Watch Night: A Historic Time of Reflection and Renewal

Learn about the significance and history of New Year’s Eve – also known as Watch Night – and the traditions designed to bring Christians closer to God.

The significance and historic symbolism of New Year’s Eve have been overshadowed in recent years by revelry and broken resolutions. Some in society have even discouraged the tradition of making resolutions, citing studies which tell us that only 8 percent of us keep them, and that resolutions may even be harmful to us![1]

But did you know that the Christian New Year’s Eve church service – also known as Watch Night Service – was created to bring Christians closer to God, and also has very special significance in the African American community?

"Waiting for the hour": Watchnight, 1862. Courtesy, Library of Congress.

“Waiting for the hour”: Watch Night, 1862. Courtesy, Library of Congress.

 

WATCH NIGHT IN HISTORY
The Watch Night Service tradition can be traced back to the Moravians, a Christian denomination from the Czech Republic during the mid-1700’s.[2]
John Wesley, the British founder of the Methodist Church, adopted the Czech practice of celebrating Watch Night, along with other English Puritan principles, when he instituted the Methodist Covenant Renewal Services[3]. These services were started in August of 1755 as a means of creating for Christians a more formalized and personal connection and covenant with God. British Methodism soon developed the custom of holding these Covenant services near the beginning of the New Year. The service was preceded by a period of preparation through prayer, fasting, reflection and self- examination, which has been credited as the modern source of today’s New Year’s Resolution[4]. The singing, prayers of allegiance and gratitude, testimonials, and scripture readings provided Methodist Christians with a Godly alternative to other secular ways of celebrating the day.

In America, however, another tradition was unfolding. In 1770, the first Watch Services were held in America at the St. George’s Methodist Church. Two slaves, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, were a part of this congregation and they later left the church after being denied the right to pray alongside white worshipers. In 1794, they became the renowned founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.)[5].

The founders of the A.M.E. Church inspired the celebration of a new Watch Night tradition when, on December 31, 1862 – also known as “Freedom’s Eve” – the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in African American communities.
Gatherings  of African American slaves, as well as free blacks, came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. At the stroke of midnight on that day, all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy, as many people fell to their knees and thanked God[6].

WATCH NIGHT SERVICE TODAY

Watch Night Services usually begin between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and often end just past midnight. Today, the services may combine praise and worship, testimonies, and prophecy for the year to come, but many African American churches still honor Watch Night’s connection to the abolition of slavery.

Over 150 years has passed since the first “Freedom’s Eve,” and tradition now brings Christians of all colors together for worship and celebration each year. African American Christians have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since 1862, praising God for safe deliverance through another year: but, most importantly, honoring the ancestors’ prayers for a future of freedom and liberty.

Karen Lascaris is a regular contributor to Westa.org. She is the author of “In Our Own Image: Treasured African American Traditions, Journeys, and Icons”, published in 2001 by Running Press of Philadelphia.

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References:

[1] Forbes.com, “Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Years Resolutions.  Here’s How They Do It.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/.  Accessed 12/26/2015.

[2] “Watch Night”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchnight_service, accessed 12-28-2017.

[3] “The Covenant Service”. http://www.methodist.org.uk/who-we-are/what-is-distinctive-about-methodism/a-covenant-with-god/the-covenant-service.  Accessed 12/27/2017.

[4] “Why We Make New Year’s Resolutions”.  LiveScience.com.  http://m.livescience.com/42255-history-of-new-years-resolutions.html, accessed 12-28-15.

[5] “The Official Site of the AME Church”. www.ame-church.com/our-church/our-history/, accessed 12-28-2017.

[6] “First Watch Night Service Occurs”; The African American Desk Reference,
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture. http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/first-watch-night-service-occurs, accessed 12-28-2017.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Not all Slaves were freed by the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Only 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves were freed at that time. Freedom’s Eve was a call to action for all Black Americans; a moral imperative to fight for the full realization of freedom for their brothers and sisters who were still enslaved.
  • All enslaved Africans were freed from chattel slavery with the defeat of the Confederacy during the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery on December 18, 1865.
  • In the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, the tradition of the late night service is called Midnight Mass or Eucharist.  Like the Watch Night service of the Church of Scotland, it is attended on the night of Christmas Eve.

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Praise the New Year in with West Angeles! Please join Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Evangelist Joyce Rodgers, the West Angeles Mass Choir, and other special guests for Watch Night Service on December 31, 2017 at 10:00 PM the West Angeles at the Cathedral, 3600 Crenshaw Boulevard, LA 90016.

