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Close-knit till the end

LITTLE ELM — After 130 years, Elm Ridge United Methodist Church on Fishtrap Road held a final Sunday service filled with reminiscing, tears and friendship.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Humans have duty to seek real wisdom

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: New medical capabilities using something called “molecular scissors” that change human DNA bring hope to those with debilitating diseases, but also profound moral concerns, especially regarding designer babies for the rich.

AP file photo

Pope travels to Armenia after flap over genocide

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is making his first foray into the former Soviet Union with a weekend visit to Armenia, a year after he riled Turkey by declaring the Ottoman-era slaughter of Armenians genocide and amid fresh tensions with rival Azerbaijan.

Religion calendar

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

Briefly in religion

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Vision of history: Sanger reviving 1902 church

SANGER — After falling into disrepair and disuse, the historic Sanger Presbyterian Church will be refurbished and returned to its city.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Problems occur when verses taken out of context

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Can you tell me the background for Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s tweet?

AP

Former altar boy accuses Guam archbishop of past sex abuse

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A former altar boy became the third person to publicly accuse Guam’s archbishop of sexual abuse four decades ago, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

AP

Vatican gets vivacious

Circus performers and street artists parade in St. Peter’s Square as they wait Thursday for Pope Francis’ audience to the “World of Travelling Shows” at the Vatican.

Religion calendar

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

‘No religion for bloodshed’

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Peshwaz Azad Waise did what many devout Muslims do: He went to a mosque to pray.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Reason Jesus died depends on view of God

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Why did Jesus die? I have always believed the very traditional story that I was born sinful and until I accepted Jesus as my savior, God could not accept me, no matter how much he loved me.

Briefly in the area: Sanger Cowboy church slates vacation Bible school

School-age children can join vacation Bible school at Ridin’ for the Brand Cowboy Church this weekend.

Briefly across the state: Muslim activist says driver yelled slurs, threats

Police in North Texas are investigating a report that a member of a Muslim rights advocacy group was followed out of a gas station by a driver yelling expletives and threats at him.

AP

Catholic legislators feel church’s ire over votes

PHILADELPHIA — Roman Catholic legislators say they have been publicly shamed during Mass, called out in church bulletins and disinvited to parish events as the Philadelphia Archdiocese campaigns against...

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Understand Jesus the best way for you

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: On Sunday we talked about whether Jesus had a running itinerary going all the time while he was busy doing all his seemingly random acts of healing and good teachings.

AP

Rabbi to be honored for life of pursuing peace

PITTSBURGH (AP) — He’s being honored as a pursuer of peace, but working for positive social change involves a struggle that can be anything but tranquil, said Rabbi Walter Jacob, rabbi emeritus and senior scholar at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Shadyside.

Briefly in religion

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The Rev. Christy Thomas: Issues divide United Methodist Church members

Every four years, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church meets. Only this group can amend church laws, contained in its Book of Discipline, or speak authoritatively for the UMC.

Religion calendar

AP file photo

Group of armed Muslims attacks Christians in Egypt

CAIRO — An armed Muslim mob stripped an elderly Christian woman and paraded her naked on the streets in an attack last week in which seven Christian homes were also looted and torched in a province south...

Briefly in religion

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan that would set up a trust fund of more than $65 million to compensate some 440 clergy abuse victims plus other creditors, with just over half of that amount coming from insurance.

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Divine signal

Eight years ago, a guest minister stood before Mision Templo Bethel and told the congregation they’d be on the air one day.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Annual Methodist conference looks at changes

I am in Portland, Oregon, to observe and write about the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. As always, it promises to be contentious.

