New Jersey Church Hosting Living Star Wars Nativity

star-wars-nativity-new-jersey

A church in New Jersey is taking advantage of the hysteria surrounding the long-awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by hosting three weeks worth of Star Wars-themed sermons and activities called “Cosmic Christmas.” You’ll have to drive a ways to take part, but one event in particular should totally be worth the trek.

On Christmas Eve, there will be a living Star Wars nativity scene at all five locations of Liquid Church in New Jersey. A rep from the church tells me Princess Leia will stand in as Mary, Han Solo will represent Joseph, Chewbacca will be all the animals in the manger and R2D2 will rep the wise men. What about baby Jesus, you ask? Sadly, it’s not Yoda. “We have a wooden cresh with swaddling clothes to represent Jesus, but no Star Wars character will be in the cresh,” she says.

The inspiration behind it is pretty cute: Lead Pastor Tim Lucas says that, as a kid, he sneakily replaced all the characters in his mom’s miniature nativity with his Star Wars figurines. The lineup is much like the one you’ll see at Liquid, except he swapped Jesus with a jawa. (“Sacrilege, I know!)

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Dispatch From a Philly Church: Trying to Make Sense of the Paris Killings

Overbrook Presbyterian Church (photo via Google Maps)

Overbrook Presbyterian Church (photo via Google Maps)

Other than during summer, when the Jersey Shore tempts even the most God-fearing families to its surf and sand, the parking lot at Overbrook Presbyterian Church is generally pretty full; a couple of times each year — Easter Sunday and Christmas — it is positively overflowing.

Yesterday’s service had no official significance, but less than 48 hours after ISIS-sponsored militants took to the streets of Paris, committing cold-blooded murder at least 129 times, the parking lot was more reminiscent of one of those holy days than your average Sunday morning. Read more »

6 Gay-Friendly Churches in Philadelphia to Attend Easter Sunday Service

Congregation at Broad Street Ministry.

Congregation at Broad Street Ministry.

With all the talk this week about the Religious Freedom Act, it may seem, as LGBT folk, that we’re anything but welcome inside the doors of a church. But that’s not exactly the case. There are tons of faith-based congregations in the region that welcome the LGBT community with open arms. I’ve rounded up six that I know of on this Good Friday, so you can know where to go if you feel like taking in an Easter Service on Sunday. Read more »

Broad Street Ministry Ordains City’s First Openly Gay Minister

The Inquirer reports that David Norse, 27, has been ordained by Broad Street Ministry as the city’s first openly gay minister. “While David’s sexual orientation is an important part of his identity, he sees himself first and foremost as someone called to pastor God’s people,” said the Rev. Bill Golderer, the church’s senior pastor. “He is very much into this being a dimension of who he is, but not the sum total.” The congregation is part of Presbyterian Church USA, which in 2011 voted to allow ordination of openly gay and lesbian members.

Previously: Local Church to Ordain Philly’s First Openly Gay Presbyterian Minister

Defrocked PA Pastor Offered Job in California

Schaefer stands in front of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in South Lebanon Township.

Schaefer stands in front of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in South Lebanon Township.

Rev. Frank Schaefer — the man who was defrocked by the Methodist Church last week after officiating the marriage of his gay son — has been offered a job Bishop Minerva G. Carcano to join the Church’s California-Pacific Annual Conference. If he accepts, he would serve over an area that covers California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. LGBTQ Nation reports:

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Circle of Hope Ousts Gay Congregant for “Speaking Too Publicly About Homosexuality”

Andrew Stahler standing outside a Circle of Hope location on South Broad Street.

Andrew Stahler standing outside a Circle of Hope location on South Broad Street. Photo courtesy of Jessica Kourkounis.

There’s a story in the current issue of City Paper about a gay man who was asked to leave Circle of Hope, a progressive church that prides itself on open-minded philosophies geared toward young worshippers, because he was “speaking too openly about homosexuality.”

Andrew Stahler says he began attending the church in 2009. He was an active member, attending sermons regularly, and was assured that his sexuality was not an issue. But things changed at OutFest that same year. The article reports:

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Morning Headlines: Zoning Board Says No to Ori Feibush

Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush stirred some controversy this month when his lawyer, Wally Zimilong, sent a letter to a woman, Haley Dervinis, opposed to his latest project: four single-family homes around 20th and Annin. The letter cautioned her not to libel or slander Feibush with disparaging comments in an upcoming zoning hearing, and was, to our eyes, a fairly ridiculous cease-and-desist scare tactic. It worked–she was scared. The letter got press as a threat, and Feibush came off as a bully trying to censor her.

At the hearing, Dervinis was certainly not alone in her opposition, and now, according to Jan Ransom of the Daily News, the Zoning Board has denied Feibush’s petition to go beyond the current zoning, which is for three homes rather than four.

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Renderings of Townhomes to Replace St. John the Evangelist at 3rd and Reed

Yet another house of worship goes the way of all Philly churches: this time, it’s St. John the Evangelist at Third and Reed, which cannot withstand the power of the wrecking ball. Hidden City Daily broke the story that a developer purchased it quickly after closure to demolish it and use the land for town homes. When Naked Philly wrote about the demolition, a commenter bemoaned the church’s fate:

I had my first communion, confirmation and first wedding in this church. My family was a active member for years. I remember holiday shows, Bingos, Easter services, the Christmas Bazaar, fundraising shows that I participated in, my grandparents funerals……all of the truly important events in my life happened at this church. I wish I had known it was coming down, I would have asked to maybe take some of the glassware or stained glass windows. My father served on the alter and I was in the children’s chior. I loved this church….I am truly saddened to see it go.

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