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2 arrested for robbery of Brooklyn pastor at gunpoint during service

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Police have confirmed the arrest of two individuals suspected of robbing Brooklyn Bishop Lamor Whitehead of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Jewelry and holding his daughter at gunpoint during a livestreamed worship service in July.

Two 24-year-old men, Juwan Anderson and Say-Quan Pollack, were arrested on Wednesday and charged with robbery in the first degree, with a 10-year minimum sentence sought by prosecutors. They are accused of storming a worship service at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries on July 24 and robbing Whitehead and others at gunpoint.

Police continue to search for a third suspect and believe that the church robbery might have been part of a series of robberies in the city.

“There’s a pattern throughout the city — throughout the last few years — of high-end jewelry robberies being targeted,” said Chief of Detectives James Essig of the New York Police Department, as reported by local media outlet Spectrum News.

Both men are Brooklyn residents and have been previously arrested for incidents involving domestic violence and robbery.

The stolen jewelry has yet to be found.

Inspector Nicholas Fiore of the NYPD’s Central Robbery Division said that the robbery must have been “pretty rough” for Whitehead.

“[It was] a very, very violent robbery crew that we saw with no regard to anybody in the middle of mass, holding his child at gunpoint,” Fiore said, as quoted by Spectrum News.

Whitehead has received criticism for being overly flashy, as he drives expensive cars and tends to accessorize himself with high-priced jewelry pieces.

In July, following the incident, Whitehead said the robbery caused him to “hurt” because “my church is hurt,” adding that the “women and children that were in my church, my daughter, she’s traumatized.”

“Right now, she’s still not even talking because of that experience. They had the gun in my 8-month-old’s face. The women of my ministry, my wife, everybody is traumatized,” he said.

Whitehead said he “didn’t know if they just wanted to shoot the church up or were just coming for a robbery. And they were all black men. They had masks, and they came in, and they took all of my wife’s jewelry and all of my jewelry.”

“The gunman took my watch, took my jewelry, took my bishop’s ring, took my wedding band, and then they took my bishop’s cross, and then I had my other chains underneath my shirt. And he tapped my back … and ripped my collar off just to get to my jewelry,” he detailed.

In mid-September, Whitehead removed a 47-year-old woman named Tarsha Howard, who disrupted his sermon and allegedly issued verbal threats toward him and his family. The incident was captured on video.

Howard was arrested on the scene, and Whitehead was briefly detained at the 69th Precinct to allow police to hear both sides of what ensued within the house of worship.

Howard was charged with trespassing and disrupting a religious service, while Whitehead was released from brief detainment with no charges, as police ruled that he “restrained” Howard with rightful intent.

There was a second woman who disrupted the church sermon. She fled the scene.

In the video, following Howard’s interruption, Whitehead prayed for the woman by speaking in tongues, grabbed her by her neck and ushered her out of the worship building.

“I allowed the lady to talk, speak her piece, curse me out and do whatever she wanted to do, but then she started to throw threats at my wife and started to charge at my wife. My wife had my baby in her hand. We’re not going to have another rendition of my wife being in harm’s way or my daughter being in harm’s way,” the preacher said.

“I took action and I grabbed the lady and escorted her out.”

Whitehead is also being sued over allegations that he scammed a woman out of her life savings.

Pauline Anderson, 56, filed the lawsuit last September in the Brooklyn Supreme Court, seeking $2.45 million in actual and punitive damages.

Anderson, a former member of Whitehead’s church, alleges that she gave Whitehead $90,000 to secure a home for her because she has low credit. But instead, he allegedly used the money to make a down payment on a $4.4 million mansion in Saddle River, New Jersey.

​​”Ms. Anderson was left with nothing but a vague promise by Mr. Whitehead to pay the funds back in the future followed by an assertion that he had no further obligation to do so,” the lawsuit reads.

In 2006, Whitehead was arrested in connection to a $2 million identity-theft scam, in which he was sentenced to 11 to 34 years in prison. He only served five years in prison and was released in 2013.

Whitehead has publicly stated that he was “falsely convicted and arrested for a crime I did not commit.”
Sources:Christian Post

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Do Christians Really Donate More? Bible’s Stunning Impact on Charitable Giving Revealed in Fascinating New Study

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As the debate over the impact of Christianity on charitable behavior forges on, a new study reveals Scripturally-engaged Americans are “far more likely than others to donate to charity.”

In fact, the majority of these individuals — people who interact consistently with Scripture and allow it to shape their lives and relationships — report giving to such causes, according to the eighth chapter of “The State of the Bible” report.

“Americans who are engaged with the Bible gave $145 billion to charitable causes in 2021,” a statement from the American Bible Society read. “And … Practicing Christians, those who are actively living out their faith, are much more likely to give.”

The results are pretty stunning when comparing people engaged in the Bible with those who are disengaged as well as the so-called Moveable Middle, a group falling between those dynamics.

Bible-engaged Americans gave a total of $145 billion to charities in 2021, amounting to about $2,907 per household. The same figure for the Bible disengaged was just $924.

To underscore the monumental nature of that giving, consider that Scripturally engaged Americans account for just 19% of adults yet give 44% of every dollar donated.

The finer details point to the fascinating nature of this group’s generosity.

“People who are Scripture-engaged gave six-times as much to churches as those in the Movable Middle and 13-times as much as those who are Bible-disengaged,” a statement explained. “When it comes to non-church giving, Scripture-engaged Americans gave 9% more than the Bible-disengaged and 165% more than the Movable Middle.”

