In a sweeping bipartisan vote, both chambers of the General Assembly overturned Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s veto of the controversial religious freedom bill. Earlier this week, the House Democratic caucus met behind closed doors to hold a secret ballot, which ultimately favored bringing the measure back to the House floor. After a half hour of debate, the House rejected the gubernatorial veto by an overwhelming 79-15 margin. Supporters of the legislation affirmed it does not undermine anyone’s civil rights protections, and only safeguards First Amendment rights.
The naming of a new Pope this week brings with it questions about how he will lead the Catholic Church. Bishop Ronald Gainer, head of the Diocese of Lexington, doesn’t look for any change in doctrinal teachings. He says issues like the ordination of women, allowing priests to marry, or contraception are not up for debate.
As refugees flee the civil war in Syria, few will probably settle in the Commonwealth. Barbara Kleine with Kentucky Refugee Ministries says many displaced Syrians still remain within that nation’s borders. “There are just multiple layers of security checks before people are admitted to the U.S. and that can takes months up to years really. So right now, there is no process in place that is processing Syrian refugees who are outside the country,” said Kleine.
The bells toll. The noon mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville happens every Monday, and the stream of people walking into the doors showed no signs that something significant had happened within the Roman Catholic Church just hours before. Pope Benedict XVI had announced that he was retiring on Feb. 28, citing his health and age. He's the first to resign in more than 600 years; the first to willfully do it since the 1200s.
Tickets to hear the Dalai Lama speak in May in Louisville go on sale Wednesday morning. The Buddhist leader and Nobel laureate will speak on May 19-20 at the KFC Yum Center in an event called Engaging Compassion, focusing on "how an individual can engage with compassion from within his or her own religious tradition in order to build world peace from the local level to the world community," according to a news release from the KFC Yum Center. The Monday talk will be a two-part public Buddhist teaching called "Attisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment."
A major is effort underway to map small cemeteries in Fayette County. So far, researchers with the Lexington Public Library have mapped just half an estimated 200 graveyards. Head Librarian Virginia McClure says rural cemeteries, some with 15 to 20 headstones, are often found in walled-off areas of the county.
Bells sounded at 9:30 in downtown Lexington Friday morning to honor those killed a week ago in Connecticut
At 9:30 this morning, people across the country paused for a moment to reflect on last Friday’s massacre at a Connecticut school. In downtown Lexington, WEKU’S Stu Johnson listened while a church bell tolled. Just prior to 9:30, Lauren Maat walked along Short Street. She says the murders of 26 people in a Newtown elementary school have been a topic of conversation for her and her friends. “Yes, a lot of my friends have talked about it. Unfortunately, it has been more about the political side of things, gun control, and that sort of thing, but definitely talking about it, yes,” said Maat.
The wording at the top of the web page simply reads ‘Ichthus Ministries closes its doors after 42 years.’ The message popped up on the internet Saturday. It means that apparently the long running Christian Music Festival has run its course. Since 2006 the organization based in Wilmore has faced significant financial challenges. Those included declining attendance, mounting debt, market changes, and adverse weather conditions.
A Kentucky woman is making history in her new position as a church leader in Alabama. The Reverend Debbie Wallace Padgett is making her mark on history in a couple ways. This fall the Eastern Kentucky native became the first female Methodist Bishop in Alabama. Padgett is also the first woman from Kentucky elected to such a position. She believes ministerial opportunities for women are growing all the time.
Lexington’s Nathaniel United Methodist Mission is inviting citizens to take a ‘journey’ through downtown Saturday morning. The event is designed to give participants a feel for those living ‘on the margins.’It’s called ‘The Journey’ and it begins with an early breakfast at the De Roode Street Mission. From there, people will be invited to travel the route of many area homeless.
At some point in their lives, the World Health Organization says more than a third of people report some kind of mental disorder. The care and treatment of a mental illness includes the use of ever improving medications and intense counseling. Some counselors believe ‘spirituality’ can impact mental health.
At the Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lexington, Reverend Troy Thomas uses history as an inspirational guide for his congregation. Before the Civil War, the church was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and helped many slaves travel the last leg of their journey to freedom.
Hoping to keep it operating, officials with a homeless shelter in Lexington have filed a suit in circuit court. The city’s Board of Adjustment last month revoked a permit to operate the Community Inn on Winchester road facility. It ruled the shelter is not operating under the conditions imposed when it opened more than a year ago. Ginny Ramsey, who founded the Community Inn, rejects the argument.
One of the best pieces of career and life advice I ever received came from my cousin Julian Goodman, a journalist and former president of NBC, who died July 2 at his home in Florida. He told me to go home.
Financial challenges for the country’s longest running Christian music festival haven’t slowed preparation for the summertime event. The 43rd Ichthus festival will be bustling outside Wilmore this time next week. But, there were concerns soon after last year’s festival that debt problems could silence the music. Ichthus C-E-O Mark Vermillion says a ‘quick fix’ is not expected. “We really believe it’s gonna be a couple of year process to get out of some of the debt..that we’ve had over the past couple of years…and we really don’t know fully how ticket sales are gonna line up,” said Vermillion.
