Faith Briefs: Jan. 4, 2012 - Press-Republican: Lifestyles

Faith Briefs: Jan. 4, 2012

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Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013 2:26 am

Adirondack Unitarians to meet every week

SARANAC LAKE — Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community will expand the number of Sunday services from two per month to every Sunday.

“We’ve been experiencing a period of growth,” said Ann Mullen, president of the board, “especially with families with children. In conjunction with our expansion of services, we’re also going to offer our children’s religious exploration program every Sunday.”

The goal of the Religious Exploration Program is to guide children, in a loving, welcoming atmosphere, to open their hearts and minds to the many ways of seeing, and being in, the world. The program concentrates on giving children a spiritual foundation rich in an understanding of the many religious traditions of the world. It is based on the Seven Unitarian Universalist Principles.

“Currently, we have a very active Religious Exploration Program, and we welcome families from mixed religious backgrounds, as well as families just looking for a place where their children can learn with others in a non-judgmental, friendly way,” said Gail Brill, Sunday School teacher and one of the original founders of Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community. “It’s our goal to help the children weave a rich tapestry of understanding about other faiths as well as to learn about the principles and rich history of Unitarian Universalism.”

The Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community was founded in 2003 when 75 people responded to a call to form such a congregation in the Tri-Lakes area. The congregation originally started holding Sunday Services at Pendragon Theatre, then moved to Bluseed Studios and finally to their current home in the John Black Room of the Trudeau Lab building on Church Street in Saranac Lake, where services are held at 10 a.m.

It’s ‘cash only’ now for tourists at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY (AP) — It’s “cash only” now for tourists at the Vatican wanting to pay for museum tickets, souvenirs and other services after Italy’s central bank decided to block electronic payments, including credit cards, at the tiny city-state.

Deutsche Bank Italia, which for some 15 years had provided the Vatican with electronic-payment services, said Thursday that the Bank of Italy had pulled its authorization after Dec. 31.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that the Italian central bank took the action because the Holy See has not yet fully complied with European Union safeguards against money laundering. That means Italian banks are not authorized to operate within the Vatican, which is in the process of improving its mechanisms to combat laundering.

The Vatican says it is scrambling to solve the problem for thousands of visitors who flock to its very popular Vatican Museums, which include highlights like the Sistine Chapel. The Holy See had no immediate comment on the Bank of Italy’s reported reasons.

13 killed in stampede during gathering in Angola

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The death toll in a stampede on New Year’s Eve at a sports stadium in Angola has risen to 13, and some of the victims were children, Angolan media reported Wednesday.

Officials said about 120 people were also injured in the incident, which happened when tens of thousands of people tried to enter a stadium in the capital, Luanda, for a religious gathering, according to Angop, the Angolan news agency.

Faustino Sebastiao, spokesman for the national firefighters department, said those who died were crushed and asphyxiated.

The event in the southern African nation was organized by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, an evangelical group founded in Brazil.

In western Africa, a crowd in Ivory Coast stampeded after leaving a New Year’s fireworks show early Tuesday, killing at least 60 people and injuring more than 200.

Report: Palestinians will outnumber Israeli Jews by 2020

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian statistics bureau estimates that Arabs will outnumber Jews in the Holy Land by the end of the decade, a scenario that could have grave implications for Israel.

The bureau said this week that 5.8 million Arabs live in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. That compares to about 6 million Israeli Jews, according to Israeli data.

It said that based on current birth rates, the two populations would be equal in 2016, and in 2020, Arabs would outnumber Jews by 7.2 million to 6.9 million.

The demographic issue is a main argument for Israeli backers of creation of a Palestinian state. They say relinquishing control of the Palestinian territories and its residents is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a democracy with a Jewish majority.