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Churches Vandalized Across the US

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A rash of vandalism at churches has left a statue of Jesus Christ headless and some set ablaze.

The reports come amid a national debate over what to do about offensive and controversial statues. President Trump signed in executive order in June vowing criminal prosecution for anyone who damages a monument or memorial, including religious property.

The incidents could be considered a hate crime, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami said. He said he’s not surprised to see a wave of attacks on places of worship.

“When we see acts of vandalism around the country, those acts of vandalism can result in more acts of vandalism,” Wenski said.

“Just as our Jewish brothers and sisters are always very concerned about any incident of anti-Semitism, even if it instigated by someone who is mentally unbalanced, they immediately become very vigilant,” he said. “Catholics, we have to be vigilant also.”

More than a dozen churches across the U.S. has been vandalized in recent weeks, including a Florida church set ablaze by a man who crashed his vehicle into the building.

Inside the church. (Courtesy: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

“This white van came towards me, did a U-turn, jumped the pavement and crashed into the, broke into the two front doors of the church. He’d gotten inside the narthex, put ten gallons of gasoline on the floor, set it on fire and came out. And I was face to face with him like this. And he jumped into his car and off he sped,” the Rev. Patrick O’Doherty said in a video shared on the Queen of Peace Catholic Church’s website.

Police arrested 24-year-old Steven Anthony Shields and charged him with attempted murder and arson, among other charges. Shields has previously faced assault and drug possession charges. He is being held without bond.

The arrested suspect. (Courtesy: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

No one was hurt in the attack, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Artwork hanging on the walls was “severely damaged” and needed to be replaced, but relics were “one of the few things that didn’t burn,” O’Doherty said in the video.

“I take the attack on the church as a sign we’re doing the right thing here,” he said.

Since then, a statue of Jesus Christ was decapitated in Miami. An antiabortion memorial was damaged in New York. Virgin Mary statues in Colorado, Massachusetts and Tennessee were desecrated. The doors of a church in Connecticut were painted with “anarchist and satanic symbols,” the Archdiocese of Hartford said in a Facebook post. A crucifix in Illinois was also vandalized in early July.

Other places of worship were vandalized during the protests following George Floyd’s death, including St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Members of Murph-Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a predominately black church in North Highlands, California, found racial slurs and threats of violence carved into an air conditioning unit.

“Everything started with George Floyd, and then of course it spun out of control,” Catholic League President Bill Donahue said, pointing to the police killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis and the ensuing calls for the removals of statues that are seen as racially insensitive as a possible motive.

“It’s all driven by hatred. Every last bit of it is driven by hatred,” Donahue said.

In California, several statues of St. Junipero Serra, an 18th century Spanish missionary, were removed by protesters or local authorities amid a reexamination of the missionary’s treatment of indigenous people. Pope Francis canonized St. Junipero during a visit to the U.S. in 2015.

“There is no question that California’s indigenous people endured great suffering during the colonial period and then later faced the horror of government-sanctioned genocide under the nascent State of California.  This legacy is heartbreaking.  Yet, it is also true that while Fr. Serra worked under this colonial system, he denounced its evils and worked to protect the dignity of native peoples.  His holiness as a missionary should not be measured by his own failures to stop the exploitation or even his own personal faults,” Bishop Jaime Soto, of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Sacramento, said in a July 5 statement.

It’s not always those who have been critical of places of worship who are accused of desecrating them. Sometimes it’s an inside job.

An organist at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Indiana was arrested after an anti-gay slur, swastika and “Heil Trump” was graffitied on the exterior of the building after Trump’s election.

A member of Hopewell Missionary Baptist in Mississippi was charged with setting fire to the church before Election Day in 2016.

The issue is not exclusive to the U.S. It’s happening in Europe, too.

France recorded 1,052 incidents in 2019 it described as anti-Christian. Of those, 996 were actions and 56 were threats.

A January news release from the French Ministry of the Interior said “the actions counted mainly consist of attacks on religious property.”

(Edited by Richard Miniter and Allison Elyse Gualtieri.)



