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Category Archives: Personal Empowerment

Lessons From Michelle Obama And The 2019 Obama Foundation Summit: Empowering Communities Through Education – Forbes

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 10:30 am

Michelle and Barack Obama at the Obama Foundation Summit 2019 in Chicago, IL.

Chicagos South Side Bronzeville neighborhood, a center of African-American life and culture, hosted the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit at the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019. The Advancing Women in Product (AWIP) team was invited to cover the Summit as press, and from the perspective of a female empowerment and advocacy NGO.

Kira Alvarez, who is the Press Lead for Advancing Women in Product (AWIP), took time from her busy schedule as a researcher at Freie Universitt Berlin to cover the Summit for AWIP. Kira has taught and published throughout the U.S. and Germany, on topics such as diplomacy, history, and the intersection between science, technology, and society.

The South Side of Chicago was a deliberate choice. This region boasts a visionary past that has witnessed Ida B. Wells, President Obama, and Michelle Obama among others working toward social change. The Summit aptly chose the phrase Places Reveal Our Purpose as the conference theme, and touched on a number of pressing societal issues such as racism, poverty, and gender inequality. It showed that the South Side of Chicago is full of hope, love and energy that can inspire other places throughout the world. The critical role that communities and networks can play in supporting and promoting social advancement and opportunity was a powerful message from the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit.

Women leaders including Michelle Obama and Academy award nominee filmmaker Ava Duvernay spoke about their personal and professional journeys. These women showed that ambition and drive alone are not enough in pursuing a successful and fulfilling career. Support networks are key to achieving broader social change, especially for female advancement. This is in line with what researchers like Herminia Ibarra have remarked on the topic, that sponsors (both within and outside an organization) can help to accelerate careers and create opportunities. For Michelle Obama, support came from her family and a strong belief in self, which helped her overcome the prejudice she experienced growing up. For those who are looking to create their own support networks, search within your current social and professional networks optimizing for those that will generate new opportunities.

An example of community engagement from the Obama Foundation is the Girls Opportunity Alliance (GOA), a program that seeks to empower girls and their respective communities through education. AWIP was invited to the intimate GOA roundtable with Michelle Obama, which featured international educators from countries including Cambodia, Guatemala, and Malawi who tirelessly work on the front lines to improve girls lives. According to Michelle, the lack of investment in female education is an international emergency: What a waste. What a waste for society, what a waste for a family. What a waste for that girls soul to be trapped by her fate and not by her ability.

Michelle Obama with leaders from the Girls Opportunity Alliance (GOA)

The Girls Opportunity Alliance (GOA) empowers young girls in three dimensions: By growing an online network of grassroots leaders, by providing financial support for individual projects through GoFundMe, and by encouraging young people throughout the developed world to join the cause of promoting greater educational opportunities for women. GOA sees its work as not limited to a local or national context and therefore requires a transnational approach. Creating an alliance of young womens opportunities is ultimately about human rights. Investment in a network of girls education programs is key not just for the advancement of individual women, but also for the long-term advancement of societies. Being aware of opportunities outside ones immediate surroundings, especially if those surroundings are limited by lack of resources, can be extremely freeing. According to the Gates Foundation 2019 Goalkeepers report, the lack of access to education and jobs is destructive for everyone. It keeps women disempowered, limits their childrens life chances, and slows down economic growth.

The Summit also featured other Chicago leaders who stressed the creation of strong networks and equality in education. Among them, Obama Foundation Scholars, Aime Eubanks Davis and Dominique Jordan Turner, are founders of organizations that promote education and network creation. Ms. Davis, a 2018 Obama Fellow, is the CEO of Braven, an organization that works with universities and businesses to assist low-income, first-generation university students find employment post-graduation. Ms. Turner, a 2019 Obama Fellow, is the CEO of Chicago Scholars, a seven-year mentorship program that assists underprivileged Chicago youth in the college application process and subsequent employment search. Both Braven and Chicago Scholars are exemplary models of how organizations can provide disadvantaged students greater opportunities in the American educational system.

Many of the students that participate in the Chicago Scholars or Braven program have the talent and ambition to succeed, but lack networks to help them create and sustain a career and might otherwise fall through the cracks. The programs therefore closely mentor underprivileged students by leveraging a large network of support including college counselors, potential employers, and alumni. Ms. Davis stressed, referral networks are important in order to achieve career success. Simply having a college degree and talent is no longer fully sufficient for gainful employment in the American workforce that is the important lesson that these students are learning. Having the right skills through education is the first step but is much more effective when combined with a powerful support network.

We find a similar root cause with the lack of women representation in tech leadership and executive ranks: many women already have their foot in the door and are often highly educated but are often encountered with a glass ceiling. Organizations like Advancing Women in Product, Pink Innov, and the Operator Collective serve to stack the cards in the other direction: by creating opportunities where senior women can take a high-potential, rising leader under their wing. In a similar vein, these organizations are also creating communities and networks that encourage women to stay in the workforce and also introduce them to open leadership roles within the company as well as board seats for other companies.

