Parish roundup: Repurposing church property for social good; how to tithe

This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

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A theologian ponders what a parish of mercy might look like.

The Diocese of Portland, Maine, deserves praise for not sweeping a sensitive situation under the rug: A pastor has an affair with a parish employee and now, apparently, has moved with her to Texas. Bishop Robert Deeley personally explains the situation to parishioners. The bishop's announcement was followed by a healing service.

Manhattanites argue there is little room at the inn this Christmas for low-income New Yorkers seeking shelter and ask that a now-shuttered church on the Lower East Side be used for housing for the poor. The Nativity Church is the former parish of Dorothy Day. Previous Manhattan church closings have resulted in property sold for high-income development.

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The Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, synod comes up with recommendations on tithing.

In Minnesota, a Native American mission church burns to the ground. After a period of mourning, the pastor plans to rebuild.

A Gainesville, Florida, parish marks respect for life with a service dedicated to abolishing capital punishment.

"I am Donald Trump, and I approve this sermon." Coming to a pulpit near you? The new Republican tax bill overturns the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits partisan endorsements from the pulpit. A Miami newspaper columnist argues this is a disaster for both politics and religion.

Two Texas sisters make a contribution to the Diocese of Brownsville to create a new church and social service center.

A former administrator is sentenced for embezzlement at the Catholic parish at the University of North Carolina.

In Toledo, Ohio, a landmark church, now closed, will be used as a social service center.

[Peter Feuerherd is a correspondent for NCR's Field Hospital series on parish life and is a professor of journalism at St. John's University, New York.]

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