David Jones Jr. said he was excited to see a new Bible sitting on his front porch Monday morning. Then he looked inside and found what he describes as a “racial slur toward blacks,” written on the inside cover.
A total of 16 black residents along North Mulberry and Springmill Streets and Vale Avenue received the marred Bibles on Sunday, according to the Mansfield Police Department.
“At first I said good, because I can use another Bible, but when I opened it to see who it came from it just had a nasty statement in there,” Jones said. “I thought someone was saying it to me, but then I saw it on other porches, so I called police.”
A few doors down, Lillian Webb had the same initial reaction.
“I thought someone was trying to be funny, saying I need to read the Bible,” Webb said. “After I read (the slur), I thought, who would write that in a Bible?”
Across the street, the Friendly House received three Bibles, director Terry Conard said. Bibles also showed up at two vacant houses on either side of Webb.
Nine of the King James Holy Bibles were recovered Monday morning after Jones called in the complaint. Six more were found by police canvassing the area Wednesday. The same slur was “neatly” written in neon colors, according to victims.
SMMFH @ “neatly”
Police are classifying the act as ethnic intimidation, meaning the racial slur was meant to threaten and intimidate residents, Capt. Ken Coontz said. Those responsible could face menacing charges, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If tied to ethnic motivations, the charge could increase the offense to a third-degree misdemeanor, or up to 60 days in jail, he said.
The police are still searching for any clues that might help them find the person(s) responsible. We suppose this is better than a burning cross on your lawn, but it still has to be a little unsettling that this type of racism is still alive and kickin’ in 2013.
Another City is rocked by a pastor scandal.
Lead pastor of Discovery Church in Orlando, Fla., David Loveless, has resigned after admitting that he had an extramarital affair.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the immediate resignation of our lead pastor, David Loveless, following his acknowledgement of his participation in a wrongful relationship over multiple years with a woman not his wife,” a statement from the church’s elder board reads. “While David indicates that the relationship was ended approximately three years ago, we were only made aware of it when he informed us in recent days. David offered his resignation and the elders prayerfully and unanimously accepted it.”
The Church Wounds co-author and his wife, Caron, have been married for more than 37 years, and they have three married sons and seven grandchildren, according to his blog. The church he is leaving has been recognized as “one of the 10 healthiest churches in America,” his blog formerly stated, and he was recognized as “one of the top 20 Christian leaders in the U.S. to watch.”
Discovery Church elders have asked their congregation to pray for them as they seek to “administer biblical accountability with the appropriate balance of grace, mercy and truth.” They have also requested prayer for the Loveless family and the “church family” as a whole, and have asked churchgoers not to rush to judgment and to avoid gossip and speculating about the situation.
“These are difficult circumstances for any church, regardless of size, and serve as a poignant reminder of the frailty of man and the need to live in honest community and accountability with other believers,” the statement says. “While we believe David Loveless can be restored to Christian fellowship and productive Christian service, we do not believe he can serve as a pastor at Discovery Church.”
The statement was first shared with the church’s staff last Wednesday, followed by the rest of the congregation over the weekend. Filling in for Loveless on an interim basis is Don Cousins, the director of ministry for Discovery Church.
Two other pastors of major Orlando-area churches also resigned in the last six months because of affairs, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Isaac Hunter of Summit Church stepped down in December, and Sam Hinn of The Gathering Place Worship Center did so in January.
Social media users have had mixed reactions to the news of Loveless’ affair and resignation.
“When will the church take responsibility for it’s actions. This is pitiful.” Twitter user Taja Fox tweeted.
“Prayers go out to David loveless and all the families of Discovery Church,” tweeted Ely Young.
Brent Bailey, lead pastor of Direction Church Orlando, told The Christian Post that his congregation will be praying for Loveless and Discovery Church during their regular Tuesday night gathering this evening.
“He’s done so much great work here,” said Bailey. “Discovery Church is just such an incredible place, and lots of lives have been changed. And we’re just going to be praying for him, that God restores him and God puts him back to where he needs to be and that this ministry can go on and still touch as many people as it can.”
Bailey, who has been in ministry for 20 years but founded Direction Church just seven months ago, says hearing about the moral failure of other pastors saddens him and causes him to reflect on his own vulnerabilities.