The 2019 Obama Foundation Summit ultimately demonstrated that social change requires not just hard work, but also the creation and sustainment of networks. Girls Opportunity Alliance, Braven, and Chicago Scholars are important models that utilize networks to help women and minorities achieve their goals. Lets bridge the gap by building strong networks for ourselves and take our destiny into our own hands.

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Lessons From Michelle Obama And The 2019 Obama Foundation Summit: Empowering Communities Through Education - Forbes

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‘My Fake Rake’ Turns The Makeover Trope On Its (Well-Coiffed) Head – Public Radio Tulsa

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In literature and pop culture, we often see women getting makeovers to meet standards for beauty and social status (think Cinderella, or Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries). In Eva Leigh's My Fake Rake, however, it's the quiet non-alpha hero who blossoms into a rake and sweeps the heroine off her feet.

Sebastian Holloway is an anthropologist who can recite facts at the drop of a hat, but suffers from social anxiety. He has a secret crush on his scientist friend Lady Grace Wyatt but feels he has nothing to offer a woman of her status. "Your world isn't my world. Never has been," he tells her at one point.

Whether or not that's true isn't the takeaway here, though. From the get-go, Leigh identifies the imbalance of power between Sebastian and Grace tipped in Grace's favor and it's gratifying to read about a heroine in a historical romance who wields some power over the hero.

For one, Grace has wealth and social status. Even when she struggles to get the attention of a fellow scientist, Mason, and recruits Sebastian to make him jealous, it's evident who wears the breeches in this friendship. Step one in turning Sebastian into a polished society rake? Teaming up with his friend the Duke of Rotherby to give him a makeover and etiquette lessons.

Grace convinces Sebastian to see the whole process as an anthropological study on how the upper crust lives. But of course, real feelings start to get in the way, for both of them. It's safe to say that Sebastian is pretty perfect for Grace; they've formed a kinship based on their shared academic fascinations and sense of displacement from London society. As expected in friends-to-lovers and fake relationship plots, they keep their feelings to themselves out of fear of rejection, to the extent that they pretend a steamy kiss was just that pretending. As a result, their romance (or lack thereof) stays on a low simmer throughout the book understandably so, as Grace is still attracted to Mason, at least until her feelings for Sebastian can't be denied anymore.

Now, the makeover romance can be controversial at times; everyone wants to be loved for who they are. But Leigh uses the trope to critique societal pressure and ultimately transforms it into a positive experience for her characters.

Rotherby and Grace's pedagogical approaches to grooming Sebastian speak volumes about how superficial their surroundings can be. "We're trying to impress London Society, and it doesn't care whether or not you feel any sense of personal fulfillment. It merely wants to know if you've got a carriage and a country estate," Rotherby scolds Sebastian when he resists the makeover.

The same quote applies to Grace in many ways, as she's forced to put herself on the marriage mart and meet social standards of femininity in order to be accepted. And still, her illustrious scientific career gets squashed under familial (and societal) pressure to settle down. "A burr of anger flared within her, that a woman could not exist in this world on her own," Grace laments after her father guilt-trips her into finding a suitor, thereby setting her fauxmance with Sebastian in motion. "She would always be subject to a man's munificence, always be less than because she'd been born a female."

While Leigh makes it clear how absurd those drastic plans for the fake relationship and makeover are, she also uses them to bolster Grace and Sebastian's self-confidence. For Grace, the fauxmance-at-first makes her feel wanted and more secure in herself, and for Sebastian, it helps him overcome his anxiety.

They may have started this journey as fish out of water, but by its end, Grace and Sebastian learn to be more amphibious joke intended. My Fake Rake is a feast of female empowerment, positive friendships, feel-good moments, and social satire. And as the first book in a series, it builds a delicious world you'll want to come back to hopefully because the delightful supporting characters will get their own stories next.

Kamrun Nesa is a freelance writer based in New York. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, Bustle, PopSugar, and HelloGiggles.

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'My Fake Rake' Turns The Makeover Trope On Its (Well-Coiffed) Head - Public Radio Tulsa

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Millennial women (and a few men) are rebooting ancient ‘witchcraft’ – Sydney Morning Herald

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‘A hand up rather than a hand out’: Springfield-based Convoy of Hope celebrates 25 years – News-Leader

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Hal Donaldson, founder of Convoy of Hope(Photo: Submitted by Convoy of Hope)

When Convoy of Hope founder Hal Donaldson was 12 years old, his father was hit and killed by an uninsured drunk driver.

"Subsequently, our family was forced to experience the shame of poverty," Donaldson said. "But we also saw firsthand the power of kindness. So many people reached out and helped us make ends meet."

Fast forward to adulthood, Donaldson said he was assigned to write a book for some missionaries in Kolkata, India. While there, his hosts took him to meet Mother Teresa.

"That day, she encouraged me to do 'the next kind thing in front of me,'" Donaldson said via email.

Donaldson said it was his personal experiencewith poverty and Mother Teresa's words that prompted himalong with friends and familyto start handing out groceries to working poor families in California in the early 1990s.

In 2018, Convoy of Hope distributed more than $129 million of product donated by the organization's generous partners. Photo taken at its headquarters in Springfield in 2018.(Photo: Submitted by Convoy of Hope)

And that generous actevolved into Convoy of Hope's Community Events, which still take place across the country today.

