Woman Brings “The Power of Pies” to Charleston Church Targeted by Gunman

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A Minnesota woman has taken what she calls “something sweeter than pie” to the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, site of a shooting during a Bible study that left 9 people dead: Love.

Rose McGee traveled over 1,000 miles from her home in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota to bring hand made “comfort pies” to the Bible Study that resumed at the historic church after the deadly attack in June.

“As far as I am concerned, it’s the sacred dessert of black culture, a comfort sweet potato pie, which means when you have this, it just soothes the soul,” said McGee.

“I actually was just sitting in my living room watching television as everybody else was and became very frustrated, about everything and decided to get up, went into the kitchen and started making pies.”

McGee, who grew up in Tennessee, said the pies are a recipe handed down through her family beginning with her great-grandmother.

McGee has donated pies to other communities that have faced tragedy over the years and found that the pies could bring healing and promote community.

McGee admitted being a little nervous about sending her pies to the Charleston church.

“I’m really holding my breath and hoping the people of Charleston will like this pie,” said McGee. “Because South Carolina is a place where sweet potato pies are done right.”

“All I can say it’s amazing what happens when people come together,” added McGee.

China Crackdown on Crosses Draws Backlash

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“Aren’t you ashamed of what you have done?” a crying woman screamed at the security guards keeping the parishioners of Lower Dafei Catholic Church from protecting their church’s cross.

The woman was part of a dozen Chinese Catholics who tried to stop the government from cutting the cross off the top of their building.

“We have violated no law. We do not oppose the government,” said the parishioner, who gave his name only as Chen for fear of retaliation from authorities. “We have been good, law-abiding citizens.”

Tu Shouzhe told ABC News about the government ripping the cross from his church’s building.

“It was a surprise attack. We did not let them in, but they broke in by cutting off the lock. We demanded paperwork, but they showed us none. They cordoned us away from the church,” Tu said. “They had 60-70 people. We had just about a dozen or so. Everyone was crying. Our hearts ached. We felt powerless to resist, and only prayed and sang hymns.”

Chinese Christians are rising up against the government’s actions to the level that even some of the “official” churches are starting to rebel. The Christian Associations in the nation – which was designed to ensure the Communist Party’s control over churches – has said that the government’s actions are out of line. They warned the action could turn the faithful into “enemies of the party.”

“The crackdown has alienated the Christians in China, who are otherwise law-abiding citizens,” Yang Fenggang, an expert on China’s religions at Purdue University, told the Associated Press.

Catholics in China Protest Cross Removals By Government

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Christians in China have had enough of the government’s campaign to eradicate the cross from the country.

“Each time they take a cross down, we will put more up,” one church leader told the Guardian at a protest on Friday. “We are even considering making flags and clothes with cross patterns. We will make the cross flourish throughout China.”

The activists say that the Chinese government has ripped down 1,200 crosses in the last two years with an increase in the amount of crosses torn down in the last few weeks. The focus has been in the Zhejiang province where Christian churches have been flourishing.

Zhejiang has over 300,000 Catholics and one million Protestants between the “official” government churches and underground churches.

“Christianity has grown so fast that Christians outnumber Communist Party members. The whole purpose of this is to control the ‘overheated’ growth of Christianity. They are nervous not just about Christianity but of any organized civil group,” Bob Fu, president of Texas-based non-profit China Aid, told Christianity Today.

In addition to the stripping of crosses from church buildings, many churches have been completely destroyed by the government and local officials.

Fort Worth Teenager Charged For Planning Columbine-Style Attack on Church

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A 19-year-old Fort Worth, Texas man is behind bars accused of plotting to launch an attack on a church similar to the Columbine High School massacre.

Nicholar Amrine was arrested in June by Fort Worth police and placed in a state hospital until he was formally charged last week.

Amrine reportedly planned an attack on a youth event called “Fuse.” He had attended the church until he was thrown out by church leaders because of his age and what authorities termed “erratic behavior.”

A pastor with the church called police after Amrine posted threatening and ominous messages on Facebook.

