Tavis Smiley and Cornel West reflect on the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with those who were there including Congressman John Lewis, the late Dorothy Height, Clarence B. Jones, Peter Yarrow and Noel “Paul” Stookey from Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, and Dick Gregory: http://www.tavissmileyradio.com/the-tavis-smiley-show-the-march-on-washington-50th-anniversary-hour-two/.

At the Center for American Progress, Eleni Towns lists six actions in six months taken by faith groups to reduce violence in the aftermath of the tragedy that took place in Newtown, CT, on December 14, 2012.

Towns writes:

Six months ago this week, 20 children and 6 adults were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy devastated the community and our entire nation. It also brought national attention to the problem of gun violence—which plagues many communities on a daily basis—and galvanized millions of Americans to support common-sense regulations to help reduce this threat. Since that tragic day, 5,091 more people have died from gun violence in America, including 366 children and teenagers.

Although Congress has failed to pass any federal legislation in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, a number of states have taken steps to pass laws that make their communities safer. These laws include universal background checks, bans on assault weapons, restrictions on high-capacity magazines, and increased funding to confiscate illegally owned weapons.

Faith leaders have played a key role in these state efforts. These leaders see firsthand the effects of gun violence in their communities; they are at the forefront, dealing with the aftermath of this violence by providing support to families and by working in these communities to help reduce violence. Faith leaders are lifting up the voices of those in their communities affected by gun violence, calling for civil and peaceful dialogue and advocating for common-sense violence-prevention measures.

Read six ways faith leaders have helped bring about gun-violence prevention laws at the state level.


(Reuters) – The Church of England published a plan on Friday to approve the ordination of women bishops by 2015, a widely supported reform it just missed passing last November after two decades of divisive debate.

It said the new plan, outlined in a document signed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, would be presented to the General Synod, the Church legislature, in July to begin the approval process.

The proposal would make allowances for traditionalists who oppose women clergy, a minority that blocked the reform at the last Synod meeting, but each diocese will have to have a bishop willing to ordain women to the priesthood, it said.

See the full story at Huffington Post.

By Orissa Arend  

Orissa Arend

Orissa Arend

In the first chapter of what I would describe as a practical, prophetic guidebook to the Kingdom of Heaven, Joe Barndt reminds us that “our sisterhood and brotherhood in the family of God is imprinted in our hearts, minds, and souls. It is part of our spiritual DNA. We did not choose it and we cannot choose to undo it. We may love it, we may hate it, we may protest it, or we may ignore it. But the truth is, regardless of our color – red, brown, yellow, black, or white – we are all in the family for good.”

"Becoming an Anti-Racist Church: Journeying Toward Wholness" by Joseph Brandtt

“Becoming an Anti-Racist Church: Journeying Toward Wholness” by Joseph Brandtt

Over a decade ago Barndt, a Lutheran pastor, experienced teacher and organizer, came to my church, Trinity Episcopal, in his role as director of Crossroads Ministries with his team of multi-racial trainers to teach us to be anti-racist Christian organizers. Barndt stresses that he learned to understand racism from people of color. He had to unlearn the lies that he had learned about racism from white people. He sees his responsibility as taking a true analysis of racism to white people to help them heal and change.

Our church was large and powerful with affluent, well-connected parishioners almost all of whom were white. Despite our considerable commitment of money, time and energy for new learning and new relationships, and the formation of a continuously functioning anti-racist team called TURN (Trinity Undoing Racism Network), our church looks pretty much the way it did then. It is wealthy, privileged, and white, enfolding not so much the down and out as the up and about. Why has there not been more of a visible and substantial change in the last decade? Barndt’s book is a right-on-time answer to that question. Read More…