Now an international humanitarian-relief organization, Convoy of Hope celebrated its 25-year anniversary this year.

Through the years, Convoy of Hope has distributed over $1 billion infood and supplies to more than 115 million people in need, according to Convoy spokesperson Jeff Nene.

"Over the 25 years, we've engaged a little over 650,000 volunteers,"Nene said. "We've worked with 47,000 different partners, such as churches and organizations."

Convoy's IRS Form 990s also show evidence of that incredible growthin both revenue (contributions) and program expenses.

In 2002, the nonprofit reported $10 million in revenue and $8.9 million in program expenses.

'Fry Day': For Springfield-area family, Black Friday is for friendship and fried food

In 2017, Convoy reported nearly $175 million in revenue and nearly $144 million in program expenses. Administrative expenses were at 2.7 percent.

Charity Navigator has given Convoy of Hope its highest rating (four stars)for 16 consecutive years.

Charity Navigator, a nonprofit itself, is a national service that only evaluates organizations granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that file a Form 990.Thewatchdog organizationlooks at two data sources when evaluating a charity: the IRS Form 990 and the organization's website.

According to its website, Charity Navigator believes that there are two dimensions of a charitys operations that an intelligent giver needs to consider when selecting a charity to support: financial health, and accountability and transparency. The ratings show donors how efficiently a charity will use their support, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time, and their level of commitment to accountability and transparency.

"They (Charity Navigator) kind of set the benchmark for best practices," Nene said. "We look at what they are looking for, how do they define best practices, and we try to shoot for that."

"We want to do it right. We want to do it efficiently. And we want to do it effectively," he said."Transparency is huge. We are transparent as we can be."

Jeff Nene has been the spokesperson for Convoy of Hope since 2002. Prior to that, Nene volunteered with the nonprofit for six years.(Photo: Courtesy of Convoy of Hope)

Nene has been the nationalspokesperson for the organization since 2002.

Prior to that, Nene volunteered with Convoy for six years.

In those early days, Convoy of Hope's ministry was focused on the Community Events, which provide free services and goods to those in need.

"We thought we could help the most people in the shortest amount of time," Nene said, recalling theearly Community Events. "We want to give people a hand up rather than a handout. And that really intrigued me, even back then."

According to Nene, more than 10,000 people were served at that first Community Event in California.

"Looking back, we did so many things wrong logistically. But you learn as you go," he said. "We were really inventing what we do. Nobody else was doing it at the time."

What started as passing out groceries from the back of a pickup truck quickly grew into what are now known as Convoy of Hope Community Events.(Photo: Submitted by Convoy of Hope)

With the Community Events, Convoy of Hope partners with local churches, businesses, community serviceand health organizations to provide guests with groceries, health services, haircuts, family portraits, job services, veteran services, a kids zone, a hot meal, new childrens shoes, and much more. Approximately $1 million worth of goods and services are provided to the 5,000 to 10,000 guests who attend each event.

"They bring together the best a community has to offer," Nene said. "It's not Convoy coming in and doing everything. We come in with a very limited number of people.

"It's locally driven, locally run. We come in and provide the blueprint on how to do it, provide the experience and expertise and instruction. It's a one-day event but internally, you are building relationships between churches and community agencies and people in need."

In 1998, Convoy of Hope responded to its first disaster, the flooding in Del Rio, Texas, after Tropical Storm Charley.

Since then, the nonprofit hasresponded to hurricanes, typhoons, ice storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods in the U.S. and throughout the world.

"Between our international and our domestic disaster response teams, we've responded to over 375 disasters through the years," Nene said. "We've responded to 23 disasters this year alone. That is a record for us."

While Convoy is best known for international disaster relief, the organization started a children's feeding program in 2011 that currently feeds200,000 children in El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Honduras, Haiti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania.

"One of the things that contributes to poverty is lack of education," Nene said. "If we can feed kids in school, we have found that parents will send their kids to school. As long as they get them to school if that is the reason then great. Let's appeal to that reason."

"(If) your kids are getting an education, they are going to be less likely to fall back into poverty," he said. "That meal contributes to their education. We've seen in multiple countries, where parents have to make a choice: They are either going to send their kid to school or they are going to send them out to the street corner to beg or to the dump to scavenge."

The people who run the feeding programs are local, because Convoy of Hopewants to be sensitive to the culture, Nene said.

A farmer from Convoy of Hopes program cannot contain her joy as she prepares to sell her harvest at a local market. Photo taken in Tanzania in 2015.(Photo: Submitted by Convoy of Hope)

"We don't want to try to Americanize them," he said. "But yet we want to try to help them."

While much of thefood is donated to Convoy of Hope, the organization then supplements that by buying food produced in the country. This not only makes the program more sustainable but gives the food a local flair.

According to Nene, trying to create these sustainable food sources for the children's feeding program led to the development of Convoy of Hope's agriculture program.

The agriculture program was piloted in Haitifollowing the 2010 earthquake.

Nene said the idea was,rather than "just throwing food off a truck and leave,"to teach the local farmers better techniques.

Convoy hired Dr. Jason Streubel, who hasa Ph.D. in soil science, to go to Haiti and teach a group of about 30 farmers best practices and better techniques for growing rice.