“All the kids that forgot about me are going to get what they deserve,” Amrine posted on June 3. “I may have been hesitant in the past but next time u see me I will not hesitate about anything. It will be over in a flash, it will be over in a bang, u will see my face, and then nothing else ever again.”

He also posted photos of Columbine shooters Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold, calling them “my heroes.”

The church cancelled the special youth event out of concern for Amrine’s threats.

Amrine is facing a felony charge of making terroristic threats. He has been bonded out of jail and posted an apology on Facebook.

“That is not who I am and I would never do such a thing,” the teen said on July 2. “The things I posted on Facebook were wrong and I should have never done that.”

Carl Gallups Morning Worship And Our Covenant with God

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Sunday morning, July 5th, worship began at Morningside with gratitude. This was the last day of an incredible seven day Fourth of July Celebration! The congregation expressed thankfulness to our Lord for all of the amazing prophets that have spoken over the past week, for the fellowship with people from all around our nation, for the healing by God’s merciful love and for the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers that made this week possible.

After a truly powerful prayer and worship service, Morningside opened their hearts and ears to hear a message from Pastor Carl Gallups. Carl Gallups is a Pastor (since 1987), a best selling author, conservative radio talk show host, and the founder of the online PNN News and Ministry Network.

Pastor Gallups spoke to the congregation on what is happening now in the United States and the Covenant of God that was made at the foundation of this Great Country. He stated that, “The United States of America became the most powerful and richest nation the planet had ever seen and the most benevolent. The U.S. has been used by God because we made a covenant with God at the very beginning. Israel is the ultimate covenant nation. Israel is the nation that God came to and said I am in covenant with you. But, the U.S. is a covenant nation like no other planet the world has seen.”

Reminding all of us of what is in the Declaration of Independence, the first document in the creation of this nation that this is the creed upon which our nation was founded:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Pastor Gallup went on further describing the moment that George Washington took his oath in office, swearing on the Bible and then in front of a nation, kissed the Bible in his hand. “Please remember that in his first inaugural address, Washington prayed to God and afterward prayed with other members of leadership for two hours at St. Paul’s Cathedral that sits now at Ground Zero. In the Constitution it states quite simply at the bottom of the page… Signed in the YEAR OF OUR LORD! Don’t let anyone tell you that this nation was not founded without God in it!”

In this timely sermon Pastor Gallups described the darkness we feel that is covering our country and that while we may have patriotism there is something else that is needed now more than ever.

Preserve the freedoms we have. Take that freedom in these prophetic days to proclaim the gospel! Now even in America darkness is beginning to move in quickly. I am a patriot. I am patriotic! But I am convinced now that America doesn’t need more patriotism, it needs more repententance! We need more of God’s Word! ”

Arizona Church Says “Don’t Abort, We’ll Adopt”

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A Phoenix area church is telling women in their area who are facing an unplanned pregnancy that they will adopt their children in an attempt to stop them from killing their child via abortion.

Members of St. Stephen’s Parish say they hope the billboard will reach women who are considering abortion to make another choice.

“We’re just there to help, you know, if we can help save babies and you know, help these mothers and fathers. That’s what our goal is, you know, not to be judgmental. That’s not what this is about,” said Anne DeRose, the parish’s Respect Life Coordinator.

DeRose says the church has families that are ready to adopt but that the church will also partner with Catholic charities to find homes for every woman that is looking for adoption over abortion.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported over 13,000 abortions in the state last year.

Charleston AME Church Holds First Service Since Shooting

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The Charleston AME church has had their first service since the horrific, race motivated killings of nine church members during a bible study.

“The doors of the church are open. No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God’s church,” Rev. Norvel Goff Sr., a presiding elder of the 7th District AME Church in South Carolina, told the congregation, according to CNN.

The gunman, Dylann Roof, claimed that he wanted to “start a race war.” Roof also reportedly said the church was a secondary target; that he initially considered attacking the College of Charleston.

“It’s by faith that we are standing here and sitting here,” Goff said during the service. “It has been tough. It has been rough. Some of us have been downright angry. But through it all God has sustained us. … Lots of folks expected us to do something strange and break out in a riot. Well, they just don’t know us.”

The new interim leader added, “We have shown the world how we as a group of people can come together and pray and work out things that need to be worked out.”

