Local/National Faith Briefs

Magic show is May 3 at Cornerstone

The public is invited to join the students and families of Cornerstone United Methodist Church for a special night of magic on Wednesday, May 3. A pizza dinner will be served beginning at 5:15 p.m., and Jett Skrien will dazzle everyone with his magic tricks at 6 p.m. Skrien is a professional magician who specializes in both close up and stage magic for all ages. He also will have items available for purchase.

A free will offering will be taken for the meal; the magic show is free and open to the public. Cornerstone United Methodist Church is located at 202 N. 4th St. in Marshall.

Upstate NY Baptist church eyed for conversion into brew pub

TROY, N.Y. (AP) — A Baptist church in upstate New York has closed, but it may soon have a new purpose as a brew pub.

The Times-Union of Albany reported that the longtime Baptist church in Troy went up for sale and was recently removed from the active sales list. Collar City Brewing submitted the proposal to put a brew pub in the 12,000-square foot Mount Ida Community Baptist Church building, located on one of Troy’s busiest streets.

The move would require a variance with the city zoning board because the proposed restaurant would need parking for at least 100 vehicles.

A city councilor, Lynn Koepka, said that she’s excited for new business, but hopes all needed zoning issues are resolved quickly.

Last sections of beloved 600-year-old tree removed at church

BERNARDS, N.J. (AP) — The final sections of a 600-year-old white oak tree that’s believed to be among the oldest in the nation were taken down Wednesday at a New Jersey church.

Roughly 50 people were on hand at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards as the work was completed, and many of them clapped and cheered as the tree’s large stump was pulled out and the church’s bells rang. It was later chained down on a large flatbed truck, which was taking it to an undisclosed location.

The removal process had started Monday, but no work was performed Tuesday due to heavy rain and winds. The crews returned to work around dawn Wednesday and worked throughout the day to complete the job.

The tree has been an important part of the bedroom community, located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of New York, since the town’s inception in the 1700s. Officials say Gen. George Washington held a picnic near the tree with Marquis de Lafayette, and the Rev. George Whitefield, a noted evangelist, preached to more than 3,000 people beneath it in 1740.

The tree was declared dead after it began showing rot and weakness during the last couple of years.

Arborists say the tree stood for nearly 300 years before the church was built in 1717. It stood about 100 feet tall, had a trunk circumference of 18 feet and a branch spread of roughly 150 feet. Its death was likely due to its age.

But there is a silver lining for tree fans: Another white oak cultivated from the old tree’s acorns was recently planted at the church, so its legacy will continue at the church.

Candle blamed for fire at Ogden church

OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Investigators have determined that a candle started a fire at a Catholic church in Ogden that caused $10,000 in damage.

The Standard-Examiner reported Tuesday that the Ogden Fire Department says the candle was burning inside the church Monday when it started the blaze. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.

The church had been evacuated and crews were able to extinguish the flames in less than a half hour.

The department says the first floor of the building sustained most of the damage.

No one was injured in the incident.

Philly archbishop opens sainthood quest for paralyzed priest

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has formally begun the process to try to make the Catholic Church’s first quadriplegic priest a saint.

The Rev. William Atkinson died in 2006 and the Vatican approved opening the case for his beatification last year.

On Monday, the archbishop formally started the process by celebrating the formal rite that begins the church’s process of determining whether Atkinson will be declared a saint.

Atkinson graduated from Msgr. Bonner High School in suburban Delaware County then was paralyzed in a toboggan accident while studying to be a priest. He became an Augustinian priest and spent 30 years teaching theology and serving as assistant chaplain at the high school.

The Rev. Joseph Ryan, an assistant professor of history at Villanova University, and others will serve on the tribunal that will investigate Atkinson’s life.