Convoy then promisedto buy a certain percentage of the rice from the farmers for the children's feeding program. In return, the farmers contributed another 10 percent of their yield to the children's feeding program.

"It was successful. And that 30 (farmers) ended up growing to 300," Nene said. "We have now trained over 24,000 people in agriculture practices. That is continuing to grow. This past year was our biggest year ever. We trained over 6,000 people just this past year in 2018."

The numbers for 2019 are not yet available.

The flatbread known as injera is a staple of life in Ethiopia. Teru, a participant in the Womens Empowerment program, makes and sells this flatbread by the stack. Tanzania, 2016, Womens Empowerment.(Photo: Submitted by Convoy of Hope)

Another program associated withthe children's feeding program is Convoy's women's empowerment program, a job-training initiative for the mothers of thechildren served.

"We work with local churches in those countries because they know the community better than anybody," Nene said. "We identify women that really want to improve their situation."

"The first thing we do is teach them that they are worth something. They are not a piece of property," he said. "Then we take them through basic business principles."

Convoy then helps the women identify needs and business opportunities in their communities and help them put together a business plan.

Convoy gives the women "seed capital" to help start abusiness and follows up with them for that first year.

"It's almost like a mentoring-type program for that next year. And the success rate has been huge," Nene said. "We've had over 18,000 women go through that program."

To learn more about other Convoy of Hope programs orvolunteer opportunities here in Springfield,

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Hundreds of Britain’s Charities Are About to Become Victims of the Epstein Scandal – The National Interest Online

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Patrons are honorary ambassadors who provide support by lending their name.

Royal charitable patronage adds status and provides vital publicity, according to the monarchys website. However, most of the UKs 200,000 charities function without a royal helping hand. While some claim that royal support stimulates wider giving and volunteering, its not possible to capture any specific added value of such connection.

The queen is a patron to more than 600 charities, good causes that have a combined donated income of around 1.5 billion. However, some donors will be unaware of her patronage, and many might be unmoved by her involvement. As research shows, most donors are driven by a personal connection to a cause.

But some evidence that a royal association helps charities stand out in a crowded and competitive sector, is found in the annual Charity Brand Index. Every year the index, which monitors awareness, trust and likelihood of donating, finds a disproportionate number of top charities feature the word royal in their title.

In 2019, three of the top ten enjoyed this mark of favour: the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Royal British Legion, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

This finding is probably the result of demographics. The most enthusiastic charity supporters are from the oldest age group who also display the highest level of enthusiasm for the monarchy. Unless younger generations become more enthusiastic royalists as they age, the royal effect on donations may decline.

Royal events

Further benefits for chosen charities include royal visits with staff, supporters and beneficiaries, as well as the opportunity to hold receptions at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences. They are also able to put a media spotlight on their cause especially important for those that otherwise struggle to attract positive attention. This was most notably seen with Princess Dianas patronage of organisations fighting the stigma of AIDS and the anti-landmine movement.

On the other hand, there are also costs to having charity patrons royal or otherwise. It takes time to manage these relationships that could be spent in other ways, such as directly nurturing high-value donors. Financial and opportunity costs in organising events, such as royal visits, must eventually make a return on that investment in the form of donations.

Annual fundratio studies, which compare the effectiveness of different forms of fundraising, show special events generate less than half the amounts raised through other fundraising channels such as legacies and committed giving. When a celebrity or royal patron falls out of public favour, potential reputational damage becomes an additional cost.

Regardless of the personal enthusiasms for the crown held by charity trustees (the nonprofit equivalent of the board) they are compelled to always act in the best interest of the charity. As such, they must make decisions, like cutting ties with toxic patrons or returning tainted donations.

Avoiding the attraction of a high-ranking royal

Those charities which calculate that royal patronage is an asset worth having, should resist the temptation to replace the Duke of York with the most prominent or high ranked royal they can get. Research shows that the most valuable celebrity patrons are not the most famous. Rather the ones that have a genuine connection with the cause and are therefore able to speak with moral authority on the issues being addressed.

Prince William and Prince Harrys support for causes working on child bereavement, mental health and injured veterans, all make sense in relation to their life experiences. Likewise, the Duchess of Sussex, has a clear long-standing commitment to female empowerment reflected in her first patronages.

Its also worth bearing in mind that the loss of royal patronage may hurt the royals more than those they patronise. As the constitutional role of the monarchy has declined, a historical study argued that the royal family has successfully reinvented itself as fundraisers and cheerleaders for voluntary action. On any given day, the royal diary and the itineraries of overseas tours clearly shows the work of royals is dominated by visits to charitable organisations.

While some members of the firm, such as the Princess Royal, attract praise for being hardworking, her less industrious relatives may need charity more than charity needs them.

Beth Breeze, Director, Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Reuters

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Religion news Nov. 23 – The Republic

Posted: November 24, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Religion News

Services and studies

Dayspring Apostolic Worship begins at 11:15 a.m. at the church, 2127 Doctors Park Drive, Columbus. On Sunday, the church will be inspired by, The Base of Depression, taken from Job 14:1 where, Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

Every visitor will receive a free gift. The Sunday education session starts at 10 a.m. and covers deliverance from Pharoahs army, as shared in Exodus 14:23-31.

