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From a shipping container to the White House

Eritrea

Eritrean gospel singer, Helen Berhane, who was held in a shipping container for 32 months because of her faith, has met US President Donald Trump at the White House.

She was there as part of a group who had survived religious persecution.

When she was given the opportunity to talk, she explained the ordeal she went through in Eritrea and highlighted how her church members are still imprisoned.

The majority are in arbitrary detention and none of them has been charged in a court of law.

Ms Berhane was arrested in the capital, Asmara, and spent 32 months in custody. She was released in 2006 after becoming very ill.

Last year, the BBC heard from her:

BBC

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Sonnie Badu packs the historical DAR Constitution Hall and receives the keys to the city

27723169.295

UK and American based International Act, Dr. Sonnie Badu has attained yet another historic feat after he successfully organized and hosted the first-ever Invasion Concert at the DAR Constitutional Hall in Washington DC.

The concert which was sponsored by the season’s initiative was publicized with the tagline “Africa meets America”. This was mainly couched because of the lineup of artistes on the bill to perform.

The lineup of the stars were made up of Africans like Minister Eben, Joe Praize, Tim Godfrey and Temitayo Kayode the saxophonists from Nigeria and Jonathan Nelson, who led the team of American artistes who are Todd Dulaney, JJ Hairston, Phil Thompson and Tye Tribbett, and Joe Mettle from Ghana with Dr. Badu as the host.

The concert which was moderated by Seyi Brown started off at exactly 7pm with an opening act by little Temitayo Kayode, also known as TemmySax who started the opening act with with Dr. Badu. Followed by Jonathan Nelson and the other artistes lined up on the bill. The Highlight of the show was when Dr. Badu came in and took patrons through most of his songs via worship and praises.

In an interview with Dr.Badu he hinted that he had always prayed to God that he wanted to make History by gathering close to 5000 people to worship and praise God just like how secular acts do and at the end of the concert, God showed up and history was made.

“This is the Lord’s doing and we did this together. We made history together and I am grateful to all the artistes that performed and believed in this event”, he reiterated.

Sonnie Badu also recounted how he was met with opposition from many friends when he hatched the idea of the Invasion concert.

“Many friends and acquaintances advised against it, saying this feat was too difficult for a gospel event to attain”, he added.

He further expressed gratitude to all who patronized the event while asking them to watch out for Invasion 2020 and apologized to the many who were turned home as the DAR Constitutional Hall which sits 4,700 people got filled to the brim.

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/entertainment/Sonnie-Badu-packs-the-historical-DAR-Constitution-Hall-and-receives-the-keys-to-the-city-761957?jwsource=cl

 

Invasion concert which was hosted by Sonnie Badu was sponsored by seasons initiative and powered by Analiticks Media. The musical concert which was graced by 11 artistes is the first of many concerts to be hosted by Sonnie Badu.

In a related development, in recognition of the tremendous feat achieved by Dr. Sonnie Badu, the city of Brentwood in Maryland honored him with the keys to Maryland. This key is mostly given as honors to the many who excel in the state.

Source: Eyra Doe

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EventsInternational NewsNews

Joe Mettle, Diana Hamilton, KODA, others win at 2019 AGMMA

AGMMA Ori

Winners of the 2019 African Gospel Music and Media Awards (AGMMA) have been announced.

The event was held at the Discovery Centre, Jenkins Lane, Barking 1G11 OAD.

The African Gospel Music and Media Awards (AGMMA) is the premier gospel event that recognises the immense gospel talent that exists within the African gospel music and Christian media fraternity and beyond, and honours and rewards them accordingly at its annual awards event.

The awards night is a culmination of its yearlong activities which includes seminars, resource and networking events, regional concerts and career guidance.

The AGMMA is produced by 1615 Media, a UK based Christian Media and Events Company with international affiliations in the media and music industry.

See full list of winners below.

Breakthrough Artiste of Excellence

Niiella (Ghana)

Discovery Artiste of Excellence

Lydia Kabs-UK

Central African Artiste of Excellence

Moise Mbiye -DRC
Dena Mwana DRC

Female Artiste of Excellence

Ntokozo Mbambo- South Africa

Artiste of Excellence West Africa

Mercy Chinwo-Nigeria

Artiste of Excellence USA and Canada

Blessing Ali (USA)

Artiste of Excellence East Africa

Mercy Masika- Kenya

Artistes of Excellence Europe

Calledout Music – UK
Diana Hamilton- UK

Artiste of Excellence Southern Africa

Ntokozo Mbambo- South Africa

Male Artistes of Excellence

Joe Mettle- Ghana
Tim Godfrey -Nigeria

Radio Program of Excellence

Girls Rock- Praiseworld Radio with Nikki Laoye

TV Program of Excellence

Turning Point – Muyiwa

Afro Rap Artiste of Excellence

Limoblaze – Nigeria

Instrumental Musician of Excellence

Bheka Mthethwa- South Africa
Mike Aremu- UK

Musical Group of Excellence

Tim Godfrey & The Xtreme – Nigeria

Video of Excellence

30 Billion Hallelujah- Mike Abdul- Nigeria

Event of Excellence

(Individual)
Praise in the City: City FM Nigeria

(Corporate) 
The Experience Lagos 2018

Music Producers of Excellence

Kofi Dua Anto(KODA) -Ghana
Wilson Joel- Nigeria

Songs of Excellence

Excess Love-Mercy Chinwo – Nigeria
Nara Tim Godfrey ft Travis Green!-Nigeria

Album of Excellence

Hosanna -KODA- Ghana

Gospel Blog of Excellence

Gospel Buzz – South Africa

Online Gospel Station of Excellence

Praiseworld Radio -Nigeria

Heritage Award

Lawrence Johnson Clive Brown

Levites Award

Calvis Hammond
Philemon Ackon
Michael Pounds
Churchill Selatole
Pastor Kwame Amponsah
Myco Chris
Mabongi Mabaso
Deborah Darling
Abby Godwin
Ccippo
Collins Sampson
Myco Chris -UK

