The invention of grape juice to avoid communion wine

Grape juice didn’t exist, as a product, until 1869.  It was invented by a Methodist minister named Thomas Bramwell Welch who sought a non-alcoholic alternative to communion wine.  This is where we get Welch’s grape juice to this day.

Christianity Today tells how this happened, excerpted and linked after the jump.

[Read more…]

Finnish Lutherans say “no” to gay weddings

The state church of Finland will not perform same-sex weddings, even though gay marriage will be legalized beginning next year.  The bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that will not change.  They say that gay couples will, however, be welcome to participate in all church activities. [Read more…]

Religion’s economic impact

A study of the economic impact of religious institutions has found that congregations, charities, religious hospitals, and other faith-based organizations contribute some $378 billion directly to the economy.  That/s more than Apple, Google, and Facebook.  Combined.  The indirect impact, as that money works its way through the economy is over $1 trillion.

Read a report on the study and watch a video about it after the jump. [Read more…]

Pope plans to canonize priest killed by terrorists

Pope Francis says that he wants to make Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest killed by Islamic terrorists as he was celebrating mass, a saint.  The usual miracles are not necessary, it turns out, because Father Hamel was martyred for his faith.  The pope also said that the persecution of Christians is satanic. [Read more…]

Church removes minister for her atheism

We have blogged about the case of the atheist pastor.  Gretta Vosper has been a minister in a Toronto congregation of the United Church of Canada, where she preaches atheism.  Contrary to my prediction, the plenty liberal denomination has finally removed her from office “because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.”

Now comes the indignation.  In a story about the action excerpted and linked after the jump, a member who describes himself as “agnostic, an atheist, a non-believer” says that he wouldn’t be attending church if it weren’t for Pastor Vosper. [Read more…]

Commemorating or undoing the Reformation?

On Reformation Day, October 31, the Pope will commemorate the Reformation in a common service with Lutherans in Sweden.

Michael Root, in The Christian Century, discusses the event, sponsored by the Lutheran World Federation, and gets into the difficulties it and related events scheduled for the 500th Anniversary of the 95 Theses have been posing for Catholics.  Nothing is said about the difficulties they might pose for Lutherans.

But such unionistic services raise the question:  Is the intention to celebrate (what Protestants are saying), commemorate (what Catholics are saying) or undo the Reformation (what would seem to be the ecumenical agenda)? [Read more…]