Please join us for the Afterglow Breakfast! We’re having breakfast in the Crystal Room immediately following Watch Night Service, 12:30-2:30 a.m. on January 1, 2018. Cost: $10 per person in advance, $12 at the door. West Angeles North Campus, 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard, LA 90016. See you then!

January is Consecration Month. Please join West Angeles Church of God In Christ in fasting in prayer for the month of January, 2018.  Complete guidelines and prayer calendar available in the lobby, and on Westa.org.

Our Church

West Angeles history

About West Angeles

West Angeles Church of God In Christ is a 24,000-member Pentecostal-Holiness Christian church and a member of the Church of God in Christ denomination. COGIC’s Presiding Bishop, Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., serves as Chief Shepherd of West Angeles. Its main place of worship, the West Angeles Cathedral, is located in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, California, a historic African American ethnic enclave.

West Angeles History: The Early Years

West Angeles History

West Angeles sanctuary at 3501 West Adams Boulevard, 1960’s.

West Angeles COGIC was founded in 1943 by Elder Clarence E. Church. The first sanctuary was located in the heart of Los Angeles in a small storefront on Vermont Avenue. A new and more permanent home was built at 3501West Adams Boulevard, which opened its doors in 1955.

After Elder Church passed away in 1968, the search for a new minister began. At that time, Elder Charles E. Blake, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, had been serving in the ministry in San Diego under his father, the late Bishop J.A. Blake. He was appointed pastor of West Angeles in 1969.

Beginning with only a 50-member congregation, the dynamic leadership and ministry of Elder Charles E. Blake took form. The 1970’s brought a membership explosion, heralding the founding of the West Angeles Christian Academy. By 1981, a 1,000-seat sanctuary built to house the growing ministry rose from the former site of an old furniture store at 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles (now known as the North Campus; facade pictured above).

The rapidly growing membership brought equally explosive ministerial growth:

  • Construction began on the Education Building, Crystal Room, and administrative offices in 1984.
  • The West Angeles Christian Emporium opened in 1986.
  • The West Angeles Bible College started its first classes in 1987 and in the same year, a full time Counseling Department was established.

The 1990s

West Angeles Cathedral

West Angeles today.

By the 1990s, West Angeles was firmly rooted as an active congregation within the surrounding community.  Established in early 1994, the West Angeles Community Development Corporation was created to expand the compassionate Christ-based outreach and neighborhood development ministries of the church, which had by then grown to a 15,000-member congregation. But as the number of Sunday morning services rose to four, with an additional Sunday evening service, Reverend Blake found that it was time, once again, to build.

Just two blocks away from the North Campus Sanctuary was the perfect location at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards. A beautiful new 5,000-seat sanctuary was built from steel, granite, travertine marble, multi-colored tile mosaics and stained glass, with an interior designed by First Lady Mae L. Blake. Dedicated in 1999,  the new West Angeles Cathedral welcomed the late Bishop G.E. Patterson (then Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ) to deliver its first sermon on  April 28, 2001, and has since become the cornerstone of the community.

The New Millennium and Beyond

West Angeles Family Life Center

An architectural rendering of the future West Angeles Family Life Center.

The Lord fulfills His promise to West Angeles’ ministry as dozens of souls are brought into the Kingdom each week at the West Angeles Cathedral, the North Campus Sanctuary as well as its many outreach ministries.  Under Bishop Blake’s leadership, the church has grown from 50 members to over 24,000. Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. –  now Presiding Bishop of the Church of God In Christ – continues to serve as Head Pastor of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, while leading its vision firmly into the future.  Plans are underway for new units of low-income and senior housing in the community, as well as the construction of the West Angeles Family Life Center, which expands the current Cathedral to include  new, modern educational facilities, offices, and parking.

West Angeles Church of God In Christ, with its anointed Pastor, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, its dynamic ministry, and its extensive outreach services which include television and radio broadcasts, is recognized as one of the most influential churches in America today, and serves as the model of visionary leadership into the future.

Our Presiding Bishop

Our Chief Apostle

PRESIDING BISHOP CHARLES E. BLAKE, SR.

Bishop Blake meets with President Barack Obama

Bishop Blake served on President Barack Obama’s Faith-based Advisory Council during Obama’s historic administration.

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. was elected Presiding Bishop, the seventh in succession, by the General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ, Incorporated, on November 12, 2007, at the 101st Holy Convocation, during the quadrennial election. Bishop Blake was re-elected as Presiding Bishop in 2012, and again on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, following the COGIC 109th Holy Convocation. Presiding Bishop Blake is currently serving his 3rd four-year term as Presiding Bishop.

