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NEWS
August 15, 2014 | Chuck Darrow, Daily News
FROM THIS vantage point, the most interesting aspect of the current production of "The Book of Mormon," which runs through Sept. 14 at the Forrest Theatre, is not to be found onstage. Instead, it can be seen in the show's playbill. "Book of Mormon," of course, is the grimly unfunny musical "comedy" whose main targets are the history, beliefs, rituals and adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - more commonly known as the Mormon church. Which is why it's somewhat surprising to find three full-page advertisements sponsored by the Salt Lake City, Utah-based church in the show's program.
NEWS
August 7, 2014 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
AS PHILADELPHIA mourns the violent deaths of so many children - including a 3-year-old girl killed Friday by a stray bullet in Grays Ferry - Rhawnhurst Presbyterian Church has installed a memorial of 201 T-shirts, each bearing the name and age of a 2013 shooting victim. "There is one shirt for every victim of gun violence within the borders of the city in 2013," the Rev. Keith McClain said. He partnered with Heeding God's Call - a faith-based campaign to end illegal-handgun sales - and erected the activist group's traveling "Memorial to the Lost" on his church's front lawn along Loretto Avenue near Lansing Street, where it will remain through Aug. 16. A prayer vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at which the public is invited to walk through the memorial, reflect on what it means and, if moved to do so, quietly say a prayer for an end to gun violence.
NEWS
August 5, 2014 | BY PATRICIA MADEJ, Daily News Staff Writer madejp@phillynews.com, 215-854-5938
IT OPENED its doors at 63rd and Callowhill streets in 1887, becoming Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in 2005, and those doors now have closed. The once-church, then turned worship site, officially closed Friday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced yesterday. The West Philly church had seen its fair share of changes. In January 2013, it merged with St. Cyprian Parish, at Cobbs Creek Parkway and Cedar Avenue, remaining open as a worship center. It was used only occasionally for Masses, funerals, weddings and more.
NEWS
August 4, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
IF YOU grew up going to church, chances are it wasn't like Freedom Church - and not just because services are held at the Prince Music Theater. At Freedom Church, the traditional choir has been replaced by five high-voltage singers backed by four hard-playing musicians whose sound is more rock than "Rock of Ages. " Lead Pastor Gabe Bouch (rhymes with couch) wears jeans and sneakers - as do many of his parishioners. And while it's often been said that Sunday morning is the most segregated time of the week in America, that's not the case at Freedom, where the congregation is racially diverse.
BUSINESS
August 4, 2014 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Every year, about 7,000 churches in the United States close their doors, the Christian ministers' organization Pastoral Care estimates. In some cases, members' numbers have declined, and those who remain cannot support the considerable cost of maintaining the buildings. Many are architectural gems in residential neighborhoods built 100 years ago, when money bought far more stone and stained glass than it does today. Some church structures are being acquired by growing denominations, or congregations established by new immigrant groups.
NEWS
August 1, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
WHEN ALEX JAMES cooked the fish he caught, friends and family gathered around. They were there not only to partake of the delicacies he wrought, but to try to spy out his secret recipes for readying the prizes for the grill, the frying pan or the oven. "You had to watch him," said his daughter, Jill James Idan. "He didn't write anything down. " It was not that Alex wouldn't have shared his recipes. He was a famously generous man. But he was one of those cooks who cooked by instinct.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
LELIA Savannah Smith Holman had a fond memory of the apple tree that grew and flowered on the lot in Germantown where her church was to be built. The tree may be a cherished memory, but when Providence Baptist Church was built on that lot on Haines Street near Germantown Avenue in 1942, Savannah Holman was a founding member. In fact, her name and those of her mother and sisters were placed in the cornerstone when the church was dedicated in 1942. At her death July 19 at age 98, Savannah was the oldest founding member.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | BY DYLAN SEGELBAUM, Daily News Staff Writer segelbd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5917
FOR CELESTE A. Morello, a local historian who has applied for historical markers at various sites in the area for two decades, Old St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, in Society Hill, had the significance worthy of such an honor: It's the oldest Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia. The problem was, no one had prepared the in-depth paperwork. So, with the blessings of the church's pastor, that's exactly what she set out to do before the Dec. 1 deadline. "Because it needed it," said Morello, 56, of Norristown.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
Before the drug trade moved in, the abandoned building at Sheridan and Clearfield Streets in the heart of a troubled North Philadelphia neighborhood housed a grocery store and apartments. Juan Marrero and Ron Muse watched its evolution as they experienced their own: from little boys, to teens involved with drugs, to pastors. In a move to reclaim the building, Marrero and Muse have teamed up to open a church, and have called on an aptly named volunteer group to help. Kingdom Builders Construction, a program of the Mennonite Central Committee - one of the denomination's mission divisions - has enlisted a corps of volunteer youth to help transform what was once a drug house into a sanctuary.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Trinity Memorial Church at 22d and Spruce Streets was failing in the summer of 1994, and the few dozen remaining congregants knew it. They talked about selling off the oak pews, or even the chocolate-brown Victorian building itself, but the conversation kept going in circles. The members of the little Episcopal church just couldn't agree what to do. Then, in the midst of their collective soul-searching, the historic church and its congregation were saved, oddly enough, by a bolt of lightning.
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