The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon


College debates theology of Climate Change

January 31, 2013 --

University-of-PortlandAwarding winning UP professors to talk about theological and scientific views of global climate change; set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7

By University of Portland

University of Portland professors Russell Butkus, theology, and Steven Kolmes, environmental science, will present “47 Years Later: Gaudium et Spes and Global Climate Change—the New ‘Signs of the Times’” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in Buckley Center, room 163 on the University campus at 5000 N. Willamette Blvd. Their talk will be the first of the spring 2013 Theology Thursdays lecture series sponsored by the University of Portland theology department. The event is free and open to the public.

Butkus and Kolmes coauthored Environmental Science and Theology in Dialogue, published by Orbis Books (2011), which won top honors by the Catholic Press Association in the category of faith and science (see

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Ore. college child abuse reporting law goes into effect

January 30, 2013 --

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

New College & University Child Abuse Reporting Law Takes Effect January 1

 Oregon is one of many states that acted in the wake of the Penn State child abuse tragedy to pass a new child abuse reporting law applicable to all employees of colleges and universities. The new requirements take effect January 1, 2013. Although the law does not appear to require new policies, procedures or training, institutions of higher education would benefit from taking steps to ensure employees are aware of their new legal responsibilities. Those responsibilities are set out in 2012 HB 4016 (now 2012 Oregon Laws, Ch. 92), which amends ORS 419B.005’s list of mandatory child abuse reporters by including all employees of higher education institutions instead of just certain identified categories of employees. Understanding the new responsibilities takes a few steps.

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NW pastor sentenced to 8 years in Iran

January 29, 2013 --

Saeed Abedini, US pastor jailed in IranBy American Center for Law & Justice

Our worst fears have been realized. In Tehran on an empty promise that American Pastor Saeed Abedini might be released, his lawyer came to court.  The lawyer had no formal notice that his presence was required, only the casual request less than 24 hours before from a court administrator to a family friend that the lawyer should come to the court because it was releasing Pastor Saeed.  But this was all a lie.

Upon arriving at the court, Dr. Naser Sarbazi, Pastor Saeed’s lawyer, saw his client. He knew he had been deceived.

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Catholic group reaches immigration milestone

January 28, 2013 --

By Oregon Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities Celebrates First DACA Approval

The largest nonprofit immigration legal service for undocumented youth in Oregon is celebrating its first approved application under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services client, Noe, who’s 20, has been granted DACA status, which means two years of freedom from the fear of deportation, plus the ability to further his education.

Noe says, “Being able to get DACA not only opens up opportunities but it also means I can pursue my dream of getting a nursing degree and reaching out to help those with fewer chances in life.”

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Video: Has God taken sides on Gun Control?

January 27, 2013 --

In a surprise to some, a major gun control press conference by California Senator Diane Feinstein this week began with a prayer by the Dean of the National Cathedral. An invocation is rare during a press conference — even more rare when coupled with a hot button issue like gun control. Below is a video debate on having pastors and prayers as part of the gun debate.

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Pastor to run a marathon a day for 5 months for charity

January 26, 2013 --

rnnr-jan2013Chicago Pastor Plans to Run a Marathon a Day for Five Months — Coast to Coast
By John Yeager, World Vision

Right now, 49 year-old Steve Spear is training for the run of his life. The Chicago-area pastor recently quit his job as a Willow Creek pastor after 15 years, to focus on raising $1.5 million to provide clean water for 30,000 people living in Kenya. It’s the adventure of a lifetime, a cross-country fundraising run from Southern California to New York City. Spear, who only took up long-distance running five years ago, has completed countless marathons and ultra-marathons but has never done anything like this before. He will attempt to run a marathon a day for five months, from coast to coast.

Spear will start his quest on April 8th, 2013 from the Santa Monica Pier on the Pacific Ocean, finishing up five months later in August in New York City. Steve Spear says his former senior pastor at Willow Creek, Bill Hybels is planning to run with Steve on the final leg of the cross-country odyssey into New York City. Spear will seek support from churches along the way.

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Catholics criticize Colorado Civil Union Bill

January 25, 2013 --

By Catholic League for Religious and Civil rights

Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today on a civil unions bill. Bill Donohue addresses its flaws:

In 2006, the people of Colorado said no to gay marriage. Last year, lawmakers took up the issue of civil unions for homosexuals, allowing religious adoption agencies an exemption. Today the Senate Judiciary Committee is taking up the issue again, although this time the religious exemption has been gutted. Hence, the resistance from Colorado bishops and the Colorado Catholic Conference. Their concerns are genuine.

Supporters of the bill argue that if civil unions are legalized, they will not affect the state law that limits marriage to one man and one woman. Perhaps not directly, but it will certainly undercut the special place reserved in law for marriage: the effect of the civil unions bill is to substantively demolish the distinctions between marriage and civil unions, even if the nomenclature is not identical.

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Moving Beyond the Christian-Muslim Impasse

January 24, 2013 --
iStock_000008529485XSmallBy Paul Louis Metzger
Multnomah University Professor
New Wine Skins Ministry

Challenging Evangelical Assumptions

co-authored by Paul Louis Metzger and John W. Morehead

Evangelicals face enormous challenges in the pluralistic public square in the 21st century, especially among Muslims. Suspicion and fear of Muslims exist in many quarters as a result of 9/11 and other radical Muslim acts of terror in places like Spain and London and some bad habits about how most of us absorb news. We firmly believe that radical Muslims do not represent the majority of Muslims in the West, who have repeatedly disavowed terrorism. Clearly, most Muslims in the U.S. seek to live out their Muslim faith in ways that affirm and resonate with American values.

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Portland ministry part of ABC Extreme Makeover

January 23, 2013 --

all-gods-childrenBy All God’s Children International,
Portland adoption ministry

 In a rare quiet moment on the front porch of the Watson home, Daniel and Mandy share with AGCI their journey to adopt. Before creating a nonprofit to help single mothers, and before the excitement of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, God gave them a heart to love children.

Mandy: Growing up, I had never pictured myself having my own biological children.  It was just not something that I had thought much about or was super important to me.  I just love kids.  Daniel and I have an innate ability to love other people’s biological children as much as I think we would ever love our own.

Daniel: We went to Ecuador and visited a little girl that we were sponsoring and that really changed my heart and opened me up to the idea of really only adopting, even though we can have our own biological children. We just felt like there’s so many kids out in the world who need a home, there’s no reason for us to bring new kids in.

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Portland Catholic students attend Social Justice Summitt

January 22, 2013 --

Portland area Catholic students attend Social Justice Summit on human trafficking
By Faith News Note,

Seventy-five students from six Portland area Catholic high schools attended Jesuit High School’s first-ever Social Justice Summit. The focus of the summit was human trafficking for sex and labor. Speakers urged the students to help raise awareness, work for change, and lobby elected lawmakers to renew the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, first passed in 2000 and last renewed in 2008.

The keynote speaker told students they “need to become the microphone of God.”

Students learned that people are kept in this kind of modern-day slavery through abuse, fear, and threats to their families. Often trafficked immigrants don’t speak English and don’t understand their rights or how to get help. People trafficked for labor are most often immigrants; those trafficked for sex are most often Americans.

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