LISTEN: Dr. A.R. Bernard Says Ben Carson Turned Down Offer to Be Secretary of HHS Because He Didn’t Want Battling Obamacare to Be His Legacy; Hezekiah Walker Lands $80 Million Deal With NYC Officials to Build Affordable Housing and New Church on His Brooklyn Property (BCNN1, 2/24/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Friday, February 24, 2017.

1. According to the Christian Post, after reports that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson had turned down President Donald Trump’s offer to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services due to government inexperience in December, the doctor’s longtime friend, the Rev. Dr. A.R. Bernard, shared a new twist to that story on Thursday. Bernard, a political king maker in New York who leads the 40,000-member Christian Cultural Center, revealed that Carson opted to accept Trump’s offer of secretary of Housing and Urban Development instead because he was concerned about his legacy. Bernard told attendees at Thursday’s meeting that Carson is seriously looking at revolutionizing the way America thinks about housing and inner cities and asked for his help in creating a path forward.

2. According to the Root Magazine, 2x Grammy® Award-winning Gospel Singer Hezekiah Walker, landed an $80 million project with New York City, to put low income housing and senior living on property he owns. The project will be completed by SLCE Architects, LLP and will include 241 units that will cover one full New York City block. Walker met with the architect team and New York City planning board who have signed on to the project, that will go to closing in June 2017. New York City planning applauded the Gospel singer for his partnership with the Mayor’s initiative to bring affordable housing to the community. The development of the Gospel singers property will consist of low income housing, retail commercial space and a community rental space, in which Walker hopes to open up a youth center and music school.

3. According to Charisma News, pastor Riva Tims used the launch party for her new book, When it All Comes Together, to remind attendees of God’s faithfulness. Tims, ex-wife of the late Reverend Zachery Tims, knows what it’s like when life spirals out of control. Zachery’s fall from grace, including infidelity, divorce, drug problems and finally an early death, was highly publicized in Christian circles. But Tims likened earthly troubles to a puzzle. At first, when a puzzle is opened, all the pieces just look like a chaotic mess. But over time, each piece proves vital to the finished product. The disparate pieces click together to form a beautiful whole. Though Tims acknowledged her past troubles, the tone of her message was celebratory. She highlighted her spiritual victories and God’s providence throughout her life.

4. According to Fox News, a three-year-old photo of a former-NFL-player-turned-prep-school-coach posing with a bottle of alcohol may have cost him his coaching job at a Georgia Christian prep school. Fernando Bryant told 11 Alive on Thursday that the school, Strong Rock Christian School, in Locust Grove, Ga., asked him to resign from his position on Feb. 19 after parents complained about what he was sharing on social media. When Bryant refused to resign, he was fired. The station reported that the school did not identify which online post caused the complaints.

5. According to USA Today, the NAACP will announce details Friday of a planned economic boycott of North Carolina over a bill that critics say allows gender discrimination in public bathrooms. The civil rights organization will discuss details of a new task force to oversee the boycott during a meeting with reporters in front of the state General Assembly building in Raleigh, the NAACP said Thursday night. President and CEO Cornell Brooks and state president, the Rev. William Barber, will be there. North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” also known as House Bill 2 or HB2, requires people to use bathrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates, as opposed to bathrooms that correspond with the gender with which they identify. A deal to repeal the bill in the Legislature fell apart in December.

6. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, another chapter in the story of the legendary gospel group the Dixie Hummingbirds is now closed. The original group’s last replacement member, William Leon Bright, passed while on his way to a radio show interview to discuss the Hummingbirds. When many gathered at the Temple of Divine Love Church to remember him it was more like a religious music concert as those gathered heard negro spirituals, gospel music and classic hymns for more than three hours at the church located at 1518-20 W. Girard Ave. in North Philadelphia on Saturday. Rev. Phillip L. Hudson Jr., pastor of the church, said, “We will miss Bright’s deep baritone voice. He was one of the musical pioneers. He had a lot of laughter, joy and love. He was a man of God.”

7. According to USA Today, if there were ever a time to believe in magic, the 10th anniversary of the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards was it. The annual gala left the Beverly Wilshire Hotel glinting in black girl magic as luminaries gathered together to pay tribute to this year’s honorees: breakthrough award winner and Oscar nominee Janelle Monaé, vanguard award winner and Insecure creator Issa Rae, shining star award winner and Birth of a Nation darling Aja Naomi King and generation next award winner and Black-ish star Yara Shahidi. For guests, the night was an opportunity to revel in the bonds of friendship.