Gospel Roundup

From Left to Right: Lecrae, Toure Roberts, Bishop T.D. Jakes

Church Community Bids Bishop Ernestine Cleveland-Reems Farewell

As the year of 2021 was nearing its close, the Christian community mourned yet another loss of the life of a dynamic church leader. Bishop Ernestine Cleveland-Reems died on December 29th, age 92. Bishop Cleveland-Reems of Oakland, CA was the Founder and Pastor Emeritus of the Center of Hope Community Church and founder of the non-profit, E.C. Reems Women’s International Ministries. Reems was well-known as a popular, charismatic global conference speaker and ministered at many events worldwide, including several hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes.  In 1992, she opened a transitional home for women in crisis that offered job training and childcare assistance. In 1998, she established the E.C. Reems Gardens a 150-unit affordable housing complex. By 2000, Reems had successfully transformed the once crime-ridden Oakland neighborhood surrounding her church into a thriving community and raised more than $18 million in support for various social programs. Reems was the aunt of legendary gospel singer Tramaine Hawkins and mother of the current co-pastors of the Center of Hope Community Church, Pastor Maria Reems and Reverend Brondon Reems. Her homegoing arrangements have not yet been announced.

Potter’s House of Denver Shutters its Doors

As another sign of the current times, The Potters House Denver has announced it will be closing its doors permanently to a building they’ve occupied for more than a decade and will go fully remote.  The multicultural megachurch led by Pastors Toure Roberts and Sarah Jakes Roberts, and daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes sits upon a 137,000 square-foot piece of land in Arapahoe County, Colorado and is worth $12.2 million. Due to the inability to gather and the economic instability of the pandemic, our church, like many other churches in the nation, experienced declining donations” Roberts recently said in an interview. They will continue to maintain their in-person food bank that feeds thousands within the continue. The new virtual services will be held twice weekly on Thursdays 6pm and 9pm and on Sundays at 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 7pm.

Grammys May Postpone January Broadcast

Multiple sources close to the organizers of the Recording Academy are saying that the Academy may seek to postpone the upcoming 64th Annual Grammy Awards for the second year in a row, due to growing concerns over the highly contagious Omicron variant. However, the live broadcast remains scheduled for January 31st at the Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Center) in Los Angeles. A spokesman for the Recording Academy has not yet confirmed the speculations, but already many spinoff events that coincide with the Grammys have moved to either cancel or postpone scheduled plans. Once such industry event held by the Gospel Industry Network (G.I.N.) has already made the decision to reschedule their “Gospel in L.A. Grammy Award” weekend event that was slated for January 29-30, 2022, at the Academy Cathedral church in Inglewood, CA. A new date has not yet been announced.

Jay Weaver Bassist for Big Daddy Weave Dies from COVID

Jay Weaver, 42-year-old bassist for the contemporary Christian/Rock band Big Daddy Weave, died after enduring two decades of health struggles and hospitalizations. Weaver who transitioned on January 2nd after contracting COVID, battled diabetes and ultimately lost both legs to amputation in 2016.  His brother Mike Weaver, front man for the band said to supporters that “those prayers for healing and turn into prayers for thanksgiving now that Jay is in God’s presence.” Big Daddy Weave is a chart topping Christian band that performed October 2021 for the 52nd Annual GMA Dove Awards and has earned spots as a beloved favorite among fans with the K-LOVE Fan Awards as well as a 2010 Dove Award for their Christmas album, Christ is Come.

Grammy Award-winning Artist Lecrae Addresses Church Issues

Leading up to the New Year, Lecrae award-winning Atlanta-based Christian rapper and CEO of Reach Records, had a candid discussion regarding his experience with church hurt from the American evangelical church and his process for dealing with it. Lecrae, who has been revered as a role model for Christian hip-hop fans, is also known to be a very vocal advocate against racial injustices and as a result he found himself un-invited and set aside by many church organizations he partnered with in the past. He described his coping mechanism as the “reconstruction following deconstruction” and began rebuilding his own spiritual foundation. Lecrae recently worked on and release his first full album collaboration with fellow Christian rapper and mentee 1K Phew called “No Church in a While,” which a 10-track “Street Gospel” project, a term coined by 1K Phew that describes a new sound of trap infused with Christian lyrics. “No Church in a While” addresses the post-pandemic state of disconnect within churches and the existence of hope that keeps people connected to Christ.