‘If Those Were Pictures of You, You Would Understand’

Two sisters talk candidly about their lives after being sexually abused as children. It has been 10 years, but online photos and videos continue to haunt them.

Michael H. Keller
Gabriel J.X. Dance

By Michael H. Keller and Gabriel J.X. Dance

Two sisters from the Midwest are among the untold number of survivors of child sexual abuse who say they are unable to escape their horrific experiences because of the internet.

When they were 7 and 11, the sisters were sexually abused by their father. In one video, the younger sister, F., was drugged and raped by him and another man. Both men are now in prison, but the imagery continues to circulate on the web.

Millions of photos and videos of children being sexually abused exist on a wide range of platforms, from Dropbox to Facebook Messenger, for criminals around the world to see. An investigation by The New York Times found that the technology industry has consistently failed to take coordinated steps to shut down the illegal content.

Read about this difficult subject HERE

Gallaudet University

At Gallaudet University, deaf culture and faith mix to create something new

A woman walks through the Gallaudet University campus in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Gallaudet University is an institution of learning, teaching and research for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (RNS) — When a student stood to read from the Bible during a Catholic service at Gallaudet University earlier this year, she conveyed the sacred words in a language the group would understand: American Sign Language. The psalm — often chanted or sung — was signed as well.

And when the priest addressed the worshippers, he signed: “The Lord be with you.”  A flurry of hands signed back: “And with your spirit.”

For many, vocalized hymns, homilies, and prayers make up much of the experience of a typical religious service. Yet worshipping silently — in ASL — is standard fare at Gallaudet, the world’s premier college for the deaf and hard of hearing. And religious students say the language shift is but a small window into the subtle ways their communities intertwine deaf culture with the divine to produce uncommon expressions of faith and activism. Read more HERE.

Marriage v cohabitation

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SALT LAKE CITY — The share of Americans who cohabit has been rising and most adults say that’s acceptable, whether a cohabiting couple intends to marry or not. And married couples are more satisfied with their relationship and have more trust in their partner than do those who cohabit.

Just over half of American adults say they believe society is better off if longtime couples do marry, while 46% think society will be just fine if long-term cohabiters don’t marry. Nikki Graf, a Pew research associate, said that even after the researchers controlled for age, race, education, duration of the relationship and religious affiliation, married adults still expressed higher levels of satisfaction and trust than did cohabiting adults.

Those are among the findings of a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday.  Read the article HERE and see the entire survey and analysis HERE.

Church uses crop duster plane to spray holy water upon Louisiana faithful

Agriculture - Aerial chemical application close up of crop duster as it pulls up from it’s run / California, USA.A99B74 Agriculture - Aerial chemical application close up of crop duster as it pulls up from it’s run / California, USA.

Following a Mass at St. Anne’s Church on Saturday morning, parishioners traveled to a nearby airstrip to load water onto the crop duster. The agricultural aircraft was flushed of pesticides before it took off on its trip around the neighborhood, The Guardian reports.  Barzare said he asked the pilot to focus on spraying locations where people gathered, such as grocery stores, schools and churches. Read more here

Robert Smalls

Meet Robert Smalls, Boat Captain for Union Navy who Escaped Slavery and Became 1st African-American Elected to U.S. Congress

U.S. Naval Captain and U.S. Congress Member Robert Smalls (photo via Library of Congress)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Robert Smalls was the first black man elected to U.S. Congress during Reconstruction. He was born into slavery in 1839 in Beaufort, S.C., and started his remarkable, implausible journey to national prominence by daring to escape slavery during the Civil War with his family. 

Smalls, like many other enslaved peoples, was made to work for the Confederate forces during the Civil War. Menial labor such as grave digging, cooking, digging trenches, etc. were the most common jobs, but some enslaved peoples were used in skilled labor positions, such as Smalls, who could navigate the waters in and around Charleston, so was used to guide transport ships for the Confederate Navy.

