Georgia Walker, who was ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests over the weekend, looks forward to expanding her ministry to prisons.
In a 19-page reflection, Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., said he twice had been the victim of what he considered to be unjust police attitudes.
The rise of the so-called Islamic State dominated headlines in 2014 as the group sowed death and destruction across Iraq and Syria.
Driven in part by continuing legal disputes related to lethal injection drugs and state moratoriums on the death penalty, the 35 people executed in the U.S. this year marks the fewest in two decades, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Center.
The center, which opposes capital punishment, also found that the 72 death sentences issued in 2014 represents the fewest in 40 years.
Plywood covered the broken front windows of her restaurant, the back door served as the main entrance, and no diners appeared on this afternoon.
Yet Maria Flores counted her blessings.
"God was watching over us," Flores said, standing in the intact dining area at El Palenque restaurant about a block from the Ferguson Police Department.
"African-American brothers and sisters, especially brothers, in this country are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be executed, more likely to be killed."
It's the kind of statement that's often cited by black clergy and civil rights activists. But hours after a grand jury on Wednesday chose not to indict the New York City police officer who put Eric Garner into a fatal choke hold on Staten Island, those words came from none other than white evangelical leader Russell Moore.
Like so many others Monday night, the congregants at West Side Missionary Baptist Church were glued to televisions as a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case was announced.
One woman sobbed in her chair as she learned that police Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the fatal shooting.
Then, with the press conference far from over, the church's television went dark. And the congregants at the church turned instead to prayer and preaching.
Within seconds, the Rev. Starsky Wilson was at the pulpit, calling for "contrary folk."
Teens and young adults have been at the core of the action in Ferguson, and they have challenged clergy and community leaders to join them more fully.
While the timing of the grand jury decision involving the Michael Brown shooting remained uncertain, Catholic schools in the Ferguson area were already prepared in case the ruling comes down with classes in session.
"We have our safety plan in place," said Addie Govero, the principal at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School.
Blessed Teresa is about two miles from the site of Brown's death and subsequent unrest. Our Lady of Guadalupe School is only slightly farther away -- about two and a half miles.
Some might argue that if there is one thing this city could use more of right now, it's compassion.
Even before civil unrest surfaced in the region after Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, local leaders were trying to find a way to cultivate more of it. But how exactly? And how would we know when we had enough?
Unlike other commodities, compassion is difficult to quantify.