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GET INVOLVED: The COGIC Urban Initiatives

Dear West Angeles Family,

We are blessed with infinitely greater opportunities than Black people anywhere on the face of the earth. But we are blessed that we might reach out to those less fortunate, and to lift them and help them. We cannot be satisfied to be in a community that’s blessed and prosperous until we reach out and Bless everyone in that community.

I pray that, in this season, every one of us will stand upon our watch, and that we’ll go to God and pray:

‘God, I just don’t want to stand by. I want to have a positive impact on life on earth; I want to have appositive impact on my children, on my family, on my community. God, show me what you would have me to do show me what direction you would have me to go.’

As Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, I’ve asked every one of our 12,000 churches across the world to incorporate into their operations 5 areas of emphasis. We call this the Church Of God In Christ Urban Initiatives.

Get Involved: The COGIC Urban Initiatives include progressive programs for youth and young adults.

The 5 areas are:
1. Education – Includes mentoring, tutoring, and Christian education.
2. Economic Development – We offer job training, employment counseling and assistance, and entrepreneurship programs.
3. Crime Prevention – We’ve developed alternative programs to proactively keep young people out of crime,

and to create collaborative relationships with law enforcement.
4. Family – We’ve created programs to strengthen the family with a special emphasis on the role of fathers.
5. Financial Literacy – Includes programs for both young people and adults.

Some of the best leaders in our denomination have been assigned to lead the success of these programs across the nation. If every church has these five areas at work, there will be 60,000 programs in inner city America impacting our nation, impacting our communities, impacting the cities of our nation. West Angeles Church Of God In Christ has all 5 of these areas well covered, and we must expand even more.

We are Blessed to be a Blessing.  We need your gifts, your skills, and your involvement, and we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop
Church of God in Christ, Inc.

 

GET INVOLVED WITH WEST ANGELES

  • For financial literacy, economic development, and community assistance programs, PLEASE CONTACT: The West Angeles Community Development Corporation at (323) 751-3440. Please click HERE for more information. http://www.westangelescdc.org/
  • For more on our family and personal development programs, PLEASE CONTACT: The West Angeles Counseling Center at (323) 737-7463 or (323) 733-8300×2360, [email protected] http://westa.org/counseling-2/
  • For our “Manhood 2 Fatherhood” sessions, please contact The West Angeles Counseling Center at (323) 737-7463. Please click HERE for more information. http://westa.org/portfolio/manhood-to-fatherhood/
  • For The Brotherhood Organization, please contact (323) 733-8300 http://westa.org/the-brotherhood/
  • For more information on our adult and youth Christian Education Classes including The School of Practical Christian Living, Sunday School, and the West Angeles Bible College, please call (323) 733-8300.
  • For college prep and Education Enrichment contact Deacon John Wilson at (323) 733-8300 x2628, 2629 [email protected] [email protected] http://westa.org/education-enrichment/
  • For Mentoring information, please contact Minister Sam Ransom, email [email protected] or call 323-733-8300 x2629.
  • For West Angeles COGIC Ministries and Auxiliaries – For more information on all of West Angeles’ ministries and auxiliaries, including our Skid Row Ministry, the Prison Ministry and many others, please call 323 733-8300, or CLICK HERE for a complete list. http://westa.org/ministries-departments/

THE COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES: “Building healthy individuals, families, and communities for a successful future.”

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COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES IN ACTION – Please CLICK HERE to watch an inspiring conversation between our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and Operation Hope CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant, where they discuss a new COGIC partnership, the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, and the power of financial literacy for the underserved.

SERMON: Bishop Blake Delivers The Word on Love and Marriage

The West Angeles Church of God In Christ congregation was both entertained and enlightened by Bishop Blake’s lively, spirit-filled sermon on love and marriage titled, “Invite Jesus To Your Wedding and Into Your Marriage.” This entire sermon and more is available HERE on West Angeles Gospel On Demand. _____ Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake delivered a […]

Bishop Blake Teaches of ‘The Forgotten Man’ During the Week of Christmas

“Joseph must have really been somebody, for this little-known man God chose to watch over the universe’s greatest treasure.” – Bishop Charles E. Blake

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. relates the Christmas drama to the role of fathers, manhood, and the plight of the traditional American family unit in his December 21 sermon entitled, “The Forgotten Man.”

