PODCAST: Rock Church Suspends in-Person Worship Services After Multiple Staffers Test Positive for Coronavirus (BCNN1 5.19.21)

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According to Fox 5 San Diego, Fifteen COVID-19 cases among employees at the Rock Church prompted church officials to limit Sunday services, including some next weekend. In a statement on Sunday, the church announced that it recently learned 15 employees had tested positive for coronavirus across its five campuses. The church said it is helping those workers get the care they need, and the affected employees are self-quarantining. “None of our staff have been hospitalized. They are about split of symptomatic and asymptomatic. They are quarantining and doing well,” said Executive Pastor Lisa Penberthy. In light of the outbreak, the church said it would limit its in-person Sunday services to only its Point Loma and microsite locations on May 16 and May 23. Members can also worship with the church online on the website or its Facebook and YouTube pages.

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According to Religion News Service, On the first Wednesday in May, as the centennial of the Tulsa massacre approached, the Rev. Robert R.A. Turner stood outside Tulsa City Hall with his megaphone, as he does every week. “Tulsa, you will reap what you sow and that which you have done unto the least of these my children, Jesus said, you have done also unto me,” said Turner, 38, the pastor of Historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, captured on a video posted on Facebook. “We come here to say, for your own benefit, you ought to do reparations not tomorrow, not even next week, not next month, not next year, but we demand reparations now!” Turner’s Vernon AME is one of the plaintiffs in a suit filed in September that calls for the city of Tulsa and other defendants to pay reparations to relatives of victims and survivors of the May 31, 1921, massacre that destroyed a part of town known as “Black Wall Street.” Beginning with false rumors spread though the Oklahoma city that a young Black man had assaulted a white female elevator operator, within about 16 hours, a white mob killed an estimated 300 Black people and destroyed thousands of homes, businesses and churches. As Tulsa pauses to mark the somber centenary in its Greenwood district, where Black Wall Street was located, Turner and other Black people of faith are among those saying the time has come to repay as well as to remember. The lawsuit argues that the tragedy is a continuing “public nuisance” that Tulsa should remedy through monetary means. Among the suit’s petitions to the Tulsa County District Court are payments to descendants of those who were killed, injured or displaced by the massacre; development of educational and mental health programs for individuals and organizations in Greenwood and North Tulsa; and a scholarship program for “Massacre descendants” for post-secondary education in Oklahoma. The city, responding in court documents to the suit, questioned the framing of its claims and the idea that the city’s current problems can be attributed to 100-year-old wrongs.

According to the Denver Post, A Black judge will replace the white 18th Judicial District judge who was censured by the Colorado Supreme Court in April and resigned after she used a racial slur while on the job. Three Black candidates have been named as finalists for Judge Natalie Chase’s job. Gov. Jared Polis will select one to fill the vacancy on the bench. “I consider that serendipity,” said Senior Judge Gary Jackson, who has for years advocated for racial diversity among Colorado judges. “Some people would consider it karma. Whatever word you want to use, to me it’s a reflection that the world is changing and these types of slurs cannot be bantered about. Because it is so hurtful to so many of us.” Chase was publicly disciplined by the Colorado Supreme Court in April in part because she questioned a Black employee about why white people couldn’t use a racial slur, which the censure described as “the N-word.” She apologized and agreed to resign as part of the disciplinary proceedings. Her resignation is effective May 31. The Colorado Judicial Department on Wednesday named Arapahoe County Court Judge Cheryl Ann Rowles-Stokes and attorneys Marques Ivey and Cajardo Lindsey as finalists for the judgeship.

According to Baptist Press, Russell Moore is leaving the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, ending an occasionally controversial eight-year tenure, to take a role with Christianity Today. Moore, who has served as president of the ERLC since June 2013, announced Tuesday (May 18) he will begin a role this summer as a public theologian for what the magazine described as “a new Public Theology Project.” In a message posted to his personal blog, Moore said the project “is devoted to cultivating a forward-looking, joyful, consistent Gospel witness.” “I’ve struggled with this decision,” Moore wrote, “because my gratitude for the honor of serving the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is so deep. As I conclude my time serving Southern Baptists as ERLC president, I am filled with gratitude as well as excitement for the future.” Moore said he was “thankful for Southern Baptists, whom I love and to whom I owe so much.” David Prince, chair of the ERLC’s board of trustees and pastor of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., expressed gratitude for Moore’s service and sadness over his resignation, which is effective June 1, but said the ERLC’s trustees would identify a new leader to continue the ERLC’s work, which he described as “essential to the SBC.” Daniel Patterson, the ERLC’s executive vice president, will serve as acting president.

According to the New York Post, Nikole Hannah-Jones, the controversial founder of the 1619 Project, has lost her alma mater’s offer for tenure and is instead under consideration for a fixed five-year contract as a professor of practice. NC Policy Watch reported on the change Wednesday amid a wave of criticism of her work. According to the outlet, the University of North Carolina’s board of trustees decided not to approve Hannah-Jones’ tenure – which effectively translates into a career-long appointment – despite support from faculty. Susan King, dean of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, reportedly called the decision “disappointing” and said she was afraid it would create a “chilling effect.” One of the board members told the outlet that “politics” motivated its decision, although others have alleged that political considerations have helped elevate Hannah-Jones despite purported issues with her scholarship. Jay Schalin of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal penned an op-ed earlier this month in which he suggested Hannah-Jones’ appointment represented a shift toward “propaganda” at Hussman.

According to Click2Houston, The NAACP has launched an initiative that works to limit pandemic and systemic disparities among the Black community within the United States. According to the NAACP, federal data shows that African Americans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and in addition to health implications, their community is also hit hard by economic and social implications. The “COVID. KNOW MORE.” campaign is designed to offer up-to-date research, resources, and impactful stories that help Black Americans navigate the pandemic and protect their loved ones from infection as public health mandates are loosened. The initiative includes data-backed resources and information that can help Black Americans make informed decisions when it comes to public outings and gatherings, mask-wearing, and vaccines.

According to Deadline, Paul Mooney, a towering figure in the world of comedy and social criticism who brought a sharp eye and sharper humor to the subject of race relations, never better than in his collaborations with Richard Pryor, died today after suffering a heart attack. He was 79. His death was announced by his cousin, Rudy Ealy, to CNN contributor Roland Martin, who said Mooney died at his home in Oakland, CA. As an actor, Mooney portrayed singer Sam Cooke in 1978’s The Buddy Holly Story, played Junebug in Spike Lee’s 2000 Bamboozled, made numerous guest appearances on such TV series and specials as The Richard Pryor Show, The Larry Sanders Show and, more recently, Chappelle’s Show, Real Husbands of Hollywood. In 2004, he starred in his own comedy series, Judge Mooney. Mooney’s greatest influence, though, was as a writer, at first for sitcoms such as Sanford and Son and Good Times but more significantly with and for Pryor. He was the head writer for Pryor’s groundbreaking The Richard Pryor Show, co-wrote much of the material on Pryor’s comedy albums and even was recruited by Pryor to provide material for Pryor’s hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. Mooney’s memoir, Black Is the New White, was published in 2005. Information on survivors was not immediately available, but a group of comedians planned to gather outside the Laugh Factory Hollywood to remember the influential comic.

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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!

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