Bible Study is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and is a group empowerment study sponsored by Heart Changers International, LLC on depression, stress and grief with handout questions, which help build personal empowerment.

Prayer of Power starts at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and is preceded with requests and instructions on prayer. The Celebrate Recovery session starts at 6:30 p.m. for about an hour.

Ignite is the Youth Growth Session that happens every Third Friday.

For more information please call 812-372-9336, or

East Columbus United Methodist Sunday events begin at 9 a.m. at East Columbus United Methodist Church at 2439 Indiana Ave. in Columbus, with fellowship time in the foyer with beverages and snacks. Worship begins at 9:30 a.m.

Sunday School begins at 10:40 a.m. for all ages and Bible interests.

First United Methodist On Sunday at the 9 a.m. Traditional service and the 11 a.m. Celebration service, Pastor Sarah Campbell will deliver the message, Joyfully Giving Thanks at the church, 618 Eighth St., Columbus.

The scripture will be Colossians 1:11-20. Sunday School for all ages begins at 10:10 a.m. Childcare is available during both services.

Information: 812-372-2851 or

First Presbyterian On Sunday, Reign of Christ Sunday, the children of the church will lead in worship. They will share the message of 2 Kings 22:1-20; 23:1-3 and explore how God calls believers to follow Him. Worship begins at 9:30 a.m. at 512 Seventh St., Columbus.

Infant and toddler care is available 9:15 a.m. to noon. The mens and womens support groups meet on Fridays at 7 a.m. and a second mens support group (working age men) meets every Monday at 6:15 a.m.

People in the community in need of a meal are invited to our Hot Meals offered Friday at 5 p.m. (please enter through the glass doors on Franklin).

The church is LGBTQ-friendly, open and affirming to all.


Flintwood Wesleyan On Sunday, the Amplify (non-traditional) service begins at at 9 a.m. with Sunday School classes at 10 a.m. in the regular rooms. The Well (traditional) service starts at 11 a.m. Both services are in the the main sanctuary and led by the Rev. Wes Jones, senior pastor.

The Prayer Team meets at 8 a.m.

Sunday evenings Celebrate Recovery begins with a meal at 5:25 p.m. in The Friendship Center and the meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the main Sanctuary. The public is invited to attend.

Connections, a ladies study group, led by Pastor Teri Jones, is resuming. The group will meet the second and fourth Mondays at 10 a.m. in the Friendship Center.

In the Beginning, a small group Bible study, meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in The Friendship Center. New members are welcome to join.

Wednesday activities begins with a meal at 5:30 p.m. The program, iKids (Ignite Kids) On Fire For Jesus! starts at 6:15 p.m. This program is for kids in Pre-K through the sixth grade. If your child needs transportation, call the church office. The bus will run on Wednesday nights. The prayer team meets at 6:15 p.m. in the Prayer Room. Youth meets at 6:30 p.m. downstairs in the church. Bible study is at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary.

Thursday: Cub Scout Pack 588 will meet when events are scheduled and Boy Scout Troop 588 will meet at 7 p.m.

Information: 812-379-4287;;

Garden City Church of Christ In the December sermon series, The Christmas Playlist,a young lady, a priest, a host of angels, and an older man will bring listeners to the heart of Christmas.

The church is located at 3245 Jonesville Road, Columbus.

All are welcome to join worship on Sundays at 10 a.m., and for the Christmas Eve candlelight service at 6 p.m. Dec. 24.

The church is led by Lead Minister Brian Gilroy and Family Life Minister Bryan Graves.

Grace Lutheran Pastor John Armstrong will deliver the message on Sunday. Worship is at 8 and 10:30 a.m., with Sunday School for all ages at 9:30 a.m.

Alpha, an introduction to the Bible continues 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday with the topic How Can I Be Sure of My Faith?

Searching Scripture class continues 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the topic The Lords Supper.

Wednesday, Pastor John Armstrong will bring a special Thanksgiving message. Thanksgiving Eve Worship is at 6:30 p.m.

Old Union United Church of Christ Scriptures for the 10 a.m. Sunday service on Reign of Christ Sunday will include Jeremiah 23:1-6; Colossians 1:11-20; and Luke 23:33-43. The message will be Working for Christs Kingdom. It is the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost.

Sunday school will be at 9 a.m. with fellowship at 9:40 a.m.

The church is at 12703 N County Road 50W, Edinburgh.

Information: Visit the Facebook page or call 812-526-9430.

Petersville United Methodist The Rev. Stormy Scherer-Berry will deliver the message Change on Sunday morning at the 9 a.m. worship service at the church, 2781 N. County Road 500E, Petersville.

The liturgist Sandy Williams will share scriptures from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, and the focus for the day will be Everything changes, so look for God in the present.

Teresa Covert will give the childrens sermon, and the choir will provide special music. Coin offerings will be directed to the Bishop Childrens Christmas Fund. Fellowship will follow the service.

The Monday night Bible studies will meet at 6:30 p.m. with Bakers Dozen meeting at the home of Larry and Connie Nolting, and The Journey meeting at the home of Chris Kimerling.

