“Tree Church” is exactly what it sounds like, and it looks incredible. Barry Cox has two great passions in life: trees and churches. For years, he traveled the world, studying the designs of church buildings and the architectural style behind them. He also loves trees so much that he runs a business that transports large trees to new locations so they don’t have to be chopped down. The New Zealander told Stuff.co.nz,
I walked out my back door one day and thought, 'That space needs a church' – and so it began. I cleared the area in April 2011 and made the iron frame, drawing on all the research I had done over the years of studying churches. I wanted the roof and the walls to be distinctly different, to highlight the proportions, just like masonry churches.
It took Cox four years to finish the structure, which has walls and a ceiling made from living trees, but he’s recently opened Tree Church for weddings and visitors. He told the site, “Visitors have said that they find the Tree Church relaxing and that their worries disappear. I find that sort of feedback immensely rewarding." You can see a brief video tour of the structure here. Discuss
Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of famed evangelist Billy Graham and author of several books, has stepped down as the senior pastor of the 2,000-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, confessing to having an affair. Tchividjian had served as the church’s senior pastor since 2009. In a statement to The Washington Post, Tchividjian said he recently discovered that his wife was having an ongoing affair, which eventually led them to separate. He wrote, “Sadly and embarrassingly, I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself. Last week, I was approached by our church leaders and they asked me about my own affair. I admitted to it and it was decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign.”
Tchividjian said “my wife and I are heartbroken over our actions,” and asked for prayer. The church's executive pastor, Rob Pacienza, told the paper they will be “working with and assisting Pastor Tullian and his family to help them through this difficult time” ... Discuss
Pope Francis is continuing his personal outreach to the homeless around Vatican City. The pontiff ordered a new, 30-bed homeless shelter to be built in the Vatican. As The Washington Post notes, it’s just the first in a series of actions to care for the homeless he’s undertaken since becoming pope: He’s installed free showers in Vatican City; paid for homeless individuals to visit the Shroud of Turin; arranged private museum tours; and even provided free shaves and haircuts ... Discuss
Christianity is on the decline in America. The Pew Research Center has released the results for a new survey which found that religion, particularly Christianity, is dropping among the American population. Nearly 23 percent of all respondents claimed no religion—that’s up from 17 percent in 2007. In the last seven years, the number of self-described Christians fell from 78 percent of the population to 71 percent. “Nones” (people who do not claim any religion) are second only to evangelicals in terms of demographic size, as evangelicals saw a slight drop in numbers ... Discuss
Saddleback Church pastor and author Rick Warren issued the opening statement at the Senate’s hearing on Global Health Problems this week. Warren not only provided biblical support for continuing to provide assistance for people in need around the world, he also explained why he believed it could lead to greater peace in the future:
It’s far more cost effective, far cheaper, for Americans to send medicine to make friends now, than to send troops to fight enemies later. Medicines cost less than tanks.
Warren also encouraged continued partnerships between the faith community and the public and private sectors to fight poverty and provide international medical assistance: “The Church invented the hospital. And if we’re going to absolutely eradicate these diseases, we’ve got to do a combination of the public sector, the private sector and the faith sector: The three legs of the stool” ... Discuss
At one point in time, boxer Mike Tyson was one of the richest, most famous athletes in the world. But after being convicted of rape and serving a stint in prison, Tyson struggled with substance abuse and eventually suffered from major financial issues. One of the strangest vestiges of the boxer’s former empire is a massive, abandoned mansion in Ohio where he lived to be closer to a trainer in the ‘80s and ‘90s. For years, the mansion has sat completely abandoned, being sold in various bank and police auctions. Now, it’s going to become a church.
The most recent owner of the Tyson mansion donated the property to Living Word Sanctuary, a Christian church that plans on converting the mansion into a ministry center. (You can a hear a pastor talk about the plans here.) The church recently invited a photographer to the grounds to take pictures of the house before renovations begin. According to photographer Johnny Joo, the church even hopes that Tyson will attend the first service at the new church when it is completed later this year ... Discuss