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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Looking back at 2009 Milestones in the religious community

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For many 2009 went by in a flash, however, its quickness cannot diminish the profound events that took place within those 365 days.

The United States watched closely as President Barack Obama chose a new church home for his family to attend. Then eyes were full of sadness when news of the death of David “Pop” Winans Sr. spread. The world was also shocked to hear that Rev. Fred Winters; pastor of First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill. was shot to death in his own church.

Locally many congregations celebrated anniversaries, new ministers, held memorable events and grieved the loss of loved ones.

Faith was one of the key factors that was able to pull many believers through the storms of 2009. As the world looks forward to 2010, we cannot forget what has took place in 2009.

Here is a quick look back.


n Forty years after his death, people around the world celebrate the birthday of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. It would have been the minister’s 80th birthday.

n Throngs of two million people who are believers in hope and change participate in a historical moment in America’s glory that will never be repeated, the inauguration of Barack Obama. This particular inauguration created a special spirit that transcended the boundaries that have kept good people divided based on race, religion, political affiliations, community status and more.

Selections for Inauguration Day speakers by Barack Obama drew controversy with his selection of Pastor Rick Warren and Rev. Joseph Lowry. His decisions demonstrated how Obama will reach out to a diverse set of leaders and try to join them in unconventional ways, unconcerned about their theological and political differences.

n Massive layoffs and foreclosures took a toll across the country and many Americans are concerned about their financial health. New Baptist Church of Indianapolis decided to provide a series of free forums to educate consumers on important financial matters.


n Former President Jimmy Carter addressed a packed Sixteenth Street Baptist Church with his New Baptist Covenant message of racial reconciliation and cooperation on social issues. Some 1,200 people fill the historic Birmingham church where four Black girls died in a 1963 Ku Klux Klan bombing. Carter spoke at a worship service followed by workshops on poverty and racism.

n Obama selects Joshua DuBois to serve as director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

n Pastor Peter Fenton of First Samuel Church Holistic Ministries returns to Indianapolis from a special visit to India that unites two cultures under the goal of worldwide evangelization. The purpose of the visit was to formally launch First Samuel’s new role as the parent church of a network of 16 congregations in India.

n Friendship Missionary Baptist Church hosts a special series of interactive seminars and a “marriage dare” program designed to strengthen the bonds between couples, who may or may not be facing problems within their marriage.


n Diverse faiths celebrate the “ascension” of leaders through holidays and observances to remember the founders of various faiths across the world. Some of the observances that highlight the departures of individuals who establish some of the world’s major faiths are Islam, Baha’i, Buddhism and Sikhism.

n President Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, gives an assessment of his former parishioner’s short time in the White House stating that Obama is just like any other president.

n Two Indianapolis congregations, Fall Creek Parkway Church of Christ and Kingsley Terrace Church of Christ join forces to help break the bondage of addictions that have devastated numerous families by hosting their own Drug and Alcohol Workshops.

n More congregations are taking strong measures to protect themselves, after Rev. Fred Winters, pastor of First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill. was shot to death in an act of random violence that also wounded two of his church members.

n Aides to President Obama are quietly checking out local churches to find his new spiritual home, a delicate task that must balance Obama’s public profile, security needs and personal beliefs.

n Historians gather at IPS Crispus Attucks Museum to honor one of the world’s premiere scholars, Dr. John Hope Franklin. Franklin died at age 94. He was the preeminent historian of African-American history and a leader in the struggle for the community.


n The Grammy nominated patriarch of the Grammy Award-winning gospel music family, David “Pop” Winans Sr., 74, dies.

n Ebenezer Baptist Church hosts a free workshop entitled Let’s Talk About Sex for teens, young adults, parents and educators. An increasing amount of faith organizations are stepping up to address the issue from a spiritual perspective.


n A healthy dose of fun and laughter is offered during the annual Christ Comedy Jam at the Circle City Mall. Featured appearances from some of the most popular individuals in entertainment included Pastor Pretty, Donald “Fo Sho” Martin, Coma D, Milton and Deek.

n Rev. Vernon C. King, nephew of Martin Luther King Jr. dies. He was 48. King was the youngest son of Martin Luther King Jr.’s only brother, A.D. King Sr.

n St. Rita Catholic Church celebrates its 90th anniversary with a series of special events ranging from a community fish fry, a dance and a special mass.

