A look back at the top local religion stories of 2005:
Local efforts under way to help tsunami victims
When 23-year-old Sabrina Pollard heard of the countless number of people affected by the tsunamis in Asia and Africa, she didn't hesitate to ask the congregation of Connected church for help.
"We are a Nazarene church and have churches all over the world," Pollard said. "We have people who live in Sri Lanka who are friends of our church. At any time of crisis, we put together crisis-care kits."
Teens want to raise $10,000 by June 30 to help tsunami victims
Life's Edge Youth Ministry members at Calvary Chapel are full of enthusiasm.
Seeing a video of the aftermath of the Dec. 26 tsunami affecting Asia and Africa, their cheerful faces became solemn - a few of them wiped away tears.
The group has come up with several ideas to raise relief money, and were encouraged by church elders with ideas of their own.
"We reminded our kids this is what we need to do - relief efforts," said Karen Pratt, a youth ministry leader.
People of all faiths urged to attend rally in support of homeless families
First United Methodist Church in Carson City has organized a People of Faith Rally in support of homeless children and families.
The rally is Feb. 21, beginning with a service at the church then a march to the Legislative building for the rally.
"The United Methodist Church has a real interest in children and poverty, globally," said First United Methodist Church's the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats.
"Our churches in Nevada wanted to do something, so we began an awareness campaign in our own congregations and created a study in this country and internationally."
Jennings-Teats said the church formed a task force in Nevada and thought it would be a good idea to have a rally.
"It's a people of faith rally on behalf of the homeless because they are a people without a voice. They are a vulnerable people. This is a rally for all people of faith.
"We wanted to go to the Capitol to encourage our elected officials to be sensitive to our needs and find creative ways to respond to the homeless, particularly families and children."
Community praying for Pope John Paul II
Tears streamed from Ana Ramirez's face as she knelt at the altar and prayed for Pope John Paul II at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community in Carson City on Friday afternoon.
"I come by here first before I go home to see my babies," she said, wiping away her tears. "I don't want them to see me cry.
"The pope is a man of all things good in life. I come here for him. His goodness is in my heart."
The world waited quietly Friday as the Vatican released information on the pope's failing health. A urinary tract infection, heart and kidney failure along with difficulty breathing was taking its toll on the man who has been pope for 26 years.
Staff of St. Teresa placed a portrait of Pope John Paul II on an easel at the altar, with two lit pillar candles on each side. The faint sound of the baptismal fountain could be heard trickling at the rear of the sanctuary.
The pope's reach has extended beyond the Catholic community. The Rev. Louie Locke Sr. of Fountainhead Foursquare Church said he was praying for the pope and the church.
"He has served well," Locke said. "We know there will be a transition after his passing. We are praying for the transition and church leadership.
"He's a very loved man. We are praying for his family and the overall church."
Pope John Paul II was born May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. He died April 2 at The Vatican. He was elected pope at the Conclave Oct. 16, 1978 and took the name of "John Paul II." His term lasted nearly 27 years.
Translating the word of God
It's an innovative idea that will bring the word of God to the Hispanic community who do not understand English.
Some Hispanic church-goers are not comfortable attending a Spanish-only service but prefer the diversity of a nondenominational Christian community. The Rev. Stan Friend at Capital Christian Center in Carson City will introduce a program June 5 specifically for them.
Using a similar product as the United Nations, the center will provide a LPB Communications audio receiver with headset for a person to wear around their neck, inserting an ear piece into each side. While Friend is ministering from the pulpit in English, a translator is immediately converting and speaking his words in Spanish.
"A generation ago, one church would start a Hispanic church, but then the two would grow separate," Friend said. "We don't want two churches. We want to celebrate the differences of the two cultures not by excluding them, but by bringing them together. We can actually heal a community by doing it this way."
Heading the Latino ministry team are Martha and John Aguilar, who moved to Carson City from the Los Angeles area 21/2 years ago.
Church administrator saves history
With a plethora of priceless, irreplaceable artifacts in the museum and foyer of St. Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church in Virginia City, keeping them in the public eye is the job recently entrusted to Nick Nicosia.
For the past 105 years, the job of church administrator has been the responsibility of the appointed priest. With the Rev. Joe Anthony reassigned to the Las Vegas diocese effective July 1, the Reno diocese saw the need for a caretaker who would be diligent in keeping the church doors open.
"I am the first-ever lay administrator in the church's history," Nicosia said, the last living publisher of the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City.
Church holds giveaway for needy
The Rev. Dave Harrison said he felt a calling from God to help people in Silver Springs.
He thought he would help by giving away clothing.
"But God said, 'Just you wait,'" Harrison admitted.
Harrison is pastor of Desert Rivers Ministry, an extension of Fountainhead Foursquare Church in Carson City.
"We were thinking of starting a clothing ministry from the furnishings left in the home we purchased. In just six months, we're delivering clothes to furniture to appliances, to help people from Carson City to Fernley to Fallon to Schurz."
Harrison said they found people needed clothing, but they also needed bigger items like refrigerators, washers, dryers and beds.
"The need became so great I left my job as a networker on computers at Carson City Hall to volunteer full time here."