Faith Digest: U.S. Catholics vexed at Vatican

Nearly three-quarters of Catholics in the United States believe the Vatican tried to cover up clergy sex abuse, and a majority says Pope Benedict XVI has handled recent reports of past abuse poorly, according to a new poll, but less than 10 percent have considered leaving the Catholic Church over the issue.

For shy worshippers, church can be totally overwhelming

Recent studies reveal introverts make up roughly half of the population. And an  introverted personality can sometimes clash with the prayer-and-share ethos in Christian churches.

'Idaho 10' member blames UNICEF for group's arrest

With the last of 10 Southern Baptist mission volunteers released from a Haitian jail May 17, one of her "Idaho 10" co-laborers is breaking his silence and blames the whole ordeal on meddling by the United Nation's Children Fund, more commonly known as UNICEF.

Around the State

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor awarded its first doctoral degrees during spring commencement ceremonies. Six students earned doctoral degrees, 21 received master’s degrees and 281 earned baccalaureate degrees. Andy Davis, pastor of First Church in Belton, was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Barriers of attitude block people with disabilities from full inclusion in churches

A longtime advocate for people with disabilities said the greatest barriers to including special-needs individuals in churches are not architectural or language but rather barriers of attitude.

Author describes what having an autistic child taught her about God

Kathleen Deyer Bolduc, a nationally recognized author and speaker in the field of disability ministry, said she was unprepared to parent a special-needs child before the birth of her third son.

First person: Anybody can be a friend

Not everyone has the expertise or ability to do something significant about a problem as big as helping families deal with disabilities, but “anybody can be a friend.”

Welcoming people with special needs can mean spiritual, numerical growth

Churches that do a good job of including members with special needs like autism often reap side benefits of a positive witness to their community and sometimes even numerical growth, says an expert in disability ministries.

Seminaries not preparing pastors to minister to disabled, some assert

An expert in the field of disability ministry says theological seminaries are doing little to prepare ministers to deal with the estimated one in five Americans living with some kind of disability.

Baptist Briefs

Leo Endel, executive director of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, is joining an increasingly crowded field of candidates who will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the June 15-16 meeting in Orlando.

‘Miss Jan’ keeps order at Georgia church, where Carter draws crowd

Jan Williams is the head peacekeeper at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. where former President Jimmy Carter teaches a Sunday school class. At 8 a.m. on any given Sunday morning, “Miss Jan” steps out the church’s front doors and encounters a line of visitors already forming.

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