The story is told of two young men who lived every football fan’s fantasy. They won tickets to the Super Bowl. Wanting to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, they arrived early for the game and excitedly found their seats. Slowly, the rest of the stadium filled around them.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris heard from leaders from a wide array of religious traditions Thursday in the National Prayer Service, a day after they were sworn into office to lead a sharply polarized country.

PITTSBURGH — Before Jerry Falwell, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Joel Osteen, Archbishop Fulton Sheen and famous radio evangelists such as Father Charles Coughlin and Aimee Semple McPherson, there was Edwin Van Etten.

ROME — Pope Francis changed church law Monday to explicitly allow women to do more things during Mass, granting them access to the most sacred place on the altar, while continuing to affirm that they cannot be priests.

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I, like many Americans, watched in horror as the Capitol of the United States of America, the seat of American democracy, was overrun by rioters last week.

WASHINGTON — The Rev. and Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock shares more than a party with President-elect Joe Biden: Both Democrats made faith a central part of their political identity on the campaign trail — and their victories are emboldening religious liberals.

NEW YORK — A Lutheran church in New York City already reeling from the COVID-19 deaths of more than 60 members of the congregation has suffered a new trauma: Severe flood damage from the rupture of a major municipal water main.

Nothing is as challenging as being a parent. Children have no on-off button. They cannot be put in the closet like clothes, turned off and parked like cars or placed in a kennel for the night like pets. They are on a constant quest:poking, prodding, pushing, pulling and climbing.

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For many religious denominations in the United States, there were two shared preoccupations in 2020 beyond the usual matters of faith: How to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and how to respond to tumultuous political events.

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ROME — Pope Francis has formally stripped the Vatican secretariat of state of its financial assets and real estate holdings following its bungled management of hundreds of millions of euros in donations and investments that are now the subject of a corruption investigation.

NEW YORK — At Christmases past, parishioners at Middle Collegiate in New York City rejoiced over gospel hymns, carols and soul tunes played on a Steinway piano that is now only metal and ashes after the historic church was destroyed this month by fire.

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Monday declared that it is “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines based on research that used cells derived from aborted fetuses, guidance that came after some churchmen in the United States argued that such products were immoral.

I love putting up our Nativity scene on the mantel every year. It is a lovely wooden set that we bought at a Christmas market years ago. It is complete with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, wise men and shepherds. It even has some cattle to go in the stable and a star on top. I love it. It is special.

NEW YORK — The Episcopal Diocese of Texas acknowledges that its first bishop in 1859 was a slaveholder. An Episcopal church erects a plaque noting the building’s creation in New York City in 1810 was made possible by wealth resulting from slavery.

NOEL, Mo. — Thirty miles of rural Missouri separate the two churches, and so much else. One is mostly white; the other hosts services in five languages for a flock that spans the world.

ROME — Pope Francis’ former treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, praised President Donald Trump’s “splendid” Supreme Court appointments and defense of Christian values but questioned his effort to sow doubt in the integrity of the U.S. presidential election.

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Normally, Christmas is a family event. Brothers, sisters, parents and children go to great expense to see each other. They drive hundreds of miles, fly across the continent or around the world to celebrate the holidays together. But, for many families, like ours, not this year. We have postp…

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First United Methodist Church, 400 N. Fredonia St., Longview, will host “Bethlehem Night,” a drive-through nativity, at 5:30 p.m. today. The free drive-through will feature music from the hand-bell choir, live animals, costumed actors and Santa Claus. Enter at the north parking lot from Fred…

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Recently, dictionary.com and Miriam-Webster Dictionary announced that the word of the year for 2020 was “pandemic.” I cannot imagine trying to sum up all that is happened in 2020 into one word. There are so many to chose from: “social distancing,” “masks,” “unprecedented,” “new normal” or ev…

ROME — Pope Francis is supporting demands for racial justice in the wake of the U.S. police killing of George Floyd and is blasting COVID-19 skeptics and media organizations that spread their conspiracies in a new book penned during the Vatican’s coronavirus lockdown.

WASHINGTON — During the month before Christmas, Washington National Cathedral typically transforms into a sparkling, bustling destination with choral performances and a live Nativity. But since coronavirus shut its regular services to the public earlier this year, its staff has been transfor…

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New Beginning Faith Ministry, 609 Caddo Drive in Longview, is partnering with Erskine & McMahon, Sloan Law Firm, Tyson Food of Carthage and Pioneer Market Liberty City for a food box distribution to help stamp out hunger. Must preregister for food box and have an ID. First come first ser…

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One of my absolute favorite Christmas movies of all time is the movie “Elf” starring Will Ferrell. “Elf” is the story of an orphan boy named Buddy who as a baby crawled into Santa’s toy bag on Christmas Eve. Santa then unwittingly took Buddy to the North Pole where he was adopted by one of t…

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Reflecting on a polarized nation in the throes of a bitterly fought election, Stephanie Christoffels started the communal prayer at a fall training of her fellow Minnesota National Guard chaplains by reminding them of Christianity’s two greatest commandments: to love God an…

WASHINGTON — With coronavirus cases surging again nationwide, the Supreme Court barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus.

