The Rev. Christy Thomas: Prayer helps bring holy change to world

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: We have several examples of the power of prayer and the direct influence it can have on our lives and the lives of those around us.

Vatican defends synod reports

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican press office defended its reporting of a big meeting on family issues Thursday after a dispute arose over what Pope Francis told bishops behind closed doors about his hopes for a free and open debate.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: In an imperfect world, God weeps with us

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I am interested in your thoughts, or your take on God’s thoughts, about abortion. Many years ago I made the miserable and unhappy choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and while my reasons were very good, I have never been able to make peace with that decision.

Liberty Christian School

Briefly in religion

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Read Bible with respect, hope and love

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Because one objects to certain aspects of Scripture, how does or can one believe the whole word of God?


Pope souvenirs abound

NEW YORK — “WE SELL POPE DOLLS,” blared a sign held up by a 7-Eleven worker on 42nd Street in Manhattan, directing customers to a store down the block. There, on an outdoor stand, were six plushy, squeezable popes, nestled rather incongruously among individually wrapped croissants and chocolate chip muffins.

Religion events

To tell us about your event or meeting, visit and click on “Let Us Know” for our online forms; email to; fax to 940-566-6888; or mail to Religion Calendar, Denton Record-Chronicle, 314 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Power of prayer depends on perspective

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Do you believe in prayer? Does prayer work? If I pray for a friend with a disease and she dies anyway, did I just not pray hard enough?


Christian conservatives rally for religious awakening

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Hundreds of people cheered the husband of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during a rally of Christian conservatives Thursday outside the Tennessee Capitol.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: People perceive God in a variety of ways

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I consider myself a Christian and I am totally confused with some who seem to feel God commanded them to take on the world if the world does not see Christian values the way they do. Did God order us to work actively to attack others with slightly different ideas and tolerance levels than our own?

AP file photo

Pictures, tweets, video sure to capture pope’s U.S. visit

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis’ personality is more joyful than grumpy cat, his vestments undeniably white and gold — not blue or black — and you’ll never hear him say OMG or ermahgerd.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Screaming kids in church prompt questions

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: “What should my attitude be when there are babies and children screaming at the top of their lungs in church and the parents won’t take them out? How does a thoughtful pastor handle such a situation?”

AP file photo

Pope’s visit to U.S. presents major security challenges

NEW YORK — Those planning security for the New York City leg of the upcoming United States visit of Pope Francis have circled Sept. 25 on their calendars as the perfect storm.

Religion calendar

To tell us about your event or meeting, visit and click on “Let Us Know” for our online forms; email to; fax to 940-566-6888; or mail to Religion Calendar, Denton Record-Chronicle, 314 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201.

AP file photo

Minority of Catholics know pope’s climate views

NEW YORK — A new survey has found fewer than half of U.S. Roman Catholics said they knew of Pope Francis’ bombshell encyclical on curbing climate change — and only a fraction of those heard about it from the pulpit — in the month after he released the document with an unprecedented call for the church to take up his message.

Panel investigates Wyoming magistrate over gay marriages

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A state judicial panel is investigating a western Wyoming local magistrate who was quoted in a local newspaper saying she would not perform same-sex marriages.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Thomas to field readers’ questions on religion

In the last year, I’ve attended worship services in more than 50 places.

‘Popo’ Gonzalez to retire after 20 years as deacon

Emilio “Popo” Gonzalez, 79, is retiring from his position as deacon at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and will be honored during a bilingual Mass and public reception Sunday.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Seventh-day Adventist Church full of delight

Our visit begins with the warm greeting of “Welcome, sister!” and progresses to many wishing us a “Happy Sabbath.” My experience at last Saturday’s worship service at the Denton First Seventh-day Adventist Church spills over with delightful surprises.


Activists seeking more transparency in program

BOSTON — Muslim groups and civil rights activists across the nation on Thursday called for greater transparency in a program by President Barack Obama’s administration that’s aimed at countering homegrown terrorism.


Outdoor church expansion irks some Ponder residents

PONDER — Church expansions seldom raise concerns, but the one going up in Ponder isn’t your average sanctuary.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship offers openness

It’s like putting your arms around a square of air and saying, “Define it.” You know something is there, but it has no boundaries, no edges, no way to separate itself from the space around it.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Church humbly brings heaven to earth

The liturgy is confusing, unfamiliar, mostly chanted or sung without recognizable tunes and half in a foreign language. The overly incensed air produces an immediate headache.


Colorado nuns appeal birth control ruling to top court

DENVER — A group of Colorado nuns said Thursday they will go to the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a ruling that allows their employees to receive birth control from a third party under the Affordable Care Act, fueling a combustible argument about contraception and religion ahead of next year’s presidential election.