“It also makes us realize how vulnerable every human being is no matter how long they’ve been in ministry or how many lives they’ve touched,” he said. “There really is an enemy out there that’s trying to do his best to take every one of us out.”
She’s one of the most famous mother’s around yet Beyonce is adamant she wants to make daughter Blue Ivy‘s life as “normal” as possible.
Although her vow may only have to be taken with a pinch of salt if you evaluate what ‘normal’ means to the Destiny’s Child star – who has spent £14,000 on just one of her cribs, as well as £630,000 a year on nursery rent alone.
Beyonce spoke of her desire to give her tot a normal life during a special chat with ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday.
More than a million Chicago residents will be eligible for low-cost Internet service through a program aimed at expanding digital access to underserved areas.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that Chicago will be a pilot city for the national EveryoneOn campaign. The program provides low-cost Internet access and training to residents in neighborhoods where the median annual income is $35,000 or less.
Emanuel says digital skills are vital in today's workforce. He says access to digital literacy training and affordable high-speed Internet service is a "game changer" for kids and adults.
The program is expected to reach 1.1 million residents.
It builds on the Comcast Internet Essentials initiative, which has connected more than 11,000 low-income families to affordable high-speed Internet since 2011.
Shirley Caesar used to refuse to infuse contemporary styles with her traditional gospel sound, but now the 11-time Grammy winner and pastor has changed her stance.
Caesar, who is known as the “Queen of Gospel,” is singing to a different tune on her new solo album, “Good God,” released last week. It’s been four years since she dropped an album, giving her time to embrace a new musical approach.
The 74-year-old brought on up-and-comers such as Kurt Carr and James Fortune as producers to weave a modern, radio-friendly style into her sound.
Caesar sat down with The Associated Press recently to talk about her resurgence in gospel, how she bounced back after a slumping economy and her thoughts on the direction of gospel music.
Caesar: Songs that made me popular like `Hold My Mule’ and `Drive Your Mama Away’ – they were good for me in that season. I still sing them today, but that’s not the kind of gospel that radio is pushing now. I had to listen to what’s going on now, and pick up on it.
AP: How were you able to stay current?
Caesar: I finally started to watch what everybody else is doing, what they are playing and not playing. Then I had to try my best to be right down the middle of the road. … I had to start singing with younger singers, having young producers like Kurt Carr and a writer like James Fortune. Because of it, I’m able to stay current.
AP: You’ve said in the past that you didn’t understand the contemporary gospel style. Since you have worked with newbie gospel artists, what do you think of the genre’s direction now?
Caesar: I think they are awesome. There are more young men singing today. Before, women kind of dominated. Now young men are doing it. I like where it’s going.
AP: The economy was slumping around the time you released “A City Called Heaven” in 2009. How did that affect you?
Caesar: At first, it was hard. No concerts. The offerings at the church dropped, my tithes dropped. Then all of a sudden God turned things around. He has turned it around. I’m so grateful. I’m getting so many calls now for dates to come and sing. … And I’m not talking about cheap dates. I’m talking about big dates.
AP: You’ve been more active lately, like with your appearance on BET’s “Celebration of Gospel.” What do you attribute to your resurgence?
Caesar: I believe God has given me another chance. He’s not a God of a second chance, but a God of another chance because I’ve used up my second, third and so forth. … When a man’s ways pleases God, even his enemy could be at peace with him. Whatever the enemy is, God says he’ll turn it around.
AP: What steps did you take to stay faithful?
Caesar: I had to be obedient, and God knows I’m willing to be a voice in the community. I know that a lot of the older singers like myself won’t be on top forever, so you have to prepare for war in the time of peace.
AP: How long do you think you’ll be performing?
Caesar: I tell the young folk that every time you look over your shoulder, you’re going to see me. I ain’t going nowhere – until the Lord says so.
She will address a luncheon meeting hosted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Hilton Chicago on Wednesday, April 10. The topic is Working Together to Address Youth Violence in Chicago.
Mrs. Obama wants Chicago's business leaders to invest in expanded opportunities for young people in all of Chicago's neighborhoods.
In February, Obama was in Chicago for the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old shot to death in a South Side park. That same month, she also hosted a Let's Move event at Chicago's McCormick Place.