Giving among active believers is, thus, much higher than for other cohorts.

Dr. John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society, said his organization’s research continues to show “a strong correlation between charitable giving and human flourishing.” This is particularly relevant among Christians surveyed in the annual report.

“Engaging with the Bible and actively living out our faith doesn’t simply mean reading the words in the pages of Scripture — rather, it is a transformation of the heart that inspires us to love and live well,” Plake said.

The results for this chapter of the “State of the Bible” were collected from 2,598 phone and online responses from American adults in January 2022.

Atheists will often decry the Bible and its contents, yet study after study shows the strong benefits faith offers individuals and, in turn, the culture at large.

As Faithwire reported, an earlier chapter from the “State of the Bible” report showed “Americans who consistently read and apply the Bible report greater levels of hope and resilience.” Read more about the Bible’s significant impact on the faithful here.
Sources:faithwire

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PASTOR JACOB MATHEW – 57 MEMORIAL SERVICE 12/02/2022

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For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel,and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We walk by faith, and not by sight! Pastor Jacob Mathew (57 ) has been promoted to his eternal home and went to be with Jesus on 11/24/2022 . He served as the assistant Pastor of the Mizpah Church of God. Pullad. He lived a life that exampled Jesus Christ, a life of servitude,faith,and love. He will be missed by his family, his wife Shiney,daughter Jesna Jacob and son Joel Jacob.

We kindly request for prayers at this time for the family. He is Survived by his mother, Thankamma Mathew, sister Mary Mathew, and brother Paul Mathew and family.


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Christian Organization Wins Legal Battle, Will Be Allowed to Hire Christians

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Just two months after the Wyoming Rescue Mission filed its federal lawsuit against state and federal agencies for threatening to punish the Christian nonprofit for hiring employees who share the ministry’s religious beliefs, attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) announced they reached a favorable settlement in the case.

As part of the settlement, state officials acknowledged that the rescue mission, as a religious organization, is free to hire like-minded employees who share the ministry’s religious beliefs and mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through its homeless shelter, clothing voucher service, faith-based recovery programs, and life-rebuilding assistance to Casper residents.

“The First Amendment protects Wyoming Rescue Mission’s freedom to hire those who share its beliefs without being threatened and investigated by the government,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jacob Reed. “We’re pleased to favorably settle this case for the rescue mission so it can continue its critical work of serving some of Casper’s most vulnerable citizens and spreading the Gospel.”

On behalf of the faith-based organization, ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, Wyoming Rescue Mission v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in the US District Court for the District of Wyoming.

According to court documents, the mission requires all employees to agree with its religious beliefs. Before being forced to remove it, the mission’s “Career Opportunities” webpage explicitly stated that “Employees are expected to commit to the precepts in our Statement of Faith, and to help the Mission fulfill its mission statement, vision statement, and ends statement.”

And the Mission’s employment application says: “The Mission considers every position one of ministry and a vital and valued part of our team. Therefore, it is essential that all employees of the Mission have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and subscribe to our Statement of Faith and Ministry Principles. Employees must be willing to lead and/or participate in Bible study, prayer, devotions, and sharing the Gospel.”

As CBN News reported, in 2020, the mission decided not to hire a self-proclaimed non-Christian for one of its Rescued Treasures Thrift Store associate positions. Included with this job is the responsibility of teaching the mission’s Discipleship Recovery Program guests how to spread the gospel and model Jesus Christ.

The lawsuit explains that the mission advised the applicant during the pre-screen interview that it is a Christian ministry and that all employees must agree with the Mission’s statement of faith and demonstrate Christian principles in their life and work as a condition of employment. The applicant responded that she did not have any faith.

The non-Christian applicant then filed a discrimination charge against the mission with Wyoming’s Department of Workforce Services and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to Decision Magazine.

State officials conducted a 16-month-long investigation to determine if the mission engaged in discrimination as prohibited by law.

The officials determined the mission likely violated the Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Act of 1965 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for refusing to hire the non-Christian applicant, ignoring the fact that neither of those laws applies to faith-based organizations’ religiously based employment decisions.

After ADF attorneys filed suit, the government capitulated and agreed the mission can hire only “those individuals who agree with and live out the mission’s religious beliefs and practices.”

“Like-minded employees who share the mission’s purpose to spread the Gospel and uplift the Casper community by providing free meals, shelter, recovery programs, and job training are essential for the Wyoming Rescue Mission to continue its important work,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries. “Wyoming officials have rightly recognized that both state and federal laws protect religious organizations’ ability to hire those who share their beliefs.”

As part of the settlement in Wyoming Rescue Mission v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agreed to pay the rescue mission’s attorneys’ fees. In light of the settlement, the court dismissed the EEOC from the case and signed a consent decree settling the case with the state.

A press release from the ADF revealed that in 2021, the mission served 60,862 free meals to the public; provided 41,037 beds for men, women, and children; enrolled 92 Discipleship Recovery Program participants; offered 5,597 case management sessions, and gave 1,208 thrift store vouchers worth $39,649.92 that provided free clothing and essentials to families and guests in need.

John G. Knepper, one of more than 4,600 attorneys in the ADF Attorney Network, served as local counsel for the Wyoming Rescue Mission.
Sources:BREAKING CHRISTIAN NEWS

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