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Saturday, November 2, 2013

The COGIC 106th Annual Holy Convocation...A Time For Reconciliation!

Theme 1: Discovering The Power Presence And Person Of Jesus Christ

Theme 2: Experiencing The Power Of Jesus Christ, Pursuing His Mission & His Righteousness

Although I really can't say that I know exactly what theme that the 106th annual Holy Convocation of the Church Of God In Christ will be, (click HERE and read the banners for yourself) either theme sparks much fruitful and spiritual contemplation and is painted on a ripe canvass of both victory, mystery and even further controversy.  

The 2013 Holy Convocation promises to be another in which COGIC will have the opportunity to address many issues and hopefully take the opportunity to set the pace as it pertains to standards of safety and integrity within the modern Christian church. However, they are starting from a deficit. There are some serious problems that must be dealt with including lawsuits, abuse, and unresolved ongoing personal conflicts and issues. 

COGIC Victim's Advocacy...The Need STILL Exists


The wonderful part is that COGIC now requires background checks for all new clergy coming into the organization and a thorough and extensive training program for all clergy licensees. In addition, we have received certain information that there is a counseling plan or program that exists, whether officially or not, for victims of sexual abuse in some areas of the country. That's the GOOD NEWS! 

The BAD NEWS is that sexual abuse within the church continues to occur and that COGIC has failed to implement a true Victim's Advocacy program and plan that will effectively minister to the needs of victims and their families. There is yet no clear "bill of rights" or path to recovery plan as we have proposed and recommended within the IMBKCAC plan. There is yet no organizational system of accountability on the issue of abuse in all forms. A solid advocacy plan, will meet the needs of both victims, the public, and the church insuring that COGIC is a safe and family friendly place of worship which embraces safe practices that not only prevent sexual abuse from occurring, but also affords victims the very best care, compassion and concern as they place their lives and families back together. An solid victim's advocacy plan is of essential importance if the goal and aim of the church is to be relevant within the community in which it exists and all around the world.



I have set forth agenda regarding this issue for a number of years. In August of 2013, I was able to place the most recent version of our victim's advocacy proposal in the hands of Presiding Bishop Blake for review which was received by him saying that "We need ideas". I can only hope that my personal efforts to serve the needs of the hurting and help this Grand Ole Church through IMBKCAC.org will be met with all the due enthusiasm by those who have the power and ability to place substantive issues on the table to help reposition the church in a much better, and Christ like way as it pertains to this issue. 

On the other hand, maybe it is the cost of implementing a plan, that leadership is apprehensive about. Then again, maybe it is the potential implication of guilt of an advocacy program that is of concern. The fact is that victim's advocacy is a needed and necessary MINISTRY that the church can no longer afford to go without in an accountable manner. In my article "Clergy Sexual SINS Pt. 2", I point out that we aware that Presiding Bishop Blake has asserted that it costs over $800,000 per incident to litigate such cases even if there is a settlement or unsuccessful suit against the church. On the other hand, the human and individual costs of such incidents are overwhelming if not insurmountable and continued silence on the issue does NOT align with the mission of Christ, nor does silence align with HIS righteousness. 

Money CAN NOT be the motivating factor of whether our church establishes a plan or not. If we are looking to discover his presence and pursue his mission and righteousness, it is incumbent upon us as a church to take all necessary steps to heal the hurting and provide godly assistance to all them that have been abused and hurt by wolves in sheep's clothing within this church. We have had both time and opportunity to undertake the TRUE MISSION of Jesus by healing those that have been afflicted within our own ranks...Will we do so? Or will we cower and relegate ourselves to the blighted fields of "status quo" and powerless "associations" of normalcy and "average" and perfunctory "ministry" if it can even be called that? 

Lk. 4:18 ~ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

It is my sincere hope that COGIC leadership will remember the MISSION of Christ as we seek to heal the hurting and as we seek to remove charlatans from our ranks as leaders of what "could be" the Greatest church in the world.

