Only 39% of Christians expect to attend in-person services April 4
Pew Research reports that while church life is slowly getting back to normal, only 39% of U.S. Christians plan to go to church in person on April 4. That share is less than the 62% Pew says normally attend services on Easter. Still, researchers said, churchgoers’ confidence that they can attend in-person services safely without catching or spreading COVID-19 is up since July 2020, as is the number of people attending services.
Churchgoers proud of COVID response
New numbers from Lifeway Research show a large majority of churchgoers have a favorable opinion of their church’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those surveyed, 86% said they’re proud of their church’s response, while only 12% said they are ashamed. Churchgoers also weighed in on how their churches worshiped during pandemic-related shutdowns, including livestreamed services (85%), outdoor worship (39%), and drive-in services (30%).
Phillips sued for refusing to make gender transition cake
Colorado baker Jack Phillips was back in court in March as the defendant in a lawsuit claiming he violated state law by refusing to make a cake celebrating a gender transition. Phillips previously won a similar case before the U.S. Supreme Court, who decided in a 7-2 decision that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did not show religious neutrality toward Phillips under the state’s anti-discrimination statute.
The more recent lawsuit was filed by Autumn Scardina, who attempted to order a cake from Phillips celebrating a gender transition on the same day in 2017 that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the baker’s case.
Report finds no evidence of abuse cover up by Summit’s Loritts
The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham announced March 26 there is no evidence that staff member Bryan Loritts discouraged anyone from reporting sexual abuse when he was pastor at a Memphis church. Summit, pastored by Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, ordered an independent review of its initial investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct focused on Loritts’ then-brother-in-law, Rick Trotter, in 2010 while both were employed at Fellowship Memphis Church.
The Summit said the independent review solidified its support for Loritts: “We trust Bryan, believe he is qualified for ministry, and have the confidence in him to lead at the highest levels.”
Americans bought more Bibles but read them less in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic saw increases in Bible sales, but the number of people engaging with God’s word dropped due to “significant pressure” of the public health crisis, reported the American Bible Society. In January 2020, 27.8% of adults were engaged with Scripture—the highest number since 2011. But by June, engagement fell to 22.6%, representing a drop of 13.1 million people consistently interacting with Scripture.
Sources: Pew Forum, Lifeway Research, Christian Post, Baptist Press