Friday Five: Lifetime achievement winner, Willow Creek drama, Spikeball Mennonites and more

Talk about a slam dunk!

The Religion News Association announced its 2018 William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award recipient this week.

What a fine choice the RNA made:

When the Vatican ordered the bishop of Pittsburgh to reinstate a pedophile priest, then Pittsburgh religion reporter Ann Rodgers received the decision even before the bishop himself.
When an evangelist was making false claims about miracles in a Houston hospital, Rodgers did the hard yards of investigation and spotted the fake.
And when she was invited to join Pope Francis’ Palm Sunday procession in St. Peter’s Square, Rodgers waved a palm and reported back to Pennsylvania on the experience.
In addition to serving as president of the Religion News Association during a time of significant transition and growth, Rodgers faithfully served on the religion beat in New Hampshire, Florida, and finally in Pittsburgh, Pa., for more than three decades.  
For her many years of work in religion newswriting and service to RNA, Rodgers will receive the William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award at the 69th Annual RNA Conference in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 15.
The William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2001 and is presented to individuals who demonstrate exceptional long-term commitment and service to the Religion News Association and its members, and to the field of religion newswriting.

Read the rest of the release.

Let's dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: New York Times religion writer Laurie Goodstein's front-page Sunday story on superstar pastor Bill Hybels and the woman who worked for him and says he groped her repeatedly is the obvious pick. 

That story figures below, too.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: The Hybels/Willow Creek drama was the subject of our No. 1 most-clicked post of the week.

See GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly's commentary headlined "She kept stacks of journals: Bill Hybels drama enters a shocking new #MeToo chapter." 

Tmatt's follow-up post on the same subject — "Who you gonna call? New York Times offers a spiritual piece of the Bill Hybels puzzle" — is worth a read, too.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): In case you missed, a complaint against Attorney Jeff Sessions within his church denomination — the United Methodist Church — has been dismissed.

AL.com notes:

The Rev. Debora Bishop, a district superintendent in Mobile, dismissed the complaint.
"The judicial process of the United Methodist Church cannot be used in the matter of United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to address political actions," she wrote in her opinion. "A political action is not personal conduct when the political officer is carrying out official policy. In this matter, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was carrying out the official policy of the President and/or the United States Department of Justice. It was not an individual act. I believe this type of conduct is not cover by the chargeable offense provisions of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church."

4. Shameless plug: Former GetReligionista Dawn Eden Goldstein wrote a piece for the London-based Catholic Herald tied to the scandal of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

"To start the healing process, the US bishops should consider doing public penance," argues Goldstein, assistant professor of dogmatic theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary and author of "My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints."

5. Final thought: The best headline of the week? It would be hard to beat this one from the front page of the Wall Street Journal:

Who’s Super Stoked About Spikeball? Beach Bros—and Mennonites

Good news: The story lives up to headline, but only if you can get past the paywall. (You could always subscribe!)

Happy Friday, everybody!

Enjoy the weekend!

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