Black church leaders urge no vote on Prop 8

By KRISTINE WONG Oct. 21 – On the steps of Oakland City Hall this morning, African-American ministers and politicians declared their strong opposition to Proposition 8, the state ballot initiative that would make same-sex marriage illegal in California. Citing civil rights as well as religious, legal, and personal reasons, they challenged the assumption that the African-American community did not support gay marriage. But while they presented an united front, recent poll results show the majority of African-Americans in California support…

Choirs rock the house in gospel music contest

story and audio slides by KRISTINE WONG and BAGASSI KOURA Thousands of fans packed Oracle Arena to cheer on six church choirs vying for a spot in the finals of “How Sweet the Sound,” a competition for the best church choir in the country. As the choirs sung, shimmied, and swayed their way through the evening, the groundswell of music moved the multigenerational crowd to clap, dance, and raise their hands in devotion.

New cathedral opens on Lake Merritt

By MELANIE MASON and BAGASSI KOURA SEPT. 25 — After three years and $190 million spent, the Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland’s newest house of worship, was officially dedicated today in the presence of Cardinals, Bishops and over 1,500 East Bay residents.  The dedication ceremony of a new cathedral — in which the cathedral is formally consecrated — is a relatively rare liturgical service; the Cathedral of Christ the Light is one of only three cathedrals in the United States…