Category Archives: Sports

BRIEF: UNCW Athletics hosting “Call to Coaches” against domestic violence and sexual assault

The Call to Coaches flier, courtesy of UNCW.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington‘s Department of Athletics and Wilmington’s Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Inc. are teaming up to bring international speaker Tony Porter and his “Call to Coaches” to town at 5 p.m. Sunday (April 15) in Trask Coliseum on campus. The event is free.

Verizon Wireless‘ Hopeline is sponsoring the event which raises awareness about the way men view women, the causes of sexual assault and dating violence and how coaches can get involved to stop it. No one under 17 years old will be admitted.

The program invites all coaches throughout Southeastern North Carolina from church and faith-based leagues, community and recreational teams, after school programs, middle and high school teams, as well as community college and university teams.

Porter currently works with the NFL, the NBA, colleges and universities around the country, the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He challenges men to reevaluate their presumptions about women and their roles in relationships.

Details: 910-343-9969, extension 22.

– Amanda Greene

Saints compete for top ranking in ‘Lent Madness’

Fr. Tim Schenck, creator of Lent Madness, models the new collector item mug with the Lent Madness 2012 website in the background. RNS photo courtesy Tim Schenck.

c. 2012 Religion News Service
Reprinted with permission

(RNS) As college basketball fans prepare for March Madness, a holier tournament already has Christians rooting and cheering this Lenten season.

For three years running, “Lent Madness” has taken to the Internet as a competition between Episcopal saints in a single-elimination bracket tournament resembling the one followed by March Madness fans.

This Lenten devotional, first created by the Rev. Tim Schenck on his blog, “Clergy Family Confidential,” allows readers to learn about and vote for the saints presented daily on the website, with the winning saints moving closer to the coveted prize of the Golden Halo.

“I was looking for a fun way to embrace the Lenten season,” said Schenck, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hingham, Mass.

“Lent doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom,” said Schenck. His goal, he says, is to help people “connect with the risen Christ during this season” and to “have a bit of fun in the process.”

Combining his love of sports and passion for the saints, the Lent Madness competition includes 32 holy men and women from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints. The saints move through the Round of the Saintly Sixteen, the Elate Eight and the Final Four. After the championship, the winning saint is crowned with the Golden Halo on the Wednesday before Easter.

In the first round, saints are introduced in mini-biographies of their lives and works, elaborated on in succeeding rounds with saintly kitsch and trivia.

Episcopal saints are defined by Schenck as “people who are heroes in the church. … They are not perfect but they are faithful.” Catholic saints, in contrast, are formally canonized.

“When we think about saints, we tend to immobilize and immortalize them in paintings,” said Schenck. “We forget they are human beings; that’s what we reveal in Lent Madness.”

The saints selected are a diverse group of biblical, ancient and modern men and women.

Lent Madness 2012 was improved technologically with its own website and a better voting system thanks to Schenk’s friend, the Rev. Scott Gunn.

In the first year of Lent Madness, Gunn led the rally for 17th-century priest and poet George Herbert to be the first winner of the Golden Halo. In 2011, he was invited to be an “active campaigner” for Final Four contestants.

Like Schenck, he sees no reason why Lent can’t be fun.

“One of the main things that’s wrong with Christianity is that we take ourselves far too seriously and we don’t take Jesus seriously enough,” said Gunn.

This year, the two friends linked Lent Madness with Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church most known for its daily devotional “Forward Day by Day.” Gunn, the executive director, said they saw the partnership as a chance for both Lent Madness and Forward Movement to increase their visibility, through Facebook and the website.

So far this year, Lent Madness has had more than 10,000 page views and more than 2,000 voters a day, up from the 100 or so voters back in 2010.

“It has just exploded this year,” said Schenck.

In 2011, four “celebrity bloggers” were recruited to advocate for saints who made it to the Final Four. Eight bloggers were invited for this year’s tournament, and they do almost all of the writing and research for Lent Madness.

“I’m very impressed with what people are saying and writing,” said the Rev. Penny Nash, associate rector at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, Va., and a celebrity blogger for the tournament.

“They are asking how the saints have something to do with them today and are really taking it to heart.”

Schenck and Gunn are looking forward to an ever-expanding Lent Madness community and have already begun discussing how things can be improved for next year.

“Lent Madness,” said Schenck, “is here to stay.”

