Religious Diversity News

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Beyoncé Mass replaces hymns with ‘Survivor’ and ‘Flaws and All’

The worship service began with the sound of Beyoncé singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song also known as the “black national anthem.”

Over the next hour, a choir-backed quintet of black women singers belted out other songs in the pop star’s repertoire. Beyoncé’s music filled the air between prayers, a sermon and a Communion-like time when congregants dropped rocks labeled “homophobia,” “body shaming” and “racism” into white plastic buckets that were placed before an onstage altar.

Source: Beyoncé Mass replaces hymns with ‘Survivor’ and ‘Flaws and All’ – Religion News Service

San Joaquin’s Gurdwara Just Became Fresno County’s First Sikh Historical Landmark

A Sikh church in the small town of San Joaquin is now a historical landmark. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors made it official Tuesday. It’s the third Sikh historical landmark in California, but the first in Fresno County.

The San Joaquin Gurdwara was created in the early 1980s. Members of the Sikh community put together their earnings in order to purchase the building that is now their place of worship.

Source: San Joaquin’s Gurdwara Just Became Fresno County’s First Sikh Historical Landmark | Valley Public Radio

South Salt Lake Interfaith Council is bringing unity to its community

When the South Salt Lake Interfaith Council was established two years ago, its primary objective was to help residents, especially refugees and immigrants, to feel welcome and safe.

“The goal was for residents to feel a sense of belonging,” said Lauren Levorsen, who serves as the council’s co-chairwoman.

The council felt progress toward this goal was achieved last week through a musical and cultural celebration that drew more than 250 people — much more than anticipated and standing room only, according the Rev. Elizabeth McVicker, pastor at Centenary United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church.

Source: South Salt Lake Interfaith Council is bringing unity to its community – Deseret News

Purim and coronavirus: How Jewish celebrations could be upended

Slipping on a black tricorn hat, 7-year-old Daphne Greene grinned at her mom while they eyed costumes on Thursday at the West Side Judaica & Bookstore on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Daphne told her mom she should buy the penguin outfit hanging from the ceiling.

Described by some as the “Jewish Halloween,” Purim is a festive holiday where people dress up in elaborate costumes and don masks to celebrate the biblical story of Queen Esther rescuing the Jewish people from mass slaughter. But fear over the spread of the novel coronavirus has several synagogues in New York, D.C. and elsewhere canceling Purim carnivals and gatherings to minimize exposure. The holiday begins Monday night.

Source: Purim and coronavirus: How Jewish celebrations could be upended – The Washington Post

‘We are reclaiming Holi’: College students protest Hindu nationalism with a blackout Holi

Around the world, Holi is known as Hinduism’s festival of colors, a joyful celebration of spring in which people dress in white and take to the streets to shower one another in colorful powders.

But on Thursday evening (March 5) in Harvard Yard, when students arrived at the steps of Memorial Church to mark the festival, they were dressed in black, shouting “Azaadi!” — freedom — while holding slogans such as “No one is illegal,” “Boycott NRC,” and “Stop genocide in India!”

The event is part of a nationwide campaign called Holi Against Hindutva, held in solidarity with anti-government protesters in India and organized at 21 U.S. university campuses including Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Wellesley, Michigan State, Duke and Rutgers.

Source: ‘We are reclaiming Holi’: College students protest Hindu nationalism with a blackout Holi – Religion News Service

Meditation and surround sound meet prayer in Brooklyn church

Meditation and immersion in soothing sounds meet church liturgy at All Saints Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. The combination takes on stress – and self-examination. Welcome to sound bath Evensong. The first time Alexis Dixon attended a sound bath Evensong at the church, she cried. “I was just sitting there and the light was coming through a stained glass window. Incense was burning, and it felt like, really moving. It was pretty unreal.” In the Anglican tradition, Evensong is a liturgical service that combin

Source: Meditation and surround sound meet prayer in Brooklyn church – The Washington Post

Coronavirus reshapes Chicago religious practices, but some not changing their ways

Even as coronavirus concerns spread across the world and religious groups in the Chicago area made changes to their practices to deal with the disease, some churchgoers said they aren’t worried enough yet to change how they worship.

At St. James Episcopal Cathedral, a group of about 15 parishioners gathered for an afternoon Mass on Wednesday. Prior to beginning the readings, the Rev. Courtney Reid told the group that some tweaks in the ceremony will apply because of coronavirus concerns, including refraining from handshakes and changing communion practices. She also pointed to pumps of hand sanitizer stationed around the church.

Source: Coronavirus reshapes Chicago religious practices, but some not changing their ways – Chicago Tribune

How synagogues are dealing with coronavirus fears

As the coronavirus has spread across the global Jewish community — first in Italy, and then in Israel and the United States — religious leaders have adjusted ritual practices in order to prevent further contagion.

Many synagogues and other Jewish institutions have sent out emails to members urging them to follow the health recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, including telling people to stay at home if they are feeling unwell. Synagogues in California and Washington state recommended that people greet each other at synagogue with elbow bumps instead of hugs and kisses.

Source: How synagogues are dealing with coronavirus fears – The Forward

Algorithms ruin astrology, stick to tarot for spiritually

Tales of suns and moons determining how you love, hate and live sound like something that comes from fairytales and myths. But it seems nowadays you can’t enter a room without hearing the question,

“What’s your sign?”

Astrology is a system of beliefs that the positions of the sun, moon and planets at the time of someone’s birth has a direct influence on their character.

Source: Algorithms ruin astrology, stick to tarot for spiritually – GoldenGateXpress