Learning how to avoid anti-Jewish preaching and teaching is not a requirement of Christian seminary students. So Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, is taking it on herself. Levine spoke to a roomful of ministers Tuesday at Beth El Synagogue in Durham for the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill’s Community Relations Council 2014 Ministers’ Conference.
Levine, who is co-editor of “The Jewish Annotated New Testament,” lectured on “Misunderstanding First Century Judaism Means Misunderstanding Jesus.” She said there are common errors made about understanding the first century that, “if we get wrong, we get Jesus wrong.”
An ice storm postponed it by a week, but Christian women in Hillsborough still came together for the 35th year of the World Day of Prayer observance on March 14 at Dickerson Chapel AME Church.
Suzanne Faulkner’s mom, Anne Salomon, started the local observance in 1979 with four churches, including Hillsborough United Methodist. Newcomers this year included several men. While it’s a global Christian women observance, men are welcome – like Pastor Ryan Brooks of Vertical Church in Hillsborough and Pastor Dave Bookout of newhope Church in Durham, where Faulkner attends.
The Rev. James “Mickey” Efird has taught biblical studies since 1958, when he was a graduate student at Duke Divinity School. He spent decades on the faculty and is a professor emeritus. For those who haven’t been his students at Duke, Efird frequently leads study series at local churches.
This Lent, he is lecturing on the New Testament book of Acts at First Presbyterian Church. It is part of the church’s annual Lenten Bible study, and from 10:30 a.m. to noon Thursdays through April 10, Efird is “teaching and sharing what he knows to enrich others,” said the Rev. Mark Diehl, interim senior pastor at First Presbyterian.
Alisa Edwards Smith of Chapel Hill has two personal stories just published in two different books about faith. Both stories are from her childhood and involve telephone calls and her grandmother.
The popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series has a new edition called “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen: 101 Inspirational Stories about Hope, Answered Prayers, and Divine Intervention.” Guideposts, the inspirational publisher, has a new book out called “The Best Angel Stories 2013.” Smith’s writing is featured in both.
For the fourth year, the Faith Connections on Mental Illness conference will bring clergy, laity and health professionals together to share ideas and expertise about the intersection of religion and mental health issues. The conference will be held March 28 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill.
Adam Baker is a third year Duke Divinity School student preparing to graduate in May with a master of divinity. He is also a former child and adolescent therapist, and saw an area of pastoral care not addressed during his classes. So Baker organized a conference, “Sanctuary for the Sexually Abused: An Introduction to Pastoral Care,” which will be held this weekend at Duke Divinity.
When planning began, he was hoping that 35 to 50 people would register.
Thousands of people went to see the hit Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” when the tour came this month to the Durham Performing Arts Center. The comedy from the creators of “South Park” makes jokes at the expense of missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.
Rather than take offense, six local Mormons who have been real missionaries said they’re more concerned about clearing up misunderstandings. None of them has seen the musical, but they do know what it’s like to be a missionary.
Triangle Friends of Farmworkers is urging clergy to find ways of engaging their congregations with information and support of farm workers during March. Jennifer McGovern of TFF spoke at the monthly meeting of Durham Congregations In Action this week at Durham Mennonite Church.
Cedar Grove United Methodist Church, 5218 Efland-Cedar Grove Road in Cedar Grove, will host Financial Peace University beginning March 2. Financial Peace University is a nine-week program on personal finance for people to manage their money better, eliminate debt and build wealth.
Last year two state legislators from Rowan County submitted a resolution calling for a state religion, which contradicts the U.S. Bill of Rights. The resolution was dismissed, but it was enough for a retired clergyman to take action.
The Rev. Rollin Russell, a retired United Church of Christ minister, has started up an Orange-Durham Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.