Statuary Hall in the nation’s capital is about to be the home of a Christian evangelist. The Reverend Billy Graham, a favorite son of the state of North Carolina, will replace the statue of Charles Aycock, a former governor of that state who died in 1912. Aycock is well-known as a racist who instigated the infamous 1898 race riot in Wilmington. The artwork will be created by sculptor Chaz Fagan and will cost (in private donations) $650,000.
Popular author and pastor John Ortburg has resigned the pulpit of Menlo Church, a multi-campus congregation in the Bay Area. Controversy ensued when it was discovered that the pastor had allowed his son to work as a volunteer at the church after learning that his son was sexually attracted to children. Church elders, upon learning about the situation, authorized an investigation. That investigation exonerated the pastor but was later deemed seriously flawed. Ortburg has been pastor of Menlo Church since 2004.
The “savior of the world” will soon be on Broadway! I’m referring, of course, to the famous painting by Leonardo deVinci known as Salvator Mundi, a Latin phrase which means “savior of the world”. The painting was, for many years, of questionable origin and in effect lost to the art world. It resurfaced in 2005 and was sold as a copy for less than $10,000. But more research using infrared techniques revealed it to be authentic, and it sold in 2017 for $450 million. First, a book was written describing this most unlikely journey, The Last Leonardo, by Ben Lewis. And now playwright Deborah Grace Weiner is creating the text that will take this remarkable story all the way to Broadway, and a new musical production. Stay tuned!!
General Superintendent Doug Clay has called the Assemblies of God family to a National Day of Prayer for Pastors. “Join us live as we pray for wisdom, fresh anointing, perseverance, provision, and healing over our pastors.” In a parallel development, Free Chapel, a multi- campus church based in Gainesville, Georgia, and one of America’s largest congregations, is calling the nation to 21 days of fasting and prayer. The fast, which began on Aug. 1 and concludes on Aug. 21, comes ahead of a critical presidential election”, explained Pastor Jentezen Franklin, “and amidst the world’s ongoing struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic…. We pray for a vaccine; we pray for those facing economic challenges; we pray for our children whose education and lives have been disrupted. We pray for those who are lonely and who feel lost in anxiety.” Conspicuously absent is any mention of the national movement for racial solidarity and social justice
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church hosted a four-hour funeral service for local congressional representative John Lewis. A native of Alabama, Louis grew up to become a leader in the civil rights movement, working alongside the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Speakers at the service included three former presidents: Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Lewis is known for his perseverance and his call for all of us to get into “good trouble” in pursuit of causes that are noble and of good report.