the Christ back in Christmas.' " It was also a reminder, however, that some things have changed. "Last summer, the selectmen voted...

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Jews Find Joy In Christmas Season

December 24, 2000

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On December 24, 2000, the St. Petersburg Times reported that many Jews enjoy some aspects of the Christmas season. Sheila Weinstock, a Jew who grew up in Boston, said she never felt left out of the Christian holiday. Although she does not celebrate Christmas, she does not resent it, either. She said she enjoys the sacred connotations that go along with Christmas. Clara Solomon, also a Jew, said she loves the season. "Solomon always has loved sparkly things. For a time, she sold gold and diamonds at the Wagon Wheel Flea Market....

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Lexington Creche Brings People Together

December 24, 2000

Source: The Boston Globe

On December 24, 2000, The Boston Globe reported that "hundreds of singing and shivering worshipers congregated on historic Battle Green last night to turn the site of a controversy into a place for celebration. They came to sing Christmas carols and witness a live Nativity scene. Activists planned the event after town officials banned them from displaying a creche on the historic green." Some say that the ban has brought them together in their feelings of faith. "The service was led by the Rev. Tom DiLorenzo of Holy Rosary Church...

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