By Melissa Wuske
Presidential Candidate Photos
New Hampshire teen sisters Addy and Emma Nozell have a bold goal: to take selfies with every 2016 presidential hopeful. Plus they’ve vowed to do it without selfie sticks.
Their New Hampshire residence, with its coveted primary, gives them a prime vantage point. “Since our parents bring us to all these events, we thought it was pretty do-able,” said Addy. “We were always in the parades. We were always making signs. We were always helping them with whatever was needed.”
“It started off just for fun, but now it has become very educational,” Emma said. The girls are learning about the candidates as they go, though only Addy will be old enough to vote in the 2016 presidential election.
Nonreligious People Open to Many Denominations
A growing number of Americans are nonreligious, but “just because someone has no religious preference does not mean they have closed the door to the Christian church or a denomination as being something that can meet needs in their lives,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research.
A recent LifeWay study asked those with no religious affiliations (sometimes called “nones”) their response to various Christian denominations. The majority of respondents gave more favorable than unfavorable impressions. The least favorable response was to Pentecostal churches, with 45 percent saying “it’s not for me.” Baptist and nondenominational churches garnered the most favorable responses: only 36 percent said “it’s not for me” to Baptist churches and 37 percent for nondenominational churches.
Man Builds Church from Trees
Nature helps many people feel closer to God. Now there’s a church building for them: Barry Cox of New Zealand spent four years constructing a church out of living trees. A lifelong lover of trees, Cox said, “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.”
The Tree Church is now open to visitors and is a popular wedding venue. But that’s not what Cox finds most fulfilling. “I like that the gardener visitors enjoy and appreciate my Tree Church,” he said. “I find that gardeners and those passionate about trees are generous people who simply want to share and enjoy with like-minded others. Visitors have said that they find the Tree Church relaxing and that their worries disappear. I find that sort of feedback immensely rewarding.”
Black & Hispanic Children More Likely to Face Poverty
Poverty rates in the U.S. have declined slightly in recent years, but poverty still disproportionately affects certain groups—perhaps now more than ever. While poverty rates lessened for Asian (10.1%), white (10.7%), and Hispanic (30.4%) children, according to Pew Research, the rate is relatively constant for black (38.4%) children. The group with the highest total number of children who live in poverty is Hispanic (5.4 million).
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).