Side Note: Although I have no clue as to why Derrick Hutchins could possibly be preaching during the 2013 Holy Convocation, especially after after the CHEATER'S fiasco in which he was publicly demonstrated to be an adulterer, after which followed no public apology or path to reconciliation. Maybe Supt. Hutchins will make an apology or speak on his experience before he attempts to minister. That would be GOOD not only for him, but also for the church and would most certainly be a highly appreciated thing to do. I suppose we will see.

A Bishop's Lawsuit


First, thankfully the lawsuit filed by Bishop Larry Shaw of  Southern GA First Jurisdiction COGIC has been dropped against Presiding Bishop Blake and the national church incorporated. Although there will yet be an awkward situation in the Bishop's chamber as the lawsuit he has filed against Chairman John Sheard yet continues. I can't remember a time when a Bishop sued another Bishop who serves on the same board...I don't know...

As stated in THIS ARTICLE, the claim is that Bishop Sheard, by way of a discredited and ambitious blogger, attempted to defame Bishop Shaw by paying money for publication of a bogus story. For what reason and why this particular venue was sought, NO ONE knows. It is even more difficult to understand when one realizes that Bishop Sheard's position and popularity as well as Bishop Shaw's is fairly secure and in tact among the General Assembly of the church and the Board Of Bishops. So it passes all understanding as to why this conflict actually exists and what was the motivating factor for this contention to continue.

What will happen as the Bishop's Council is called to order? Will there be ANY display of real Christian love and virtue on behalf of all parties involved? We can only pray that the Lord will be magnified and that someone will remember this scripture:

1 Cor. 6:1-6 ~  1- Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2-Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3-Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4-If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5-I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6-But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers

If one can't "walk with the footman", then how will one "run with the horseman"? It should be an easy thing for the SAINTS to both understand and comprehend if not apprehend the depth of relationship and resolve conflict within our ranks, especially at such a high level within the church, what type of public perception can we expect the world to have of us? Someone needs to take charge, stand up and let it be known that the Saints and true people of God can overcome and gain the victory over these things.

Bishop Samuel P Nesbitt To COGIC Leaders...REPENT!
"The problem is in the Leadership of the Church: they have violated our laws; they have ignored our doctrinal principles, and in doing so they have wrought great harm to some of our brothers and sisters who are hurting. If our leaders will just humble themselves and recognize that they are not infallible, and repent, God will forgive them and restore unity in the church. The Spirit will not work in the church until the leaders R E P E N T. ~ Bishop Samuel P. Nesbitt "Letter to The Presiding Bishop, The Board Of Bishops & The Saints Everywhere" 3/26/2013 Pg. 17 Para. 2
Bishop Nesbitt has served the church for over 70 years and is a statesman in his own right. Not only has he served in the church in general, he was the former Chief Justice on the COGIC Judiciary Board. If there is anyone in the church that knows church policy, rule and how we have either followed or deviated from the rule, it is Bishop Nesbitt. He is not afraid to let us know what his opinion is both on the rule and on the rule as it applies to the word of God which, as he states, supersedes the rules and regulations that we set forth.
In a no holds barred letter, referenced above, Bishop Nesbitt deals extensively with what he has deemed as an "injustice" done toward Bishop Thomas Hosley of Delaware, who was suspended from his position, placed on probation and subsequently reinstated as Jurisdictional Bishop all because church leaders, including Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, "thought" (or at least were told by sources that appeared to be credible) that Bishop Hosley had mishandled $4 million dollars. This mishandling including the official  or clergy credential holder's fees reported or given to the national church annually to maintain licenses. It is true that the checks written to cover the fee's were not initially honored. That nearly $20,000 mishandling of funds seemed to open the incident, investigation and subsequent accusation.