Sit and Stitch will meet Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m., also at the Nolting home.

Prayer Time, led by Barb Hedrick, will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning at the church.

Information: 812-546-4438; 574-780-2379.

St. Paul Lutheran Christ The King Sunday will be celebrated Sunday with Pastor Doug Bauman delivering the message, Crown Him Lord of All based on Luke 23:27-43 at the 8 and 10:45 a.m. services at the church, 6045 E. State St., Columbus.

Christian Education classes for all ages will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Vicar Daniel Fickenscher will lead worship at the 2:30 p.m. Spanish Service with Spanish/English Sunday School following at 3:30 p.m.

A Thanksgiving Eve service with Holy Communion will be held Wednesday at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 7 p.m. with Pastor Bauman delivering the message Bigger Barns, based on Luke 12:13-21.

Information: 812-376-6504.

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus The Rev. Shari Woodbury and Nicole Wiltrout will present the message, For the Earth Forever Turning at the 10 a.m. service on Sunday.

The message will explore various themes of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Information: 812-342-6230.

Westport Christian Church The church will host a Thanksgiving Praise Gathering at 7 p.m. Monday, and will include several participating area churches.

The church is located at 102 W. Mulberery St., Westport.

Information: 812-591-3807.

Westside Community Pastor Dennis Aud will lead the service this Sunday at 10 a.m. at the church at the corner of State Road 46 West and Tipton Lakes Boulevard. The childrens program for birth through sixth grade meets at the same time as the 10 a.m. worship service.

For more info on studies or small groups that meet during the week, call the church office at 812-342-8464.


Community Church of Columbus Celebrate Recovery The Celebrate Recovery program has launched two new womens-only Celebrate Recovery groups.

One group meets at 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays at the new Hub headquarters for the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress at the United Way building, 1531 13th St. The second meets at midnight Fridays at Community Downtown at 522 Seventh St. in downtown Columbus.

Information: 812-348-6257 or

First United Methodist From 9 a.m. to noon today, FUMC will host the annual Cookie Walk in Fellowship Hall. Create your own box of decorated and specialty cookies sold by the pound, and add peanut brittle, fudge, candy, divinity and more, including vegan and allergy-friendly options. All proceeds support local, state and international missions.

On Dec. 7, FUMC will host Santas Workshop, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. All are welcome to a morning filled with crafts and projects that kids of all ages will enjoy.

Information: 812-372-2851 or

South Central Indiana Christian Mens Fellowship The fellowship will host a meeting Dec. 3 at Burnsville Christian Church, 2891 S. County Road 900E, Columbus. A meal will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will consist of ham and beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, slaw, deserts and drinks. A program with Kendall Wildey of East Columbus Christian Church will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The theme will be Seeking Him by Faith from Romans 10:17 and Deuteronomy 4:29. The theme song will be Great is Thy Faithfulness.

All are welcome.

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Religion news Nov. 23 - The Republic

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Before Heading on Tour, Holy Wars Prep for Last LA Show of the Year at the Echo – Billboard

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Some people have described Holy Wars' music as a post-industrial electro-goth synth pop, but I just call itrock 'n' roll.

With searing guitar riffs, tight instrumentation, soaring vocals from Kat Leon that can hold their own against any song on rock radioand deeply personal lyrics that are darklyempowering in their embrace of self-loathing, Holy Wars are hands down one of the best unsigned bands in Los Angeles right now.

Which is why they must leave.

We love our fans but we gotta go on tour, explains Leon as she prepares for the groups final LA show ofthe year Friday night (Nov. 22)at the Echo on LAs east side. In the last year, Holy Wars have released new tracks Welcome to My Hell, Legend and Born Dark and developed their own signature film noir that taps into the darkness behind the bands inspiration:the death of Leons parents in 2015, just months apart.

Holy Wars will soon be releasing one of their most powerful tracks I Hate Myself,an antihero empowerment track that draws out peoples self-loathing as connection between strangers. The themes can be dark, but the music is energetic and exciting and Leon mixes elements of performance art and personal strength in a way that makes for a great live show that more music fans are beginning to hear about.

Since we've been a band, we've gotten fans in the U.K. and across the world now, Leon tells Billboard. And we constantly hear come to Spain or come to Nashville, and we desperately want to see everyone.

The band hasnt settled on a booking agent andis courting a few agencies but waiting for the right person who understands Holy Wars' aesthetic. Earlier this month, Leon was interviewed live at the Billboard Live Music Summit and performed at tgeBillboard afterparty showcase, and after a few soon-to-be-announced dates in New York, theyll also play some major events like NAMM and South by Southwest, hoping to return toLA in the late spring for their first show back.

LA will always be my heart and getting to play venues where Ive seen my favorite bands play is really special to me, Leon says. But the reason why I play live is because I love it so much and because its the best way to connect with my fans. There are fans that I've made such great connections with on social media but that I've never gotten to meet in person, and we know that were the only ones that can make that.

So off they go. But catch Holy Wars once more Friday night at the Echo with Draemings, El Maana and Figs Vision. Tickets can be found here.

