To the Beloved Saints, My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I give God the glory for all the wonderful things He has done. With the spirit of gratitude, I thank each of you for your fervent prayers, support, and kind words during my eight years as the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ. We have accomplished so much toward the growth and maturation of the Church, always giving honor and praise to our almighty God. With great humility, I count it a privilege and a blessing to bridge the holy vision of the past with the achievements of the past and the future holy objectives of the Church of God in Christ.
How proud our founders would be to know that the Church of God in Christ is preaching and teaching holiness in 12,000 churches in 82 countries around the world. From a remnant of holy, Pentecostal believers established under Bishop Charles Mason, we continue to grow as a sanctified, Holy Ghost-filled, consecrated Church with over 6 million members: the largest African-American denomination in the world.
“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
Our world is filled with stress and strife because there has been a shift away from earnest teaching, preaching, and worshiping. Our society is becoming devoid of holy living, awareness, and accountability. Consequently, our cultural reality is filled with unnecessary, unexplainable violence and death, disrespect for authority, celebration of hedonistic lifestyles, financial upheavals on every level, and the minimization of Church rights.
Nevertheless, I am encouraged that the Church of God in Christ has been called, and is spiritually equipped, to lead by example; trusting in God’s divine providence. We must continue to:
- assist cities which have been devastated by natural disasters
- lend our voices and support to demand justice when our lives seem not to matter
- exercise patience and respect authority
- provide resources to assist the poor, disabled and disenfranchised
Most importantly, we must offer up prayers for world peace, poverty elimination, racial discourse, and a worldwide holiness renewal.
CHALLENGES TO THE CHURCH
Appearing to be a part of the body of the Church are workers of iniquity, wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing, and demonic spirits testing the will of God. There have been defamatory attacks, hate-filled propaganda and even death threats.
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)
In spite of it all, I declare the decree: “No weapon formed against me, the Church of God in Christ’s leadership, and this holy denomination, will prosper.”
OUR BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE
I am thankful to my lovely wife, Lady Mae; for she is a virtuous woman and a wife of noble character. I am appreciative of the love and encouragement from my children and their families, as well as from the West Angeles Church of God in Christ membership.
We have a tremendous opportunity to continue the anointed work God has called us to do that will positively impact our families, churches, communities, and the world. We must continue our commitment to holy living with fasting, praying without ceasing, demonstrating compassion toward our fellow man, toiling in the vineyard, and worshiping with power. We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world; the Church that is set on a hill which will not be hidden.
Let’s continue to walk in our holy purpose. I see the Church of God in Christ in the future, and we look much better than we do right now.
I humbly ask that you give me the opportunity to continue serving as your Presiding Bishop.
In His service,
Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle
Seventh in Succession