In a time of intense racial tension in the U.S., a megachurch congregation of predominately black members at a thriving Shiloh Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, is making a powerful statement by merging with a struggling predominately white church to launch a second church 22 miles away from its current downtown location.
Shiloh Baptist, led by Pastor H.B. Charles Jr., is merging with Ridgewood Baptist Church in Orange Park, pastored by Michael Clifford. Charles told The Christian Post that it was in "the providence of God" that the merger took place during such a racially charged moment in the nation's history.
"Just a few weeks ago, we were wrestling with the fact that no one really knew what was taking place," Charles, 41, said. "In the providence of God, He's the kind of a God that knew that for us. We are excited that our actions are making their own independent statement for Christ in the midst of all of the racial tension that's in the news these days." more >>
Bishop Eddie Long and his Georgia-based megachurch congregation recently held a rally in support of a local family who recently lost their teenage daughter to a shooting at a bus stop.
Bishop Long and members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church of DeKalb County held a "prayer walk" on Sunday at the scene of the murder of 19-year-old Marcaysia Dawkins.
"#Prayer walk on Sunday with Bishop Eddie L. Long & #ChiefAlexander to the MARTA bus stop just near our church where Marcaysia Dawkins who was 19 years old and a recent high school graduate was murdered on November 23," noted New Birth Missionary on social media. more >>
Events sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, which takes place on Saturday, include the release of the organization's new documentary and Saddleback Church co-founder Kay Warren sharing her testimony, both available during webcasts.
"International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day can change your life," says AFSP. "It's the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope."
For many loss survivors, attending a Survivor Day event is the first time they realize they are not alone, say organizers. "Just hearing the stories—from people at all stages of healing—can be helpful," AFSP states. "The gathering also provides participants with a chance to share their own stories with those who understand firsthand the challenges of living in the aftermath of a suicide loss." more >>
Hillsong Church and its band Hillsong United received special recognition on ABC News' "Nightline" Thursday evening.
The Pentecostal megachurch was founded in Australia in 1983 and today has over 30,000 members, according to Hillsong officials. In addition to their powerful ministry, Hillsong produced the award-winning worship band Hillsong United, which has toured the world performing at various Hillsong church location and concert venues. On Thursday, "Nightline" highlighted the achievements of the church and its music while featuring its New York leading pastor Carl Lentz. The segment aired at 12:35 a.m. ET.
Just weeks before "Nightline" featured Hillsong, the church's band Hillsong United was nominated for an American Music Award in the Contemporary Inspirational Artist category. It marked the band's first AMA nomination. The 2014 AMA's will be broadcast from Los Angeles' Nokia Theater on Nov. 23 on ABC. more >>
Canadian-born pop star Justin Bieber was spotted at Hillsong Church in New York City Sunday with models Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin.
"No doubt, the rumor mill will see Bieber's spiritually-inclined meet with Jenner and Baldwin as a romantic date," wrote Page Mackinley of the Inquisitr. "But, in fact, the 'vonfident' singer has been on a religious retreat of sorts following his split with [Selena Gomez]."
Being at Hillsong for an evening church service is the latest in a series of spiritual outings for Bieber, who's been reeling from controversies surrounding a DUI charge while in Miami and his breakup with Gomez. more >>
Reaction to the dissolving of Mars Hill Church called for by its elders two weeks after the resignation of its founding pastor, Mark Driscoll, has been varied, including high praise for the controversial pastor's impact on the lives of people who attended his church, a letter of repentance to two former pastors signed by 18 former elders, and fond memories of an edgy congregation meeting in the Seattle area and taking on the world around them.
"Eleven years ago, I walked into a dimly lit former warehouse with crazy art hung up everywhere, tattooed and pierced guys and girls handing out pamphlets, hard rock reverberating through the dark-painted walls, and a short, kinda thick guy up on stage yelling at everyone," wrote Seth MacGillivray, a former long-time member and deacon at Mars Hill, in a post on his Facebook page Friday evening.
"The place was called Mars Hill Church. I was a new Christian, and had a view of most Jesus-followers as a cross between Ned Flanders and high school girls who listened to DC Talk. Here was something new: an ultra-orthodox view of the bible combined with a liberal view of the world," he continued. more >>