In today’s News:
‘Chapel Talks for LCMS Schools’ is released
LCMS School Ministry has released this year’s “Chapel Talks for Lutheran Schools,” an annual resource provided for Lutheran schools to use as an outline for weekly school chapel. Under the theme “Sent To Serve,” the 2020–21 “Chapel Talks” contains 43 devotions — one for each week of the school year — plus services for the beginning and ending of the school year and for Christmas. Each week’s devotion uses a Scripture reading corresponding to the three-year lectionary to explore the theme of service — both Christ’s service to the world and Christians’ service to others. Lutheran school workers are encouraged to provide “side dishes” to go along with the devotions. The devotions may also be adapted for different age groups and local contexts. Hymn selections from both Lutheran Service Book and All God’s People Sing are provided for each week.
Illinois is tracking church goers
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on the case of the two Illinois Romanian churches included a statement about “contact tracing” to determine “how dangerous religious services are” compared to other “similar activities.” The court stated: “perhaps with more time — and more data from contact tracing —Illinois could figure out just how dangerous religious services are compared with warehouses and similar activities”. Gov. J.B. Pritzker previously announced the launch of Illinois’ statewide contact tracing program, Illinois contact tracing collaborative, a “locally-driven approach to scale up contact tracing in Illinois” for covid-19 cases as part of his restore Illinois program. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the contact tracing program consists of tracers interviewing people who have newly tested positive about whom they had significant contact with in the past 48 hours. Those people, often family, friends or coworkers, are then contacted and encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing for 14 days or get tested. Pritzker called contact tracing “arguably our most sustainable tool” in further slowing new covid-19 cases and lifting social and economic restrictions.
Tennessee passes a ‘heartbeat bill’
Tennessee lawmakers passed one of the tightest abortion restrictions in the country on Friday, banning the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected at around six weeks, which is often before a woman realizes she is pregnant. The “heartbeat” bill follows a wave of similar strict pro-life measures passed by Republican-majority legislatures in an effort to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case granting a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. In the last two years, federal judges have struck down “fetal heartbeat” laws banning abortion after six weeks in several states on the grounds that they were unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood filed a joint lawsuit in federal court on Friday challenging the bill.