Contribution to the Development of Music

Heavilyn Sarpong

Anu Omideyi

Temidayo Oladehin

Lorraine Wright

Sam Adebanjo

UVi Orogun

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Burkina Faso: Gunmen kill six in attack on Catholic church

Burkina faso

Six people were killed during mass at a Catholic Church in Dablo, north-central Burkina Faso, on Sunday 12 May.

Gunmen on motorcycles stormed the church on Sunday morning, killing six men, including the priest, before setting fire to the church and buildings in the area, the Burkina Information Agency reported.

“Towards 9:00am, during mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic Church”, the mayor of Dablo, Ousmane Zongo, told AFP.

“They started firing as the congregation tried to flee”.

The attack is believed to have been carried out by a “group of some twenty to thirty armed men”, according to a security source.

“They burned down the church, then shops and a small restaurant before going to the health centre where they searched the premises and set fire to the head nurse’s vehicle”, Mr. Zongo said.

“The city is filled with panic. People are holed up at home. Shops and stores are closed. It’s practically a ghost town”.

The government of Burkina Faso said it was a “barbaric and cowardly attack”.

They called “to make the fight against terrorism both a collective and personal battle”.

After “failing to pit communities against each other with targeted killings of traditional chiefs and community leaders, terrorist groups are now attacking religion in an evil plot to divide us”, it said in a statement.

Burkina Faso has experienced an increase in violent activities linked to Islamist groups in recent months. According to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, violent incidents in the country linked to the local affiliates of al Qaeda and Daesh rose from 24 in 2017 to 136 in 2018. The attack comes two days after the release of four hostages in northern Burkina Faso by French special forces.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned Sunday’s attack and offered condolences as he cited “the sanctity of all places of worship”, according to a UN spokesman.

Guterres “urges all citizens of Burkina Faso to stand firmly with one another across communities and not to succumb to efforts to sow discord and breed further violence”.

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, sent his condolences and added: “The genocide of Christians around the world must stop”.

 

evangelicalfocus

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Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal upheld by Pakistan court

Asia Bibi

Pakistan’s top court has rejected a challenge to the acquittal of a Christian woman on blasphemy charges.

The Supreme Court upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence.

She was originally convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

Asia Bibi has always maintained her innocence in a case that has polarised Pakistan.

The original ruling set off violent protests by religious hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws.

Asia Bibi spent eight years on death row before the Supreme Court quashed her sentence last October.

Hardliners had petitioned to overturn this ruling.

“Based on merit, this petition is dismissed,” Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosar said in court on Tuesday.

Hardline protesters hold banners demanding death for blasphemers in Karachi, Pakistan (12 Oct 2018)

 

BBC

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Christian woman awarded $21.5 million after lawsuit claims she was fired for skipping Sunday shifts to go to church

Christian woman

A devout Christian who put God before her job has won a $21.5 million verdict after her employer, Conrad Miami hotel, fired her for not showing up for six Sunday shifts, NBC’s Miami affiliate reports.

Marie Jean Pierre, who worked as a dishwasher at the hotel for a decade, instead spent her Sundays at her church. According to Pierre, her employer was aware that she could not work on Sundays at the time of her hiring, but her schedule began to change in 2015. The Miami Herald reports that kitchen manager George Colon began scheduling her on Sundays. While she was initially able to switch shifts with co-workers, Pierre balked when Colon finally demanded that she herself report for work on Sundays. Her refusal resulted in her termination in March 2016.

“I love God,” she told NBC 6 Miami. “No work on Sunday, because Sunday I honor God.”

Charging that her firing was a violation of her civil rights and religious beliefs, Pierre took legal action, filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing the Hilton-owned hotel of “creating a hostile work environment.” She filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in May 2017.

“They accommodated her for seven years, and they easily could have accommodated her, but instead of doing that, they set her up for absenteeism and threw her out,” her attorney, Marc Brumer, told NBC 6. “She’s a soldier of Christ. She was doing this for all the other workers who are being discriminated against.”

While a jury agreed, the substantial sum they awarded her — $21 million in damages, plus $35,000 in back wages and $500,000 for emotional pain and mental anguish — is mostly symbolic. Due to caps on punitive damages in federal court, Pierre will only receive around $500,000. Still, she and her attorney both insist that her case was about religious freedom, not money.

“This was not about money,” Bruner told NBC 6. “This was about sending a message to other corporations whether big or small. Whatever size you are, if you’re going to take the blood and sweat of your workers, you better accommodate them or let them at least believe in their religious beliefs. Not a preference but a belief.”

Hilton, meanwhile, plans to appeal the decision.

“We were very disappointed by the jury’s verdict, and don’t believe that it is supported by the facts of this case or the law,” a statement from the hotel chain reads. “During Ms. Pierre’s 10 years with the hotel, multiple concessions were made to accommodate her personal and religious commitments. We intend to appeal, and demonstrate that the Conrad Miami was and remains a welcoming place for all guests and employees.”

Yahoo

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