The Banner

‘Great Dechurching’ Book Explores America's Religious Exodus

The Banner has a subscription to republish articles from Religion News Service. This story by Bob Smietana was published on Sept. 7, 2023. It has been edited for Banner style. The final two paragraphs, with context for the Christian Reformed Church, have been added.Jim Davis and Mic

Newlyweds Honeymoon on Youth SERVE Trip

Jared and Rachel Pettman had been married only a week when they took five teenagers from a Christian Reformed congregation in St. Thomas, Ont., on a SERVE trip with ThereforeGo Ministries to Douglas, Mass., in August.The teens from The Junction Church in St. Thomas joined young people from three oth

South Dakota Church Turns 100

First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., celebrated 100 years of ministry on Sept. 9 and 10. The weekend of activities capped off an almost year-long project to recognize the anniversary. The church produced and released one video reflection per month since January, highlighting memorie

Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us

It’s no surprise to say that we live in a time of polarization. Community is fracturing into groups who affirm like-minded thinking while viewing others with suspicion and fear. How can we come together again? How can we bridge the divide of mistrust? How can we move from an us/them mentality to sim

Past Lives

Childhood sweethearts Na Young (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) are separated when Na Young’s family moves from South Korea to Canada. They reunite for the first time as adults in New York, where Na Young, now known as Nora, lives with her fellow writer and husband, Arthur (John Magaro). As Nora a

An American Immigrant

Colombian American Johanna Rojas Vann’s deepest hope in writing this novel for adults, based on true events, is to honor her mother and grandmother. She also wants “to inspire people to dig into their own roots and find all they can to love about where they came from. Why? Because, speaking from exp

When Loons Call: Reflections on Conversations with our Creator

As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.Gentle ripple

Farmers Must Adapt to Survive

For a long time, when Lydia Waweru ventured into her fields she was met with the discouraging sight of dry soil. Without enough rain, her crops were failing—and her much-needed income was diminishing.Like many farming families in rural Kenya and other areas of Africa, Waweru and her children depend

The Yellow Handkerchief

A young girl is disgruntled when she thinks about the old yellow handkerchief that her abuela wears in her hair. The handkerchief was given to abuela by her own grandmother, and serves many functions: cleaning dirt from under abuela’s fingernails, forming a basket to carry eggs from the chicken coop

The Future is Sure

The Rock Music, a music ministry of The Rock Church in Utah, rolls out “The Future is Sure,” an EP celebrating the ultimate hope in Jesus. “Woven throughout the EP are themes of grace, mercy, holiness, repentance, and worship,” leader Steele Croswhite said in a release. “In collaborating with multip

Orchid Theology

“God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.” —Francis Bacon, Of Gardens (1625)I adore orchids. Tending to them in my home is a hobby that brings me much joy. The beauty and variety in the orchid reminds me of God’s creativity and God’s loving care for every

Misreading Scripture Cross-culturally

I vividly remember the time in my youth that I was in a Bible study with my pastor and we were looking at Luke 14:25-35. I got stuck on Jesus’ words in verse 26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person

How Do I Tell My College-aged Children I’m Worried About their Futures?

My college-aged children seem to focus mostly on hobbies. I want them to find joy and fulfillment, but I’m concerned about their ability to pay their bills in the future. How do I bring up my concerns with them?In my work in campus ministry I often listen to young adults wonder about their future. S

She Deserves Better: Raising Girls to Resist Toxic Teachings on Sex, Self, and Speaking Up

Sexuality is probably one of the most challenging parts of raising children in the Christian faith. If you are raising a daughter to walk with God, you also need to guard her from common and harmful teachings that may seem biblical. This is a book written for moms and daughters to thoughtfully consi

The Mandalorian Season 3

Stars Wars began as a relatively simple story about good versus evil (The Force vs The Dark Side) but has evolved over the past 45 years into a complex world of relationships between characters, politics, outer regions of the galaxy, cloning technology, Sith organizational structure, a multitude of

Only the Beautiful

In 1938, 16-year-old Rosanne’s life was permanently changed when her parents and brother were killed in a car accident. Her father had been the vinedresser at Celine and Truman Calvert’s California vineyard, and Rosanne had grown up surrounded by the idyllic setting’s peace, safety, and beauty. Only

RE:Activate Still Active in B.C. After Almost 10 Years

Approximately 200 teens and 50 leaders gathered at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Langley, B.C., Sept. 8-10 for Proclaim, the 2023 RE:Activate Reformed Youth Convention. According to its website, the event is designed, “to unite and inspire reformed youth to live out the call that God has pla

Michigan Coffee Break Leader Guides Bangladeshi Christians in Video-Assisted Bible Study

Marianne “Skip” VanTuinen is serving as the first ever Bible study leader for first and second generation Christians at a new church in Bangladesh. “My spirit was provoked,” she said, when about six months ago at Monroe Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., she heard Bangladesh

After Dismissed Lawsuit, 36 United Methodist Congregations Leaving the UMC Under Approved Plan

The Banner has a subscription to republish articles from Religion News Service. This story by Yonat Shimron was published on Sept. 8, 2023. It has been edited for Banner style.A group of 36 United Methodist churches in North Carolina that had sued, seeking terms to sever ties to the

Honoring the Creator by Stewarding Creation

In the opening chapter of Genesis, God gives the newly created humans a “cultural mandate.” This command to “be fruitful and increase in number,” to “fill the earth and subdue it,” and to “rule over … every living creature” (Gen. 1:27-28) is both an exhortation and an act of profound generosity that