Archive for Saturday, May 4, 2002

Spirituality

May 4, 2002

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Presbyterians cut 43 jobs as part of spending cuts

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has told 43 staff members at its Louisville, Ky., national headquarters they will be laid off immediately in a restructuring to cope with lower investment earnings and changing priorities, church spokesmen say.

The Executive Committee of the General Assembly Council voted last week to approve the cuts as part of the denomination's $130 million 2003 budget. The spending plan, about $2 million lower than the 2002 operating budget, must be approved by the General Assembly in June.

The church blames the cuts on lower donations due to the struggling U.S. economy, as well as lower income from wills, bequests and investments. At the same time, the council hopes to shift resources to better finance missionaries, fund-raising and other projects.

About 600 people work in the Presbyterian national headquarters. The Presbyterian Church has about 2.5 million members.

Billy Graham's daughter takes a different approach

Anne Graham Lotz, below, says she doesn't have the gifts that made her father the 20th century's most famous evangelist.

And she never sought the mantle that brother Franklin has taken, leading the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn. into the 21st century. Yet the revival speaker from Raleigh, N.C., has still followed her father and brother into the family business with her own style.

Lotz's message is one that conservative Christians particularly women say they can relate to.

In the late 1990s, Lotz said, her aging parents had health setbacks, her son was diagnosed with cancer and her husband's dental office burned to the ground. The weight of her family troubles and job took a toll on what she calls her personal relationship with God.

"Under all the pressure, I just wanted him in a clearer, simpler, more satisfying, deeper way," Lotz said. "That began to be my heart's cry."

That cry led her to study the Bible and write the book, "Just Give Me Jesus," a study of the New Testament Gospel of John. That, in turn, led to revival meetings, at which Lotz preaches to crowds she says want a similar relationship with God.

Michigan minister accused of plagiarism apologizes

A minister accused of plagiarism has apologized to his congregation and returned to the pulpit.

The Rev. Edward Mullins, rector of Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., received a standing ovation from church members as he walked down the aisle.

"Let me, as your rector, start this period of reconciliation and say I'm sorry," Mullins told the congregation last Sunday.

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan on Feb. 1 barred Mullins from serving or attending Christ Church Cranbrook for 90 days, while investigating complaints from parishioners that included allegations Mullins used others' sermons and articles without attribution.

A Detroit Free Press review of the materials found Mullins sometimes quoted others word for word in church newsletters without citing a source.

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