Theologians show support for same-sex couples
Minneapolis -- Two theologians say the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should consider approving same-sex couples in a new anthology commissioned by presidents of the denomination's eight seminaries.
Deciding a policy on homosexuals is the most divisive issue facing the denomination of 5 million members, which is awaiting a 2005 report from a study panel.
The panel's director, James Childs Jr. of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, compiled the anthology, "Faithful Conversation."
Mark A. Powell of the Columbus seminary wrote that the Bible's view of heterosexual unions as "God's original design does not of itself rule out the possibility of the church recognizing the legitimacy of some homosexual unions."
Poll: Catholic approval for bishops drops
Syracuse, N.Y. -- Approval ratings for America's Roman Catholic bishops have declined over the past 18 months, likely over how they handled priests who sexually abused children, a new survey has found.
The poll of U.S. Catholics released May 9 found 59 percent strongly or somewhat agreed that the prelates were doing a good job leading the church, compared to 83 percent in the fall of 2001.
Nearly all of the respondents to the survey -- conducted by Le Moyne College, a Jesuit school in Syracuse, N.Y., and the research firm Zogby International -- wanted Pope John Paul II to discipline bishops who failed to remove offenders from church work.
Bishop installed for Mid-Atlantic region
Tenafly, N.J. -- The new regional bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in America has been installed, one month after he was unanimously elected to the post by church officials.
The Very Rev. Archimandrite Evangelos Kourounis, 41, is now the Metropolitan of the New Jersey Diocese, which also covers Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the Philadelphia area. He was elevated during ceremonies held Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly.
The post had been vacant since the death of Metropolitan George Papaioannou, who suffered a stroke in 1999. Kourounis, a New York native, is one of the few American-born Greek Orthodox bishops and has held several positions in the church, including a term as chancellor of the New Jersey Diocese.
Gospel singer to head arts center in Alabama
Mobile, Ala. -- Gospel singer Roger Breland will head the new performing arts center at the Baptist-affiliated University of Mobile and will help the center develop music for evangelical churches.
Mark Foley, president of the university, said Breland, a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, will expand the department's offerings.
The school will continue to teach a wide range of musical styles, from classical to jazz to opera, but under Breland's leadership there will be a new emphasis on contemporary Christian music, Foley said last week.