Pakistani Christians return to church, but others stay home in fear
One week after 15 Christians were killed in St. Dominic's Church, Bahawalpur, both Protestant and Catholic Pakistanis held a service outside the church building. The sanctuary remains closed until it can be washed and blessed. Police have arrested and detained many suspects, but say they have no clue about who was behind the massacre. The congregation outside St. Dominic's may have swelled this week, but elsewhere in Pakistan church attendance has dwindled. About 500 members usually show up weekly at Bethel Methodist Church in Quetta; this week only 200 came. "Many people are frightened to come," Florence Arthur tells London's Daily Telegraph. "I have spent the week travelling to see members of our community to try and encourage them to come to the service but there are a number, particularly the less educated parishioners, who are just too frightened." The New York Times doesn't say if attendance has similarly dropped off at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Peshawar, but the paper has several beautiful photos from the service. The Houston Chronicle doesn't have many specifics, but has an excellent profile of the plight of Christians in the country, noting that the country's blasphemy law is largely responsible for keeping Christians as "strangers in their own land."

New York Episcopalians return to Trinity Church
On this side of the world, another congregation was regrouping after a different terrorist attack. Almost two months after the September 11 World Trade Center attack, Manhattan's 155-year-old Trinity Church has reopened its doors. The congregation had been meeting in a nearby Roman Catholic church. In a sign of unity, the church offered only one service—which, of course meant that the 400-seat sanctuary was filled to the brim. "There were echoes during the Parish Eucharist of some of Ground Zero's ever-present symbols: smoke came in welcome puffs of incense, while water was used not to extinguish fires but to cover the foreheads of two crying babies in the Rite of Baptism," notes the church's news service. Video and audio of the sermon should be available at the church's site soon.

At Accokeek, unity is still a ways away
Another church reunited this week—at least on the surface. For the first time in more than five months, two opposing factions in the church worshiped and took Communion together. The service came after a federal judge ordered the church's rector, who had been embroiled in a long controversy with his bishop, to leave the parish. "Yet the two groups couldn't agree on much after a service rich with talk of unity and reconciliation," reports The Washington Post. Afterward, they held dueling news conferences, with each side falling back on old arguments." The arguments are far from over: the rector, Samuel Edwards, says he's appealing the judge's decision. He did not attend Sunday's service.

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After September 11:

  • A New York priest struggles to find the words | He has buried ten of small town's young people, and there are more to come. The homilies come harder and harder. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Poll: Church missed mark since 9/11 | Barna says discipleship is missing (Knight Ridder News Service)
  • The firemen's friar | He was the first and most famous victim of the World Trade Center attack, but the death of Father Mychal Judge, the beloved New York Fire Department chaplain, was not as extraordinary as his colorful and iconoclastic life. (New York Magazine)


Muslim, Christian relations:

Palestinian, Israeli conflict:

Virginia's moment of silence:

  • Court's prayer decision requires serious meditation | If ever there were a time to keep religion and the government separate, this should be it. (Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, Hampton Roads)
  • Ruling smites ACLU | A moment of silence — to be used for prayer, silent reflection, even napping — is not tantamount to an official state religion (Editorial, The Washington Times)

Columbine High School memorials:

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