01 February

Urban Ministries, Inc. and HarperCollins Christian Publishing together launch online platform, UrbanFaithStudy.com

Platform to feature prominent black pastors like Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III

(Nashville, Tenn.) February 1, 2022—Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) and HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) today announced the launch of UrbanFaithStudy.com a subscription-based digital platform offering churches and individuals a regularly expanding library of more than 100 video sermons and study curricula from well-known African American Christian voices. UrbanFaithStudy.com is a co-launched consumer-direct product created by UMI and HCCP, a result of the partnership the organizations announced in November 2020. UrbanFaithStudy.com will be an extension of UrbanFaith, a contemporary and socially engaged community and brand, targeting African American young adults committed to growing in their knowledge of biblical truth.

UrbanFaithStudy.com will offer culturally relevant, topical sermons delivered by pastors such as Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III; Dr. Dominique Robinson; and husband and wife team Pastor Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Pastor Andrew Wilkes. Bishop Walker is the International Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and pastor of the historic 30,000-member Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. Dr. Robinson is a religious scholar, theological educator, preacher, writer, activist, and advocate, who serves as an assistant professor of preaching at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX. Her sermon “iHomiletic™: Preaching that Clicks,” has been used to assist faith leaders across the U.S. with developing impactful ministry methodologies that employ technology and social media linguistics.[1] HBCU and Ivy League–educated pastors Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Andrew Wilkes co-founded the Double Love Experience Church in Brooklyn, NY, which is a growing congregation of believers committed to the liberating, love-powered ministry of Jesus.

“I am pleased to see this robust and unique platform featuring strong voices and transformative messages by African American pastors and authors,” remarked Jeff Wright, CEO of UMI. “I know it will be a blessing to many people.”

UrbanFaithStudy.com will also launch with book study curricula for readers who are looking for deeper engagement and group study content that engage the church with culturally relevant topics. These curricula are by well-known African American voices including New York Times bestselling author Jemar Tisby; beloved author and speaker Crystal Evans Hurst; Grammy Award-winning artist, Lecrae; and Bible teacher, pastor, and author, Jada Anae Edwards.

“When teaming up with UMI more than a year ago, we knew creating a video platform to host engaging, life-changing biblical content would showcase both organizations’ ability to reach new audiences,” said Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. “The church is evolving; becoming more dependent on technology to deliver sermons, Bible studies, and other curricula.  When designing UrbanFaithStudy.com we used our strengths to achieve more than we could if we had each approached the project separately.”

UrbanFaithStudy.com will serve a range of consumers including church congregations, divinity students, young preachers, and individuals seeking to understand how faith informs cultural engagement. The monthly subscription is $5.95 for individuals and $19.95 for churches. To subscribe, visit UrbanFaithStudy.com.

UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.) is the largest independent religious media and publishing company serving the African American market. Founded in 1970 in Chicago, IL., by Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr., UMI creates positive, transformative analog and digital content based on a biblical worldview that is especially empowering to the African American community. UMI offices are in suburban Chicago. UMI exists to disseminate culture changing, biblically sound content and has tremendous credibility in producing high quality material reaching millions of people throughout the globe.

About HarperCollins Christian Publishing: The world’s leading Christian publisher, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. comprises the Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and HarperChristian Resources publishing groups and imprint, BibleGateway.com, FaithGateway.com, StudyGateway.com and ChurchSource.com. The Company produces bestselling Bibles, inspirational books, academic resources, curriculum audio and digital content for the Christian market space. Bible Gateway is the world’s largest Christian website with more than 20 million unique visitors each month. HarperCollins Christian Publishing is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. with additional offices in the U.S. and Mexico. For more information visit www.HarperCollinsChristian.com.​

[1] https://ssw.edu/about-southwest/faculty/dominique-robinson/

26 February

GRAMMY Award-Winning Artist, Activist, and New York Times Bestselling Author Lecrae to Publish I Am Restored with Zondervan Books

Grand Rapids, Mich., Feb. 25, 2020 Two-time GRAMMY award-winning hip-hop artist, entrepreneur, speaker, thought leader, philanthropist, and New York Times bestselling author Lecrae Moore has signed a contract with Zondervan for his new book, I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith, which releases October 13, 2020. Lecrae is represented by Margaret Riley King and Mel Berger of WME Entertainment. North American and non-exclusive open market rights were acquired by Senior Acquisitions Editor Mick Silva.

In his first book, the New York Times bestseller Unashamed, Lecrae was transparent about adversities experienced in his life—childhood abuse, drugs, alcoholism, a stint in rehab, abortion, growing up fatherless, and an unsuccessful suicide attempt. In I Am Restored, Lecrae shares how growing stronger in his faith has helped him create transformation in the lives of others. Lecrae bares his soul, sharing deep wounds, past trauma, and conflicts with family, church, and personal challenges in hopes that his process of restoration will help others.

“My forthcoming album, Restoration, chronicles the process of healing, and my book, I Am Restored, is about the journey toward healing,” says Lecrae. “My prayer is that I Am Restored will inspire readers to embrace the freedom and healing they need and to escape the despair, anxiety, doubt, and fear so many of us battle.”

“We need more artists willing to break barriers like Lecrae,” says Mick Silva, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Zondervan Books. “His story of allowing trauma and deep personal struggles to break the barriers within himself ultimately shows where his deep faith comes from. I believe his voice could be prophetic for our time.”

In addition to earning accolades for his musical talent, Lecrae has gained wide recognition for maintaining a strong commitment to his faith and values. “More caught than taught” is how the artist describes his incredible journey that includes two GRAMMY awards, a history-making #1 and RIAA Gold certified album, Anomaly, the masterful 2014 offering which topped Billboard’s coveted Top 200 Albums chart. His New York Times bestseller, Unashamed, was released in 2016. Lecrae resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and three children.

Zondervan is a world leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications.  Zondervan, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, Mich.  For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com.

Contact:      Trinity McFadden

                     Senior Manager of Public Relations


                     [email protected]