LISTEN: Ahead of SBC’s Racial Reconciliation Sunday on February 12, Racially Diverse Florida Church Described as ‘Mirror Image’ of Christ; Florida Senator and House Member Join Forces to Push for Prayer In Public Schools (BCNN1, 2/11/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Saturday, February 11, 2017.

1. According to Baptist Press, ahead of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Racial Reconciliation Sunday on February 12, Florida’s Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church is being described as a ‘mirror image’ of Christ. Shiloh, formerly a vastly African-American congregation, became more racially diverse when it merged in 2015 with the predominantly white Ridgewood Baptist Church in Orange Park. The latter congregation had suffered after the 2010 death of its pastor and was ill-equipped to retire a $5.5 million mortgage from a construction project. Shiloh adopted the debt as its own and embraced Ridgewood’s leadership, including its senior pastor, several deacons and teachers. Shiloh senior pastor H.B. Charles Jr. believes the merger gives evidence to the church and community that the Gospel is real.

2. According to WFSU, a Democratic House member from Jacksonville, Florida, and a Republican Senator from Ocala, Florida, are joining forces to push school prayer. Freshman Representative Kimberly Daniels is a former at-large city councilwoman whose day job is pastor of the Christian, non-denominational Spoken Word Ministries. Daniels’ bill is called “The Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act.” It would ban school districts from discriminating on the basis of religious viewpoints or expression. Former Christian Coalition executive director Dennis Baxley is the Senate sponsor.

3. According to the Christian Post, Jordin Sparks has sung in arenas, movies and on television screens. Now, she is using her voice to share her testimony at a popular San Diego, California, church. Sparks, the 27-year-old “American Idol” alumna who won the televised national singing competition in 2007, will appear at Rock Church in San Diego on Sunday. Pastor Miles McPherson, the former NFL player who leads Rock Church, shared a video on social media of his friend Sparks who will be speaking at the 10 a.m., 12 p.m . and 6 p.m. church services.

4. According to the Christian Post, Dr. Mehmet Oz teamed up with preacher DeVon Franklin to bring faith to the forefront on his hit daytime talk show with “Faithful Fridays.” He says the whole idea came to him after listening to a church hymn. “Faithful Fridays” features conversations about the positive effects spirituality has on people’s overall health and well-being. Oz said the Hollywood producer and minister played an integral role in making it all happen. He revealed that Franklin is really the one who did all of the “heavy lifting” and brought all of the top faith leaders on board to be a part of the show. Featured in “Faithful Fridays” will be the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, New York Times best-selling author and star of “War Room” Priscilla Shirer, and Hillsong New York City Pastor Carl Lentz.

5. According to the Associated Press, a federal judge should not allow prosecutors to use statements that an ex-South Carolina police officer gave to investigators about shooting an unarmed driver who ran from a traffic stop because authorities lied about a video of the killing, defense lawyers say. Those same lawyers also said in a flurry of motions on Friday the video itself should not be shown to jurors. Michael Slager goes on trial in May in federal court for violating Walter Scott’s civil rights by shooting and killing the black man after pulling him over for a broken brake light. Meanwhile, state prosecutors have promised a retrial on a murder charge after Slager’s state trial ended in a hung jury.

6. According to the Associated Press, after years of debate, the trustees of Yale University announced Saturday they will change the name of a residential college that honors a 19th century alumnus who was an ardent supporter of slavery. The Ivy League university said it is renaming Calhoun College after trailblazing computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral. Yale said it was the final decision on a controversy over former Vice President John C. Calhoun’s legacy that had simmered for years and boiled over with campus protests in 2015. The university’s president, Peter Salovey, announced in April that the school would keep Calhoun’s name. But, in August, he appointed an advisory panel to consider whether the name should be changed after all.

7. According to the Wrap, the motion picture “Moonlight” and the TV series “black-ish” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson” were among the top winners in the NAACP Image Awards’ non-televised categories, which were handed out at a dinner at the Pasadena Conference Center on Friday night. Nine additional televised awards will be presented on Saturday night at a ceremony broadcast live on TV One and hosted by Anthony Anderson. “Moonlight” won the award as the outstanding independent film, and picked up additional honors for supporting actor Mahershala Ali, plus directing and writing honors for Barry Jenkins. Other film winners included supporting actress Viola Davis for “Fences” and “13th” for documentary film. Beyonce dominated the music awards by winning Outstanding Female Artist, Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration, Outstanding Music Video, Outstanding Album and Outstanding Song. Other music winners included Chance the Rapper (new artist) and Maxwell (outstanding male artist). The gala dinner was hosted by Erica Ash and Deon Cole.