By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – A new decade-long survey of American congregations shows religious health and vitality are weaker than they were 10 years ago. While the survey showed that many congregations are adopting new technologies and innovative worship, there were steep drops in financial health and attendance at weekly worship services.
The Hartford Institute for Religion Research released the study's findings Saturday in a report titled "A Decade of Change in American Congregations, 2000 – 2010" authored by David A. Roozen.
In the measured decade, churches, temples and synagogues told surveyors that congregations that were innovative and contemporary showed the highest amount of "high spiritual vitality."
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Egypt has forbidden the picking and exporting of palm fronds used in the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot, leaving Israel scrambling to make up for the shortage.
But one Egyptian customs official said the ban so far has not been implemented.
The fronds of the date palm, called lulavs, are waved during Sukkot, which celebrates the ancient wanderings of the Jewish people after their exile from Egypt. The seven-day holiday begins on the evening of October 12.
By Stan Wilson, CNN
(CNN) - A prominent group of Muslim American and Christian leaders are scheduled to return to Washington Monday, following a six day visit to Iran where top government and clerical officials indicated to them that two American hikers would be released.
"Our goal has been to foster interfaith ties, build a system of understanding and ask the Iranian leadership to show compassion and mercy for the American hikers by allowing them to come home," said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) who went to Tehran last week as part of a religious delegation.
The American delegation included Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, the Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, and Interim Dean of Washington National Cathedral, and former North Carolina State Sen. Larry Shaw, said Awad.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.