Bishop Blake is the pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, one of the largest churches in the Western United States, with a membership of over 25,000.  He is recognized as one of the great preachers of this generation with a message that ministers to the whole person and brings together people of various racial and ethnic backgrounds.

On April 6, 2009, in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama sought Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake to serve on his 25-person White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  This one-year appointment is a testament to his passion for the community and his desire to unite all people for the common good.  He was also chosen as one of four individuals to speak at the Democratic National Convention’s first Ecumenical Service, where he pronounced his status as pro-life Democrat and challenged both Democrats and Republicans to protect the rights of the unborn and born alike.

The heart of Bishop Blake is seen quite clearly in the love that he has for the children in Africa who have become orphans because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic plaguing the continent.  In response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, Bishop Blake founded, and was president of the Pan African Children’s Fund (PACF).  Save Africa’s Children, a program of PACF, provided support to over 420 orphan care programs, 200,000 children and 24 nations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Our First Lady Mae Blake

Bishop Blake and “his secret weapon”: First Lady Mae Lawrence Blake

Bishop Blake has also formerly served as an Advisory Committee Member of the Pentecostal World Conference, and as the founder and Co-chair of the Los Angeles Ecumenical Congress (LAEC), an interdenominational coalition of religious leaders and pastors.  He was the founding Chair of the Board of Directors for the C.H. Mason Theological Seminary, and has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, and as a Board Member of the Board of Directors for the Interdenominational Theological Seminary.  Bishop Blake has served as Chair of the Executive Committee, member of the Board of Directors of Oral Roberts University, and as a member of the Board of Directors of International Charismatic Bible Ministries.

Bishop Blake’s awards and accolades are numerous.  A few include the Distinguished Leadership Award presented by the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University (2007), the Trumpet Award (2006), the Salvation Army’s William Booth Award, the Greenlining Institute’s Big Heart Award, and was the designated recipient of the Los Angeles Urban League’s Whitney M. Young Award (2000).  In 2003, Bishop Blake was awarded the Harvard Foundation Humanitarian Medal for his work with Save Africa’s Children and its mission to support orphanages throughout the continent of Africa.  The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors designated February 5, 2004 as Bishop Charles E. Blake Day.

Second only to his call as a minister of the Gospel, Bishop Blake says his most treasured accomplishments are those of a devoted husband to Lady Mae Lawrence Blake, and a loving father and grandfather to their three children and eight grandchildren.

It’s Father’s Day: 11 Qualities of a Strong Father

West Angeles Church of God In Christ is committed to developing and nurturing strong, resilient families, and today, we focus on fathers. Below, the West Angeles Counseling Center, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., has compiled a list of 11 qualities which can help a man to develop into a strong, noble father.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10

According to the dictionary, a Father is defined as:

One who has begotten a child; a male parent. A male who has impregnated a female, thus a child is born.

There are other significant definitions of fatherhood, but first, a father is a provider: spiritually, emotionally and physically. He is, in essence, a watchman over his children. He sets the spiritual tone in the family, and whether that tone is good or bad, he is the one who determines what will occur in the home. Some of you have had a negative experience with your father.  Do not allow that negativity to take place in your home.

Here’s a list of 11 things which help to define a strong father:

  1. Be a role model. A father should not only make available provisions to supply the needs of his children – food, clothes, and a roof over their heads – but he should also give a stable and loving atmosphere for his children to enjoy. Warmth and peace dominates in the home. A Father gives constant encouragement and instills a successful will inside of the son.  A father becomes a role model to his children. No other person should be able to compare to their dad. Be positive and optimistic. You can do this.
  2. Find employment. A man who is a father should be gainfully employed. There are times when a father will meet with misfortune and a job is not available to him for a time. However this father must pick up the pieces and find or create employment wherever he can to support a living for his family.
  3. Show love. A father, if married, should show love in the household for his wife and the children should see the
    A young father walks with his son.

    A young father walks with his son.

    affection between the parents. The children should not be exposed to arguing and fighting, whether verbal or physical. A real man will not abuse his wife…period! The home must be a safe haven and a sanctuary for the family.

