TexasGalen Holley 4/16/09
University nixes plans for gay student housing
n FORT WORTH, – Texas Christian University will not provide on-campus housing for gay students this fall as previously planned, Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said in a statement. “Instead we will assess whether the concept of housing residential students based on themes supports the academic mission of the institution…” The DiversCity Q community was to open this fall in some campus apartments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students — as well as their heterosexual classmates who support them. It would have been part of TCU’s living-learning communities, designed for those who want to live with like-minded students.
TCU already has several such communities that will not change, such as one for students who want to become leaders, for those interested in the environment and for healthy living enthusiasts. TCU, a private university with about 7,500 undergraduate students, is associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.)
Church encourages Twitter to spread word
n STALLINGS – Most churches want them turned off, but one North Carolina church encouraged its members to use their cell phones, BlackBerrys and other devices to help spread the word during Easter services.
Next Level church in Union County was alive with Twitter during the Easter Sunday service. The electronic service sends short messages to other phones and online accounts.
“I hope many of you are tweeting this morning about your experience with God,” Pastor Todd Hahn said before his sermon. A tweet is a message sent through Twitter.
“If you don’t jump on the new technology, you’re going to lose opportunities,” said church member Scarlett Hollingsworth. “We use it for work and for life. Why not church?”
Priest gives kidney to ailing parishioner
n NORMAL – A Roman Catholic priest in this central Illinois city decided to stand in solidarity with a parishioner by donating his left kidney to her.
Monsignor Eric Powell, pastor of Epiphany Roman Catholic Church in Normal, underwent surgery at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. Transplant surgeon Dr. Beverly Ketel later said Powell and the kidney recipient were doing well.
The priest said he wanted “to alleviate potential suffering and stand in solidarity with a sister in Christ.” The 45-year-old Powell would not name the recipient of the kidney.
School board changes prayer policy
n AMITE – Facing a federal lawsuit set to go to trial in June, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board has altered its meeting invocation policy.
The school board’s attorney said changes to the policy, a model also used by municipal governments in other states, stemmed from concerns raised elsewhere and not as a result of the litigation in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.
The policy establishes ground rules for invocations delivered by local clergy, setting a time limit of about five minutes before the start of meetings.
School officials portrayed the changes as merely to “clean up” the policy. One change explains that if there is a question about whether a congregation is authentic, school officials should rely on criteria the IRS uses to determine if religious organizations are tax-exempt.
The Associated Press