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Pathway Church, 913 W. Loop 281, Suite 101, in Longview, will hold “Gifting Christmas” all day Nov. 29 at the church. The event provides Christmas gifts for Pathway kids and teenagers, as well as other families in the area. All gifts must be new and unwrapped and can be dropped off at the ch…

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The year 2020 has been a doozy of a year. But for youth ministry, the 2000s have been a doozy of a millennium. Sociologists have been studying teenagers in emerging generations (the Millennials, Generation Z) and they’ve come to two significant observations: Teenagers are highly engaged when…

Catholics split almost evenly in supporting Donald Trump or Joe Biden in the presidential election. Now they’re sharply divided over a declaration by the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that the president-elect’s support for abortion rights presents the church with a “difficu…

Pathway Church, 913 W. Loop 281, Suite 101, in Longview, will hold “Gifting Christmas” all day Nov. 29 at the church. The event provides Christmas gifts for Pathway kids and teenagers, as well as other families in the area. All gifts must be new and unwrapped and can be dropped off at the ch…

ROME — The Vatican cardinal sacked by Pope Francis amid a corruption investigation is suing an Italian news magazine, claiming that his ruined reputation has eliminated his chances of becoming pope and will undermine the legitimacy of any future papal election.

They say we are in for a long dark winter. COVID cases are surging out of control. Many states are breaking records and the U.S. single day case count exceeded 180,000 on November 13. It has been a long, difficult and wearisome journey since the first U.S. COVID-19 case appeared on January 2…

WARSAW, Poland — Polish bishops defended St. John Paul II on Friday against evidence that he rejected reports that ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick slept with his seminarians, seeking to salvage a papal legacy that has been badly tarnished by his inaction on clergy sexual abuse.

About 12 years ago, my wife and I watched a special about home safety on TV. Our children at the time were toddlers and we were woefully unprepared for mishaps and accidents. So, following the direction of the show, we set out to make our home a safer place.

MARSHALL — “We have come this far by faith” is more than an inspirational hymn to Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Marshall.

NEW YORK — Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths prayed and sang together in post-election solidarity Wednesday afternoon in New York City, even as the outcome of the hotly contested and polarizing vote was still in doubt.

New Beginning Faith Ministry, 609 Caddo Drive in Longview, will have its “Feast in the Wilderness Christmas for Kids” preregistration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday. Children must accompany parents for registration and to receive on Christmas Day, no exceptions. Social distancing is being …

ROME — Pope Francis urged people to follow recommendations from governments and health authorities to prevent coronavirus infections as he returned to his private library for his Wednesday general audience amid a surge of infections in Europe.

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When COVID first hit us in February, we thought perhaps it would be short-lived. As it raged through Europe and set its sights on the U.S., we accepted the “stay-at-home” initiatives, hunkered in our houses, gave up shopping and eating out. When the NBA canceled its season, we knew it was se…

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New Beginning Faith Ministry, 609 Caddo Drive in Longview, will have its “Feast in the Wilderness Christmas for Kids” preregistration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and Nov. 12. Children must accompany parents for registration and to receive on Christmas Day, no exceptions. Social distancing i…

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Both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden count endorsements from well-known faith leaders. But for clergy members who try to tackle thorny moral matters without overtly backing a candidate, the campaign has tested their ability to reconcile religious values and politics.

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ROME — Pope Francis’ decision to forgo wearing a mask has been noticed, with some concern, by the commission of Vatican experts he appointed to help chart the Catholic Church’s path through the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath.

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In his essay “The Pattern of Life in Thriving Communities,” biblical scholar Kavin Rowe makes the observation that one particular (and perhaps unexpected) characteristic of a healthy church is its willingness to engage in a process of disagreement and reconciliation when conflict arises.

LGBTQ Catholics and their allies in the U.S. welcomed Pope Francis’ endorsement of same-sex civil unions, the first time he’s done so as pontiff, while some prominent members including a bishop said Wednesday that he was blatantly contradicting church teaching.

Remnant Church, 4344 U.S. Highway 259 in Longview, will gather for “Sugar Rush in Nu Fire” from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. The event is open to infants and children through grade six. There will be breakfast, games, pumpkin decorating, candy and fellowship. For information, call (903) 234-0262.

NEW YORK — Holocaust survivors Ruth Brandspiegel and Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg call their reunion a miracle that began on the holiest day in Judaism, and it only happened thanks to a prayer service that was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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I grew up a little over an hour outside Chicago. The years I played basketball in high school and college just happened to coincide with the reign of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.