  4. Be strong. A father should show quality strength and courage even in the midst of trouble and his family will see that and line up with that. A father should show good character and help and equip his children to live a successful life. A father must teach his children good morals and ethics so they can be fine upstanding citizens in society. A father should instruct his children to obey the law and show them if one goes against the laws of the land what will transpire if they disobey authority.
  5. Value education. A father should make sure that his children are schooled. He must also be a part of the school system in that he has a caring attitude for what his child does in class. Enjoy your children through games, sports and activities. Spend quality time with your children at home. Take them on outings and stay within your budget. Everything does not have to be big and excessive. Small things count.
  6. Love the Lord. Take your family to church and instruct them on the ways of God. You, father, show them the scriptures. Take time to pray with your children. Show them that a real man depends on God for direction and then live it at home. You, father, take time at breakfast and at dinner to talk about the day. Find out what happened at school and discuss with them where they are as they share with you. You might feel, “I don’t have time” or “There’s not enough time in the day,” but if you don’t find time to give spiritual guidance to your family, someone else will. You can do this.
  7. Set boundaries. Teach them to be obedient at home, to you and to their mom. Teach them to respect their siblings. Teach your boys to respect women in your family. Teach your daughters to respect the men in your family. This will help them to have a mutual respect for all people. Let them know as they get older that there will be a curfew. Give them rules and create guidelines for the home. Let them know that there will be chores to do. You can do this.
  8. Discipline your children. Discuss with your wife or the mother of your children how this can be done. If a father does not live with the family, then find a way to make a special bond with your child. Pay your child support, and honor and respect the mother of the child that you helped to produce. Be in the child’s life.
  9. Teach them about life. Provide whatever life lessons you can for your children. Do not let them grow up without knowing that you are their father. Teach your daughter what kind of man she should be attracted too. She will look for a man like you who is of good moral quality and who has an attitude of righteousness; a man of substance and of prayer, a man who is gainfully employed (he may or may not have a degree, but he should be a hard-working man). Help your son take the steps from childhood to adulthood. Show him how to be a real man as he grows. Show him the pit falls of making bad decisions in life and how to choose good friends. Train him up right. Let him know the mistakes you made and direct his path as God leads you. You can do this.
  10. Teach financial literacy. Save money for them for college and let them know that they can be a success in life (but of course it is better to show them with your own life). You can do this because God will help you if you ask Him.  Make sure that you have life insurance for your family in case of an emergency. Make sure that you have car insurance and medical coverage for the family. There is no excuse for excuses.
  11. Redeem the time you have with your family if you made a mistake. Humble yourself and find out if it is possible to correct your error. Even if it is your fault, it can be rectified. Fathers never give up and never give in. You can do this!

God has blessed and enabled you to plant a seed. Make sure that you water that seed and nurture that seed so that seed will someday blossom into a beautiful flower and strong deeply rooted plant and these will be your children. Be proud of them, and thank God that He allowed you to be their father.

This is our message to fathers…be blessed!

THE WEST ANGELES COUNSELING CENTER – West Angeles Church of God In Christ invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. We provide support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. You do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463 or visit our website http://www.westa.org

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Amazing Facts About God’s Greatness, Part II

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake continues the exploration of God’s creation in Part II of our series, Amazing Facts About God’s Greatness.

God always has been, and He ever shall be. He stood on nothing, because there was nothing for God to stand on. He created a universe with fantastic characteristics, capacities, and cosmic proportions, a testament to God’s greatness. In addition, He formed all the stars and all the planets. He gave special favor to the planet earth. The precision of the heavens declare the wisdom of our God; creation is an expression of God Himself.

The Universe

The universe is a testimony of the wisdom, the greatness, and the power of our God and God’s greatness. In order to create a universe like this, God has to be a God of infinite power and wisdom. But after God created the universe, God kept on working. He caused the earth to bring forth 320,000 types of vegetation – trees, plants, flowers – on the earth. Then, 62,000 species of animal life God caused to bring forth from the earth. For His glory, He gave every species amazing capacities by which to function and survive, and every species utilizes what God has given it to its limit.

God’s Greatness

Amazing Facts about the greatness of God, Part II: The Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as M101. is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Amazing Facts about the greatness of God, Part II: The Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as M101. is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy.

  • The peregrine falcon can dive at a speed of over 240mph.
  • The cheetah* can run at speeds of 70-75mph.
  • The sailfish is capable of swimming at a speed of 68mph.
  • The black bear can smell a food source 18 miles away, and can walk directly to it.
  • An eagle can fly carrying a weight 4 times as much as its own body weight.

Each species maximizes the abilities deposited within it. Their design and capacities are an indication of the greatness and the wisdom of our God in creating all species of life.

Then God Made Man

In Genesis 1:18, God looked at the animals He had made, and “saw that it was good.” But again, God kept on working. And when God made man, He went to an all-together different level. Genesis 1:25 tells us that God created man in His own image, over every living thing on earth.  As was the earth and the animals, man was created to live on the outer limits of his capacity and his ability.

