LISTEN: “Unplanned” movie makes top 10 at box office for 2nd weekend (UCNN, 04/10/19)

This the Urban Christian News podcast. My name is Danae Whyte. Here are the top stories you need to know about right now.

According to CBN, The pro-life movie “Unplanned” finished in the top 10 at the box office for the second weekend in a row, overcoming an “R” rating and what the film’s supporters have called a media blackout. Now, media outlets are calling the movie’s success a surprise. “Unplanned” – which is centered on the life of former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson – brought in $3.2 million on its second weekend after 471 more theaters added the film to their showings. The movie made over $6 million when it debuted last weekend. So far, it’s earned more than $12 million, doubling the $6 million production budget.

According to NBC News, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas, Louisiana, is the third African American church to burn down in St. Landry Parish in a span of 10 days. St. Mary’s Baptist Church was the first reported church fire on March 26. Then, just 10 miles down the road, Greater Union Baptist Church went up in flames a week later. All three churches were well over a hundred years old. A fourth church burned about 200 miles away in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Authorities don’t believe that fire is connected to the three in St. Landry Parish but are continuing to investigate. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal, the lead investigator on the multiple fires, is working with the ATF and FBI to comb through what remains to determine a cause and possible motive. Meanwhile, more than 100 criminal investigators are on the scenes while another 150 to 200 investigators are working across the country to determine the cause.

According to KNWA, After more than 30 years, one of the Arkansas’ most prominent pastors is leaving Cross Church. Head Pastor Ronnie Floyd officially announced his resignation at the church’s Springdale and Pinnacle Hills campuses on Sunday, April 7. Floyd was elected as the new President and CEP of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee on April 2, following a ballot vote in Dallas. Floyd said his decision to leave the area and move to Nashville, Tennessee, hasn’t been an easy one.

According to THV11, a Tennessee woman has been arrested after the death of Pastor Brodes Perry of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. Perry was killed and his wife was injured on Thursday night, April 4, at an apartment complex in Collierville, TN. Police have charged Latoshia Daniels with first-degree murder and various other charges, but have not released the other victims’ names. Daniels is listed as an officer at The Root Behavioral Health Center in Little Rock. Police have not yet released a possible motive.

According to CBS DFW, police arrested three church pastors for allegedly tying up and using an extension cord to beat a confession out of a child. It happened three weeks ago at The Church – A Place of Worship for All Nations in Mesquite, TX. Police investigators reviewed evidence and conducted interviews to determine that the three church pastors, Deborah Ann Graham, David Asa Graham, and Tonya Hill, committed two criminal offenses: Unlawful Restraint and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity by committing an Assault Causing Bodily Injury. All three suspects, who are said to be related, were arrested at their home in Allen.

According to Religion News Service, a Christian organization whose mission is to equip women to be peacemakers has been accused of trying to erase comments by a black Christian speaker about white supremacy. During an onstage interview, Ekemini Uwan, a Nigerian American public theologian, told an audience at the recent Sparrow Conference for women in Dallas that their concept of race was incompatible with the Bible. In response, several women walked out. Uwan said organizers tried to downplay any sign of her presence at the conference. While the Sparrow Women social media accounts published photos, excerpts and highlights from several conference speakers, no images or quotes from Uwan’s comments appeared on its feeds. A video of the interview that had been published to YouTube of her remarks was removed for copyright violation.

According to Church Leaders, Pastor and author Dr. Tony Evans shared on social media this week that his wife’s cancer has returned. He posted the news on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, asking people to join him and his family in prayer for Lois’ healing. He wrote, “Please pray for my wife, Lois. She has been a cancer-free patient under care for a while. However, her last routine scan revealed that her rare gallbladder cancer has returned. We need God to intervene as we continue our search for an effective treatment. We are going to trust God in the dark for a solution, and we are asking you to fervently pray to that end.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, In a period of a little over 24 hours this weekend, 24 people were shot in Chicago, including three children under 13 — and three of the adults who were shot died from their injuries. Beginning at 4 a.m. Saturday through about 10 a.m. Sunday, Chicago police were investigating shooting cases that included the homicides and a mass shooting of six people outside an afternoon baby shower in which an 8-year-old boy was shot in the chest and back and a 10-year-old girl was struck in the shin. Chicago police typically see an increase in violence during summer months, in part because cold winter weather keeps more people indoors. There also tend to be more social gatherings in the summer, which in turn means people have increased occasion to drink alcohol, which can lead to additional arguments.

According to the AP, Representatives for a social justice center that trained the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders said on Tuesday that a white-power symbol was spray-painted near the site of a fire that destroyed a building there. The fire at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, happened early Friday morning, incinerating decades of archives in the center’s main office. Highlander leaders found the symbol last Friday but did not make the news public until Tuesday, when they posted a news release on the center’s Facebook page.

According to the AP, The man charged with killing rapper Nipsey Hussle was ordered held on $5 million bail after pleading not guilty Thursday to murder and attempted murder charges. Eric Holder Jr. making his first court appearance after Sunday’s shooting and subsequent two-day manhunt, spoke only to say “yeah” to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan’s questions. His attorney, Christopher Darden, did not dispute the bail amount, which the prosecution requested. Darden declined comment after the hearing.

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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!