The Rev. John Sims is currently the pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Urbana. As a disaster chaplain for the National Transportation Safety Board, he was on call for the month of September 2001. In that role, Sims traveled to Ground Zero in New York City, and counseled victims' families, first responders and survivors. Sims spoke during the ten year anniversary of the attacks on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in front of the courthouse in Urbana.
Despite the fact that the increase in church attendance immediately after 9/11 quickly waned, the faith outlook of many people was forever changed by what happened that day. Willis Kern reports.
The 9/11 attacks have had particular consequences for America's Muslims. They have been accused of not speaking loudly enough against the attacks, or even harboring new attackers. But two Champaign-Urbana Muslims say they've found strong community support in the face of such charges. Illinois Public Media's Jim Meadows reports.
In rural towns throughout Central Illinois, deciding where to attend worship service today could mean giving up youth activities or choir for a smaller service, or sacrificing a local connection to seek out parishioners of a similar age in a large congregation. As part of the series "Life on Route 150," Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert looks at rural churches, and what some in the region are doing to survive in today's climate.
The U.S. Senate is expected to consider ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans gays from openly serving in the armed services. But there's another issue that many gay rights supporters are pushing. Illinois Public Media's Sean Powers reports on the political deadlock over legislation to extend immigration rights to same-sex binational couples.
As unemployment climbs and economic hard times worsen for many in Champaign County, area churches are finding it difficult to keep up with the need. Shelley Smithson reports as part of a joint project confronting poverty in the area.