The post Churches vandalized across the US appeared first on Zenger News.

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Gospel Duo Juan and Lisa Winans Hit Billboard’s Top Ten Gospel Airplay Chart With ‘It Belongs To Me’ Featuring Marvin L. Winans

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Juan and Lisa Winans (Photo Courtesy of Dare Records)

*“It Belongs To Me” by gospel duo Juan and Lisa Winans featuring Marvin L. Winans has landed at No. 9 on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart this week.

The couple’s first non-holiday track, released on Dare Records, marks their first time charting together as recording artists. “It Belongs To Me” is a beautifully rendered and timely message of faith and assurance, needed during the world’s current time of social and political unrest.

“Having ‘It Belongs To Me’ reach the top ten means that people are hearing the song, and that makes me proud and grateful because I truly believe this message of hope is a much needed one,” says Juan.

“It’s incredible to know that this declaration of faith and hope is reaching so many people,” adds Lisa. “We’re so grateful, and our prayer is that the listener would internalize this message and begin to sing, speak, and shout ‘It Belongs To Me’ over every area of their lives. God is able.”

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Grammy-nominated recording artists and songwriters Juan and Lisa Winans are today’s millennial Christian couple. Juan, a third-generation member of the legendary Winans family, began his career as a member of Winans Phase 2, along with his eldest brother, Carvin, and his cousins Marvin Winans, Jr., and Michael Winans, Jr. The group’s first recording, We Got Next, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel Album charts. Juan’s father, Carvin Winans, is a member of the five-time Grammy Award-winning group The Winans, which includes his uncles Marvin, Michael, and the late Ronald Winans. Juan also starred in the theatrical production of Born For This: The BeBe Winans Story,” written by his uncle BeBe Winans and also starring his sister, Deborah Joy Winans of the hit drama series, Greenleaf.

Lisa, formerly Lisa Kimmey, is best known as a member and lead songwriter of the chart-topping Contemporary Christian music trio Out of Eden with her sisters Andrea Kimmey-Baca and Danielle Kimmey Torrez. The group released seven career albums from 1994-2006 including the critically-acclaimed No Turning Back, This Is Your Life and Hymns. During Lisa’s tenure, she made a special guest appearance on the ‘90s hit sitcom, “Moesha,” which streaming giant Netflix recently added to its lineup of African American classics from the 1990s and early 2000s. She also was a host of original programming for the Gospel Music Channel and hosted the Verizon Wireless “How Sweet the Sound” choir competition along with Donald Lawrence.

For more information on Juan and Lisa Winans, go to www.juanandlisawinans.com.

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The Pulse of Entertainment: Gospel’s Brianna Collins Shows God ‘Honor & Praise’ with New Single

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Gospel artist Brianna Collins releases ‘Honor & Praise’

*“See God through my music,” said Gospel’s Brianna Collins about her new single release “Honor and Praise” produced by Drew Baxter. “This song…my gratitude, at the time, about what God had done in my life thus far – my mother helped me with it. I released it on my own. I’m all about worship. It’s a lifestyle.”

The “Honor and Praise” single was written by Brianna, a Kingdom Image Award nominee, and her second single, “Thank You” produced by Bishop Robbie Baxter, from an upcoming EP project to be released in 2021.

“When I started my ministry I was 16,” Brianna said. “I started singing in front of people at age 8. When I was called to do this, I was 16. My godfather said, ‘I want you to lead.’ At 18 I started singing professionally.”

Brianna Collins went on to perform for three-time Grammy Award winning Dorinda Clark-Cole (The Clark Sisters), for her “Singers and Musicians Conference” and her Thanksgiving Rally in Ohio. Collins is also in school pursuing a Bachelors degree in Music at the University of Akron.

“It’s the worshipping that keeps me sane,” she said. “I’m actually going to do an EP with a total of 8 songs next year.”

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Aside from college and her music ministry, Brianna is a Worship Leader at her church, the Mass Choir Director and Team Leader for the Young Adult Praise Team at Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Akron, OH.

