An estimated 100,000 people gathered on the national mall this past Saturday for a prayer and politics rally. It was promoted by organizations such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and an initiative known as The Return. The event was timed to coincide with both the Jewish High Holy Days and also the weeks leading up to the national election on November 3. Speakers included Franklin Graham and Vice President Mike Pence. In addition to the event in Washington, local communities and churches around the country held prayer events of various shapes and sizes.
The oldest protestant Church west of the Allegheny Mountains, Severns Valley Baptist Church of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, has called a new pastor, a black man with strong ties to the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is Curtis Woods, who has been an occasional guest preacher for the church during these last nine months since the previous pastor resigned. Woods leaves his position as Associate Executive Director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Severns Valley may be the largest majority white congregation in the Kentucky Baptist Convention or even the Southern Baptist Convention to call a black man as pastor.
The religious faith of a federal appellate court judge is front and center, after President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett. She is a devout Roman Catholic, a graduate of Notre Dame University School of Law, for 15 years a professor at that same school, and a member of a Catholic Charismatic organization known as People of Praise. If elected to the Supreme Court, she will become the sixth justice with strong Roman Catholic ties, creating what will be known, perhaps, as The Catholic Court.
Atlanta and Nashville
Trouble in Evangelical World? Two notable cases to report. In Atlanta, trustees and staff of the Ravi Zacharias Ministry organization launched an investigation into allegations, published this week by Christianity Today, that the late evangelist left behind a string of unholy sexual liaisons, primarily at a health spa he both owned and frequented. And in Nashville, the Southern Baptist Convention filed a lawsuit against its recently retired chief executive Thom Rainer, accusing him of violating a no-compete clause in a legal agreement with them. Rainer has signed a publishing agreement with Tyndale House Publishers.
Jewish faithful concluded the annual High Holy Days with the celebration of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish religious calendar. The day emphasizes repentance and forgiveness and is celebrated by fasting followed by feasting. The guidelines for Yom Kippur are laid out in the Bible, in Leviticus chapter 16, where it is called the sabbath of sabbaths, a day of atonement for sins. September 28, 2020 was also the 10th day of the 7th month of the Jewish calendar.