LISTEN: New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Names Bishop Stephen A. Davis to Succeed Bishop Eddie Long; Aspiring Detroit Pastor Julius Baker Gets Nearly 4-Year Prison Sentence for Fraud Run from Church (BCNN1, 1/30/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Monday, January 30, 2017.

1. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bishop Stephen A. Davis of New Birth Birmingham has been named to succeed the late Bishop Eddie Long. Long was senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. He died Jan. 15 at age 63. Davis was formally introduced as the new senior pastor by Long’s widow during Sunday services. His installation is effective immediately. Long and the New Birth board of directors agreed to Davis as the person to take over the megachurch in the succession plan, which was adopted in 2013.

2. According to the Detroit Free Press, in a fall-from-grace story that landed a onetime aspiring Detroit preacher behind bars for 3½ years, the federal government wrapped up a two-year-old fraud case this month involving four men who ran a $555,000 credit card fraud ring through a church and wreaked havoc on the lives of more than 100 people whose accounts were compromised. Among the schemers was Pastor Julius Baker, who, according to prosecutors and his lawyer, slipped in his faith and broke the law to make money. Baker is now serving his 42-month prison sentence in a medium-security facility in Pennsylvania. With good behavior, he could be released as early as Oct. 20, 2018.

3. According to USA Today, Trayvon Martin’s parents aren’t convinced much progress has been made on racial justice since the Florida teenager was killed five years ago in a shooting that helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement, but they say at least his death reignited a national conversation about it. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin now fear President Trump will reverse whatever has been accomplished. Both are considering running for political office to “be part of the change” they say the nation needs.

4. According to News One, eleven Black soldiers who were tortured and killed at the hands of Nazis during World War II have finally received recognition for their bravery. According to the New York Daily News the soldiers, whose heroic story was brushed under the rug, were honored posthumously by the U.S. government. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2013 that called for the 1949 report to include the names of the Black soldiers. The soldiers were awarded Purple Heart medals. In 2004, funds had been raised to create a monument dedicated to the eleven soldiers, reports the outlet. There are memorial services held at the monument each year.

5. According to the Chicago Tribune, former President Barack Obama on Monday got involved in Chicago ward politics by endorsing Ald. Sophia King, 4th, in next month’s special election. The endorsement from the former leader of the free world came just 10 days after Obama’s last day in office. And it comes as King is about to enter the final month of campaigning for the Feb. 28 election. King, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in April after the resignation of Will Burns, is being challenged by three attorneys — Ebony Lucas, Gerald Scott McCarthy and Marcellus Moore Jr. — as well as activist Gregory Seal Livingston. The winner will serve out the remaining two years of the term of Burns, who now works for Airbnb.

6. According to EEW Magazine, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel recording artist Tina Campbell published an open letter to President Donald J. Trump online. While some thanked the “Destiny” singer and described her post as a “mature” and “biblical” response to America’s newest shift in power, others let it be known that they weren’t too thrilled about it. The Gee Tree Creative CEO’s attempt to corrall Christians by admonishing them to move away from fear, anger and division, and toward love, unity and forgiveness for Trump, was interpreted by some as support for the president’s overall flawed behaviors and rhetoric.

7. According to Reuters, “Hidden Figures” was the surprise best film ensemble winner at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild awards, a show overshadowed by politics as stars slammed U.S. President Donald Trump for restricting entry for travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations. “Hidden Figures,” the true story of three black female mathematicians during the 1960s space race, ousted awards front-runners “Manchester By the Sea” and “Moonlight” to claim the night’s top prize. Star Taraji P. Henson said, “This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together. Thank you for appreciating these women, they are hidden figures no more.” she added. “Fences,” based on August Wilson’s award-winning stage play about blue-collar African-Americans, claimed two major acting awards. A surprised Denzel Washington won best actor for “Fences,” beating out front-runners Casey Affleck for “Manchester By the Sea” and Ryan Gosling for “La La Land.” Washington’s co-star Viola Davis, who won best supporting actress, thanked the late playwright Wilson for honoring “the average man, who happened to be a man of color.”