The following reports were released during the last month by Charisma News Service. Go to our Web site at www.charismanews.com to subscribe to the free weekday service or to access full-length versions of each day's stories. The site also includes a search engine so you can access archived news.
PRAYER URGED OVER 'ZERO-YEAR CURSE' ON WHITE HOUSE Nationwide prayer has been urged to protect president George W. Bush from the so-called former Zero-Year Curse on the White House. Prayer leaders are calling for "reaffirming warfare prayer" over the supernatural link they believe was behind the death in office of seven presidents. They say that the curse was finally broken, after widespread prayer, with the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, who survived an assassination attempt. Before Reagan took office, every president elected in the "zero years" after 1840 died while president. Gary Bergel, president of Intercessors for America, believes the curse was broken in 1980, but he said it must be "reaffirmed" now "because Satan would desire to use these new speculations to undermine faith and promote fear and superstition."
CHRISTIAN MUSIC REACHING BROAD AUDIENCES Christian music has come of age, Frank Breeden of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) told CNN during a special report on the Christian music industry in mid-December. A $450 million business in the United States alone, it is one of the largest categories in the music industry. Frank Breeden of GMA said Christian music accounted for 50 million units last year--twice the size of Latin music, and larger than jazz, classical and New Age combined. Meanwhile, thousands of Japanese are hooked on black gospel music, though only 1 percent of the population is Christian, Reuters reported. A gospel course ran on Japanese public television last year, and the nation's wedding industry also offers gospel-style services, Reuters said.
CHURCH BUYS LAKERS' FORMER HOME COURT The former home of the Los Angeles Lakers has become a church. Faithful Central Baptist Church in Inglewood, Calif., paid $22.5 million for The Great Western Forum. The complex will be home to Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer's 10,000-member congregation on weekends, and will host concerts and sports events during the week. Sunday services at the 17,500-seat arena will use a collapsible platform to allow the venue to be used for different events. A conference center, hotel and shopping complex are planned for the grounds as part of the church's job-creation goals.
MEN CHARGED WITH HATE CRIME AGAINST CHRISTIAN Three young Wisconsin men have been charged with a hate crime against a Christian in what is believed to be the first case of its kind under state law. Daniel C. Lewis, 18, faces trial next month for allegedly spraying a man in the face with mace and yelling, "Satan rules; Jesus will not prevail," The (Appleton) Post-Crescent reported. According to the criminal complaint, the three were driving in the Kaukauna, Wis., area last September when they stopped at a house with a sign in the yard stating: "You think you got it all? Got Jesus?" The complaint said Lewis told the others he would pepper spray the occupant because "he was sick of all the Christian religious talk and how he was raised by his parents." When a man answered the door at the home, he was sprayed in the face. Lewis also yelled at him: "Jesus is a fag."
'DISCIPLES' SINGER DANNIEBELLE HALL DIES
Noted gospel singer and songwriter Danniebelle Hall, famous as part of Andraé Crouch & The Disciples and for her signature cut "Ordinary People" died Dec. 28 at a hospital near San Jose, Calif., after a lengthy illness. She was 63. In the last five years, Hall has suffered a stroke, diabetic coma and kidney failure. The Pittsburgh native is survived by three children and seven grandchildren.
CHURCH OF GOD LEADER IRIS VEST DIES
Iris Vest, the wife of the General Overseer of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.), Lamar Vest, died in late December at age 60. Her funeral was held Jan. 8 at North Cleveland Church of God in Cleveland, Tenn. Vest served as international president of the denomination's Women's Ministries, and was a consultant to its Board of Directors and International Women's Advisory Council. Married for 42 years, Vest is survived by her husband, three children, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
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