As you can see, "Seeking God's Way...Through Prayer, Obedience, And the Word" is the theme for the 105th annual COGIC Holy Convocation which begins Monday Nov. 5th - 13th 2012.
With a church General Board election in which over 23 candidates are vieing for 12 seats of position of what has been otherwise deemed to be "power", and a National Presidential election, all on the heels of one of the worst hurricanes that the Eastern United States has seen in almost 2 decades, makes it a sure bet that this week promises to be an historic and event filled week one way or another.
Is There HOPE?
Yes, there is hope, and the good news is that the theme points us in the right direction.
IF we are seeking "God's way"...he has promised that we will find it
IF we are going to God in prayer for HIS intervention...he has promised to answer.
IF we are looking to make sure that we are obedient unto HIM...he has promised that IT (the act of obedience) is better than any sacrifice that could be made.
IF we are seeking HIS WORD...HE will not hide himself and will make it abundantly known as it is HIS WORD that has established the order of all that we see and are aware of and all that is unseen and unknown to us.
We Need Clarity Because There Are Issues?
There are certainly issues. Issues that must be addressed at some point even if they won't be addressed at this, 105th Holy Convocation. One such issue includes the establishment of an adequate victims advocacy plan in favor of those, within our church, who have been victimized by sexual predators, molesters and abusers.
Let me be clear, as it seems that many of those whom I have spoken with in leadership over the last month or so, and even some of those who are seeking a General Board seat, either don't, won't or can't distinguish the difference...Please know that a Sexual harassment policy or criminal background check policy IS NOT a victims advocacy plan or policy.
Instructions on how to avoid sexual harassment within the church, and performing background checks may be a part of an overall and overarching plan to facilitate a more safe environment, make things better, and help reduce insurance rates, but neither of those things minister to those among our ranks who have been victimized by pederasts, rapists and those who can be classified otherwise as abusers.
Neither of those things help individuals aka: VICTIMS, or those who have been VICTIMIZED, heal and recover from the atrocities that they have suffered.
NONE of those things give VICTIMS a voice in stating their claim and demanding justice from those who have abused and taken advantage of them. .
NONE of those things help VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES heal after atrocious acts have been committed or help associate them within the community of believers who are willing and able to provide acceptance, love and an example of what the bible teaches.
NONE of those things gives the VICTIMS a voice or provides information as to even how to make their situation known or as to how to proceed after their story has been told and the appropriate reports made.
These things are in part what the church must do to make it right and to give those who otherwise do not have a voice, a voice and justice.
Taking The Message To The Next Level
The advocacy group, I Am My Brother's Keeper,Christian Advocacy Council, (IMBKCAC) will hold a press conference at the Holy Convocation on Thursday Nov. 8th at 9:00 AM at the Edward D. Jones Dome Americas Center. Supt. Harvey Burnett, the Executive Director of IMBKCAC, and other interested parties will call upon church leadership to cease from injustice and undertake the agenda of victims advocacy seriously by providing a new method of approach towards those who have been victimized within the Grand Ole Church. (Download the announcement from SlideShare above)
(If YOU or someone you know has been victimized, call I Am My Brother's Keeper (IMBKCAC) at 800-827-7279 or email us at Imbkcac@gmail.com. All inquiries are CONFIDENTIAL)
We all agree that none o f these things should occur however we all know that they do. However within COGIC, the nations largest Pentecostal denomination, The culture of silence towards victims MUST cease! Changes are absolutely essential for the healing of the people, the unity of the church, the financial stability of the church and the outreach of the gospel ministry towards the community through the Church Of God In Christ.
It's Our Chance!!!!
The bishops that admit to having received my initial 23 page proposal which was sent TWICE to certain fax numbers have concluded that the church would be better off if it had been heeded. Here is yet another chance for those seeking leadership, to not only embrace the opportunity, but to help bring change and reform to the culture of our church.
The Question Remains
What will we do? Will we reject the plight of the weakest among us, or will we undertake this cause within our ranks as equally serious as our ministry in foreign lands and outreach to save the lost? It is our turn to take the lead and simply not be led. For if we are led by and at the hands of men, there is no telling what we will be led into.
Are we seeking God's way? If so, we cannot afford to simply allow those who have been damaged to heal themselves or find their way back to Christ after they have been damaged and victimized.
Are we seeking HIS word through prayer and obedience? If that is the case, there is no way that we can allow those who have had their world turned upside down by molesters and those who have used their positions irresponsibly, to fend for themselves in a culture that values silence.
Years ago, the National Department of Evangelism had a saying or motto that went like this:
"I Won't Be Silent Anymore"
Well, I evangelized long before I became a pastor and whether that reinforced what I believe or helped me to act on it, I must second the sentiment...I Won't Be Silent Any More, Especially As It Pertains To The Safety and Security, and Restoration of those who have been victimized. I certainly wont! Position and popularity isn't essential to this cause...a RIGHT heart and motivation towards God's people is.