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More than 65 million people were forcibly displaced by conflict in 2015, according to a United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report, nearly 6 million more than 2014. Of the total, 21.3 million were refugees, which include 16.1 million under the UNHCR’s mandate as well as 5.2 million refugees registered by the United Nations Relief and […] Read More

I collected recently my daughter’s U.S. passport that needed renewal, noting that it was accompanied by a leaflet that read, “With your U.S. passport, the world is yours!” Nothing shocking on first glance; just a sense of pride and patriotism that citizens of most countries feel toward their flag, passport and other symbols of nationhood. […] Read More

Some call it a modern-day Greek tragedy; others refer to it as the new normal for the country of Greece. Because my wife, Janice, and I moved to Athens, Greece, in 2005 and lived there for more than nine years and have many friends affected by it, we call it the number-one item in our […] Read More

Before and during the Great Depression, my grandfather, William Emmitt Newell, was a small truck farmer, living and growing his crops in the red dirt near Marion, Miss., just outside of the “Queen City” of Meridian. Granddaddy raised turnips, tomatoes, potatoes and corn, gathered fresh eggs and sold chickens to city folks who missed the […] Read More

The Least and the Lowly

A sermon delivered Keith Herron, Pastor, Holmeswood Baptist Church, Kansas City, Mo., on November 4, 2012. The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost Ruth 1:1-18 Psalm 146; Mark 12:38-44; Hebrews 9:24-28 This is the day the church celebrates as All Saints Day. So who are the saints we celebrate? Frederick Buechner writes a sweet line about the […] Read More

We left the Hotel Oujda at 6:30 a.m. to catch the train to Fez. It was a relief to check out of the 1970s-looking hotel that could qualify as shabby-chic if the owners had been going for that look intentionally. There are many fine hotels in Morocco. This wasn’t one of them. What it lacked […] Read More

In response to the crushing economic crisis in Greece, I have been working to improve my greatly underutilized capacity to empathize with my Greek and Albanian friends. As I have turned up the volume on my faulty hearing and labored to hone my otherwise distracted powers of observation, I have gained a fresh appreciation for […] Read More

“Porta” means “door” in Albanian and Greek. It has also come to signify a place of “help, hope and wholeness” for Albanian immigrants in Athens, Greece. PORTA – The Albania House in Athens is the topic of a new Skype interview with PORTA’s founders, Bob and Janice Newell. Skype Interview: Bob and Janice Newell from […] Read More

In the summer after the tragedy of Sept. 11, my family visited Stone Mountain, Ga., for the incredible laser show. I remember three songs from that show: Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind,” The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and Lee Greenwood’s “Proud To Be An American. A most incredible thing […] Read More

I love to receive letters. When I was a little boy, I lived on a long, straight street and could see the mail truck coming from a long way off. After the mailman stopped in front of our house, I ran down our front walkway with hope in my heart, between our two giant maple […] Read More