LISTEN: Baltimore Home of Rep. Elijah Cumming’s Assistant Destroyed In Fire, 6 of Her 9 Children Presumed Dead; Nigerian Pastor Remains Strong In Faith Despite Boko Haram Burning Down Church (BCNN1, 1/12/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Thursday, January 12, 2017.

1. According to the Associated Press and Mail Online, six children are presumed dead after an early morning house fire tore through their northeast Baltimore home, injuring their mother and three other siblings. The woman and two of her children were taken to hospital in a critical condition and the office of Rep. Elijah E. Cumming identified the woman as Katie Malone – a special assistant who has worked for him for 11-years. “It’s a very difficult time in our office,” said Cumming to reporters at a news conference on Thursday morning and revealed he had spoken to Malone’s husband at length. Tragically he confirmed that six of the nine Malone children appeared to have perished in the blaze.

2. According to Christian Headlines, a Nigerian pastor who has suffered many trials due to terrorist group Boko Haram continues to have unwavering faith. reports that the church of Pastor Aminu Sule from the village of Dematuru in Yobe State, Nigeria, was bombed and destroyed by Boko Haram militants in 2011. Many Christians in the region fled the persecution, but Sule felt called to stay. Sule said, “Many people left Dematuru because of the levels of persecution, but I said no – I cannot leave my church. I am supposed to be the last person to close the church, if it is necessary.”

3. According to Baptist Press, convicted murderer Dylann Roof should repent of the massacre of nine people he killed at Mother Emanuel church, the victims’ survivors said after a jury recommended the death penalty Jan. 10. Denise Quarles, daughter of massacre victim Myra Thompson, said on ABC News after the jury’s decision was announced, “Judgment day is coming sooner for him than what he expected. He definitely needs to [repent].” Her father and Thompson’s widow Anthony Thompson said “yes” in agreement. Roof, an avowed white supremacist, affirmed his decision to kill the black worshippers as recently as the December 2016 sentencing phase of the trial, it was widely reported. Acting as his own attorney, he said, “I felt like I had to do it and I still feel like I have to do it.”

4. According to the Associated Press, a court hearing is set for a Mississippi man charged in the burning of a black church that was spray-painted with “Vote Trump.” Andrew McClinton has been jailed under $250,000 bond since he was arrested Dec. 21 and charged with first degree arson of a place of worship. He is accused of setting fire to the church where he was a member, Hopewell Missionary Baptist in Greenville. It was burned and vandalized Nov. 1, a week before the presidential election.

5. According to the Associated Press, Black lawmakers said Wednesday that Sen. Jeff Sessions at times has shown hostility toward civil rights, making him unfit to be attorney general, as a 1986 letter from the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., surfaced strongly expressing opposition to the Alabama senator. In the second day of confirmation hearings, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Sessions’ colleague, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who was beaten when he marched for civil rights in the 1960s, warned that Sessions could move the country backward if confirmed as Donald Trump’s top law enforcement official. Booker said the “arc of the universe does not just naturally curve toward justice, we must bend it,” and the country needs an attorney general who is determined to bend it.

6 . According to the Baltimore Sun, after five months of negotiation, Baltimore and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed to the terms of a consent decree mandating reform of the city police department, both sides said Wednesday. The agreement is expected to be approved by top city officials at a special meeting Thursday. It also must be approved by a U.S. District Court judge before becoming binding. It has not been made public. Mayor Catherine Pugh told reporters Wednesday, “We’re going to get it done.” Aides said she and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch would jointly announce the agreement at City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, after the meeting of the Board of Estimates.

7. According to USA Today, more than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many — 72% — say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a new study published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.