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What’s driving homophobia in Uganda – The Conversation Africa

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In recent years homosexuality in Uganda has become an increasingly volatile political and social issue. Last month an LGBTQI activist was murdered in his home and Ugandan police detained 16 men on suspicion of homosexuality and human trafficking.

These events followed rumours that Uganda might be reintroducing an anti-homosexuality bill. An earlier attempt at legislation, introduced in 2009, became known as the Kill the Gays bill because it proposed the death sentence for acts of aggravated homosexuality. It was passed by Ugandas parliament in 2013 but eventually overturned by the constitutional court on a technicality.

As an anthropologist, I wanted to understand what contributed to the rising tensions concerning homosexuality in Uganda and why it endures as a politically divisive issue.

In a paper I wrote in 2013, I examined the local factors that contributed to the political and social ferment over sexuality in Uganda. This adds to growing research on homosexuality in Africa, much of which focuses on understanding homophobia in the local context.

A great deal of publicity has focused on efforts by conservative American religious groups to guide political arguments on homosexuality. But, drawing on long-term fieldwork, I argued that anti-homosexual rhetoric in Uganda is more than a parroting of American homophobia.

Many Ugandans, irrespective of their religious beliefs, oppose homosexuality. They see it as a result of Western influence and against their culture.

This means the key to addressing the rise in homophobia is to change the narrative about homosexuality. The language used to talk about sexuality needs to more accurately reflect local perspectives. And more meaningful connections need to be drawn between the rights of LGBTQI people and Ugandan notions of humanity, dignity, and respect.

Over a period of 15 years, I carried out research on sexuality, AIDS prevention, and religious activism in Uganda. My work focused on churches in Kampala at the centre of the growing political mobilisation of Ugandas born-again Christians.

These Christians interest in homosexuality debates intensified in the wake of the 2009 anti-homosexuality bill, which was publicly supported by several high profile pastors. Today, about 30% of Ugandans identify as born-again and their leaders are prominent in the media and politics.

Like their evangelical counterparts in the US, they view the church as a platform for social protest. This is particularly the case when it comes to sexual conduct.

But I found that while Ugandan anti-homosexuality activism drew support from some US Christians, it was largely driven by local concerns.

The idea of sexual identities is well developed and accepted in the West. But it is not well established in Uganda. Some Ugandan queer activists have tried to advance locally meaningful terms such as kuchu to speak about same-sex attraction. For most Ugandans, though, sexual identity as something distinct from a sexual act or desire remains a foreign concept.

In Uganda sexuality is shaped by family and kinship relationships. This tightly binds sexuality to reproduction and gender identity. This is not to say that sex is understood to be only for procreation. But while sexual acts may vary widely, sexual identity generally does not.

Many Ugandans also associate homosexuality with sexual freedom, choice, and individualism. This chafes against a cultural perspective that emphasises the social, political, and moral importance of hierarchical family relationships.

For instance in Buganda, the largest of the traditional kingdoms in Uganda, traditional ideals are expressed by the term ekitiibwa, or respectability. This emphasises a persons place in a hierarchical social system. For women, honour is historically marked by marriages arranged through bride wealth and having children.

This is still the case today. Like most countries, relationships and households have changed over time in Uganda for instance unmarried couples live together. But formal marriage and parenthood still signal moral and social status. Homosexuality is posed as a threat to these norms.

Ugandan activists and government sponsors of the bill drew on these concerns. Street demonstrations have come out in support of the African family. Bumper sticker slogans on boda boda motorcycle taxis read: Say No 2 Sodomy, Say Yes 2 Family.

This public vilification of homosexuality is relatively recent in Uganda. Same-sex acts were not always viewed as disruptive to social norms or a threat to marriage and sexual reproduction.

One anti-homosexual activist pastor told me that it was not the existence of homosexual sex that he found disturbing. It had always been there, he admitted. What he objected to was the new public presence, and assertion, that this sexual identity was equal to all others.

The pastors claims point to how anti-homosexual activists have been successful in directing criticisms outwards, to a global realm that is seen as having an outsized role in shaping Ugandan social life. These arguments position international projects, that promote equality and personal empowerment, as threats to local moral values.

Anti-gay activists have also benefited from Ugandans ambivalent attitudes about human rights discourse. While Ugandan human rights activists have had successes, particularly in the womens movement, their language is not universally embraced.

There is a persistent perception that human rights organisations, dependent on donor aid, represent the selective concerns of Western governments rather than local interests.

This was reflected in the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which had a clause that targeted organisations promoting homosexuality. Foreign NGOs are often framed as potential drivers of homosexuality.

These conditions pose challenges when it comes to advocating for the equality and rights of the Ugandan LGBTQI community. Communities must feel ownership of arguments for sexual equality.

Rights-based claims need to be placed into a meaningful social and moral context. For instance, they would have to draw on a sense of shared humanity with sexual minorities.

An emphasis on the human costs of discrimination, and the moral obligation to fellow community members, may have more power than a straightforward rights-based argument.

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Rosilice Ochoa Bogh concerned hope is lost in the American Dream – Banning Record Gazette

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Last Saturday, Yucaipa resident Rosilice Ochoa Bogh held a meet and greet at Fascination Ranch in Calimesa.

Bogh is a Republican running for the California State Senate in the 23rd District.