In his letter, Bishop Nesbitt not only sets the record straight on the funds, even demonstrating that many of the same leaders who had accused bishop Hosley of wrongdoing were, in large part, also recipients of much of the so called "missing funds" according to demonstrable evidence. In addition, Bishop Nesbitt points out clearly that church due process was violated and not followed in both addressing issues and removing Bishop Hosley from office.

While I agree that IF it can be substantiated that if credential holder fees were mishandled and not delivered to the national church properly, that is a problem; I think that even in light of such a mishap that it is in order for the church to continue to act like a church. While a reprimand and immediate repair f the breech may be in order, a removal, especially in the case of a Bishop, which does not follow due process, should be carefully reviewed. I can only hope that whatever happened to contribute to such actions is reviewed, modified and discontinued. 

At either rate, Bishop Nesbitt's letter does not stop there. He goes on to call the Leadership of the church to REPENTANCE as referenced above. In his opinion, as he has watched the church grow and develop, it has lost the compassion that it once had. This sentiment holds true as I have referenced regarding victim's advocacy, or the lack thereof. Bishop Nesbitt has even called for better and more specific training of General Board members so that the church will not continue to experience the negative results and implications from the erroneous actions of General Board members:
"When we examine the record of the last (4) years, and observe the doctrinal, legal, and constitutional blunders that have been made by the former Board, the general Assembly would be wise to conduct an orientation for all General Board members to acquaint them with the Laws, Doctrines, and Constitution of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. It appears that those who were assigned to teach the new leaders the Laws of the Church have been foremost in violating the Laws that they were appointed to teach and uphold." ~  Bishop Samuel P. Nesbitt "Letter to The Presiding Bishop, The Board Of Bishops & The Saints Everywhere" 3/26/2013 Pg. 7 Para. 3
Bishop Nesbitt's entire letter can be found HERE

Conclusion

As you can see, the 106th Annual Holy Convocation of the Church Of God In Christ presents much more than coming together to have service or a "good time". It presents an opportunity to find the presence, and person of Jesus Christ and pursue HIS mission and righteousness in all things.

I believe that Bishop Nesbitt says it best...if we really want the things that our theme suggests, then repentance is in order. Only the humble and those who live in the humility of Christ would dare do such a thing. Repentance is not a sign of weakness or ineptness. It is a sign of strength, meaning, purpose and connection to and with the Lord.

2 Chron. 7:14 ~ If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Humility, repentance and sincerity. These are the things that our Lord is looking for in these days. Will we be the church that the Lord is calling us to be? As the gospel group Commissioned said some years ago, will we be "ready, when Jesus comes"? That is the question.

I will be doing some live blogging and sharing my thoughts on things that happen at the Convocation. The Live link can be found HERE or simply type in or click cogicislive.com

Blessed!   

14 comments:

  1. "You've Been Snake Bitten"...Bishop Wright of Tennessee said "if God hated it in the Old Testament, he didn't start liking it in the New Testament"..."The church itself cannot allow the world to rewrite the bible", "We cannot afford to be ashamed to preach holiness and righteousness in this present world"..."It's confusion for a child to have to call mamma and her friend (a woman) daddy"..."If you say that a person oughta have that right to same sex marriage, the bible hasn't given you that right."..."what's to stop a man from marrying his mule if he like it?"

    Bishop Wright, PREACHED this message and spoke of his son who was a cocaine addict who passed away and how he was too "snake bitten" He encouraged the church to return to its roots of holiness and the foundation of righteousness regardless of the practices of the world. He spoke of practices of sin and the interpretation that those who preach against sin are "haters"...he stated that LOVE tells people when they are going into a ditch or going to harm themselves, while hatred means keeping silence.

    The Bishop spoke of coming away from conflict and settling matters within the church apart from the world. This was a blessing and a highly anointed and blessed message. If it gets better than this, this may be the best meeting in years!

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  2. Wednesday:

    Bishop John Sheard spoke about contending for the faith and standing against the challenges that seek to change the church from what it once was. The lawsuit of course was not addressed, but if we are to contend for the faith, we must go back to the fountain of grace. The Bishop preached a wonderful and powerful message.