Gospel bearer

Linda Choi is a messenger. But she’s not the kind who wears flowing priestly robes or white collars lined in black. She resembles a military officer. She wears a black military-style skirt and jacket with red emblems symbolizing her rank as a Salvation Army officer on the collar.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Unity Spiritual Center offers music, prayer

On this past hot Sunday morning in July, I took in the delightful odor of a freshly mown grass parking lot at the Unity Spiritual Center of Denton in Krugerville. The peacefulness of the quiet neighborhood enfolds me as I walk to the building.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: First Christian Church service welcoming

“It was like going to my grandmother’s house in all the best ways.” Thus my companion described the gentle and welcoming 10:50 a.m. service this past Sunday at First Christian Church of Denton. We sensed hospitality, joy at our presence and a relaxed family atmosphere well-connected to the past.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: American democracy takes next correct step

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads this way: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


Sex offenders sue, cite religious objections law

INDIANAPOLIS — A lawsuit filed on behalf of two registered sex offenders cites Indiana’s new religious objections law in arguing they’ve been wrongly prohibited from worshipping at churches that have schools on the same property.

Courtesy photo

Youngster is a sure shot

Riley Milam began participating in archery in the third grade at Argyle Hilltop Elementary. This year, as a fifth-grader at Argyle Intermediate School, she competed in two different archery associations.Riley...

The Rev. Christy Thomas: St. James AME Church keeps doors open

“The doors of the church are still open.”

Fort Worth diocese schools get new associate superintendent

Bishop Michael F. Olson appointed Douglas Jones as the new associate superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

Doors still open

The message members of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church of Denton couldn’t have been clearer. “Oh Lord, the doors of the church are still open.”

The Rev. Christy Thomas: St. Andrew service nourishes the soul

On this past steamy Sunday morning, I worshipped at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in downtown Denton.

AP file photo

Pope Francis challenges world to clean up its act

VATICAN CITY — With a poet’s lyricism, a former chemist’s precision and a pontiff’s moral thunder, Pope Francis recast humanity’s relationship with nature in stark ethical terms, hoping to spur a warming, filthy world to clean up its act “before it’s too late.”

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Elevate Life Church draws many congregants

How can I resist a place that calls itself “The Cathedral of Frisco?” The massive structure of the Elevate Life Church dominates an upper-class neighborhood in far eastern Denton County.

U.S. bishops mull how to follow pope’s lead

ST. LOUIS — The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops engaged Thursday in a rare public discussion about whether their priorities properly reflect those of Pope Francis, with one church leader urging an emphasis on helping immigrants that’s at least as energetic as the bishops’ focus on religious freedom.

Religion calendar

To tell us about your event or meeting, visit and click on “Let Us Know” for our online forms; email to; fax to 940-566-6888; or mail to Religion Calendar, Denton Record-Chronicle, 314 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201..

The Rev. Christy Thomas: The Village Church apologizes to members

The Village Church holds 18 worship services each weekend at multiple sites.


Putin to visit Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Pope Francis on June 10 at the Vatican, with conflicts in Syria and Ukraine likely to top the Holy See’s agenda.

Religion calendar

To tell us about your event or meeting, visit and click on “Let Us Know” for our online forms; email to; fax to 940-566-6888; or mail to Religion Calendar, Denton Record-Chronicle, 314 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Denton Grace Fellowship Church full of song

An impressive website suggested a young, passionate church presence.

AP file photo

Pope joining gallery of murals in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia boasts a large and colorful cast of characters painted on buildings across the city — and now Pope Francis will join the crowd.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Plano service details path to salvation

“Wow! Joel Osteen and The Summit in Houston have nothing on this place.”

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Prayer event offers hope and grace for all

In 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill that proclaimed an annual day of prayer, giving the president the privilege of setting the day each year.


Christians to celebrate sainthood of Arab nuns

JERUSALEM — The Holy Land’s Christians are excitedly preparing for Sunday’s canonization of two Arab nuns, bringing some joy to a tiny community that has had little to celebrate in recent years.

Religion Calendar

To tell us about your event or meeting, visit and click on “Let Us Know” for our online forms; email to; fax to 940-566-6888; or mail to Religion Calendar, Denton Record-Chronicle, 314 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201.

Unified effort

AP file photo

Chinese province to ban Christian crosses on roofs

BEIJING — A Chinese province where authorities have forcibly removed hundreds of rooftop crosses from Protestant and Catholic churches has proposed a ban on any further placement of the religious symbol atop sanctuaries.