Category Archive : America

Where to find faith in Atlantic City?

Atlantic City is a very popular resort city, mainly because of casinos, boardwalks and beaches (if you’re not interested in going to an actual casino but would rather bet on different games online, you can check out the parimatch bonus code). It is one of the first cities in the US to legalize casino gambling. However, not many people know that this city also has amazing and beautiful churches for you to visit.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church

This church is a place of historical great value. St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church was built in 1905 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. It has a big pipe organ, which is also one of the busiest in the country. The pipe organ is played during all masses, at choir rehearsals, at concerts, funerals, and weddings. This is one of the churches in the Parish of Saint Monica.

Our Lady Star of the Sea Church

Another church that also belongs to the Parish of Saint Monica is Our Lady Star of the Sea Church. An interesting thing about this church is that it also has a school as a part of it. This is the only Catholic school on Absecon Island. Our Lady Star of the Sea Church does everything possible for the school to survive and grow, but the enrollment has steadily declined in the past years. They say that few families can afford the tuition and that you could help them by joining the Parish.

Margate Community Church

This church was founded in 1929 and has been very active ever since. It also accepts people from different denominations, counting over 300 people with over 11 different denominations. They say that it doesn’t matter what religion you belong to because we are all bound to each other and share our love for God. Margate Community Church has a nursery school that is quite popular. Its students learn how to live and interact with others, and develop self-esteem, their minds and their bodies.

Central United Methodist Church

Central United Methodist Church is the mainline protestant denomination and a major part of Methodism. They emphasize the following things: Primacy of Grace, Free Will, Social Consciousness, and Two Sacraments – Baptism and Holy Communion. There is also a Sunday school for children, youth and adults. A unique thing about this church is that it has a restaurant called the Missions Restaurant that opens 3 or 4 times a year and the profits gathered on these occasions are used to support the projects of the church. It is said that meals there taste amazing.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church 

This church worships the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Every Sunday they commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A great thing about this church is that they organize a Greek food festival during the summer where you can try some Greek specialties and enjoy traditional Greek music and dancing.

St. Andrew by the Sea Lutheran Church

St. Andrew by the Sea Lutheran Church is for the entire community even if they don’t have proud Lutheran roots. They organize some very unique activities. There is a Summer Beach Service every Sunday from 7:30 am and you need to bring only your beach chairs and coffee and enjoy this unique church service. There is also a Food Pantry when they serve food for unemployed, homeless, and poor people. 

A hidden illegal game room discovered under a church in Texas

In November 2018, an accidental fire in Harris County, Texas, disclosed a shocking fact that there was an underground illegal game room operating under a church. Not surprisingly, this discovery drew a lot of attention of the public and the police and everyone who likes to play the game.

Initial police statements

Immediately after the news had reached the public, local television stations requested a police statement. According to the statement, the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring and the firefighters found some people trapped in a room with more than 100 gambling machines. Thomas Gilliland, a representative of Harris County Sheriff’s Office, explained that the room was part of a gambling business registered at the same address as the church but was not sure whether it was leased to anyone. The police did not provide much information about who was responsible for building an illegal game room on the grounds of the church but they stated that there were a few potential suspects.

Who ran a casino under a church?

Obviously, the public was impatient to find out who was responsible for this sacrilege. The pastor of the church stated that the church had absolutely nothing to do with the unexpected discovery. Pastor Anthony Scott, the head of the congregation at the World of Life Church, told the reporters that this part of the land that was owned by the church had been leased to someone else as the church had had financial difficulties. He stated that the church didn’t have any information about what was happening in this part of the building.

The investigation is still in progress but if it turns out that the church was related to the gambling business it wouldn’t be the first time a religious leader was involved in gambling.

Questions to be answered

The local community has been concerned about this incident for a long time and there are numerous questions that need to be answered. 

A church’s land is certainly an area that is least expected to be related to illegal activities, causing a lot of worry as to what other areas could be linked with criminal activities. 

Another issue is the fact that someone had to bring such a huge number of gambling machines to a church and install them without anyone noticing. Furthermore, there were some people trapped in the room so the entrance to the room must have been well hidden since a lot of people were able to enter the room without being seen. On the other hand, the firefighters had no trouble finding the room while putting out the fire.

The local community certainly hopes that those responsible for this illegal activity will soon be brought to justice. 

Hsi Lai Temple – the biggest Buddhist temple in America

Usually, when people talk about the US, what comes to mind is football – which many of the US citizens bet on by going to, food, and pop music. Okay, maybe even Christianity. But nobody really connects America to Buddhism, right? When we hear the word Buddhism, we immediately think of China and Shaolin monasteries, but you should know that there are Buddhist temples all over the world, including America. The biggest Buddhist temple in America is Hsi Lai Temple.

