As religious attendance in Michigan decreases, churches close

CLOSINGS: Places of worship are closing as the proportion of Americans who formally belong drops. Factors include rising costs of maintenance and increased mobility that makes it easier for worshippers to pick and choose congregations. We talk to a St. Joseph pastor from the Southwestern Baptist Association and the Michigan Conference United Church of Christ. For faith and news sections. By Sheldon Krause, FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.

Faith leaders react to new ‘Unholy’ movie

UNHOLY: The content and timing of a new film released on Good Friday is upsetting some people of faith in Michigan. The trailer for “Unholy” shows at statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding from her eyes, the main character of the movie performing a miracle by healing a parapalegic and a crucifix burning on the altar of a Roman Catholic church. The director says the film is respectful of religion. Two Catholic priests from East Lansing and the director of MSU’s Muslim Studies Program comment. For news and religion/faith sections. By Elaine Mallon. FOR ALL POINTS.

Observing Ramadan in prisons challenging, former inmates say

PRISON RAMADAN: Some Muslim prisoners find it difficult to observe the daytime fasting requirement of the holy month of Ramadan, which starts April 13. Two ex-inmates describe their experience. We also hear from the Corrections Department, the directors of MSU’s Muslim Studies Program and Civil Rights Clinic. By Brandon Chew. FOR COLDWATER, BLISSFIELD, MARQUETTE, IONIA, GREENVILLE, SAUL STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, DETROIT, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Grandville pastor uses video sermons, email Bible studies to keep congregation together

Courtesy of Grandville United Methodist ChurchGrandville United Methodist Church in Grandville, Michigan. If Christian churches can be boiled down to one steadfast purpose, it’s keeping the faith and spreading the word of God. When the COVID-19 pandemic halted the world and life as we know it, keeping the faith became more difficult, as thousands died from the virus, and spreading the word simply became harder to do without face-to-face interaction. But one pastor, in a small church, in a small town in Michigan, wouldn’t take no for an answer in either facet. 

“This is something that most people of any age have not faced in their lifetime,” said Rev. Ryan Wieland of Grandville United Methodist Church. “People are stressed and overwhelmed.