Seminaries are invisible to their communities, says a new study by the Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education. "Many of the seminaries we studied are known only to a fairly small circle of insiders of their own religious tradition—denominational executives, clergy and the members of some congregations that are either large or located close to the seminary's campus," says the report. "Whatever the reason, seminaries are not viewed as civic assets in their communities or beyond. Nor are seminaries widely viewed as educational assets."
Ebenezer Pentecostal Church, predominantly composed of East Indian congregants, and Chicago Healing Evangelical Church, a black church, were both denied zoning approval by the zoning commission of Oak Forest, Illinois. "Why they were so adamantly against it?" asks the attorney representing Ebenezer Pentecostal. "I hate to think it's a racial thing, but it was always at the back of my mind." The head of the zoning commission responds, "To allege that denying the site plans for the two churches was racism at work is bull, just plain bull." The Chicago Tribune notes that other minority congregations in the suburb have had problems with racism in the community.
According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, Robert Jeffery, the Sub-Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, says cases of sexual and financial abuse by clergy has worsened "with the rise of doctrinaire evangelical and charismatic brands of Christianity." Likewise, English vicar Stephen Parsons, who has ...1
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