Check Out a Life-Sized Replica of Noah’s Ark at the Ark Encounter!

Ark Encounter

Hello World,

Although today is the last official day of summer, you can still take a family trip to check out the Ark Encounter, which includes a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark as its centerpiece! The attraction recently passed its two-month milestone having received rave reviews from guests coming from all over the world. Answers in Genesis (AiG), which operates the attraction south of Cincinnati, Ohio reports that more than 300,000 guests have visited the Ark since it opened nine weeks ago. Meanwhile, its sister attraction, the Creation Museum, 45 minutes to the north, has seen attendance up 75 percent.

The Ark Encounter, a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction, was built according to the biblical dimensions in Genesis 6; it stands seven stories high and is 510 feet in length. It is the largest freestanding, timber-frame structure in the world, located on 800 beautiful acres in Williamstown, Kentucky, south of Cincinnati, Ohio.

ark 2The Ark Encounter is strategically located off I-75, a one-day drive from nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population. An independent feasibility study by America’s Research Group (ARG) estimates that over 1.4 million individuals will visit within the first year. This same group predicted the Creation Museum would receive 400,000 visitors in its first year and 404,000 actually came within that time frame.

AiG founder and CEO Ken Ham remarked on how far visitors have traveled to visit the Ark. “I’m often at the Ark Encounter, and I never get tired of seeing the many license plates in the parking lot from states like Texas or California, which is 2,000 miles away,” Ham said. “In fact, about 95 percent of our guests are coming from outside our region of Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, meaning that tourism dollars are flowing into Kentucky from people visiting from all over the country. But I’m particularly thrilled to see so many international visitors, from all kinds of diverse backgrounds, and many appear to be un-churched. A group of 30 people visited yesterday all the way from Indonesia.”

Once they see the massive Ark in person, visitors to the Ark Encounter – which have numbered more than 7,000 on many days this summer – can’t help remarking on its size and quality. “We have created countless raving fans,” Ham continued. “The three most-commonly used words to describe the massive Ark are ‘amazing,’ ‘remarkable’ and ‘awesome.’ Some have even called it the eighth wonder of the world.”

I recognize former President Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in this photo...

I recognize former President Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in this photo…

The Ark Encounter was built to answer the most-asked questions about the account of Noah and to present the gospel of Christ. Ham told the opening day crowd on July 7 that this park is not just about entertainment, but also presents the Christian message.

In addition to the full-scale Noah’s Ark with three decks of world-class exhibits in over 120,000 square feet, the Ark Encounter theme park includes the Ararat Ridge Zoo (with petting zoo), zip lines, live entertainment, a 1,500-seat themed restaurant (which may now be the largest restaurant in America) and fair-trade shopping. The hours of operation through October are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets are available at ArkEncounter.com and at on-site ticket offices. Admission is $40 for adults, $31 for seniors and $28 for children; parking is $10. There will be other ticket options, including combo tickets for the Ark and its sister attraction, the Creation Museum, plus a seven-day unlimited ticket to the Ark and Creation Museum.

 

Check out a video about the Ark Encounter below…

 Any thoughts?

The Top 10 Blog Posts and or Articles for Black Christian Women in January 2016

january

Hello World,

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is a month old, and I hope it’s been a great year for you so far. As I’ve done for the past few months, I’ve corralled another list of interesting blog posts and or articles for black Christian women from last month that intrigued me as a black Christian woman ( but you don’t have be a black Christian woman to to check them out:) ! ) As usual, let me know if you like my list! Enjoy and share!

1. “New Pastor Coming to Emanuel AME Seeks to Bring Hope, Unity” by Jennifer Berry Hawes

Excerpt: The Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark has been named pastor of Emanuel AME Church, where nine black worshipers were gunned down on June 17 by an avowed white racist. She will be the church’s first female pastor. See more at: postandcourier.com.

2. “How a Facebook Comment Turned into a Nightmare for ‘the Evangelical Harvard’” by Sarah Pulliam Bailey 

Excerpt: It’s not the first time Wheaton has wrestled with theology and identity. But the Hawkins case exploded in the thick of a national conversation about the place of Islam, and about race and privilege. Hawkins is one of Wheaton’s five black tenured professors, who make up 2 percent of the faculty, and its only full-time black woman professor. See more at: washingtonpost.com.

3. “How YWCA USA Is Evolving To Better Support Women And People Of Color” by Kathy Caprino

Excerpt: First and foremost, we’ll give the public greater clarity about who we are and what we do. Our mission is squarely focused on eliminating racism and empowering women. The 225 YWCAs around the country serving more than 2 million women and families annually work hand-in-hand with people as they take steps to improve their lives, whether through domestic violence services, housing, childcare, job training, or the many other programs available at local YWCAs. See more at: forbes.com.