Despite some initial doubt, organizers of the nation’s oldest contemporary Christian music festival are preparing for another show this summer. Work continues on plans for this summer and for the future. Officials have looked into selling the 111 acre farm property, but it hasn't panned out. Finances still have Ichthus officials worried,so they're giving thought to the construction of additional facilities. Then, C-E-O Mark Vermillion says they could open up the property so other events could be staged there.
Increasing diversity has helped improve the education at a southeast Kentucky boarding school. In 1900, Oneida Baptist Institute opened its doors in Clay County. Today, Institute President Bud Underwood says about a quarter of their student population comes from countries outside the United States. Underwood says those international students motivate American-born students to work harder.
The ‘Ark Encounter’ project in northern Kentucky ebbs and flows with the economy. Plans call for the construction near Williamsburg, Kentucky of a theme park based on the bible story of Noah’s Ark. Ark Encounter Senior Vice President Mike Zovath says the company closed this week on the last piece of land needed for the 800 acre park.
A conference will attract 60 to 70 Christian college professors, pastors and students to Georgetown College next week to discuss tensions between churches and Christian institutions of higher education, organizer Roger Ward said. “Christian Life and Witness: From the Academy to the Church” will feature Oxford University professor Paul Fiddes and Yale University professor Nicholas Wolterstorff in the two-day event, which starts Monday, Jan. 23, and continues through Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Recognition of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior often brings with it reflection of the past and optimism for the future. Both were experienced in downtown Lexington Monday. Gwendalin Cowan was one of the estimated 14 hundred participants at the annual Unity Breakfast. She says paying homage to Reverend King each year is important, but his message calls for a day to day commitment.
A number of events are scheduled in communities all across Kentucky in recognition of the Martin Luther King Junior holiday. In Lexington this morning, the annual unity breakfast will be followed by the march through downtown and a formal program at Heritage Hall. This afternoon, the Lyric’s ‘Little Dress for Lexington’ community service project will take place the Lyric Theater. The aim is to inspire and bring hope to underprivileged young ladies in the community.
The controversial church has scheduled a grand opening event on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the church, 283 Main St., in a building previously occupied by the Florence Baptist Church. Nick Banks, a spokesman for the Church of Scientology, said the Florence site was chosen for a number of reasons.
An on-line charitable donation program set up for central Kentucky’s non-profits is in the home stretch. An organizer of the “Good Giving Guide Challenge” says it’s exceeded expectations. On line contributions through the Good Giving Guide Challenge have been coming in since late October. Thus far, Bluegrass Community Foundation C-E-O Lisa Adkins says over 140-thousand dollars have been contributed. Adkins says that far out distances the 100-thousand dollar goal set back in October.
There are religious traditions which, carry the same meaning each year, but still undergo some evolution. For example, a central Kentucky Rabbi has noticed several changes in the way Hanukkah is celebrated. Hanukkah, or the festival of lights, runs until December 28th . The eight day religious holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem at the time of the second century Maccabean revolt. It’s not unusual to see attendance at Christian churches grow this time of year. And, Rabbi Moshe Smolkin of Ohavay Zion temple says a similar trend is often seen in synagogues.
The spirit of giving infuses the holiday season. But essayist Leslie Guttman found some giving comes unscheduled, prompted by unusual and unforeseen events. This is a story about a star and a bolt of lightning, and what happened after they met.
Conversion is a term most often associated with a religious transformation. However, sometimes, a building can also undergo a conversion. Recently, on a hillside in Hazard, a one time local drinking hole took on a more spiritual mission. High atop a hill near the southeastern Kentucky community of Hazard, sits Gospel Light Baptist Church. But, before it became a church, the location was well-known as the Hillbilly Palace Bar. Its conversion was brought about by Pastor Chris Fugate.
By Bill Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader & Jennifer Hewlett, Lexington Herald-Leader
A tiny Pike County church voted Sunday to affirm that it welcomes people of all races, a week after some members touched off a storm of controversy by voting against accepting interracial couples. Members of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church voted 16-0 Sunday to make clear that everyone is welcome, "regardless of race, creed or color," and that the church wants to move forward in unity, pastor Stacy Stepp said.
The pastor of a small Pike County church that voted against accepting interracial couples as members said he will ask the congregation to overturn the decision. Stacy Stepp, pastor of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church, said he will seek a new vote on the issue, perhaps as early as Sunday. Stepp said he is confident members of the church, which has about 45 members, will overturn the earlier decision.
When Suzie Harvill asked her parents to welcome her black, South African boyfriend into their Island Creek home for a visit, the traditional baptist couple was reluctant. More than a year later, however, the couple considers the young man a part of their family and have now vowed to stand by he and Suzie in a battle that has pitted them against elders in the Harvill’s Pike County church — a battle which may also have lasting repercussions on the church’s financial status.