2014 is upon us. To help bid 2013 good bye, Jackson Presbyterian Examiner would like to present a rundown of some of the most important local, national, and international news headlines from the past 12 months.
1. On January 21, resident Barack Obama was re-inaugurated as the 44th president of the United Sates. Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain Mississippi Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers, was invited to offer the invocation.
2. Citing health concerns which make international travel impossible, 85 year-old Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation in early February, which was effective on February 28. This made him the first bishop of Rome to resign in more than 600 years.
3. In Super Bowl 47, which was played on February 3 in New Orleans this year, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34 to 31.
4. On March 13, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Taking the name Pope Francis, the new bishop of Rome was the first Latin American ever selected for the office, as well as the first Jesuit.
5. On March 18, the metro-Jackson area was hit with the most severe hail storm in modern times. Millions of dollars of damage was done to homes, businesses, and vehicles as softball- sized hail fell late Monday afternoon.
6. Edith Schaeffer, co-foudner of L-Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and wife of the late Francis Schaeffer, passed away on Saturday, March 30, at age 98.
7. On April 12, popular Christian author Brennan Manning passed away at age 78. Manning was best known for his 1990 book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book that was so influential in the life of Christian musician Rich Mullins that he named his group the Ragamuffin Band.
8. On April 15, two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 183.
9. On April 16, legendary gospel singer and longtime associate of Billy Graham, George Beverly Shea, died at 104. Shea is best remembered for introducing the hymn, “How Great Thou Art” to the United States, as well as being an opening performer at countless Billy Graham Evangelistic Association crusades since the 1940s.
10. On May 23, the Boy Scouts of America voted to change its current policy, allowing openly homosexual youth to become members. The decision was controversial among evangelical Christians, and the Southern Baptist Convention at its 2013 annual meeting encouraged Southern Baptist church members to explore scouting alternatives to the BSA.
11. Exodus International, the world’s oldest Christian ministry reaching out to individuals with same-sex attractions, announced on Tuesday, June 19, that it would be closing. The announcement of closure coincides with Exodus president Alan Chambers’ recent release of a public apology to the homosexual community for Exodus’ treatment of them.
12. On Thursday, June 20, the Miami Heat won game 7 of the NBA finals against the San Antonio Spurs to claim its 3rd championship in franchise history. Lebron James, who was the regular season MVP, was also awarded the Finals MVP.
13. On Wednesday, June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage was released. In a 5-4 vote, the Court struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, mandating that homosexual couples are entitled to federal benefits. The Court also refused to weigh in on California’s Proposition 8 debate, which means that, for the time being, same-sex marriage will be legal in California, despite two voter referendums that defined marriage as between a man and woman.
14. On July 15, in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA issued a statement calling for an end to gun violence in America. Citing Jesus’ statement, “Blessed are the peacemakers”, the statement ended by saying, “Peace is not a passive response to times of human trial and pain. Peace is generated by our willingness to trust God while actively engaging in the difficult struggles of human life. Today, we place our faith in Jesus Christ while trusting that the Holy Spirit guides our path toward a world free of fear and violence.”
15. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband, Prince William, welcomed their baby boy, Prince George of Cambridge, on July 22. He was born at 4:24 p.m., and weighed 8 pounds and 6 ounces
16. On August 8, Presbyterian News Service reported that the PCUSA decided to drop the song, “In Christ Alone” from its new denominational hymnal coming out. The controversy surrounded the words in the second verse, which said that on the cross “the wrath of God was satisfied”. The denomination wanted to alter the words to say “the love of God was magnified”, but the song’s composers, Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, refused to sanction the change.
17. On August 15, Kenneth Jackson Townsend was born at 4:01 at River Oaks Hospital in Flowood, Mississippi. He is the son of Daniel and Michelle Townsend of Clinton. On August 24, Jack was baptized at the Belhaven University Prayer Room in Jackson.
18. The state of Colorado began experiencing massive flooding on September 9, causing extensive property damage and killing numerous people.
19. On October 1, the new government healthcare legislation, nicknamed "Obamacare" began to take effect. This coincided with temporary a government shutdown, resulting from Democratic and Republican elected officials failing to agree on a budget by September 30.
20. On October 31, in Major League Baseball the Boston Red Sox won their 3rd World Series when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 by a score of 6-1.
21. In November, bishops and archbishops throughout the Anglican Communion met in Kenya for Global Anglican Future Conference. Justin Wellby, the archbishop of Canterbury, appears to be advocating that the Church of England begin blessing same-sex union, and numerous GAFCON bishops have expressed disappointment. Upon his election, many expressed hope that Wellby would help steer the Anglican Communion back to traditional orthodoxy.
22. Rolling Stone Magazine reported that on November 24 Willie Nelson’s tour bus had an accident, causing numerous upcoming tour dates to be either canceled or postponed (including a concert that had originally been scheduled at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson).
23. On Thanksgiving Day, November 28, Mississippi State University defeated Ole Miss 17-10 in the annual Egg Bowl showdown.
24. During the second week of November, coinciding with Billy Graham’s 95th birthday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association released My Hope America with Billy Graham, a video evangelism series that the elderly Graham described as a “crusade in your living room”. The series features Graham’s gospel presentation, along with numerous testimonies from individuals of a changed life in Christ.
25. November and December will be remembered as a time when many notable people died. On November 30, Paul Crouch, famous for being the co-founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, died at age 79. Nelson Mandela, the South African leader described by the Chicago Tribune as a "civil rights giant", passed away on December 5 at age 95. Mandela, elected in 1994, was South Africa's first black president. On December 14, Peter O'Toole, best known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, passed away at age 81. Joan Fontaine, classic movie actress, best-known for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock films such as Rebecca and Suspicion, died on December 15 at age 96. Fontaine is survived by her older sister, actress Olivia de Havilland, who is 97. On December 16, classic country artist Ray Price passed away at age 87. Price is known for his hits such as "For the Good Times" and "Heartaches by the Number".
Thank God for his protection in the year that is now passing. May God be with us in the year ahead.