St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., in 2017. Photo by Antony-22/Creative Commons

(RNS) — In late May, the Rev. Jay Scott Newman received a visitor in his study at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C.

Reid Lehman, the CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries, sat down to tell the priest that Lehman’s evangelical agency, the largest provider of care to the needy in the Upstate —  the 10-county westernmost region of South Carolina —  was changing its policies.

For the first time in its 82-year history, the ministry planned to allow Catholics to serve as volunteers and employees in its vast network of homeless shelters, thrift stores and drug-recovery programs. More importantly, it would allow Catholics to serve as parents to foster children in

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