PODCAST: Cleveland Minister Dies of Coronavirus (BCNN 7.13.20)

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According to The Christian Post, The congregation at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, mourned on Wednesday the loss of one of their beloved ministers, who died at the age of 46 after a two month battle with the coronavirus. Minister Gregory Clark Jr., who also worked as a Cuyahoga County Jail corrections officer, died early Tuesday morning after spending weeks to recover from the virus, his mother Annie Clark said in a report from Cleveland.com. After finally testing negative for the virus last week, the damage he suffered to his lungs and other organs left him unable to breathe on his own so he was stuck on a ventilator until he died, his mother said. “Everything shut down,” Annie Clark told the publication. “His lungs were damaged beyond repair, his kidney and heart were severely damaged. It was just unbelievable.” At a solemn memorial service at his church that was broadcast on Facebook, only a few singers and ministers were present in the building donning masks and gloves. Several hundred others logged on to the service online, some leaving warm words to comfort their hurting church family. “We want to set aside this day to celebrate the life of Rev. Gregory Clark, a dear brother of ours, he was one of our powerful ministers on our ministerial staff. When he preached the Word he would bring it. He would bring it with full force and many a days I had many conversations with God just pleading for him but I don’t know God’s plans. But what I do know is that somewhere on the other side God is there bringing life into this situation of darkness,” Minister Otis Bevel said during the broadcast. “This is a sad yet joyous day. When I was told the news about Pastor Clark passing, I was in the middle of training some athletes and when I was told, I couldn’t stop what I was doing but at the same time I took a moment of silence. … Pastor Clark, even though I only knew him for a short time, he was that impactful on my life, very funny man. He had jokes, but he was serious as well and he was passionate about the cause,” Mark Harris, owner of RAW Talent Sports, and son of the church’s pastor, Larry L. Harris Sr., said. Clark, who leaves behind a wife of 22 years, three children— 23, 18 and 12 — and a 3-year-old granddaughter, spent 45 days at the Cleveland Clinic, where he died, fighting the virus, Cleveland.com said.

According to The Christian Post, As far as his family knows, Darius Settles had no health problems. But five days after he tested positive for COVID-19, the son of Pastor David Settles of The Worship Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, died at the age of 30 on July 4. “The virus is real,” Pastor Settles, who is now getting ready to bury his son on Saturday, told The Daily News Journal. “It’s not a hoax, and it’s not a joke. It’s real. Even with his age, I was convinced he’ll be fine. He’s young. He can fight it off. But that was not the case.” Darius’ sister, Deja Settles, said that when she learned her brother was diagnosed with the virus, she thought he would recover quickly too. “I wasn’t prepared for this. It wasn’t a possibility in my mind. I thought, he [was] going to be fine,” she said. Darius Settles lived in Nashville’s Antioch community, the newspaper reported. He is among the 685 people to have died in the state after contracting coronavirus as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Darius Settles, who was married and the father of a young son, is the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Nashville so far, according to News4.

According to News4SanAntonio, A mother is in mourning after losing not one, but two adult children to COVID-19. Monete Hicks says she lost her son and daughter just eleven days apart due to the virus. Hicks says her 20-year-old son Byron had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital where he later died. A week later, her daughter Mychaela went to the hospital after she began having headaches and running a fever. She passed away July 8th. Both children had underlying health conditions. “Wear y’all masks. Be careful, be safe out there, take it seriously,” said Monete Hicks. Both Byron and Mychaela’s deaths are part of a larger recent trend in Florida with younger people in the state contracting COVID at a higher rate. On Thursday, Broward County’s medical examiner’s office confirmed that an 11-year old girl had died of coronavirus, the youngest death in the state. Records show the girl also had other medical conditions.

According to The Associated Press, The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with the Trump administration in its effort to allow employers who cite religious or moral objections to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women as required by the Affordable Care Act. The high court on Wednesday said 7-2 the administration acted properly when it made the change, which lower courts had blocked. “We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a majority of the court.

According to The Christian Post, Pastor John Onwuchekwa, lead pastor of the diverse but predominantly black Cornerstone Church Atlanta, announced Friday that his congregation has voted to leave the Southern Baptist Convention, hinting at racial concerns with the world’s largest Baptist denomination. “On Sunday we voted as a church to leave the SBC. I don’t say this for applause (there’s nothing particularly commendable about our decision). I only mention it to bring clarity surrounding where (and with whom) we stand in days like this. Frankly, we should’ve done it sooner,” Onwuchekwa wrote in a series of tweets last Friday. Onwuchekwa, Richard Mullen, Moe Hafeez and rapper Trip Lee planted Cornerstone Church Atlanta after they moved to the city’s historic West End neighborhood in 2015. In a 2016 interview with The Christian Post, Lee, who is no longer listed on the church’s website, said the church at the time attracted about 200 predominantly young worshipers weekly who were about 60% black and about 40% white. It is unclear what the current composition of the church is as Onwuchekwa did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CP. The pastor, who authored Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church, promised in his post that sometime in the coming weeks he would elaborate on the reasons for his congregation’s vote. An official with the SBC’s Executive Committee confirmed Tuesday that the church was planted with the help of the convention’s North American Mission Board and referred questions about the vote to them. A response from NAMB is pending.

According to NBC News, Radio host Rickey Smiley’s daughter was shot three times in Houston over the holiday weekend but is expected to recover. The comedian said during the “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” Monday that his daughter, Aaryn Smiley, was driving to Whataburger on Sunday night to get food when she was shot at a traffic light. “She’s fine. I’m just so angry right now,” he said on the show. Houston police said the shooting happened around 8:45 p.m. on South Freeway. A woman and three men were injured, the department said in a press release without identifying any of the victims. As of Tuesday morning, no arrests have been made.

According to The Christian Post, Floating Michelle Tidball, an obscure preacher from Cody, Wyoming, as his running mate, popular rapper and music producer Kanye West says God has told him to run for president in 2020 and urged incumbent Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden to “gracefully bow out” of the race. “For the other candidates, I just gracefully suggest y’all bow out — Trump and Biden, gracefully bow out. It’s God’s country, we are doing everything in service to God, nobody but God no more. I am in service of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and I put everything I get on the line to serve God,” West said in an interview with Forbes about his current campaign for the White House billed “Kanye West YES.” The 43-year-old billionaire, who pledged to evangelize America’s youth with music at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, last year, said even though Trump is “the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation,” he has lost confidence in him and his presidency now “looks like one big mess to me.” He also dismissed Biden for not being “special” and slammed him for telling prominent black New York City radio host Charlamagne tha god of the popular “The Breakfast Club” on New York City’s Power 105.1, that if he struggled to vote for him over President Donald Trump, he “ain’t black.”

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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!