Prayers for Notre Dame Cathedral Go Up Around the World; Millions in Donations Pour In

The world reacted with shock, horror, and prayers to the massive fire Monday at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, united in grief and in solidarity with the people of France. The Notre Dame Cathedral, situated on an island in the Seine River in the heart of Paris, is one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations, drawing some 13 million people each year. 
In the days since the event, France has focused on reconstruction, with President Emmanuel Macron having set the ambitious goal of rebuilding the Gothic landmark within five years and donations pouring in from around the world. The New York Times reports that individuals, companies and institutions have so far donated or pledged 845 million euros, about $950 million, to rebuild the damaged cathedral, which has stood for more than eight centuries.

Read the full article HERE.

Federal Court Upholds Tax Break for Clergy Housing

CHICAGO (CN) – The Seventh Circuit ruled last month that a 65-year-old income tax exemption for clergy member housing is constitutional because it has historical significance and a secular legislative purpose.

Writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Michael Brennan said the so-called parsonage allowance “is simply one of many per se rules that provide a tax exemption to employees with work-related housing requirements.”

The parsonage allowance, codified in 26 U.S.C. § 107(2), allows for a payment separate from a pastor’s salary that is used for paying mortgages, utility bills and other housing-related expenses, which can be excluded from gross income on tax returns.

Read the full Courthouse News Service article HERE.

ECFA Suspends Chicago-area Megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a Christian financial watchdog group, has suspended Harvest Bible Chapel, a Chicago-area megachurch, after church leaders admitted “a lack of financial control and oversight” under the church’s former pastor.

Harvest recently fired its founding pastor, James MacDonald, for conduct its elders called “contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church,” and last week ECFA announced an “indefinite suspension” of Harvest’s membership in the group. It pointed to “new information” that led the council to question whether the church was in violation of several of its financial standards.

“The investigation has been and will remain ongoing during the suspension as we work to determine whether Harvest Bible Chapel should be terminated, advised of the steps necessary to come into full compliance or whether they are in fact in compliance with our standards and should, therefore, be restored to full membership,” ECFA President Dan Busby said in a written statement.

Read the full Religion News Service article HERE.

NBA Athlete Challenges Fans to Commit to Praying Daily Until Playoffs End

The Gospel Herald wrote Monday that Toronto Raptors’ Jeremy Lin is asking fellow Christians to commit to praying daily until the end of the NBA playoffs, revealing that God has challenged him to pray more often and more boldly.

“Recently, I listened to a 9-part sermon series on prayer by Pastor Caleb Clardy of Trinity Grace Church – Park Slope and read Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. It really convicted me that I spend too much of my life trying to work work work, instead of praying and allowing God to be God,” Lin said in an email sent to fans.

“I’ve been heavily challenged personally to pray more often and more boldly. So that’s why I decided to start a prayer movement with whoever will pray alongside me during the 2019 NBA Playoffs.”

Read the full story and see Lin’s list of prayer requests HERE.

Christian Cartoon Veggie Tales to Release New Episodes This Year

VeggieTales, the widely-popular Christian cartoon series and brainchild of Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, is making a triumphant return to television in late 2019 as the show has been picked up by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Working in conjunction with the Big Idea Content Group, the network is planning to air new episodes that conform to the original format. That means Bible-based stories told by vegetables will be returning, bringing a new generation into the world of the sarcastic vegetables as they explain the stories of the Bible.

The show got its start 25 years ago, and the mixture of Bible lessons, music, and comedy was a hit. The franchise has sold over 75 million videos, 16 million books, and released two major motion pictures.

Read the full article in World Religion News HERE.

Reese’s Freezes Chocolate Easter Eggs for Summertime Enjoyment

Reese’s, the maker of Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg and other candies, is hosting a contest to help the Easter festivities continue well past spring. Reese’s limited-time chocolate-peanut butter eggs are going to be frozen to preserve Easter joy all the way into summer, and a select 500 lucky fans will get a delivery of 36 packs of frozen Reese’s eggs right to their door.

How it works: On Tuesday, April 23 at 3 p.m. ET, Reese’s social media channels will post a link for folks to claim their Reese’s Eggs. Once the link is clicked, winners will be rewarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. If all 500 offers are not claimed immediately, the contest will last through Friday at 2:59 a.m. ET.

Those who score the promise of 36 sweet snacks to come when the Easter goods run dry will also get the gift of surprise, as Reese’s will not disclose the exact delivery date of the frozen eggs until a couple of weeks in advance. 

Read the full story and contest rules HERE.

Adventist Healthcare News – May 2019
At Easter, The Cross Reminds Us to Keep Forgiveness Central in All We Do
Courtney Fry

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