Approximately two dozen people attended the event at the ranch, owned by Bill and Jackie Davis.

Bogh provided the audience with a little background of her family.

Her grandfather was a worker in the Bracero Program, in the 1960s.

Bogh is first generation, Mexican American, born in the United States.

Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh is a Republican who is running for the California State Senate, in the 23rd District. Her platform is empowerment and pursuit of the American Dream.

During the meet and greet, Bogh covered the lack of housing, the cost of housing, which affects education, behavioral health, public safety and the effects of taxes on businesses.

People in California are struggling, Bogh said.

The issues are interrelated.

Were broken, she said.

We need a new voice.

We need a new face.

I believe in the empowerment of people and the pursuit of economic freedom, she said. I want people to thrive.

As she spoke, her concerns seemed to have resonated with those in attendance.

I love this country, said Rey Santos, Mayor pro-tem, of Beaumont.

We are immigrants that came here in 1976. We are first generation Filipinos. I believe that you have to work hard and adapt to the American way, Rey Santos said.

Santos shared how he has traveled to Socialists country, like Spain.

When I come home, to the United States, we are literally kissing the ground. I am so glad to be home. We love America being an American.

Another guest commented, Without capitalism, this country would not be what it is today.

Another attendee, Jackie Davis, shared her thoughts about todays youth.

She was concerned that children have not been taught the necessary social and personal skills to navigate a job, and she expressed frustration with young employees that she has had.

They want to know when lunch is, Davis said.

They want to know how much personal time off they get.

They come in not wanting to work.

Several other guests expressed the same sentiment about youth.

Davis said that children do not have to go to college to get an education.

They (the education system) has taken out home economics, auto shop and wood shop, Davis said.

They have taken out so many things that used to teach kids how to get out in the world and do things.

Davis emphasized the need to for the youth to learn skills that will help them support themselves.

Bogh agreed and understood the importance of engaging the youth, particularly those in high school.

Having an opportunity to talk to our youth and arranging a meet and greet, with the just the youth, and hearing their concerns would be very empowering, she said.

And, I think, letting them know that how valuable their voice is, is imperative.

Another issue that came to the fore was the Second Amendment.

Near the end of her presentation, Ochoa Bogh thanked everyone for attending.

She also encouraged them to vote for her.

We believe in the empowerment of the individual, Bogh said.

We believe in economic freedom. We believe in personal freedom. Thats the dream. Thats why people are coming here (to America).

Bogh is concerned that people are losing hope in the American dream.

Bogh said, My hope, this evening, is that, if you are a moderate, an independent or a Democrat, I would hope that you would allow me to represent your voice in California, because I will be advocating for families. I will be advocating for seniors, who are struggling to make ends meet.

To learn more about the candidate, go to

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Nathan Sports SafeRun Ripcord Siren Named To Time’s List Of The 100 Best Inventions Of 2019 – SGB Media

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Fountain Valley, CA, November 25, 2019 This week, TIME reveals its annual list of the 100 Best Inventions that are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun. Nathan Sports is thrilled to announce that their new SaferRun Ripcord Siren debuted in this list.

We are honored to be recognized by TIME, among leaders in their fields who are thinking differently, says Nicole OKeefe, Director of Brand Strategy. At Nathan, we value the strength of our community and, in listening to our fellow female runners, we wanted to create something that would help runners feel confident, safe and in control. We are proud to provide a proactive, harmless solution, coming from a place of empowerment instead of fear.

Nathans invention is here to change the run safety story. If you sometimes feel nervous while running by yourself outdoors, youre not alone. The SaferRun Ripcord Siren Personal Alarm, coming to market in February 2020, was built to help you exercise with a greater sense of security. When you pull a tab, the thumb-size alarm emits a 120 dB soundas loud as an ambulance siren. Created by a female-led design team, the device is lightweight, easily fits in a small pocket and costs $19.99.

To assemble the 2019 TIME Best Inventions list, TIME solicited nominations across a variety of categories from editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. Each contender was then evaluated on key factors, including originality, effectiveness, ambition and influence. The result: 100 groundbreaking inventions that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about whats possible.

For more information on the SaferRun Ricord Siren Personal Alarm, contact National Sales Director Chris Miller at cmiller@unitedspb.comor here

See the full TIME 100 list here

See the international cover of TIME featuring the 100 Best Inventions of 2019 here

The December 2 / December 9 double issue of TIME featuring the SaferRun Ripcord Siren Personal Alarm went on sale Friday, November 22, 2019.

About Nathan Sports: NATHAN designs purpose-driven running essentials that help athletes at all levels run stronger and run longer. At NATHAN, we believe that if you run, then you are a runner. No matter where or why, how far or fast, NATHAN creates the market-leading hydration, visibility, and performance essentials that empower runners to go out and have their best run. NATHAN is part of the United Sports Brands portfolio of sports performance and protective product brands including Shock Doctor, McDavid, Cutters, and, XO Athletic, which are owned by Bregal Partners, a private equity investment firm. For more information, visit NATHAN at or United Sports Brands

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Nathan Sports SafeRun Ripcord Siren Named To Time's List Of The 100 Best Inventions Of 2019 - SGB Media

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