Houston joined Minneapolis and Raeford, North Carolina, in holding services to remember the life of George Floyd. Born in North Carolina but largely a resident of Houston, Floyd had just relocated to Minneapolis when he was crushed to death by a team of policemen during an arrest. The episode triggered global outrage and demonstrations, largely focused on the use of violence by police officers. The Houston service was hosted by Fountain of Praise church and featured as speakers presidential candidate Joe Biden, and ministers Al Sharpton, Steve Wells, and Ralph West (among others), Gospel greats Kim Burrell and Kurt Carr and R&B artist Ne-Yo. There were approximately 500 mourners through the nearly four-hour event; another 6,000 had viewed the casket during the wake.
J. D. Greear used a virtual platform to deliver his annual address as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He called for Southern Baptists to take seriously the racial tension in the nation and used the Black Lives Matter slogan to signal his own commitment to being part of the solution. While rejecting some of the core mission of the group called “Black Lives Matter” which was launched in 2013, he expressed solidarity with racial minorities. Greear is beginning his third year as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, extending beyond the by-law restricted two one-year terms because the Convention did not meet this year due to the Coronavirus. He is pastor of a large Baptist church in Durham.
Influential pastor and author Timothy Keller announced his cancer diagnosis. Keller is the founder and was, for 28 years, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He retired in 2018. Keller, 69, survived thyroid cancer in 2002 and now is battling pancreatic cancer. He begins treatment in New York City next week. “I have terrific human doctors, but most importantly I have the Great Physician himself caring for me,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Charisma magazine and associated media initiatives continue to be epicenter of Christian support for President Donald J. Trump. Even as they join the wider call for policing reform in the United States, the Charisma brand promotes the new book by founder and owner Steve Strang, God, Trump, and Covid19: How the Pandemic is Affecting Christians, the World, and America’s 2020 Election. It also celebrates the recent public letter to Trump written by “our brother, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò”, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States, the diplomatic mission of the Vatican to the United States. Other home page articles celebrate Trump’s executive order providing more money for international religious freedom and declaring public worship an essential service. Steve Strang launched the Charisma media empire in 1975.
Yes, another story right here in Brunswick, Georgia. Elizabeth McAlister, a former nun with the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, was sentenced following her conviction of trespassing onto Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Marys, Georgia, just south of here. In a video conference call on Monday (June 8), federal district Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced McAlister to time served, three years of probation, and $25 a month in restitution until the $33,000 damage caused by the break-in is paid in full by all the activists. McAlister is part of the group of seven Catholic peace activists known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 who feel called to protest in symbolic ways the presence of nuclear arms in the American military.