A summa cum laude graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, Keiston France majored in Journalism & Mass Communication and served as the captain on the men's varsity tennis team. Keiston currently works for NASCAR as a developmental tire changer for Chip Ganassi Racing. His favorite Bible verse is 'Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen.' Hebrews 1:11
Even in states where regulations were severe, most congregations moved on quickly.
Jeff Schoch was ready to be done with COVID-19 health safety regulations.
Like most ministers in the US, the pastor of Crossroads Bible Church in San Jose, California, did his best to comply with the many pandemic rules imposed by state and local governments. But as soon as they were lifted, he wanted to put them all behind him. He quickly tore down the state-mandated signs about social distancing, hand washing, and masks.
“I got rid of every visual reminder in the church,” Schoch told CT. “I was anxious, personally, to make that a memory.”
Across the country, Protestant congregations are dealing with the long-term impacts of the pandemic. A new, extensive study by Arbor Research Group and ChurchSalary, a ministry of Christianity Today, found that a lot of pastors are still in crisis. Some furloughed staff members haven’t gone back to work. And even when attendance numbers have rebounded, there are still people missing from many congregations. Christian leaders will likely be grappling with the fallout from COVID-19 for years to come.
But, surprisingly, state-level pandemic restrictions had no measurable, lasting impact on American churches. Even in places like San Jose—where the county government imposed some of the strictest rules in the country, the restrictions changed frequently, and authorities aggressively went after churches they said failed to comply—pastors like Schoch were able to just move on. The data doesn’t show any adverse effects from the government regulations.
Eric Shieh, a research consultant for Arbor Research, said that surprised him.
“You would think that the restrictions made things tougher for churches. They didn’t meet as much, and so you’d ...Continue reading...
Two businessmen’s unusual conversion in 1700s South Carolina led them to liberate the people they put in bondage.
At first glance, William Turpin and his business partner, Thomas Wadsworth, appeared to be like most other prestigious and powerful white men in late 18th-century South Carolina. They were successful Charleston merchants, had business interests across the state, got involved in state politics, and enslaved numerous human beings. Nothing about them seemed out of the ordinary.
But, quietly, these two men changed their minds about slavery. They became committed abolitionists and worked to free dozens of enslaved people across South Carolina. When most wealthy, white Carolinians were increasingly committed to slavery and defending it as a Christian institution, Turpin and Wadsworth were compelled by their convictions to break the shackles they had placed on dozens of men and women.
In an era when the Bible was edited so that enslaved people wouldn’t get the idea that God cared about their freedom, Turpin left a secret record of emancipation in a copy of the Scriptures, which is now in the South Carolina State Museum.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that this story of faith and freedom is mostly unknown. The two men were, after all, working not to attract attention.
Neither had deep roots in Charleston or close familial ties to its storied white “planter” dynasties. Turpin’s family was originally from Rhode Island, and Wadsworth was a native of Massachusetts who moved to South Carolina only shortly after the American Revolution. Both had public careers and served in the South Carolina Legislature, but their political profiles were not particularly high. Neither of them appeared to give any of their legislative colleagues the sense that they were developing strong, countercultural opinions on one of the most ...Continue reading...