LISTEN: Church Fights to Promote the True Gospel In Africa; White Georgia Church Leaders Apologize to Black Church Members for Past Lynchings (BCNN1, 3/19/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Sunday, March 19, 2017.

1. According to Christian Headlines, although the gospel is embraced in many places in Africa, it is often mixed with superstition and apostasy. One church is helping to counter the heresy with truth. Charles Karuri, a pastoral assistant at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nairobi, Kenya, is one of those helping to promote the true gospel. Karuri said the “prosperity gospel” is prevalent in Africa and “apostles” or “prophets” often promise supernatural healing, or claim to be able to reverse bad fortune, restore marriages, and break curses. Karuri also added, “These are the very things the witch doctor back in the village had been doing long before the prosperity message arrived on our shores. Those that faithfully preach the gospel continue to be less and less the face of Christianity as they are overtaken by numerically superior, flashier, noisier, and more outwardly successful prosperity churches.” Karuri’s church is one of the few working to counter the false gospel with the true gospel.

2. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, white church leaders in a west Georgia community apologized on Saturday for the religious community’s failure to speak out about the lynching of Austin Callaway and other acts of racial terror during the decades of Jim Crow. They spoke at the dedication of a historical marker acknowledging several lynchings in the area. Their apology comes nearly two months after the white police chief in LaGrange, Lou Dekmar, apologized for his agency’s role in Callaway’s murder in 1940. The service Saturday at Warren Temple United Methodist Church, an African American church, included apologies directly to members of Callaway’s family and other descendants of lynching victims who were in attendance. It was a powerful expression of remorse and contrition for the failings of past church leaders and their congregations.

3. According to BBC, a Christian pastor has discovered one of the world’s largest uncut diamonds in Sierra Leone’s Kono district. The diamond, weighing 709 carats, is now locked up in Sierra Leone’s central bank in Freetown. It is one of the 20 largest diamonds ever found. Freelance, or artisanal, miners are common in Sierra Leone’s diamond-rich areas, reports the BBC’s Umaru Fofana. But there are questions over whether the community will benefit from the gemstone. Pastor Emmanuel Momoh’s discovery, which has not yet been valued, is the biggest diamond to be found in Sierra Leone since 1972, when the 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone was dug up. It is also the 13th largest diamond ever to be found.

4. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an investment adviser and former St. Louis pastor pleaded guilty to federal charges Wednesday and admitted defrauding 31 victims of $1.08 million. Mark Q. Stafford, 52, of O’Fallon, Mo., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to mail fraud and filing a false tax return. Stafford admitted that from at least March 2007 to July 2016 he misrepresented investments to clients of the Stafford Financial Firm. Stafford claimed to have opened accounts when he either didn’t deposit the money at all or deposited it in his own account, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Finneran said in court. Stafford had falsely promised returns of up to 20 percent, as well as bonuses upon investment. He created false financial statements to dupe investors into believing his claims, and even used a false name in correspondence claiming to come from those firms. He also used money from some clients to pay others, the prosecutor said. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Stafford could face more than four years in prison. He will be ordered to pay the money back at his June 13 sentencing hearing.

5. According to NBC News, Claude Lewis, co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists passed away from complications of diabetes at age 82 on Thursday according to the organization. A New York City native, Lewis graduated with a degree in English. He started his career as a reporter and in 1967 made history, becoming the first African American columnist in Philadelphia writing for the ‘Evening Bulletin.’ As a pioneering journalist, he covered the civil rights movement and interviewed civil rights leaders Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as icons Langston Hughes and James Baldwin. During a time when black faces weren’t common in the newsroom, Lewis recognized the need for more opportunities for current and aspiring journalists in the field. In 1973, he co-founded the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, a founding chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists that would come two years later. Today, NABJ is one of the largest journalism organizations in the country providing career support and resources to journalists of color. Making history again in 1982, he founded the first national African American newspaper ‘The National Leader.’ NABJ President and Social Media Editor for NBC Owned Stations Sarah Glover remembers Lewis as a “gentle soul and quiet man with a boisterous spirit in his journalistic voice” that made an impact.

6. According to TIME, a statue of a controversial Supreme Court Justice who declared that slaves were not U.S. citizens will be removed from the grounds of a City Hall in Maryland where it has been standing for about 90 years, officials said Thursday. The bust of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney will be relocated on Saturday from in front of Frederick’s City Hall to a nearby cemetery, the city said in a statement. Taney ruled more than a century ago that black people, who were either slaves or who had ancestors who were slaves, were not American citizens and had no standing to sue in federal court. The chief justice’s landmark 1857 ruling against Dred Scott, a slave who tried suing for his freedom, became a catalyst for the Civil War before it was later overturned. Lynne Jackson — Scott’s great-great granddaughter, who earlier this month received a public apology from Taney’s descendants — said she had hoped the statue would remain in front of City Hall to serve as a learning opportunity for those who are not familiar with the monumental Supreme Court case.

7. According to BBC News, rock and roll legend Chuck Berry has died aged 90, police in US state of Missouri report. The singer was found unresponsive at lunchtime on Saturday, St Charles County police said. Berry’s seven-decade career boasted a string of hits, including classics like Roll Over Beethoven and Johnny B Goode. He received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1984 and was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.