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Over 300 people gathered in a cornfield chapel on Sunday, July 9.

Sister Janet McCann at the chapel's dedication. Photo from David Jones/Lancaster Against Pipelines, used with permission.

The chapel, a bare bones structure, rose out of a clear plot in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There are no walls; its boundaries are marked by tall rows of growing corn. Any breeze that blew over the rows must have been welcome — the temperatures had been hovering around the 80s pretty much all week.


This was the scene as the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a Catholic order of nuns, dedicated their new open-air chapel.

But this open-air chapel isn't just for prayers. It's a protest.

It's built directly in the path of an incoming natural gas pipeline.

The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline will be an underground extension of the Transco pipeline and will cut across 183 miles of Pennsylvania — including directly through the nun's cornfield.

Sister Martha Wachtel, ASC. Photo courtesy of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, used with permission.

A federal commission gave Williams Partners, the company building the pipeline, permission to use eminent domain to claim the land, pending a July 17 hearing.

In response, the nuns teamed up with a local grassroots group called Lancaster Against Pipelines to organize and construct the chapel in protest.

"They're very fine people," Sister Sara Dwyer says.

The result is that, if Williams Partners really wants the land, they're going to need to tear down the pews and arbor first.

The chapel. Photo courtesy of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, used with permission.

The sisters say their protest is a religious one and the pipeline violates one of their ethics, which names the Earth as a sanctuary to be revered.

"It's not just about this pipeline," says Dwyer. "It's about drawing awareness to what fossil fuel usage has done to the poor, to communities, and to the planet."

"We see this as a moral, religious, and spiritual stand," Dwyer says.

This isn't the first time eminent domain has been used for pipelines.

The permission has been used on the Bakken and Dakota Access pipeline before. It might seem a little weird — most of the time you think of eminent domain (if you think about it at all) as something public, like a road or a bridge. A privately owned pipeline using it feels weird.

And those who feel this way are not alone. Backlash has led to proposed laws and litigation in multiple states.

Proponents of the pipeline hold that, once completed, it’ll help fuel more than 7 million homes and it will create jobs.

It's not clear whether the nuns' efforts will have an effect, but you've got to hand it to them — it's an audacious move.

In building their new chapel, these nuns have made their message crystal clear: If the pipeline really does want this land, they're going to have to fight for it.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75.

Lynch is part of a growing crowd of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory.

At first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

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A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

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Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the 4th of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

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This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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