By Melissa Wuske
Community Repairs Racist Vandalism
While Marvin Phillips and his family were away on a camping trip, vandals spray painted their home and car with “KKK” and racial slurs. The Phillipses are one of the few African-American families in their community. But their community responded in love, particularly for the Phillips kids, ages 9 and 10. The local youth football and cheerleading league called for help online so that the kids wouldn’t have to see the hateful comments when they returned home from vacation. Then 50 people came out to scrub the car and repaint the house. “How can you not feel that love?” said Marvin Phillips.
What Americans Look for in a New Church
A study by Pew Research Center examined how people go about choosing a new church and what they’re looking for in a new place to worship. The leading characteristic people looked for was quality preaching (selected by 83 percent of respondents), followed by feeling welcomed by leaders (79 percent), style of services (74 percent), and location (70 percent).
To evaluate the church, 85 percent of those surveyed attended services at a congregation they were considering, and personal conversations with members of the church and colleagues and friends influenced nearly 70 percent of respondents. Only 37 percent looked at online information about a church they’re considering.
About 70 percent of those surveyed said finding a new congregation was easy, but 27 percent said it was difficult. About half of those switching churches considered switching denominations or religions during the process, but about half limited their search to the denomination they were already affiliated with. Of the 51 percent who said they now attend church regularly, more than half of that group (27 percent of all respondents) now attend church more often than they did in the past.
Expanding Family Leave Policy
As a result of the changing needs of America’s workforce, and to better attract and retain the best employees, professional services company Deloitte has revamped its family leave policy. Now the company offers its workers a full 16 weeks of paid time off to care for family. And the leave isn’t limited to maternity or even paternity leave. Employees caring for elder relatives and sick family members are also eligible.
“By adding support for eldercare, spousal care, and children beyond the birth stage, Deloitte’s family leave program provides our people with the time they need to focus on their families in important times of need,” said Cathy Engelbert, Deloitte’s Chief Executive Officer.
This move aligns with the reality for many American families: 34 million Americans care for family, and 17 percent of adults provide unpaid care to another adult. Without leave policies, many have to quit work to care for aging parents or chronically ill spouses.
Recently Nike also expanded its leave policy, offering eight weeks for people caring for a sick relative.
Possible Cure for Blindness
Researchers at the Centre for Eye Research and the University of Melbourne in Australia have had success using cornea cells grown in a lab to cure blindness in animals. The potential treatment is about to begin human testing. Corneas are critical to maintaining eyesight, but they suffer natural deterioration that can lead to blindness.
“We believe that our new treatment is better than a donated cornea, and we eventually hope to use the patient’s own cells, reducing the risk of rejection,” said Berkay Ozcelik, one of the scientists.
“This way of using patients’ own cells, amplifying them outside the body and replacing them, is a very exciting new area,” Ozcelik continued. “These materials show minimal inflammation, cause no adverse issues at all, and can cause regeneration of tissue.”
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).