The Religion Newswriters Association polled its members to determine its top 10 religious news stories of 2000. They chose these stories:

1. Religion specialists in the secular press said the top story was the selection of U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, "an observant, yet modern, Orthodox Jew" as the first Jew nominated by a major U.S. party to serve as vice president. Both parties courted religious voters this time around.

2. In a historic pilgrimage, Pope John Paul II prays at Jerusalem's Western Wall and, meeting with Holocaust survivors, expresses deep sadness at acts of hatred against Jews by Christians. He holds strategic meetings in Jordan and in Palestinian territories.

3. Hopes for an agreement between Jews and Palestinians dim after Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount spark waves of violence between Israel and Palestinians. Talks at Camp David break down over control of the Old City in Jerusalem.

4. Vermont approves same-sex unions despite protests by state's Catholic bishop and other clerics. The United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) defeat proposals to bless gay unions. Episcopalians pledge "pastoral care" for those living in "life-long committed relationships" outside marriage.

5. The Southern Baptist Convention bans women from serving as church pastors and adds more conservative language to its Baptist Faith and Message doctrinal statement.

6. Vatican issues "Dominus Iesus," restating Catholic doctrine that salvation comes through Jesus Christ, alone, and that the true church "subsists"' in its fullness only in the Catholic Church. Many criticize the document's tone as anti-ecumenical.

7. Former President Jimmy Carter exits the Southern Baptist Convention, citing its swing to the doctrinal right." Also, the Texas Baptist Convention votes to withhold more than $5 million from SEC seminaries and executive committees.

8. Pope John Paul II, in a solemn penitential rite, asks God's pardon for sins committed against other groups by members of the Catholic Church.

9. The Episcopal Church's General Convention approves pact with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, clearing the way for mutual recognition of clergy and hierarchies.

10. The Rev. Vashti McKenzie of Baltimore becomes the first female bishop of the 2:3-million member African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Even so come, Lord Jesus