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Weekly Briefing

Weekly briefing: 3,000 churches to restart services, transgender cases, Nigeria massacre

tim thompson, 412 Church Murrieta
Pastor Tim Thompson of 412 Church Murrieta preaches, April 2020. |

We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:

3,000 Calif. churches vow to reopen on Pentecost Sunday

A network of some 3,000 churches in California announced plans to restart in-person services at the end fo the month regardless of the governor’s orders.

With gathering bans having been in place for months now, Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills and other pastors wonder what value Gov. Gavin Newsom is placing on churches in aiding in the mental and spiritual health of people.

Hibbs said he prayed and felt a strong impression from God to restart services on May 31, which is Pentecost Sunday.

"So what do we do? If we're going to be condemned for starting church and we're going to be condemned for not starting church, I cannot look to the opinions of men even if they are well-intended once God has spoken. So we move ahead safely, wisely, but we move ahead.” — Jack Hibbs

In New York, at least 39 people at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Midtown Manhattan, a predominantly Latino church community, have died in the last month. Dozens more are battling coronavirus infections.

“In St. Peter’s Church we have a large immigrant population. We have a large population of people of color, we have a large population of low income people. We know those communities are being hit hardest.” — Christopher Vergara, president of St. Peter’s

Updates in two transgender cases

The man at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court’s first transgender rights-related case died this week due to complications related to kidney disease. The court is expected to rule on the case of Anthony Stephens, 59, who later changed his name to Aimee Stephens, this summer.

Stephens filed a discrimination suit after being fired from a Christian-owned funeral home in Michigan when he refused to continue to dress as a man and instead wanted to dress as a woman.

In a separate transgender case in Connecticut, lawyers for three female high school athletes have asked that the federal judge be taken off their case after he ordered them not to use the term “males” when referring to boys who identify as girls.

Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers say Judge Robert Chatigny cannot adjudicate the case — against allowing biological males who identify as females to compete in girls’ athletic competitions — impartially. 

Over 20 killed in Nigerian massacre

At least 23 people were killed in a spate of attacks carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen in the Kajuru local government area of Nigeria’s Kaduna this week.

Victims included children as young as 6 months old.

Interviews

Steven Curtis Chapman reveals God’s message to him during pandemic; teams up with Brad Paisley

Frank Wright explains why he’s going after ‘heresy’ he’s seeing in evangelical groups

Samaritan’s Purse doctor describes treating patients at NYC field hospital: ‘It was hard’

Pray for

Ravi Zacharias whose cancer metastasized

Family of missionary pilot Joyce Lin, who died in a crash while transporting COVID-19 supplies

New releases

meadow, Jillian Edwards

Albums:

Colton Dixon EP by Colton Dixon (May 15)

Meadow EP by Jillian Edwards (May 15)

Books:

This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers by K. J. Ramsey (May 12)

Anyone But Me: 10 Ways to Overcome Your Fear and Be Prepared to Share the Gospel by Ray Comfort (May 5)

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