n For God So Loved the World Ministries hosts a concert to help break the cycle of homelessness.

n Kingdom Records (recording home to Shekinah Glory Ministry of “Praise is What I Do” and “Yes”) has signed legendary R&B group, The Whispers, to record its first gospel CD.

n Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and William Ayers speak at First United Church of Oak Park during a forum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

n Christian rapper Nu Breed kicks off the grand opening of Club 180, a Christian hip-hop club for teens.


n Messiah Missionary Baptist Church honors its pastor, Rev. Stephen J. Clay for his 26 years of leadership and spiritual guidance.

n Some Christians feel the Christian walk is being overlooked in some churches. They suggest the exterior and interior aspects of the church or the different ministries offered are being given more attention than the congregation’s relationship with Christ.

n Rev. Al Sharpton calls for opposition to an Arizona sheriff who has aggressively cracked down on illegal immigration to videotape alleged racial profiling by the sheriffs office. The civil rights leader says the videotapes will help the U.S. Department of Justice in an investigation of alleged civil rights abuses by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office.


n President Barack Obama has chosen to attend Evergreen Chapel, a nondenominational church at Camp David in Frederick County, Md.

n During chaotic times, it may seem difficult to find relief from stress. However, many may forget that God is also a stress reliever. Tips recommended for Christians include reading the Bible, praying and meditating.

n Crimes are being committed weekly and some are claiming the lives of innocent infants. Pastors throughout the local community comment on how the influx of crime can be diminished.


n Kreative Soulutionz hosts its inaugural Fly Higher Youth Expo at the Gene B. Glick Junior Achievement Center.

n Rev. H. Wesley Wiley, 94, a nationally prominent Baptist minister who was the first African-American pastor to lead a predominantly white church in Washington, and helped organize an anti-poverty campaign with Martin Luther King dies of bone cancer.

n New Light Christian Church celebrates its seventh anniversary.

n Pastor Belinda Brents and the congregation of Kingdom Builders for Jesus Ministries celebrated their second church anniversary.

n Pastor A. Thomas Hill, pastor of Healing Streams Word & Worship Center holds a live recording concert for his first solo album, “Uncensored Worship and Unrestricted Praise.”


n Al “The Bishop” Hobbs, a gospel music executive seeks to unify Blacks and Latinos through Culturefest 2009, an event offering family fun and celebrating cultural unity.

n The fourth annual Creation Evidence Expo includes interactive displays, books and family entertainment to highlight evidence of the world’s creation by God.

n Gospel legends Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s select Indianapolis as the city to hold a record release party for their new album. The group was joined by fellow gospel stars Evelyn Turentine & The Warriors, as well as the Golden Wings quartet.

n International Prophetess Audrey Berden, founder of Virtue and Praise Ministries is honored at an anniversary celebration.

n Delores ‘Sugar’ Poindexter, one of the first African-American women in the city to become a disc jockey, dies. Poindexter hosted the Gospel Showcase on WTLC-FM (105.7).


n Dr. Williams V. Pickens III is installed as Pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Pickens, a native of Chicago, replaces the late Reverend C.V. Jetter.

n Pastor John F. Ramsey celebrates 24 years in ministry and eight years as pastor of New Life Worship Center.

n New Baptist Church hosts their annual Fall Revival to revive Indianapolis; the series includes sermons by guest pastors and a message by a guest speaker.

n Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin Jr. celebrates 40 years as senior pastor of Light of the World Christian Church.

n Senior Pastor Charles Simmons Sr. of Berean Bible Church celebrates 20 years.

n Eastern Star Church honors Pastor Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr. for reaching a significant milestone. The preacher, teacher, author and community activist celebrated 30 years in ministry and 21 years as pastor of Eastern Star Church.


n Zion Hope Baptist Church celebrates the arrival of its new pastor, Rev. Tony McGee.

n The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops defended their involvement in the health care debate, saying that church leaders have a duty to the nation and God to raise moral concerns on any issue, including abortion rights and coverage for the poor.


n The Robert Turner Christmas Musical is held to honor Turner, a legendary gospel music artist.

n Kim Kenny, a national gospel-recording artist from Indianapolis, releases her new debut album “More Than a Conqueror.” The 10-track project serves as a satisfying and inspiring resource for those who seek to praise, worship and develop a closer relationship with the Lord.

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