    Supt. Jimmy Williams spoke a wonderful inspirational message on God's defeat of satan and his plan to bound man through the rule and supremacy and acts of Jesus the Messiah.

    The Saint sho-NUFF getting their praise on....There is some joy in the house in the room....The Joy of the Lord IS your strength!!!!! We saw some old men trying to do what they did when they were younger in the shout and dance....

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  3. Derrick Hutchins...REPENT BEFORE you try to preach...you can;t cast a spell claiming that those who don't get with you, will "reap what they sow"...Sorry, you simply can't forget the past and move forward without addressing and REPENTING....Sorry, it doesn't work like that....An EMPTY cloud...Sorry....The Saints continue to pray for your restoration.

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    2. Walter,

      He should have repented to the congregation of COGIC. He topic "More Beyond" which was like a rock sinking fast, and his subsequent talking points, indicated that he was moving forward and those that "judged" either quickly or prematurely were wrong. Now, I don;t know what that meant as he seemed to be rubbing salt in the face of Mo Rivers, his ex-Mother -in -law. This was a travesty.

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  4. Listen here, if you didn't know what REAL church or a REAL word was, after today, you should know...EVERY speaker was absolutely fantastic...Started high with Pastor Maria Gardner, built up to heaven with Supt. Elijah Hankerson, Was anointed so high with Bishop Carlos Moody, International Missions President, that one almost couldn't stand went on to an appetizer with Elder Kurt Thompson who was also fantastic, and capped off with Bishop Darrel Hines....

    The CONTENT of it all was absolutely astounding...and the CALL BACK to holiness was resounding...This church was BUILT off of the WORD of God and the move of his power as displayed upon holy vessels. The SPOTLIGHT is upon all of them who have crept in and tried to subdue this church and keep it from being what God has called it to be, but the CHURCH is RETOOLING and getting ready for exploits in Jesus name!

    Bishop Hines message centered around Jude. Which was the same text as the message from Bishop Sheard. Building upon the ground that Bishop Sheard plowed, Bishop Hines delivered ABSOLUTE FIRE from the holy desk...calling homosexual marital acceptance utter confusion and declaring the WORLD's label of love as anything but authentic and or binding upon the church. Bishop Hines set the record STRAIGHT as it pertains to the lawsuit and conflict within the church calling into question and even using the same scripture that I implored in the article.

    It is time for a change and the message of change in THIS church is coming solidly from the sacred desk. God is speaking to his servants and calling this church BACK to a higher standard...The standard of being a SAINT which is God's terms for us, as opposed to being a "Christian" which is the pejorative term that the world gave to those who followed Christ. Bishop Hines pointed out that a lot of different types of people "followed" Christ, but God called HIS people SAINTS!

    This was TRULY a FANTASTIC and profound day in this church and for all SAINTS around the world!!!!

    In my seat and ready to go back on my knees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. The beautiful blessed and Sainted women of the Church Of God In Christ take the stage this morning and my did they ever get a breakthrough in prayer!!!! Bless Mother Rivers and the COGIC woman as they carry on and lift up the blood stained banner!!!!

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  6. My, my my, these WOMEN are praying us through!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. Mother Rivers was FANTASTIC!!!! Setting the house in order and making a call to the women and leaders with her in the Women's dept. Lord bless her and her efforts. I'll tell you what, they keep praying through like that and something is about to change for real!!!!

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  8. Dr. Floyd Flake is preaching like a whirlwind!!!! Thank God...it seems as if he feels at home-LOL!!!! That is a blessing and we are blessed!!! He said, "whoop those children behind".....That's right beat 'em, they won't die. Look at what happens when we don't....we see the evidence in the streets and prisons unfortunately.