God wants you to operate on the outer limits of your capacity also. You have the power. You have the anointing! The same power that raised up Jesus is available to you. I hope someone decides today to do the greatest thing: help the most people, to reach the greatest potential that God can bless you to obtain.

FOR FURTHER READING

Genesis 1:27-31, Psalm 81, Proverbs 3:19, Exodus 19:5, Psalm 24:1, Ephesians 1:18-20.

Adapted from the sermon, “God’s Work and Our Work,” by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. See the entire sermon HERE, on West Angeles’ Legacy Broadcast.


*WATCH NOW: “This Is Why You Can’t Outrun A Cheetah” below; excerpt from “Speed Kills,” on the Smithsonian Channel:

Read PART I of Bishop Blake’s series “Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God” HERE


DID YOU KNOW?

  • A life form, or lifeform, is an entity or being that is alive. [Scientific] estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.
  • In May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described.
  • More than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct.
  • The Aloe polyphylla of South Africa (pictured above) is commonly known as the spiral aloe in English, lekhala kharatsa in Sesotho, or kroonaalwyn in Afrikaans. The species is highly sought after as an ornamental plant, but is difficult to cultivate and usually soon dies if removed from its natural habitat. In South Africa, buying or collecting the plant is a criminal offence.

Highlights: Black History Month Presentation

For West Angeles’ culminating Black History Month presentation for 2017, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and the West Angeles Music and Worship and Arts team and the took the congregation to school with a lesson in African American that transcended the ages. 

On February 26 for the conclusion of Black History Month 2017, West Angeles Church of God In Christ delivered an exciting and inspiring Black History Month Presentation which included dance, hip-hop, oral history, and spoken word. Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake began his Black History Month sermon in Africa, thousands of years before the birth of Christ, with the story of Moses; journeying through the reign of the Queen of Sheba, the Atlantic slave trade, and to the roots of Pentecostalism to reveal the connection between people of African descent and the roots of Christianity. Bishop Blake was also inspired by the story of Joseph in Genesis, siting parallels between Joseph’s journey and the historic journey of African Americans.

Dr. Judith McAllister, Marvin Wright-Bey, and the West Angeles Worship and Arts team staged a glorious multi-media presentation, resplendent with interpretations of the African American journey, in dance, spoken word, and song.  Musical performances by the West Angeles Angelic and Mass Choirs were accompanied by featured artists including SuNWhoa Love, Angie Fisher, and West Angeles’ own David Daughtery.

Highlights from “A Sermon for Black History Month” follow (please click the images to enlarge the slideshow).  See the complete service HERE, on West Angeles’ Legacy Broadcast:

“2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses traveled to Midian, in the southern part of the fertile crescent.  There, Moses married a dark-skinned Midianite woman and worked for his dark-skinned father-in-law, by the name of Jethro. Numbers 12:1 show that Jethro and his daughter were Ethiopian.”

“Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the woman he had married…God got upset and smote Miriam with leprosy. Sometimes, Black women are mighty powerful.”

“400 years later, Joseph would marry a dark-skinned Egyptian woman.”

“Almost 1000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Queen of Sheba – also known as “Cush” or Ethiopia – visited King Solomon. She came from Africa with many camels, spices, gold, and precious stones. Her nation and her culture had obviously existed long before that time.”

“The Ethiopian, Piankhi, established the 24th Egyptian Dynasty. And at least four Black Kings ruled over Egypt from 730 BC until 66 BC…Great nations, great civilizations, great cultures existed in Africa centuries before Jesus Christ was born.”

“Centuries before Jesus Christ was born, one of the greatest generals of all time was a man by the name of Hannibal – a black man – from the city of Carthage in Northern Africa. Hannibal defied and defeated Rome between 219 and 203 BC.”

BLACK HISTORY WESTA 2017 2

Black History Month: The Angelic Choir sings! West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“In 1498 AD, Portuguese explorers wrote that they found along the east African coast, tall stone cities of comfort and of wealth. They found people who were highly civilized and skilled in the use of the compass, and in reading charts.”

“God has a purpose for your life: and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord; for them who were called according to His purpose.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“The city of Timbuktu in West Sudan (was) a magnificent city where merchants made greater profit from the sale of books than from the sale of any other commodity that they sold.”

“In the areas of science, art, medicine, government, law, and culture, and so on, certainly many of the nations of Africa were competitive with, and in many cases more advanced than, the other nations of the world in during that period.”

