Posts Tagged ‘Volume 35 No. 12’

Jewish voters divided and energized by Trump

Whatever the results of the 2020 presidential elections, the voting behavior of American Jews shows both continuities and change under the presidency of Donald Trump, according to reports. In his blog Spiritual Politics (October 22, 2020), Mark Silk reports that Jewish voting patterns have changed little since 2016, even as President Trump made his support of Israel an important part of his campaign. In that year, Jewish voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by 71 percent to 24 percent.

Let Us Worship—A new, post-COVID Jesus movement?

Revival gatherings led by evangelical worship leader Sean Feucht across the country have gathered thousands of Christians and are seen by some as fueling “a new Jesus Movement,” write Meagan Clark and Haeven Gibbons in Religion Unplugged (October 24, 2020). The writers hasten to add that the audience for the group Let Us Worship looks quite different from that of the spiritual seekers of long-gone hippie times.

Exodus of progressive black church members over activism and COVID concerns?

The combined effect of the pandemic and its toll on African-Americans and the recent protests over racial violence in law enforcement has alienated a segment of black members from their more conservative churches as they seek spiritual fulfillment elsewhere, writes Dara T. Mathis in the Atlantic (October 11, 2020). 

Pandemic causes mission disruption and end-times speculation in LDS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) has seen the greatest impact of the pandemic on its mission force and the growth of home-based worship, reports the Salt Lake Tribune (October 1, 2020). The church cohort that was probably the most disrupted was the 60,000 young people who serve as missionaries around the world, as their practice of door-to-door missions were restricted. Eventually, the missionaries adapted their work to online formats.


The most recent wave of the New Congregations Study (NCS) finds that the trend toward informal and more enthusiastic forms of worship shows no signs of plateauing while the ethnic diversity of American congregations has increased significantly, with the percentage of all-white congregations decreasing.

African Pentecostals adapt healing practices to secular contexts

Pentecostal healing practices in Africa and in the African diaspora are being adapted to different contexts and are becoming more individualized, according to an article in the International Bulletin of Mission Research (online in October, 2020). The study of eight Pentecostal churches and their healing practices was conducted in Kampala, Nairobi, Cape Town, and London in such denominations and networks as Heaven on Earth International Ministries, Revival Church, Pentecostal Universal Church and the Gospel Harvest Church of London.

An anti-cult revival in France after three terrorist attacks?

Two recent attacks, barely a month apart, by Islamic extremists has intensified France’s struggle with political Islam, but it may also be reviving the government’s controversial campaign against “cults,” according to new religious movement specialists.

China tightens grip on Hong Kong, dividing its Christian community

As China gains new influence in Hong Kong, religious groups find themselves divided about the future of and prospects for religious freedom in the former British colony. Amidst protests that have engulfed the city, China introduced a security law in the summer that monitors and punishes “subversive” activity.

Uncertain prospects for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

The arrest of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ezzat, in late August in Cairo has sparked a succession crisis, write the editors of European Eye on Radicalization (October 2, 2020). At the helm of the Islamist movement for the past seven years, after the hard repression by Egyptian authorities that started in 2013, Ezzat was considered as a hardliner and had possibly been living abroad during part of that time (European Eye on Radicalization, August 30, 2020).

Findings & Footnotes

By now, new research on the COVID crisis is making its way into journals and soon into books– just when the reading public and probably many journalists are suffering from “pandemic fatigue.” But for a comparative understanding of how churches in the global South have responded to the crisis, the current issue (26.3) of the journal Studies in World Christianity has brought together several fascinating articles on the subject.