This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to News4Jax, A Jacksonville church pastor said in the last 10 days, six of his church members have died from COVID-19, and more of their members are currently in the hospital. Now the church is pushing to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Senior Pastor George Davis at Impact Church in Arlington told News4Jax on Friday his phone hasn’t stopped ringing in the last week. “In the last 10 days, we have had six members of our church who passed away from COVID. Four of them were under the age of 35. All of them were healthy, and the only thing they had in common was they were not vaccinated,” he said. He says 15 to 20 members are now in the hospital, another 10 or so are at home with the virus and three to five vaccinated members also tested positive. “It’s pain,” Davis said. “These are actual people that I know, that I have pastored. One 24-year-old kid, I’ve known him since he was a toddler.” Davis said it was late July when they first learned a member tested positive. From then, it’s been a cascade of additional cases. Those who passed, he says, weren’t in the hospital long before they died. During church services, Davis said the church requires masks, the auditorium is thoroughly cleaned in between services, it practices social distancing and offers hand sanitizer. Davis said Friday he’s certain after speaking with the families of those members they contracted it from somewhere outside of the church. Even though the church follows CDC guidance, Davis is pushing to get more people vaccinated. The church held a vaccine event in March where he says 800 people were vaccinated. With the surge in the greater Jacksonville community, and in his church, they’re now holding another event on Sunday. The event is open to the public. “All I know is my heart’s passion is to help the people that I’m called to serve and do whatever I can to help see to it that they are in a healthier place,” Davis said. Davis encourages everyone to get informed and get vaccinated. The free vaccine event is Sunday at the church from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The church is working with UF Health and offering the Pfizer vaccine. The first memorial service for the members who passed will be this weekend.
According to CBS News, The Dixie Fire in California is now the largest wildfire in the U.S., growing to 432,813 acres overnight. As of Friday morning, the flame was 35% contained and officials said heavy winds have made it difficult to control. Fire officials said the Dixie Fire grew more than 97,000 acres since Thursday, making it the third-largest fire in California history. The wildfire has destroyed 134 structures and threatens over 13,800. This week, the blaze decimated the historic town of Greenville, where streets have been reduced to rubble. Homes and businesses — some from the 1800s — were charred beyond recognition. In Plumas County, more than 100 homes were destroyed and four residents are unaccounted for, officials there said. In the town of Chester, 2,000 residents have been evacuated while fire crews work desperately to try and divert the flames around the town. “I’ve been fighting fire for 25 years and this is the most extreme fire behavior I’ve ever been a part of,” said Mike Watner of the Chico Fire Department. “We try and direct the fire around the structures as best we can but they don’t last. They’re a temporary fix to buy us some time to get houses prepped and save what we can.”
According to The Christian Post, A series of violent attacks during weekend nighttime raids in Nigeria blamed on Fulani radicals has reportedly led to the deaths of about seven people, the destruction of nearly 300 houses and the displacement of many. However, a leading Fulani advocacy group has put the blame for the violence on local youths. Suspected Fulani militants attacked villages in Nigeria’s Miango district in the Plateau state during “unhindered and undistracted” attacks that began Saturday night into Sunday morning, according to a statement released Sunday by the Irigwe Development Association. According to the statement, the violence resulted in around 100 acres of farmland being destroyed, at least 250 houses burned and mass displacement. “We are calling on government and security agencies to come to our aid, as our people have been left homeless, their farms destroyed and loved ones killed,” IDA Secretary-General, Comrade Danjuma Dickson Auta, said in an interview with The Daily Post. He said these actions have “been a recurring decimal” as the many homes and farms have been destroyed by the “heartless people.” According to the United Kingdom-based aid agency Barnabas Fund, the attack occurred in a “predominantly Christian area.”