Religion Calendar

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

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Quiet compassion best choice for nuisance

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I ride public transportation to get to work: two trains and a bus each direction. Over the months I have done this, I have had the opportunity to observe my fellow passengers’ behaviors.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Repentance key to forgiveness of our sins

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The Bible tells us that as Christians, Jesus forgives us for our sins (our sins are erased), but then it also says we will answer for them when we get to heaven.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Mom’s apparent slight should be forgiven

Courtesy photo

Production makes a play for college students

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — The president of The Great Passion Play wants to attract more college students to the production near Eureka Springs.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Faith can change, develop as people age

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: In response to recent events in the world, particularly the bigotry and hate that have infected American politics, I have found myself quoting scripture and rereading the parables of Jesus in the context of problems we face as a nation.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Clergy should honor their ordination vows

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: If you believe it right and necessary for a woman to turn in her orders because she has violated part of her vows of ordination, how do you feel about a person active in the clergy engaging in a mutually consensual relationship, including sex?

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Easter in the spotlight

Pastor Toby Slough preaches at Cross Timbers Community Church’s Easter services Sunday morning at the University of North Texas Coliseum.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Reflect on Good Friday to understand Easter

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have visited a number of churches in the last few years. Often I wonder during the services, “When are they going to pray?”

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Doors to arena open for Easter

Loud cranes echoed as they maneuvered around the floor at the University of North Texas Coliseum this week setting up lighting, speaker rigs and staging equipment for what is slated to be one of the largest Easter gatherings in Denton.

AP

Pope Francis washes feet of Muslim migrants

CASTELNUOVO DI PORTO, Italy — Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu refugees Thursday and declared them all children of the same God, as he performed a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time of increased anti-Muslim sentiment following the Brussels attacks.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Aftermath of deals with devil on display

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I grew up in an “evangelical-fundamental” Christian home. My recollection is that this meant a high regard for Scripture and belief in the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

Director says movie was made on faith

Based on the novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice (who attended the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University), The Young Messiah is about Jesus as a 7-year-old boy. Director Cyrus Nowrasteh’s groundbreaking film is centered on the biblical story of God taking on flesh, portrayed as a child in the care of divinely chosen parents.

Child savior

Filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh’s pioneering The Young Messiah starts with a look into the life of 7-year-old Jesus and what his life as a child may have been like in biblical times. The screenplay, by the director and Betsy Giffen-Nowrasteh, is based on Anne Rice’s novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt but remains inspired by Scripture.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Help make way for others to enter heaven

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: The Bible tells us that as Christians, Jesus forgives us for our sins (our sins are erased), but then it also says we will answer for them when we get to heaven.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Holy prayers differ due to text, tradition

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Why is the Catholic Lord’s Prayer different from the Protestant Lord’s Prayer?

AP

Cardinal admits failure to act on abuse allegations

ROME — A top Vatican official vowed Thursday to work to put an end to the rash of suicides in his Australian hometown over the church sex abuse scandal after meeting with victims and acknowledging that he failed to act on an abuse allegation decades ago.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Joining a church much like a marriage

Dear Readers: Last week, The Thoughtful Pastor promised to answer this question: “What are your recommendations on finding a good church?”

Mormon church relaxes stance on medical pot

SALT LAKE CITY — A plan to legalize the use of edible, vapor and topical marijuana products by those with chronic conditions cleared a key vote in Utah’s Senate on Thursday after the Mormon church relaxed some of its opposition to the measure.

Film review: An entertaining take on a converted Roman

Finally, a new perspective on the greatest story ever told.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Acts 29 churches beliefs questioned

Two questions today over similar issues:

AP

Georgia lawmakers pass ‘Pastor Protection Act’

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill explicitly stating that religious officials can refuse to perform gay marriages, their first significant action on a variety of proposals creating legal exemptions for same-sex marriage opponents.

The Rev. Christy Thomas: Insight given into ‘graven images’ issue

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: In Exodus, God hands down the Ten Commandments. The second commandment forbids any graven images.

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Church fights hunger abroad

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, the headquarters of local soup kitchen Our Daily Bread, set its sights abroad Sunday by assembling nutrition-heavy meals for starving families in northeastern Mexico.