On May 13, 1862, Smalls convinced several other enslaved people to help him commandeer a Confederate transport ship, the CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor. Smalls sailed from Confederate-controlled waters to the U.S. blockade.

By doing so, not only did he gain freedom for himself, several enslaved peoples and members of his family, his example of cunning and bravery helped convince President Abraham Lincoln to accept black soldiers into the U.S. Army and Navy. Check out PBS video and read the entire article HERE.

Carrie Saxon Perry

Former Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry, the first African American woman to lead a Northeast city, dies

Rebecca Lurye
Image result for carrie saxon perry

Former Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry, a social worker, civil rights leader and community organizer who rose to become the first African American woman elected to lead a major Northeastern city, died last year at the age of 87.

Her death went unreported and largely unnoticed for reasons that remain unclear. According to a death certificate on file at Waterbury City Hall, she suffered a heart attack and died at Waterbury Hospital on Nov. 22, 2018.

Over three terms as mayor of Hartford — when the job carried significant influence but before the city adopted a strong mayor form of government — Perry built on the civil rights bedrock of her predecessor, Mayor Thirman Milner. She advocated for national measures that would spur investment and ease the ache of deeply impoverished cities like Hartford, and ushered in a new era for LGBT issues. After serving as mayor, she later became president of the Greater Hartford Branch of the NAACP.

Perry made a first failed bid for the General Assembly in 1976, and then ran again in 1980 on a platform of tax and welfare reform, improving public education, and protecting of social programs for the poor. The longtime social worker bristled at the idea that disadvantaged young people should “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”

“I’m not for giving anybody anything, but I am for equalization and for giving people some kind of compensation so that they can compete,” she reasoned. “Let’s face it, racism is still rampant.”

Read the entire article HERE

Religion Based on Beyonce-National Church of Bey

Group Creates Religion Based on Beyonce-National Church of Bey

Image result for beyonce

The National Church of Bey, an organization that formed the new religion Beyism, is a real organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. Based on pop star Beyoncé , she is not believed to be a part of it.  Although this sounds like a joke and very similar to the church of Yeezianity, the Church founder known as “Minister Diva,” Pauline John Andrews stated it is not. On the website created to promote this “church,” Andrews said they are “very disappointed in the failure of the public to recognize the existence of a divine deity walking among them.”

Don’t forget to read your Beyble. They will be available soon.

The organizers reportedly gather every Sunday to sing her songs like they are reading passages out of a Bible. They have their own version of the holy book called “the Beyble,” and as stated on the site, it is currently being manufactured.  Read more HERE

Boston’s Abrahamic faith groups revisit their shared roots

With interfaith exhibit, Boston’s Abrahamic faith groups revisit their shared roots

November 11, 2019    Aysha Kahn  

BOSTON (RNS) — Just over a year ago, the day after the deadly mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, more than a thousand locals gathered together on the Boston Common to mourn and pray.

As the Rev. Amy McCreath, dean of the historic St. Paul Cathedral that overlooks America’s oldest park, watched people of various faiths unite once again to mourn another national tragedy, she was hit with an emotional realization.

That’s part of the reason the Episcopal cathedral agreed to host a new interfaith art exhibit that explores the faith and life of Abraham, the shared spiritual forefather of the world’s three largest monotheistic religions — and launched an accompanying interfaith book study to spotlight Abraham’s wives, Sarah and Hagar.   

Read the entire article HERE

Mart’s House

Please join Faith Church in supporting Mart’s House

On Saturday, June 15th,  Mart’s House reentry home on Capen St. in Hartford was devastated by a major fire. The seven women who were living at Mart’s are safe, but they lost everything. (Learn more about Mart’s House).  Please consider a donation today to our Resettlement Program during this difficult time. Any amount will help.  If you have any questions or want to know additional ways you can help, contact Sandra Bradford-Jennings, sbradford-jennings@cpa-ct.org, 860-271-7198.

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