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Vandals cut cross off Lawrence's Indian United Methodist Church

When Esther Harjo arrived last Thursday at the Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church to begin preparations for the congregation's monthly taco dinner, she thought she saw a body on the ground.

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Ex-Westboro Baptist Church member discusses her book, her estranged family and life after leaving

Libby Phelps Alvarez, 34, has written a book about growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church — and what made her decide to leave at age 25 and start a new life for herself in Lawrence. Here, in an edited and condensed version of the Journal-World's interview with the first-time author, the surprisingly bubbly and, for lack of a better word, normal Phelps Alvarez speaks openly about her childhood, her life post-WBC and why she still holds out hope for her estranged family. (Even "Gramps," as Phelps lovingly refers to the late founder of Westboro Baptist Church, supposedly had a change in heart just before his death.)

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Northeast Kansas archdiocese to sever ties with Girl Scouts over 'virtues and values'

The archdiocese covering the Kansas City, Kan., region and much of the eastern part of the state said Monday it is severing ties with Girl Scouts and urging an end to cookie sales, citing philosophical concerns with the organization.

Community open house planned Saturday at Islamic Center

Members of the Lawrence and University of Kansas Muslim community are planning a “neighborly” event this weekend. A community open house is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Islamic Center of Lawrence.

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Whether it be jail issues or racism, Justice Matters vows to be voice of the 'unheard'

As it looks to its fourth year since its formation, the Lawrence interfaith group Justice Matters points to victories won through its mobilization of “people power” and vows to carry on the fight for advances on local issues its members have identified.

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KU Student Senate forming committee to address rights for religious minorities on campus

The University of Kansas Student Senate is forming an ad hoc committee to explore and improve issues faced by religious minorities on campus.

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Banners supporting Black Lives Matter unfurled at Ecumenical Campus Ministries

Two banners were unfurled Sunday in the front of the Ecumenical Campus Ministries building in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after a series of speakers spoke out against white privilege and systematic racial oppression.

Lesbian pastor, United Methodist Church agree to separation

A lesbian pastor has agreed to go on involuntary leave from her United Methodist Church in Edgerton to avoid a church trial over her sexual orientation.

Justice Matters event to feature nationally known religious scholar

Justice Matters, a consortium of local religious organizations working to address justice issues, will host an "evening to dance, sing, reflect and support justice" Thursday at 7 p.m. at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.

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Ecumenical Campus Ministries regains tax-exempt status

Organization still lacks funds to rehire full-time minister

After operating roughly a year without its tax-exempt status, Ecumenical Campus Ministries has regained its 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS, leaders say.

Jordan Leroy Hanson is the mustard man

Jordan Leroy Hanson and fellow members of KU Campus Christians hand out more than 400 hot dogs for free on most Friday nights during the school year. Hanson discusses wearing a mustard bottle costume on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011.

ReasonFest organizer Conrad Hudson

Conrad Hudson, organizer of the first ReasonFest held at KU, discusses whether God exists. The two-day event explored atheism and was sponsored by the Society of Open-Minded Atheists & Agnostics. ReasonFest wraps up tonight at a fundraiser at Wilde's Chateau, 2412 Iowa, beginning at 9 p.m. The $2 entry fee will benefit the Douglas County AIDS Project.

Nelson Krueger's Shepherd I trip: Boston

Nelson Krueger, Lawrence resident, was on the flight crew for Shepherd I, Pope John Paul II's aircraft for his first visit to the United States in 1979. The six-day trip started in Boston, where Krueger took the pope's cape and dried it using an air vent.

Nelson Krueger's Shepherd I trip: New York City

During the New York branch of the trip, Krueger and the flight crew had to deal with a bomb threat to the aircraft. Nelson Krueger, Lawrence resident, was on the flight crew for Shepherd I, Pope John Paul II's aircraft for his first visit to the United States in 1979.

Nelson Krueger's Shepherd I trip: Philadelphia

While waiting for the plane to be investigated by drug-sniffing dogs after the bomb threat, Pope John Paul II used Krueger's guitar to play "Silent Night" in the plane. Krueger, Lawrence resident, was on the flight crew for Shepherd I, Pope John Paul II's aircraft for his first visit to the United States in 1979.

Nelson Krueger's Shepherd I trip: Des Moines, Iowa

Pope John Paul II wanted to add a stop in Des Moines, Iowa, last-minute to his flight path because he wanted to visit Living History Farms. Nelson Krueger, Lawrence resident, was on the flight crew for Shepherd I, Pope John Paul II's aircraft for his first visit to the United States in 1979.

Nelson Krueger's Shepherd I trip: Chicago

Pope John Paul II's visit to Grant Park in Chicago prompted one of the largest gatherings of people in the city ever for his mass: 1.5 million people. Nelson Krueger, Lawrence resident, was on the flight crew for Shepherd I, Pope John Paul II's aircraft for his first visit to the United States in 1979.

Nelson Krueger's Shepherd I trip: Washington D.C.

On the way to Washington, Pope John Paul II sat on the jumpseat in the cockpit and signed personal items for the crew, including family Bibles. Nelson Krueger, Lawrence resident, was on the flight crew for Shepherd I, Pope John Paul II's aircraft for his first visit to the United States in 1979.

Nelson Krueger's Shepherd I trip

Nelson Krueger, Lawrence resident, was on the flight crew for Shepherd I, Pope John Paul II's aircraft for his first visit to the United States in 1979. The Pope is set to be beatified on May 1, the last step before he's able to become a saint.

Newspaper Church in a teepee

Lawrence resident Ron Helmick has a teepee on his property on East 15th, where friends gathered Sunday, Dec. 12, for some conversation and what they call Newspaper Church.

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