LISTEN: Benjamin Watson to Hold “Under Our Skin” Forum on Race and Faith at Florida’s Crossing Church; New York Pastor James Duncan Says Kim Burrell’s Views on Homosexuality Come From Place of Love (BCNN1, 1/18/2017)

This is Danita Evangeline Whyte with the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

1. According to the Christian Post, Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson and hall-of-fame football coach Tony Dungy will join pastors, authors, former NFL players and media personalities at a Florida megachurch in February to discuss how faith can be used to bridge the racial divide facing the United States. Tyndale House Publishers has announced that it will host the “Under Our Skin” forum on race and faith at The Crossing Church in Tampa on Feb. 16, which is named after Watson’s popular 2015 book, Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race and Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us. Along with Watson and Dungy, the event will also feature popular CBS sportscaster James Brown, former Heisman Trophy-winner Danny Wuerffel, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn and University of South Florida head football coach Charlie Strong.

2. According to the Christian Post, when gospel music singer and Pastor Kim Burrell came under fire for preaching a sermon about the “perverted homosexual spirit,” many people blamed the Black church for fostering beliefs deemed hateful by many celebrities and LGBT advocates. Other leaders in the Black church community, however, insist that the Grammy nominated singer’s message is rooted in love. Apostle James Duncan, who leads a predominately Black church in Brooklyn, New York, said, “Kim Burrell is a servant of God and she has to preach the message of the Kingdom of God. It’s not her church — a Black or a white church — it’s Jesus’ church. She is preaching a Gospel of love because she is preaching for people to come out of sin.”

3. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, new details have been released for the funeral services of Bishop Eddie L. Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 6400 Woodrow Rd. in Lithonia. Long will lie in-repose from 8 a.m. until the service begins. Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Jan. 24, at the church, according to Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory, which is in charge of arrangements. The family requests that any floral arrangements be in white or off-white.

4. According to CBN News, thousands of people fearing violence are fleeing the tiny African nation of Gambia as the country’s political crisis deepens. One concerned citizen told reporters, “I feel as a Gambian, I should just stay but whatever happens will happen. But I’m not that happy with the way the situation, the political impasse has been in the country.” That impasse erupted last month when Gambia’s longtime president, Yahya Jammeh, was defeated in a hotly contested presidential race. The new president-elect, Adama Barrow, is supposed to be inaugurated on Thursday, but Jammeh, who first seized power in a coup in 1994, has refused to step down and declared a state of emergency. Gambians aren’t too happy with the decision and are pleading for Jammeh to step aside to avoid a violent confrontation.

5. According to the Baltimore Sun, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will deliver a speech on “community policing” at the University of Baltimore School of Law on Thursday, according to the university — putting her in the city just as Department of Justice and city officials have said they would be finalizing a consent decree around police reform. The “capstone” speech is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the John and Frances Angelos Law Center in Mid-Town Belvedere, near Penn Station, the school said in a news release Tuesday afternoon. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

6 . According to USA Today, JPMorgan Chase agreed to a settlement with the U.S. government over allegations that it discriminated against “thousands” of black, Hispanic mortgage borrowers from 2006 through 2009. The bank’s independent brokers charged minority borrowers higher mortgage interest rates and fees during that period, compared to “similarly situated white borrowers,” according to a government lawsuit filed Wednesday in a New York federal court. JPMorgan is expected to settle the lawsuit for $55 million without admitting any liability.

7. According to EEW Magazine News, Central City Productions has announced the nominees in 26 categories for the 2017 Stellar Awards. Hailed as an “epic night in gospel music,” this year’s Stellar Awards will return to the Las Vegas Orleans Arena on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Praise and worship breakthrough artist Travis Greene, and chart-topping soloist, Tamela Mann lead the nominations with nine each. Multiple Stellar Awards and Grammy Award-winning solo artist, nationally-syndicated radio host and television personality Erica Campbell joins multiple Stellar Award winner, songwriter and arranger Anthony Brown to co-host the 32nd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards. The telecast will premiere on TV One Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. ET with encores at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.