4. “Why the Black Church Should Speak Out Against Sexual Predators” by Rev. Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard

Excerpt: To be silent on Bill Cosby is a missed opportunity to speak to the real people in our pews who have been victims of sexual violence. Here are a few statistics every pastor should know. The national average suggests that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Translation, if you have 50 Women in your church, 16 to 20 of them have had similar acts of sexual assault, rape, happen to them as have been described by the 55 women who have come forward about Bill Cosby. See more at: lasentinel.net.

5. “Awarding Purity & Preserving Patriarchy: Why I Don’t Agree With Scholarships for Virgins” by Erica Nichole

Excerpt: The mayor in Uthukela, South Africa is awarding young women enrolled in schools with scholarships, not for excelling academically, but for remaining virgins during their time in school. Yep, there are scholarships for virgins. While the road and process to being granted a scholarship is competitive in most countries, students with exceptional academics are awarded grants to further support their education. But is it right to encourage higher education to women by solely making virginity the qualifier for the grant? See more at: xonecole.com.

6. “Loving the Stranger in My Bed” by Trillia Newbell

Excerpt: As you live, you change. I’m not the same woman my husband married 12 years ago. I’d like to think in some ways I’ve matured, but even many of my interests have changed. I’ve had children, so my body has definitely changed. Even my temperament has changed as we’ve experienced more trials in our growing together. I’m still me to the core, but I’m also different. Because of the familiarity we feel in marriage, it takes intentional effort to stay close as each person changes. See more at: todayschristianwoman.com.

7. “Single Mom of Six Gets Special Gift from Church” by Jennifer Shaw

Excerpt: Pollard’s luck changed on Jan. 3 when Pastor Chris Williams read her letter aloud to the congregation of Church at Antioch, then announcing that she was the recipient of a donated 2002 burgundy Ford Taurus,also as a way of recognizing the church’s one-year anniversary. See more at: contracostatimes.com.

8. “Harlem ‘Church Ladies’ Get Their Due”

Excerpt: Church Ladies: Untold Stories of Harlem Women in the Powell Era is an oral history based on interviews with 15 black women, members of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, N.Y. The book is a rare glimpse into the world of women’s leadership in the black church and gives voice to Harlem women and their activism during the tumultuous mid-20th century. See more at: blogs.baruch.cuny.edu.

9. “The Black Church and the Habitus of Resistence: An Ethnographic Study of Religious Practice and Social Change” by Joi R. Orr

Excerpt: In the spring of 2015, I observed a longstanding group of moderate and liberal black clergy members in Atlanta, Georgia, whose mission is to “provide leadership, advocacy and service to the homeless, helpless and hopeless in our community.” Every Monday morning, this coalition hosts a community forum to move their agenda along. With this sustained practice, the coalition prepares and situates itself to participate in direct-action campaigns and to take on issues of mass incarceration, a livable minimum wage, and voter mobilization.  See more at: theotherjournal.com.

10. “7 Dead Giveaways You’re Attending A Black Church” by Dontaira Terrell

Excerpt: Leave With A Home-Cooked Meal. It’s a week of built-up anticipation, hoping to get a taste of Ms. Gladys’ mac and cheese. Your prayers have been answered the moment you hear there will be food served in the fellowship hall following the worship service.  The menu usually consists of good ol’ soul food, but if you don’t hurry, Sister Patterson’s collard greens and Ms. Gladys’ mac and cheese will definitely be gone! See more at: atlantablackstar.com.

If you know of any black Christian women bloggers and or writers, please e-mail me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com as I’m always interested in expanding my community of black Christian women blogs and websites. As I noted before, while this is a roundup of interesting blog posts and or articles for black Christian women, you don’t have to be one to appreciate these pieces :).

Any thoughts?

 

Interdenominational Theological Center Triumphant After Accreditation Scare, Honors Civil Rights Icons at Global Transformers Gala (PHOTOS included)

galaHello World,

When an invitation to cover the Interdenominational Theological Center’s (ITC) inaugural Global Transformers Gala 2015 showed up in my inbox last week, I knew I had to attend for two reasons. First of all, my father received his doctorate from the school and secondly, it was an opportunity to be among civil rights icons who changed the trajectory of humankind through their contributions! Check out these honorees: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. C.T. Vivian; Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, Dr. Barbara Lewis King, Dr. Cameron Madison Alexander, Dr. Lonnie C. King Jr. and Rev. Dr. R.L. White Jr. (Close your mouth! I know you’re impressed.)

Once the event began at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park began last night, I learned that ITC faced losing its accreditation in 2011; however, in the four years since, ITC has worked to address “areas of institutional effectiveness, financial aid, and financial sustainability” according to a press release in the program. As a result, “full, unconditional, reaffirmation concludes a four-year effort by ITC to secure that status.” In fact, ITC’s reaffirmation was just announced at the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges on December 8! So in addition to celebrating civil rights icons, ITC was also celebrating its reaffirmation!