Carolina Beach business’ sign hails Tebow’s Christian example

Ronnie and Debbie Oldham stand in front of their sign supporting Tim Tebow's Christian message at their motel in Carolina Beach. Photo by Amanda Greene

Religion News Wilmington

Ronnie Oldham is very clear when you first ask him about the Denver Broncos’ born-again quarterback Tim Tebow.

Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow has been one of the most outspoken Christian athletes to take the field, and will appear in an anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl. Transmitted Feb. 3, 2010. RNS photo by Chip English/The Press-Register in Mobile, Ala.

“Now, I’m a (Dallas) Cowboys fan, but I’ve been watching him since he played in Florida,” the Carolina Beach, N.C., business owner said. Oldham likes Tebow’s spirit and his unflappable willingness to speak about his faith on the football field.

That’s why this week, Oldham and his wife Debbie, made their Tebow admiration public placing this message on their letter sign outside Dry Dock Family Motel on Lake Park Boulevard in Carolina Beach: “God Promotes the Faithful. Go Tebow.”

“It’s just real inspiring to us, as Christians, how he uses his platforms to talk about his Christianity,” Debbie Oldham said. “It’s not about the team we’re pulling for. It’s a much bigger issue than that.”

The Oldhams think of their business sign as a ministry to residents and visitors driving by. During the week, as sayings come to them, the Oldhams jot them down and stick them to their hotel desk for future signs.

Messages around Christmas reminded the public to keep Christ in the holiday. One of their notes at the desk said: “Jesus is here to help you, not judge you.” While another note said: “Love is giving up the right to be right.”

As to whether or not God is actually helping Tebow win football games, the Oldhams think it’s more about the fearless example the athlete is setting for Christians.

“You might ask, as many things as God can help do, why would he want to help Tebow win a ball game?,” Ronnie Oldham added. “We don’t want it to become, well if the Broncos didn’t win, then God didn’t favor him.”

The Oldhams just hope their sign provides encouragement. But just to be sure no one questions his team loyalty, Ronnie Oldham insisted on wearing his Dallas Cowboys jacket for a photo with the sign.

What to expect in 2012 from Religion News Wilmington

Dear readers,

Thank you for reading Religion News Wilmington in 2011!

In 2011 we gave you:

  • Non-sectarian news of faith issues through the winter holiday seasons
  • 15 community contributors on many areas of faith including Catholicism, Judaism, evangelical Christianity, Humanism, world faiths and more

But hold on to your seats, folks, because 2012 is going to bring amazing things to this venture.

In 2012, get ready for:

  • A spiffy new magazine-slick site launching in the spring (our national template from Religion News LLC) with daily quotes, featured stories and bloggers, a community religion calendar, community church/faith organization listings, opportunities to advertise, fund-raising events and so much more!
  • At least 30 community contributors writing about the faith issues and intersections of public life and religion today
  • More media partnerships in radio, online and more
  • More local faith news (I hope to get to write much more frequently as the new site launches.)
  • A community speakers bureau. Need an interesting speaker about the faith news of today for your next community organization meeting? Call on Religion News Wilmington.
  • More multimedia slideshows and locally-produced videos of faith events and views in the Wilmington area

So please keep reading and *Like* us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @iwritereligion.


Amanda Greene, Editor

Belief Bytes for Dec. 23 – Friday’s Religion Roundup

Today’s Religion Roundup comes courtesy of Religion News Service‘s editor-in-chief Kevin Eckstrom.

Read a snippet here:

“Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George – never a man afraid to say exactly what he’s thinking – says “gay liberation” forces are now as big a threat to the Catholic Church as the KKK once was.

And the other guy who isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind – Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow – is one of the top religion authors of 2011.

A court-brokered settlement will allow 12 nurses at a New Jersey teaching hospital to avoid participating in abortions for religious or moral reasons.

Two verdicts in cases we’ve been following: A former church janitor was convicted in New Jersey of stabbing a Catholic priest to death; and a white man who torched a black church on the night of President Obama’s election was sentenced to 14 years in Massachusetts.

Catholics aren’t the only ones who oppose new rules that require insurance coverage for contraception: so do evangelicals.

Southern Baptist gadfly Wiley Drake and his birther friends lost a court bid to make POTUS prove he is a naturally born citizen.”

Read the rest of the post here.