Hsi Lai Temple

Hsi Lai Temple is affiliated with Fo Guang Shan, which is a Buddhist organization from Taiwan, and it serves as their base of operations in America. This temple was built in 1988 following a lot of difficulties related to the beginning of its construction. At first, there were a lot of negative feelings and resistance from the local community because people knew very little about Buddhism and feared their practices. However, since then, the negative feelings have diminished, mostly because the temple’s residents have proven to be good neighbors. 

Fo Guang Shan community activism

Fo Guang Shan aims to promote Humanistic Buddhism and create peace and harmony among people. Their master Hsing Yun reminds people that in order to change the world, they need to actively engage with the local community and help people.  

The organization has a few different programs including the social and medical program, the educational program and Buddhist practice.

The social and medical program

The social and medical program is truly wonderful. It refers to helping the poor, the sick, and the homeless in any way possible. The program includes help in the form of providing free clothes and food, giving free medical care at the main monastery or dispatching mobile clinics. There is also the Compassion Foundation that has many different facilities for giving birth, treating disease, and supporting old age. The Tatzu Children’s home is home for abandoned and disadvantaged children, and the Retirement home with its peaceful surroundings is a perfect place for elderly people who want to enjoy their time.

The educational program

The educational program is just as fascinating. It consists of four Buddhist colleges that are further divided into four divisions. There are two universities in Taiwan, one university in the United States, a high school in Taipei, nursery schools, kindergartens, and even Sunday schools for children. The best part about studying at one of these places is that it’s free of charge. 

What does Hsi Lai Temple have to offer?

There are a lot of different sites in this temple that you can visit, such as the Bodhisattva Hall, which is the first shrine you see before you enter the temple, the Arhat garden, the Meditation Hall where meditations are held, the Main Shrine, the Dining Hall in which you can get a vegetarian lunch buffet, and many more.

If you want to visit this temple, you should know that there are quite a few rules that you must obey. Smoking and consuming meat and alcoholic drinks are prohibited and you can’t wear sleeveless shirts, tank tops, skirts, shorts, and slippers when entering the temple.

The visiting hours are from 9 am to 5 pm every day and the temple is open for everyone. Self-guided tours are free of charge and they last about 40 minutes. Weekend Drop-In tours are for 14 or fewer people, they are free of charge, and they cover the whole temple except for the museum. Tours for larger groups need to be scheduled ten days in advance.

The Guardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas

When we think of Las Vegas, we almost exclusively think about gambling, alcohol, drugs, large casinos, huge amounts of money, and flashing signs everywhere. To be fair, that is the most significant thing that Las Vegas has to offer to the world. No one could have predicted that such an unappealing location in the desert would lure and tempt people from all corners of the planet to visit, stay and spend some money there. Similarly, no one could have predicted that the sports betting boom in the States will happen so soon and that it is enough to click here to browse the best bonus in New Jersey.

There are casinos and other pieces of architecture that are synonymous with Las Vegas, but one of the most remarkable buildings is not related to gambling at all –the Guardian Angel Cathedral.

About the cathedral

Since 1995, and the creation of the Diocese of Las Vegas, the Guardian Angel Cathedral has been the seat of the bishop. Nevada is one of the last states to acquire its own diocese, and until 1995, it was a part of the Diocese of Reno, which was established in 1931, as one of the largest ones in the United States. Over time, the name of this diocese was changed to the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas, until Nevada got its own, and the Guardian Angel Cathedral became the seat of the bishop of Las Vegas. This was made possible by the tremendous growth in the number of people who visited the church in Las Vegas. From the start, the diocese developed with the help and advice from clergy members, as well as believers outside the church.

It is argued that precisely this way of development allowed the Diocese of Las Vegas to attract such a great number of followers, even in the time when the reputation of the Church is attacked by the media.

About the building

One of the most striking things about this cathedral is certainly its appearance and architecture. Usually, when we think about churches and cathedrals, we have a somewhat distinct image in our mind, and this building may not be the first thing that comes to mind, especially to European tourists in Nevada. However, it might be argued that this architectural style was the key element that provided the cathedral with authentic American expression, and attracted such a number of people to it. People can sometimes be intimidated by large towering cathedrals or too intricate artwork; sometimes, a simply designed, honest appearance does the trick. This work of the architect Paul R. Williams combines the tradition of the Church with the original and modern American image; by doing this, this place of worship was rejuvenated, and its place in the contemporary world secured. The interior is decorated by the famous Los Angeles artists of Hungarian origin, Isabel and Edith Piczek, including the stained glass windows of the church.

In conclusion

This cathedral is definitely something that tourists, both American and international, need to keep in mind when paying Nevada a visit. Modern works of art and the millennia-old traditions of the Catholic Church here joined to make a truly breathtaking building and institution that is one of the defining landmarks of the United States.