PODCAST: 750 People Killed in Attack on Orthodox Church in Ethiopia (BCNN1 1.20.21)

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According to The Christian Post, Around 750 people were killed in an attack on an Orthodox church, which is said to contain the Ark of the Covenant described in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, in northern Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region — home to thousands of churches and monasteries — according to reports. Hundreds of people hiding in Maryam Tsiyon Church in Aksum amid an armed conflict were brought out and shot to death, and local residents believe the aim was to take the Ark of the Covenant to Addis Ababa, the Belgium-based nonprofit European External Programme with Africa reported in this month’s situational report, released on Jan. 9. “The number of people killed is reported as 750,” it said. The church, the most ancient and sacred of Ethiopian Christianity and also known as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, belongs to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

According to USA Today, The nation’s first female vice president will be sworn in by the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice. Justice Sonia Sotomayor will administer the oath of office to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during her swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, according to a source with knowledge of the ceremony. Harris chose Sotomayor to administer the oath because both of them represent “firsts,” the source said. Harris will not only be the first female vice president, but also the first Black and South Asian woman to hold the job. Both Harris and Sotomayor follow the value that Harris’ mother instilled in her, which is that “you may be the first to do many things – make sure you’re not the last,” the source said. Harris will take the oath on two Bibles. One belongs to Thurgood Marshall, who was the Supreme Court’s first Black justice and a civil rights icon. Harris has described Marshall as one of her heroes and credited him with inspiring her career. The other Bible belongs to Regina Shelton, a neighbor and nursery school operator who was like a second mother to Harris and her sister Maya growing up. Harris used Shelton’s Bible when she was sworn in as California attorney general and as a U.S. senator.

According to The Christian Post, When leaders in the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention rebuked him for supporting missionaries praying and praising in tongues in 2006, prominent Southern Baptist Pastor Dwight McKissic said he almost quit. After the recent adoption by SBTC leaders of a “strongly worded, anti-CRT policy that denounces all aspects of critical race theory” last November, McKissic declared in a statement Friday that he is now ending his relationship with the SBTC 15 years later. And if leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention rescind Resolution 9 on critical race theory that messengers passed in 2019, McKissic said he’s ready to cut ties with them too. “I remained a member from then until today, simply to not break fellowship over a tertiary issue. I DECIDED TO STAY ON THE BUS FROM 2006 UNTIL JANUARY 2021. But, today, I have decided it is time to ‘get off the bus.’ I no longer want to ride, and I certainly do not want to drive!” said McKissic, who founded and currently leads Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. The “get off the bus” phrase comes from a statement McKissic said the recently retired SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards made in 2006 when he spearheaded a policy preventing missionaries from praying and praising in tongues. “‘If you have a private prayer language, you may ride on the bus at SBTC, but you will not be able to drive the bus,’” McKissic recalled Richards saying. “I found that statement incredibly offensive as an African American and as one who has been spiritually gifted to pray, praise, intercede and give thanks in tongues, under the inspiration and influence of the Holy Spirit, as is taught in I Corinthians 14.” The policy was reversed in 2015, under David Platt, then president of the IMB. McKissic’s announcement comes amid an ongoing exodus of prominent black SBC pastors, such as Ralph West and Charlie Dates, over a decision by the denomination’s Council of Seminary Presidents to denounce critical race theory and intersectionality as incompatible with their beliefs at their 2020 annual session.

According to The Christian Post, Corey Hines wasn’t ready to die. On Saturday, Jan. 2 though, the 32-year-old Texas preacher, who survived two brutal heart attacks just months ago amid the coronavirus pandemic, died gasping for air in the garage of his home. “‘I’m about to pass out,’” his sister, Chelsye Hines, said were his last words. His sister-in-law had desperately tried to get him his emergency heart medication but Pastor Hines slipped away into the unknown before she was able to get it to him. “That was it. He pretty much fainted,” Chelsye said. Some 30 minutes after an ambulance arrived, her brother was pronounced dead. In hindsight, it seems all that day Pastor Hines had been inching toward death. Chelsye recalled how he wasn’t feeling well so “he was just kind of taking it easy.” On Monday, Jan. 4, Heavenly Gospel Church in Fort Worth, which Pastor Hines had led for the last five years, shared the tragic news on Facebook. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the transition of our amazing Senior Pastor Corey Hines. A man of faith, love, joy, leadership and a servant’s heart. Pastor Corey lived his life to love and serve his family, his church and community just like Jesus,” the church said. “Our lives will forever be impacted by his wisdom, generous love, sense of humor, his incomparable commitment, and his unquestionable loyalty to the Kingdom of God, his wife, his family, the community and to Heavenly Gospel Church.” But Hines wasn’t ready to die. This year was supposed to be the year of victory for the young preacher. As Chelsye struggles to make sense of her brother’s death, recent but still limited research suggests Hines’ fatal heart attack may be a casualty of an “emerging chronic disease crisis” among young black American males. Pastor Hines leaves behind his wife, Reneé, and their children, Myriah, Myrisa, and Corey Jr. The family has launched a college fund for his children on GoFundMe.