The first person I spoke with was Dr. C.T. Vivian, who was just as gracious in person as he seems to be when I’ve seen him interviewed on television and heard interviews with him on the radio. “I’m thankful to be with these 12 people who did the Civil Rights Movement together,” Vivian said to me in the VIP reception prior to the gala. “I remember all of these people throughout the years and it makes it more like a homecoming than a meeting.”

Dr. C.T. Vivian

I also met Dr. Edward L. Wheeler, who became the president of ITC in January of this year. Below he is pictured with Rev. Dr. R.L. White Jr., one of the honorees and president of ITC’s National Alumni Association.

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Below is Dr. Wheeler and Rev. A. Denise Bell, regional minister Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

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After the VIP reception ended, I made my way to the banquet hall where the gala was held. Below are a few photographs of what I saw along the way. (Keep in mind that I’m a writer not a photographer, please : ). )

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The Mistress of Ceremony for the evening was one of Atlanta’s finest journalists Mrs. Monica Pearson, who looked gorge in this marigold, green and black African print dress. My picture doesn’t do it or her justice, but you get the idea…She said of the honorees: “We want to honor you while you can still smell the roses.” Agreed…

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I roamed around the gala and wound up with a few decent shots of the honorees…Take a look…I’m sure you recognize Congressman John Lewis and Ambassador Andrew Young

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Below is some new information that I learned last night that impressed me:

  • Monica Pearson said without Dr. Lonnie King Jr., there would be no Monica Pearson. Apparently, King (no relation to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King), as president of Atlanta’s NAACP in 1969, formed a Community Coalition on Broadcasting to convince television and radio stations to hire black people on and off of the air. According to the April 30, 1970 issue of JET magazine, after a “10-month power struggle” which included the coalition’s persuasion of the FCC to delay the “license renewals of every one of Atlanta’s radio and television stations” for 30 days,  20 of the stations “agreed across the board to coalition demands.” Monica Pearson, who is retired, started her career at Channel 2 Action News in 1975 as Atlanta’s first minority and woman to anchor the 6 p.m. news. And although I’m not television or radio journalist, I’m reasonably sure that Dr. King’s work influenced the hiring of black print journalists in the city as well. Salute!
  • Rev. Dr. R.L. White Jr., who also was president of the NAACP Atlanta branch, spearheaded a gun buyback campaign which led to almost 1,00o guns being taken off the streets in 2014. Salute!
  • Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, who was once pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church, was instrumental in securing 10 acres of land for the church and $1 million that was used for the construction of the church’s cathedral. Salute!

I also spoke with a few of the gala attendees. Below is Timi Simpson, executive assistant to ITC’s vice president of financial services and CFO, and her husband Kenneth Simpson. Simpson was excited about ITC gala as well as its new president. “This is a kickoff of a new birth for ITC. We are introducing our self back into the community and fostering new relationships.”

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Below is Carmen Holman, a consultant with the Andrew Young Foundation. “When I saw the honorees, I was immediately impressed with those selected. They are deserving of the recognition. At this day and time, we need this level of inspiration.” 049

Rev. Felice Betaudier, who is an associate minister at Redemptive Life Christian Fellowship in Conyers, says she hopes to enroll at ITC and earn a master of divinity degree.

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Below are the honorees who were in attendance last night as well as those who accepted awards on behalf of the honorees who weren’t able to attend. Professional photographer Calvin Evans was gracious enough to allow me to use his photograph of them.

Global Tansformers Gala "ITC" Presidents "Light of the World Award ITC Global Tansformers Award photography by Calvin Evans www.calvinevansphotoshoot.com © 2016 All rights reserved

Global Tansformers Gala “ITC” Presidents “Light of the World Award ITC Global Tansformers Award photography by Calvin Evans www.calvinevansphotoshoot.com © 2016 All rights reserved

And below is a photo of the actual awards…

Global Tansformers Gala "ITC" Presidents "Light of the World Award ITC Global Tansformers Award photography by Calvin Evans www.calvinevansphotoshoot.com © 2016 All rights reserved

Global Tansformers Gala “ITC” Presidents “Light of the World Award ITC Global Tansformers Award photography by Calvin Evans www.calvinevansphotoshoot.com © 2016 All rights reserved

Finally, I asked President Wheeler what the gala meant to him and his reply was, “It means a couple of things. First, it is a celebration of excellence for the honorees and what they displayed because of their faith. It is inspiring. It is also a celebration of ITC coming out again as a voice of justice, a voice of equity and voice of transformation for the betterment of humanity.”

Any thoughts?