“Love is the message in my ministry,” she said when asked, “It’s the purity of my music, it’s what I’m all about.” www.IAmBRising.com

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 7, 2020 via Zoom Video Conferencing and to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall. The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services.  Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]

www.GoFundMe.com/Uplifting-Minds-II-Entertainment-Conference

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The Pulse of Entertainment: Billboard Chart’s #1 Vocalist Yola Nash Releases ‘Touched by Love’ CD

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Smooth Jazz vocalist Yola Nash releases sophomore album, ‘Touched by Love.’

*“My debut was 10 years ago, it became pretty successful reaching the Top 40’s,” said Poland born Jazz vocalist Yola Nash about her debut album “Another Girl,” which garnered a Billboard #1 single “I Wanna Be Loved By You.” Currently Nash is promoting her sophomore album “Touched By Love” (YoStar).

Yola explained that the independent label she was on wanted to do too much changing, especially with her award winning musicians. She credits two people for this album, her musical director/pianist that gave her the idea for the album, and a poet who encouraged her through the label ordeal that had her on hold for three years. She also dedicated this album to her mother Danusia who encouraged and supported her since birth to follow her dreams to success.

“Touched By Love” was produced by Yola Nash in partnership with Grammy winning Jazz pianist Edsel Gomez (Dee Dee Bridgewater) – her music director.

“The project is not regular and it’s a miracle. I had so many obstacles that most people would have given up,” Yola pointed out.

Yola is a miracle. She relocated to New York from Poland, not speaking English. She earned a Bachelors degree in Nursing and in Fine Arts, and has a Masters in Psychology. For someone coming to a country not knowing the language, Yola not only learned the language, but mastered it. She went on to become a highly successful radio talk show host on “The Yola Nash Show” at WABC Radio. It’s a celebrity driven radio show where she has interviewed such icons as Billie Joel, William Shatner, Kevin Bacon, Christ Botti and Melissa Etheridge – to name a few.

“I was interviewing Chris Botti…He said, ‘Show what you got…and let it be’,” she said about launching her vocal recording career.

“I was 5 years old,” she said when I asked when her family knew she was musically inclined. “We are born with certain qualities or tastes. No one told me to love Jazz or R&B. I had a friend who had a mandolin. She would play and I would make a microphone from a rope. I would sing to the forest. My music teacher in elementary school encouraged me. In high school a teacher trained my voice for free. He had me in vocal contests and I was winning. This made me move forward.”

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Yola Nash’s sophomore album “Touched By Love” also features Grammy winning percussionist Luisito Quintero, pianist Dr. Octavio Vazquez, guitarist Graham Keir, bassist Dave Baron, and Grammy nominated accordionist Alex Meixner. Nash wrote all the songs on the album except one, “Dance With Me” which was penned by poet Fella Cederbaum. Her vocal career includes singing for Pope John Paul II, as the first Polish-American to perform with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – overseen by musical director Wynton Marsalis, and at New York’s Fashion Week.

Speaking in perfect English, Yola said, “You know it’s like supper important to over come that challenge (learning English). I came to American after my Masters degree. I had no friends or connections. My mother she’s been my foundation. I knew a few words…I’m still learning English everyday!”

Yola Nash is also mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records for a graphic designed she created for the “Anne Frank” play, as the biggest theatre poster in the world.

“It was a graphic design made on the computer,” she informed me. “I work for a company that makes original art work for plays and musicals. The Anne Frank Foundation had a competition…many competed. I was awarded (the job), it took 5 months. When I was designing it, they never told me they were going to print it so big!”

As you can see, Yola had many obstacles, but she over came all of them, making a success life here in America as a Jazz vocalist with Grammy winning musicians; a songwriter whose song debuted at #1 on a Billboard Chart; as a producer of her own album and radio show; as a radio show host, and as a graphic design artist. Her album “Touched By Love” combines, musically and vocally, Smooth Jazz with her Poland roots creating a fresh new Smooth Jazz sound and album. www.YolaNash.com

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 7, 2020 via Zoom Video Conferencing and to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall. The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services.  Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]

www.GoFundMe.com/Uplifting-Minds-II-Entertainment-Conference

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