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  9. That's why COGIC is the only denomination I love and trust,there are issues but there is striving for fidelity to the Bible and the Spirit.
    T. Letoka
    South Africa

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    1. Thank you Tumi, New initiatives has sought to help make COGIC a more trusting and safe place from the top down. With leadership background screens etc, these initiatives help tremendously. one thing that can't be overlooked is that "volunteers" are responsible for most sexual abuse and negative interaction in all churches. COGIC is no different.

      The "myth" that COGIC clergy is somehow more perverse as compared to other organizations is nothing more than a myth. On Report COGIC Abuse, which is the number one tracking vehicle on the web regarding cases of sexual abuse, we can document many improprieties and sins, but we can also do the same in many other organizations. So there is no "organizational" or "denominational" or even "non-denominational" exemption on these sort of cases.

      Now we need to move to the next stage and provide help and healing to those who have been damaged. That is what Victim's Advocacy is all about. When measures are taken to do this, we will all be better for it. Not just COGIC, but all religious organizations.

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  10. Saturday Morning Bishop Blake called for a Pastor's and Elder's session. It was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!! Larry Stockstill, the author of The Remnant, Restoring The Call To Personal Integrity"spoke wonderfully calling leadership to a higher place of accountability and integrity in dealing with the flock of God. The room was filled with what had to be over 4,000 to 5,000 fellow COGIC Bishops, Pastors and Elders and we were blessed to hear this man. Tears were rolling, and PREACHERS were crying out in restoration and turning to Christ. This was an event above all events. God was in the room!!!!!!!

    Look, I just want to say that Saturday's Youth services were fantastic...God is STILL in the healing business. A young college student (track athlete) spoke of his bout with metastic cancer, which had taken over his intestines and began to spread. The young man spoke of how they (the Doctors) told him that it was over...He went back to what he knew...He KNEW that God used the Saints and that the Saints believed in GOd's healing power...AFTER placing himself before the Lord, God HEALED him...went back to the doctor...100% cancer free...James Randi...you don;t have to believe it... In fact you would be BROKE giving away money for what god is doing among his people. Look at the medical record...what once was, is NOT anymore...

    The SAINTS shouted for nearly 30 minutes on that by itself. We had a TIME in the Lord...The Preaching last night was OFF THE HOOK!!!!! Every speaker was dynamic. Last night the preacher, Bishop Vincent Matthews, took us on an electrifying journey through God's word and his own personal experience. He stated how he left a $320,000 per year job to do mission work through a church (COGIC) that doesn't pay its missionaries like you will find in many other organizations and churches. There was virtually NOTHING there to give him and his wife and family security...FF to today...The church as of November has added over 800 souls THIS YEAR ALONE. God is moving in their lives. Healing, delivering and all. The Bishop accounts that he lives simply, but EVERY need is supplied. The church arises to take care of he, his wife and their now 10 children.

    GOD IS IN THE BLESSING BUSINESS!!!!!!!

    Pastor Marcus Ways was simply FANTASTIC as well...We got to team up and bring Detroit back from the brink...we MUST!!!!!!

    Official day service Bishop Blake explained how everything that God created preforms and functions to its capacity, EXCEPT man! Man under performs because he has lost his connection with and to God. That connection can only be restored through JESUS!!!!

    After we performed a little service, we live streamed the Official Day service as a part of our morning service at New Bethel COGIC. As always, we had the Convocation experience. I was in full robe attire and we had service with our church and listened to our leader.

    In all, I had a wonderful time this week. We were blessed and highly favored and God moved on our behalf. We are excited about the future of our church and the direction that we are going in....

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  11. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...whatever you do...don't miss Bishop Moody's message..."The Acid Test for salvation"... Bishop moody is a living legend as far as I and MANY others around the world are concerned...Thank God for he and his church, Faith Temple, which has been responsible for underwriting much if not most of Bishop's travel all around the world.

    This man is a special jewel to me!!!! My wife and I are what we are today, in part because of this dynamic, caring and powerful ministry.

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