PODCAST: U.S. to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees (UCNN 03.30.22)

This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to Reuters, The United States plans to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion and is pledging $1 billion in new humanitarian aid, the Biden administration said on Thursday after a month of bombardments touched off Europe’s fastest-moving refugee crisis since the end of World War Two. The announcement coincided with U.S. President Joe Biden’s meeting with European leaders in Brussels to coordinate the Western response to the crisis. More than 3.5 million people have fled since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, putting a strain on the neighboring European countries receiving them. U.S. lawmakers and advocates have urged Biden to do more to help those seeking refuge in the United States. In the first two weeks of March, seven Ukrainian refugees were resettled in the United States, internal U.S. State Department data seen by Reuters shows. Some Ukrainians have traveled to Mexico to seek U.S. asylum at the southwest border. A senior Biden official said the administration still expected many Ukrainians to choose to remain in Europe close to their home country but added the U.S. commitment to receive more people would relieve some pressure on European nations currently hosting the bulk of refugees fleeing the conflict, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”

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According to the Washington Post, The leader and co-founder of Hillsong megachurch Brian Houston has resigned after two complaints of unwelcome behavior toward women were investigated by the church board. A statement released by the board on Wednesday said it had accepted Houston’s resignation and would conduct an independent review of its governance structure and processes during a “time of humble reflection.” The news followed a statement on Friday that detailed the two complaints made against Houston. About 10 years ago he sent “inappropriate text messages” to a staff member who then resigned, according to the board statement released Friday. It said Houston had a dependence on sleeping pills — from which he has since recovered — and was under the influence of the medication when he sent the messages. The second incident happened in 2019 at the annual Hillsong Conference, which takes place in Sydney and was opened that year by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Houston knocked on a hotel room door and spent “time with the female occupant,” the board statement said. The church investigation found Houston was disoriented after taking anti-anxiety medication beyond the prescribed dose mixed with alcohol. The board’s statement did not detail what happened in the woman’s hotel room. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., Hillsong interim senior global pastor Phil Dooley told a global meeting of 800 church members on Friday that “the truth is we don’t know what happened next.” “The woman has not said there was any sexual activity,” he reportedly added. “Brian has said there was no sexual activity but he was in the room for 40 minutes.” Houston had been on leave since January after he was charged by Australian police with concealing sexual abuse perpetrated by his late father, Frank Houston, also a pastor — unrelated to the two complaints made by women.

According to WTOP, Howard University will invest $785 million to build three new academic buildings and renovate other campus buildings in what it calls its largest construction real estate initiative in the school’s history. Howard, which has received record-breaking philanthropic giving and Wall Street’s blessing for a strong financial position, calls this expansion a watershed moment. “Because of the tremendously enhanced financial posture we have worked so hard to achieve, the state of the University has never been stronger,” said president Wayne A. I. Frederick. Howard University had record-breaking fundraising totals last year, with $170 million in philanthropic contributions in fiscal 2021. The university has also raised $120 million in gift commitments so far this fiscal year. In February, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s raised their ratings on $300 million in Howard-issued bonds from stable to positive. It will be the first time Howard has constructed new buildings on its D.C. campus since 1984. New construction will account for $670 million of the new investment.

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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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