“All of the things that I’ve described so far have been devastated by the slave trade, by slavery, by Colonialism.”

“William Banks in his book, ‘The Black Church in the US’ gives us the following report:

Nearly 20 million Negroes were made captive over the span of some 300 years, from 1517 until 1840. A more conservative estimate is around 14.6 million. They were jammed and crammed into ships like sardines in a can, and brought across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World, in a trip called “The Middle Passage.’ It’s estimated that perhaps 12 million Blacks landed in Latin America, and about 2 million of them were brought into the US.”

“What happened to the millions? Many died resisting capture. Some died in captivity, while being held in Africa waiting to be shipped out. There were those who committed suicide, eating quantities of clay. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek in the convoy to the harbor, were abandoned to die.”

“Shackled in irons, they hung beneath the decks of the ships for 16 hours at a time, in unbearable heat filth and stench, barely surviving on the stale spoiled food and stagnant water. They were only given a few minutes a day on deck for fresh air and exercise. If the weather was bad, they received neither fresh air nor exercise. Many died at sea from dysentery, small pox, and other diseases. Some starved themselves to death, refusing to eat. Others committed suicide, jumping into the ocean. Lastly, those who were warriors taken in battle were often beaten and shot to death. Some died soon after reaching American soil.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no White, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“A meaningful study would be, ‘What was the impact of the loss of 20 million of its inhabitants on the culture and the nations of Africa? How many died trying to defend their families in the violence associated with the slave trade?’”

Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery.

Black History Month: Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery. West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“After the slave trade came the horrible period of Colonialism, in which horrible invaders did to Africa’s resources what those before them did to Africa’s people. What was the value of 20 million people taken out of their homeland?

“After slavery, black people experienced one humiliation after another, but still, we produced Benjamin Banneker, inventor and maker of the first American clock, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood plasma research…Benjamin  O Davis, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Bunche, Booker T. Washington, Marion Anderson, and a host of others that rose above their oppression toward a level of excellence.”

Let’s examine now the interaction between Christ and his church and Black people. Because of their concern for the babe Jesus, Mary and Joseph followed an angel to find refuge. It was in Egypt, in North Africa that they sought safety.”

“During the dark day of the Crucifixion, the Jews were condemning Jesus to death. Europe, represented by the Roman Centurions, drove nails into the hands of feet of Jesus, and pierced Him in the side. But Africa, represented by Simon of Cyrene, from Northwest Africa, stepped in when everybody else was stepping back…Simon of Cyrene shared history’s most significant moment with the Christ, as a Black man bore the Cross of Christ up Calvary’s Hill.”

“Listen, if Jesus needed help with His cross, I’m sure He understands when you and I need help with our crosses.  He will help you in the midst of your trials, and in the midst of your struggles.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“One would think that if Jesus needed help with His cross, the privilege would be reserved for Simon Peter, or for John, and for another apostle. But God chose Black hands and wooly hair to perform an act and level of service that all the truly wise men of all the ages would be supremely honored to perform.”

“The Ethiopian Secretary of the Treasury was to pass in his chariot…This Ethiopian nobleman heard and received the gospel, and after being baptized, this nobleman went back to Ethiopia to form the Abyssinian (Coptic) Church that exists until this day. He was the first Gentile of record to be saved. A Black Ethiopian was the first Gentile to be saved, after the Jews.”

“Historian Dean Henry Hart Milman has said: ‘It was Africa, not Rome, which gave birth to Latin Christianity. Africa gave three of the greatest leaders and scholars of the church to the church. Augustine, Tertullian, Cyprian.’”

“Historian and author Dr. H. Vinson Synan says that Charles F. Parham, a white man, and William J. Seymour, a Black man, share roughly equal positions as founders of modern Pentecostalism…Seymour was the outstanding personality in bringing about that crucial Pentecostal revival that we call the Azuza Street revival here in the city of Los Angeles.”

“One key man in that contagious spread (of Pentecostalism) was a man by the name of Charles Harrison Mason, a Black man and the father of founder of the Church Of God in Christ…in 1897.

In 1907, Elder Mason traveled  to Los Angeles and participated in the Azuza Revival and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

“The Church of God In Christ became the first legally incorporated Pentecostal body in the United States.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Synan also points out that most of the white Pentecostal churches from 1907 to 1914 had no recognizable Ecclesiastical body to represent them, and to ordain their ministers. Therefore they were not authorized to perform marriages or other ministerial duties…Scores of white ministers joined the Church of God In Christ and obtained ministerial credentials from Elder Mason from the Church of God In Christ.”