According to the Daily Mail, A teen mother broke down in tears as she was jailed for nine years after leaving her baby to starve to death while she went partying for six days to celebrate her 18th birthday. Verphy Kudi went to a 1990s music concert in Elephant and Castle and even had a DJ announce her birthday during her days-long jaunt away from home, a court heard. Video shown in court showed her leaving her flat on December 5 2019, and returning six days later. Mobile phone images also showed her partying in London while away. All the while her 20-month-old daughter Asiah was alone in her flat in a ‘supported housing’ block in Brighton more than 50 miles away. Asiah died from influenza and starvation after having been left unattended for five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes, prosecutors said. When paramedics were finally called to the flat on December 11, 2019 after Kudi had returned, they found her ‘incoherent, distressed and distraught’ and her daughter lying on the floor. Kudi, now 19, today appeared in the dock at Lewes Crown Court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty to manslaughter. She broke down in tears as she was jailed for nine years and taken away by court staff. Judge Laing said the baby had gone through ‘almost unimaginable suffering’ before dying alone in the flat.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Tesla Inc. has paid more than $1 million to a Black former employee who won a ruling that the company failed to stop his supervisors from calling him the “N-word” at the electric-car maker’s Northern California plant. The rare discrimination award by an arbitrator to Melvin Berry, which followed a closed-door proceeding, caps years of complaints from Black workers that Tesla turned a blind eye to the commonplace use of racial slurs on the assembly line and was slow to clean up graffiti with swastikas and other hate symbols scrawled in common areas. It ends a years-long and emotionally grueling fight launched by Berry, who was hired by the company as a materials handler in 2015 and quit less than 18 months later. Arbitration typically keeps disputes between employees and companies secret, but court filings reveal that the arbitrator found Berry’s allegations more credible than Tesla’s denials, though she called it a “difficult” case after hearing from witnesses on both sides. Berry claimed that when he confronted a supervisor for calling him the “N-word,” he was forced to work longer hours and push a heavier cart. “I hope the world knows that an arbitrator found Tesla treats its employees like this,” Berry, 47, told Bloomberg News in a phone interview Wednesday. He said he’s now taking time off to focus on his mental health as he still hasn’t “gotten over the healing process.” “Case law is clear that one instance of a supervisor directing the N-word at a subordinate is sufficient to constitute severe harassment,” arbitrator Elaine Rushing said in her May 12 ruling, which hasn’t been previously reported. Rushing, a former judge in Sonoma County Superior Court for almost two decades, said she found Tesla liable for harassment because it was perpetrated by Berry’s supervisors.
According to The Christian Post, Grammy Award-winning singer Tamela Mann released her latest album, Overcomer, this month and said despite her great success in Hollywood and gospel music, her primary goal is to honor God until the day she dies. The singer, who’s also an NAACP Image Award-winning actress, songwriter and producer, birthed her new Tillymann Music album after a trying few years in which she developed her strength and focused on her purpose. It was also the first time Mann used her voice, songwriting and production skills to create an album. Wearing multiple hats, Mann, along with being a gospel singer, is known for her roles in Tyler Perry’s “Assisted Living,” “Madea” plays, films and the hit TV series “Meet The Browns.” She and her husband, David, have been together for over 30 years and often share their love story to inspire others. The couple released their first book and joint album, Us Against the World, in 2018. Mann also recently launched her own successful athleisure apparel line, the Tamela Mann Collection. But despite all of her accomplishments, she wants her work, especially her new album, to draw people closer to faith in God. “I just want to be able to put people’s eyes back on God. Not their eyes be on me, but your eyes and your ears tuned in to what thus say the Lord. What is His desire for our lives and for our steps to be ordered by Him? So that’s my focus, my goal until I die,” Mann emotionally shared with The Christian Post in an interview that can be watched in its entirety on their website.
According to ESPN, The U.S. women’s team dominated the 4×400-meter relay to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, giving Allyson Felix the most medals for any American track athlete ever. Felix ran the second leg along with Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu to finish in 3 minutes, 16.85 seconds and win by nearly 4 seconds over Poland (3:20.53). Jamaica (3:21.24) took bronze. “For me, I just really came out at peace and I wanted to soak it in completely,” Felix said. Minutes later, the U.S. men also claimed their first gold in a track race at these Games in the final event on the Olympic oval with a victory in the 4×400-meter relay. There were no bad exchanges this time. The U.S. men didn’t reach the final of the 4×100-meter relay, but the 4×400 team of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin was never really in trouble while completing four laps of the Olympic oval in 2:55.70. It was a fifth gold for the U.S. men in the 4×400 since 1996. The Netherlands took silver in a national-record 2:57.18, and Botswana won bronze in 2:57.27. Felix’s 11th career Olympic medal broke a tie with Carl Lewis for the U.S. record. Paavo Nurmi of Finland holds the world mark with 12 medals from 1920 to 1928. Felix won bronze in the 400 meters on Friday. Of her 11 medals, seven are gold and six have come in relays.
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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!