The Ravi Zacharias International Ministries of Atlanta released the report of an independent investigation launched in response to accusations that the famous evangelist had engaged in long-running sexual abuse and illicit behavior. Zacharias died last year after spending years denying the stories and pressuring women to remain silent. The board of the ministry, which is run by his daughter, employs almost 300 persons, and operates in 15 countries, issued a four-page response to the report expressing deep contrition and promising to make restitution in some way.
The Public Broadcasting System aired a much-hyped, two-part series on the black church in America, entitled “This is Our Story, This is Our Song.” The four-hour series was written, produced, and directed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr, director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research and a professor at Harvard University. The documentary traced the 400-year history of Christianity among Africans before and after they were enslaved and brought to America. In a related story, the Pew Charitable Trusts released a data-driven report on the Black Church in America, and I will report on that in detail next week right here in The Meetinghouse.
The Supreme Court ruled that states must allow persons who are being executed by the state to be attended by their minister. Alabama had adopted a rule barring all clergy in such settings because it could not guarantee the clergy of choice by every inmate. And in a follow-up to last week’s Court decision authorizing restrictions on church gatherings: Grace Community Church of metro Los Angeles has cancelled plans for an annual gathering of thousands in the first week of March.
President Joe Biden announced this week the reactivation of the dormant Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The initiative had flourished under Presidents Bush and Obama but had been de-activated under President Trump. Melissa Rogers, a Baptist and a lawyer who held the position under Obama, is being brought back to head the agency to “work with leaders of different faiths and backgrounds who are the frontlines of their communities in crisis and who can help us heal, unite, and rebuild.”
Last week, I announced that The Meetinghouse is moving from a primarily audio product, for the radio and web site, to a video format. This change will occur the first week of March as we join the broadcast venture of St. Stephen’s Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Pastor Kevin Cosby tweeted: “I am so excited to have you join us! The Meetinghouse is amazing. Welcome my friend!!!” We will air at our regular time, 1 pm EST, on Thursday. Dr. Cosby will be my guest on March 4 along with opera superstar Angela Brown of the American Spiritual Ensemble as well as her agent, Janel Jerriel. In addition, we will host a Launch Party, on Zoom, at 8 pm that same evening, and you are invited. Put that date and those times on your calendar.