“One group in Alabama and Texas received permission from COGIC to use the name of the church in 1912, and this continued until 1914, when they organized and called their predominantly white organization the Assemblies of God Church.”

“When Bishop Mason passed in 1961, he left behind him one of the largest Pentecostal bodies in the world.”

“I get the impression that God wanted all of us to be together as one in Him, worshiping Him and praising Him together.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion it’s not a black man’s religion: it’s simply man’s religion! It’s the only hope for salvation in this world.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no white, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus. Let’s give praise to the Lord!”

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

“I mentioned a little while ago about Joseph…There are many parallels between Black people and the experience of Joseph, who spoke the words of our text. Joseph had visions…Those visions sustained him in the midst of adversity.”

“I say to you as a people, I say to you as individuals: whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re dealing with, keep on seeing the vision. God said, ‘I know the thoughts I have toward you…future and a hope.’ So God has a future in store for you, and if you see the vision it shall come to pass.”

“In jail, Joseph held on to the dream. Black people held on to the dream in slavery. We believed that God was going to deliver us, and praise God – God did deliver us. We held onto the dream!”

“Our presence here in the United States was not a mistake. It was painful…We were hanged we were lynched, we were abused. But God used what we went through for our good. God raised us up, brought us out and brought us through.”

“God’s purpose was fulfilled in us, but God is not through with us yet. You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.”

“Somebody in here is going through something evil, but I want you to know God meant it for good! God is going to turn it around!”

“You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“God has a purpose for your life, and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, for them who were called according to His purpose.”

“What you’ve been through, I’m going to use to bless you and to bless others.”

“Thank you, Lord, for those who have gone before us. Thank you dear Lord, for those who have paved the way for us.”

“God blessed and elevated Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, reached back to help those who hated him…and blessed them. And thus, he was able to bless literally all the world.”

“Look at your hands please…the hands that God wants to use to transform the world. If you’ll say ‘Yes,’ if you’ll say ‘Thy will be done,” God will use those hands and use your life to bring glory to His name.”

“You are a child of purpose. God has a purpose for your life.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 37-50, Numbers 10:29, Numbers 12:1-9, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:31-39, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6:33.


BOOK Free To Dream by Bishop Charles E. BlakeDO YOUR DREAMS seem to be marked, “Never to be fulfilled”? Do you feel that it is impossible for your dreams to come true? Are your dreams too big to achieve? Let Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teach you the biblical principles to follow from the life of Joseph and other dreamers. In Free to Dream:  you’ll learn how faith, integrity and endurance will pull you out of the valley and up to the peak of success.  Bishop Blake will encourage you to pick your dreams back up, dust them off, and persevere to the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life.

PURCHASE Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, by Charles E. Blake, Sr. at the WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM, 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 731-3012 for more info.

 

March Revival: Order in the Court

Bishop Roderick L. Hennings returns to West Angeles Church of God In Christ for Revival this week, from March 1-3.  

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. presented to us the opportunity for renewal and refreshment at West Angeles Church of God In Christ with a powerful revival titled “Order in the Court.” The guest pastor for the revival was Bishop Roderick L. Hennings of Zion Dominion Global Ministries in Rochester, NY, who began day one of the revival with an insightful look at Psalm 30:5 (KJV)–

For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

“The western mind looks at time as being linear – having a beginning and an ending,” began Bishop Hennings. “In fact, we’re the only people in the world who believe that time is linear.”

He went on to teach the congregation about the true meaning of the text, and that time is endless in God’s context.

“What time is it? No matter what time it is, joy cometh; Joy is always on the way…so even in the middle of your greatest pain, joy is on the way!”

Bishop Hennings also reminded the congregation of the power in giving God heart-felt, exuberant praise.

“You can be a quiet worshiper but you can’t be a quiet praiser…Joy is looking for you! Joy is coming! Give Him praise in your time!”

Highlights from Day 1 of the powerful, 3-day revival “Order in the Court”  follow:

REVIVAL Hemmings 2017

“Order In The Court” – Bishop Roderick Hennings conducts March Revival at West Angeles COGIC.

“He’s knocking with His Word” – Bishop Roderick L. Hennings

“The enemy can’t find you when God places you…When you’re in the right place – where God placed you – the enemy cannot find residence.”

“He pulled (Eve) out of her place. I don’t want to talk to anyone who can’t talk to me in my place!”

“Roles change when you get out of position.”

“When a man is not in place, things get out of order.”

“You learn how to love by being touched: not by being told.”