Goff will remain at the church until a new pastor is named.

Pastors from around the community came together to rally around the church.

“As a pastor in this city, a husband and a father to two boys and two girls, my heart broke in grief and disbelief,” Rev. Brandon Bowers, a white man who is the lead pastor of Awaken, said. “What the enemy intended for evil, God is using for good. We are here to pray for the healing that needs to come.”

Leaders in South Carolina are now calling for the banning of the Confederate flag in the wake of the shooting. The hanging of the flag in the state’s capitol has become a serious point of contention.

“The Confederate battle flag, years and years ago, was appropriated as a symbol of hate,” Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley said, and having it fly at the state Capitol “at best sends mixed messages to those who want to understand it as a part of history.”

Supreme Court Sides With Church On Arizona Sign Law

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The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down an Arizona law that forced churches to display their signs at night while other signs were allowed to be continually displayed.

The Good News Community Church of Gilbert, Arizona had filed suit in 2008 over a city ordinance that prohibited signs pointing out directions to an event from being erected more than 12 hours before an event and more than one hour after the scheduled beginning of the event.

The city kept telling the church they put up too many signs and that they left them displayed for too long.

The church said that the law was unfairly being applied to churches. Political signs were not given the same restrictions for being displayed at short times. For signs that are not non-ideological there are no restrictions on the time for display.

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision ruled the city was discriminatory in the law and thus declared it unconstitutional.

“[A]n innocuous justification cannot transform a facially content-based law into one that is content neutral,” the justices wrote. “Innocent motives do not eliminate the danger of censorship presented by a facially content-based statute, as future government officials may one day wield such statutes to suppress disfavored speech.”

“That is why the First Amendment expressly targets the operation of the laws—i.e., the ‘abridg[ement] of speech’—rather than merely the motives of those who enacted them,” the ruling continued.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the church, hailed the Court’s decision.

“The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling is a victory for everyone’s freedom of speech,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement. “Speech discrimination is wrong regardless of whether the government intended to violate the First Amendment or not, and it doesn’t matter if the government thinks its discrimination was well-intended. It’s still [the] government playing favorites, and that’s unconstitutional.”

Arson Attack On Israeli Christian Church

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to capture and punish whoever is behind the arson attack on a Christian church near the See of Galilee.

“This outrageous arson attack against the church is an attack on all of us,” he said. “Freedom of worship in Israel is one of our core values and is guaranteed under the law. We will bring to justice those responsible for this crime. Hate and intolerance have no place in our society.”

The Church of Loaves and Fishes was burned around 3:30 a.m. causing extensive damage to the church both inside and out. Hebrew graffiti was painted on the church leading officials to believe the incident was an arson attack.

“I am sure that the police force will do everything in its power to arrest those responsible, and to prevent similar attacks in the future,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said. “The State of Israel safeguards the freedom of worship of all faiths and completely rejects any and all attempts to harm it.”

“I strongly condemn the attack and any types of violence against representatives of religious institutions or the institutions themselves. It is necessary to ensure that these institutions will remain protected in Israel, as well as in Germany and Europe. Incidents such as these must not be allowed to be repeated,” German Ambassador Andreas Michaelis said at the site of the attack.

The church was built in the 1980s on the site of 4th and 5th century churches. It is the location where Jesus is believed to have performed the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes.

Nine Dead In Charleston Church Shooting

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A white gunman walked into a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night. He sat in the prayer service for about an hour before he pulled a gun, opened fire and killed 9 people including the pastor who was also a state senator.

The gunman has been identified by the FBI as 21-year-old Dylann Roof of Lexington, South Carolina. He was apprehended Thursday morning in Shelby, North Carolina, about three hours away from the shooting site.

“This is a situation that is unacceptable in any society and especially in our society and our city,” Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said.

Officials confirmed that three men and six women were killed in the shooting. The gunman reportedly reloaded five times during the assault.

Witnesses said that the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, tried to talk the gunman out of the attack. Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of the pastor who survived the assault.

“He just said, ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country,” Johnson said.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

“The only reason that someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,” Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley said. “It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine, and we will bring that person to justice. … This is one hateful person.”