According to Detroit News, President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in one of his final acts, 16 years before Kilpatrick was to be released from prison, according to the White House early Wednesday morning. Kilpatrick was about seven years into his sentence for his role in a racketeering and bribery scheme while in public office. “President Trump commuted the sentence of the former Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Malik Kilpatrick. This commutation is strongly supported by prominent members of the Detroit community,” the White House said in a statement. “… Mr. Kilpatrick has served approximately 7 years in prison for his role in a racketeering and bribery scheme while he held public office. During his incarceration, Mr. Kilpatrick has taught public speaking classes and has led Bible Study groups with his fellow inmates.” The move comes amid pardons to 73 people and 69 other commutations, the White House said. Kilpatrick, 50, was sentenced in 2013 on two dozen counts of using his positions as mayor and state representative to carry out a decade-long criminal racket involving extortion, bribery, conspiracy and fraud. The 28-year sentence tied Ohio county politician Jimmy Dimora for the longest federal prison sentence for a corrupt public official in U.S. history. The move ends speculation about whether Kilpatrick would be released early due to health problems and COVID-19, and amid a push from supporters, including businessman Peter Karmanos, who lobbied Trump, arguing Kilpatrick did nothing wrong or was unfairly punished.

According to The Christian Post, A.R. Bernard, the pastor and founder of New York City’s largest evangelical congregation, says he doesn’t believe that there should be an intentional “movement to desegregate the white Church.” Bernard, who heads the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, spoke during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day webinar on Monday hosted by the American Bible Society. The webinar is titled “Repairing the Breach: Biblical reflections on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and how to repair racial divides.” During a discussion about whether multicultural churches are the answer to the racial divide seen in the American Church, the 67-year-old pastor said that pushing white churches to desegregate wouldn’t be “legitimate.” “I don’t believe that there should be a movement to desegregate the white Church. I don’t think that that’s legitimate. I don’t think that that’s real,” he said. “I do think that we need to reconsider the curriculum of the Church and how that curriculum could reinforce segregation or open us up to the beauty of the diversity that exists in the body of Christ because all ministry is contextual.” Bernard expressed his belief that there shouldn’t be any “guilt or shame because a church is predominantly one color.” “The curriculum of the church, what is the preaching? What is the teaching? What are people being exposed to beyond the four walls?” he asked, pointing to the things that he thinks are important for racial healing.

According to W&W PR, Award-winning artist, actress and entrepreneur Kierra Sheard releases a new single, with “Something Has to Break” (feat. Karen Clark Sheard). The digital single is available now via all major digital providers, and features the two vocal powerhouses, Kierra Sheard and her mother, Gospel legend Karen Clark Sheard, joining together on an intimate performance, which was recorded from their acclaimed closing appearance on the 2020 BET Awards. The stirring song was co-written by Kierra Sheard with Jonathan Smith, Mia Feldes, and her brother, producer and songwriter, J. Drew Sheard, II. Providing a sanctuary of spiritual strength in trusting God’s guidance, the daughter-mother duo deliver a dynamic declaration of faith and love to lift us during these challenging times. Besides this new single, Kierra Sheard has continued to deliver uplifting music with her most recent album KIERRA, which is nominated for Best Gospel Album at the upcoming 63rd Annual GRAMMY® Awards taking place on March 14, 2021. Her sixth studio album, released in 2020, features fifteen tracks including the #1 Billboard Gospel single “It Keeps Happening,” “Don’t Judge Me” (feat. Missy Elliott), “Beautiful,” and more. Kierra is also the creator of her fashion line Eleven60, and acted in the hit 2020 Lifetime biopic movie “The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel,” where she portrayed her mother, Karen Clark Sheard. Kierra will make her debut as a published author on April 13, 2021 with the release of her memoir “Big, Bold, and Beautiful: Owning the Woman God Made You to Be”.

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com .

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!