“A woman responds to touch.”

“Only one person can fit the place God has designed for you, and that’s you. Tell your neighbor, ‘I’m necessary.’”

“When you don’t know your assignment, you waste your time.” – Bishop Roderick L. Hennings

“When God has an assignment on your life…Thank God for every day you’re alone. That’s the time He’s developing you in the dark so he can present you in the light.”

“The danger of doing things God hasn’t called you to do will cause you to fight in battles, and then want God to back you up.”

“Know the difference between purpose and a proposal. When you have purpose, it’s the reason for your being; the reason that you’re here. But a proposal is something that you present, and you hope someone accepts it.”

“Purpose won’t let you die. Purpose won’t let you go through life precariously; hoping something will happen.”

“Lift your hands and say, ‘Lord, work on me!’”

“People make decisions based not on choice, but on what they value.”

“When you don’t know your assignment, you waste your time.”

“That ‘no’ can keep you on point. That ‘no’ can keep you on your assignment.”

“He’s not into exposing your processing plant. He’ll work on you privately, so He can promote you publicly.”

“Are you fitted for glory?” – Bishop Roderick L. Hennings

“Sometimes reminding yourself gives you balance.”

“God qualifies you by choosing you.”

“Even though you’re anointed to do what you do…there’s some stuff you still have to pray off of you.”

“If your prayer is promised-based, God moves quickly because you’re saying what He wants to hear.”

“You have to pray His Word! When you start praying His Word, you know you’re being fitted for glory. When you pray His Word, demons back up!”

“When you start praying the Word, the enemy has no room in your conversation.”

“Serving is not about recognition. He said, ‘Don’t get tired while doing the right thing.’”

“We’re in the last days…and all eyes are on the Christian church. Are you fitted for glory?”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – 1 Kings 6:7,13-19, Genesis 2, Revelation 3,  Hebrews 13,  Ecclesiastes 10, Hebrews 5:1-2.

Preacher, teacher, author, apologist, Bishop Roderick L. Hennings is Senior Pastor of Zion Dominion Global Ministries which he founded 1993. The church grew from 20 to 4000 members, moving to 14-acre campus in Buffalo, NY. Bishop Hennings is also the COGIC International Director of Church Growth and Development, and Administrative Assistant District Superintendent to Bishop Glenwood Young of the NY Western Jurisdiction #2. The author of “Survey of Biblical Theology,” Bishop Hennings is married to First Lady Pamela D. Hennings, and father of 2 daughters, Ariane and Chloe.


 

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Bishop Blake Discusses Financial Literacy and a New COGIC Partnership

EXCITING NEWS! The Church of God In Christ is partnering with John Hope Bryant and OPERATION HOPE to edify the community with financial literacy, as part of the COGIC Urban Initiatives.

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Since its inception, OPERATION HOPE has served more than 2.5 million individuals, teaching the building blocks of financial literacy and directing more than $1.8 billion in private capital to America’s low-wealth communities. HOPE maintains a growing army of 22,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. Bryant founded OPERATION HOPE immediately following the 1992 Rodney King riots.

 

The partnership between OPERATION HOPE and the Church of God In Christ will be administered through the COGIC Urban Initiatives, which will in turn empower each church to create programs which build upon the principles of financial literacy and economic development within its constituents, in order to create thriving families and communities.

 

OPERATION HOPE also operates the HOPE Inside Atlanta at Ebenezer Church, located on the campus of the King Center. Both the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., were focused on making free enterprise a reality for all.
Watch this inspiring conversation between our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and Operation Hope CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant in this edition of “CIVIL RIGHTS STRAIGHT TALK” below, where they discuss the power of financial literacy for the underserved, and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement:

COGIC Urban Initiatives – The vision of COGIC Urban Initiatives is to build healthy individuals, families and communities for a successful future.  Our mission is to empower the local church to implement programs that address Education, Economic Development, Crime, Family, and Financial Literacy. The programs will result in measurable improvement in the quality of life for individuals, families and communities served by the Church of God in Christ.


Compton son John Hope Bryant is a financial literacy entrepreneur and businessman. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of the nonprofit Operation HOPE.  Bryant was appointed to the U.S. Community Development Advisory Board [10] for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and as vice-chairman of the President’s Council on Financial Literacy by U.S. President George W. Bush. He continued this work under President Barack Obama as part of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability (PACFC). He was appointed chairman of the new Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the PACFC Bryant was selected to be a member of the Global Agenda Council for the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also a best-selling author of several titles on economics and leadership, including How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class.