MH News March 12, 2020

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, like many religious networks around the country, has implemented cautionary restrictions as a response to the Coronavirus. These include no holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, no handshakes or embracing during Passing the Peace, and suspension of distribution of the cup during Holy Communion. Other religious organizations are encouraging young, old, and somewhat sick to stay home, eliminating cash transactions, providing hand sanitizers on campus, draining baptismal fonts, suspending all services, or preparing social media strategies to broadcast church events.


Washington DC
A theater in the Kennedy Center in the nation’s capital is the latest venue for the popular but controversial Beyoncé Mass. The Mass is built around the music of pop star Beyoncé, such as “Heaven”, “Flaws and All”, and “Survivor”.   It was created by Rev. Yolanda Norton a professor of Hebrew Scripture at San Francisco Theological Seminary out of materials submitted by her students fulfilling a class assignment. It premiered on the campus in 2018. It has since traveled the country and attracted good crowds, especially of black women. “We are not worshipping Beyoncé,” Norton said, twice repeating her answer to an oft-asked question. “It is a Christian worship service and we are focused on the mission movement of Christ in the world and we are trying to promote a gospel message of love, inclusion and justice.” The service generally includes Holy Communion and the Lord’s Prayer.


The Attorney General of New York has directed evangelist Jim Bakker to stop advertising and selling what he calls the “Silver Solution” as an effective treatment for Coronavirus. The product, developed by integrative naturopathic doctor Sherri Sellman, sells for $125 with payment made to The Food and Drug Administration has warned that the product—particles of silver metal suspended in a liquid—is not safe or effective for treating any disease or physical condition and could be actually dangerous. Earlier in his media ministry career, Bakker survived a sex scandal and served time for tax evasion.


The tornado that swept through central Tennessee last week left behind extensive damage to houses of worship in north and east sections of Nashville and surrounding counties. Known as the Buckle in the Bible Belt and the Protestant Vatican, Nashville alone has more than 700 churches. Hardest hit were the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church and the Mount Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. The Southern Baptist Convention reported damage to six SBC churches and the United Methodist Church claimed damage to three of their congregations. The Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption was damaged and numerous churches reported that their members were among the 24 persons who were killed in the storms.


Chapel Hill
A three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled recently that a refugee that fled Honduras and took sanctuary from deportation in the Church of Reconciliation may stay in the United States. The Court over-ruled an immigration court which, it said, did not provide evidence that she would be safe in Honduras.  Rosa del Carmen Ortez Cruz admits there were days she wanted to stay in bed and hide under the covers; but now she will be able to reunite with her four children and get on with her life. Around the country, 47 persons have taken refuge in sanctuaries, seeking safety from deportation by government authorities.


Glynn County
The Golden Isles Women’s Connection will host its annual retreat at First Baptist Church of Brunswick, this Friday and Saturday, March 12 and 13, featuring author and speaker Lisa Harper supported by a worship team of local musicians. Abundant Faith Church of God in Christ in Darien will have its 17th annual Men’s Day Sunday, March 15, at 4:30 in the afternoon, featuring Rev. Bobby Thompson of St. Paul Baptist Church in Brunswick; and on March 20, former Golden Isles musician Cameron Cody, now of Houston, Texas, is bringing his gospel music trio to First Methodist Church in Brunswick.