“Family concerns should be foremost in our minds not only at Christmas time,” Bishop Blake said, “but at all times.”

He acknowledges the world’s plot to destroy the family, but he urges us to stay true to our faith by gaining inspiration from the strength of the Holy family’s resolve to follow God’s will.

“They were beset by pressures that would have destroyed many families, but they came through their ordeal with flying colors. They were a family: husband, wife, Jesus.”

Bishop Blake also uses Joseph as an example of exemplary manhood, and urges men to step into their role as leaders of the household by praying and obeying the Will of God as Joseph did.

“If children are going to obey their parents; if wives are to submit themselves to their husbands, then husbands and fathers have got to be willing to obey God,” said Bishop in the sermon.

Some of our favorite quotes from the sermon are as follows:

“The family is God-ordained.”

“The family is a basic unit of society. The plight of families determines the plight of the nation: and of the world.”

“As goes the home, so will go the nation.”

“They forget that the eyes of the Lord are everyplace.”

“A good man needs appreciation; he needs love, and he needs respect.”

“Don’t always tell him what needs to be done: thank him for what he has done.”

“Take time to tell him how much you appreciate him for what he is, and for what he has done.”

“So many men give up because they feel forgotten; because they feel neglected. But for those who feel that way, I would say, ‘Be a good man anyhow.'”

“A good man is a good man all the time.”

“Espousal or betrothal meant more than engagement means today.”

“Don’t be hot-headed. Don’t act rashly…but think things through.”

“There are some men who do wrong, and are not man enough to face up to their responsibility.”

“Joseph was thoughtful; Joseph was considerate. He was willing to be forgotten and ill-thought of for somebody else’s sake.”

“God needed a man who would silently look make his contribution and not demand some enhancement of himself personally.”

“Men: it’s very unwise to make your decisions without consulting God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Men: if you learn how meditate and pray; spend quite time before the Lord, the Lord will be able to deal with you. It’s very unwise to make your decisions without consulting God.”

“Joseph was a man who had his flesh under control. God is looking for some folk who have their flesh under control.”

“Joseph was not the kind of man who said, ‘I can’t help it’.”

“It’s no sin to be tempted: it’s just a sin to be out of control.”

“I believe in the Virgin Birth because the Bible tells me that Jesus was born of a virgin. And since everything else that the Bible tells me is true, and everything else that the Bible predicted is true, then I believe the Bible is telling the truth when it speaks regarding the Virgin Birth.”

“God gave His Son: His Son who was innocent, His Son who was worthy, His Son who was related to us, to come to the earth and die for our sins.”

“A Holy God is a Holy God.”

“I believe in the Virgin Birth because such a thing is easy for God. You might say it’s impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”

“If God could create this universe of ours; if God can fling the stars against the blackness of the night and create the sun and the moon…If God could teach the bird to fly and the fish to swim…don’t you know god can manipulate His creation any way He wants to?”

“Everything Jesus did was Supernatural.”

“Child of God, if you really want to be Blessed; if you really want to rise to the level that God has in store for you, then every time God speaks to you, obey God.”

“God is looking for some fathers who will obey Him.”

“If children are going to obey their parents; if wives are to submit themselves to their husbands, then husbands and fathers have got to be willing to obey God.”

“You’re not on your own in this thing called life; if you seek God’s Will, God will direct you.”

“God will not leave you in confusion.”

“And so it was with Joseph. He worked hard; he loved his family; he was a sparkling example of love.”

“Parents, please understand today, that the survival and happiness of your children is dependent upon the relationship that they develop with God.”

“People of the Lord, we need to pray until we see something. It may not happen right away, but keep on praying!”

 

Scriptural References: Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:14; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 64:4; Galatians 4:3-5; Matthew 19:26; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Isaiah 6:1-8

 

The entire West Angeles Church Of God In Christ family Wishes You A Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Please join us for “WATCH NIGHT” New Year’s Eve Service at the West Angeles Cathedral, Wednesday, December 31,2014 at 10 p.m.

To hear this entire service and many more, please click here to order West Angeles Gospel on Demand. Makes a great Christmas gift!

 

Keeping the Christian family strong

There couldn’t be a better time for renewed focus on strengthening and celebrating the Christian family.

A whopping 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian[1], and after decades of unparalleled trials, triumphs and tests, we now know that regaining our stride as a community and a nation requires a reaffirmation of our faith and our beliefs.

For African American Christians in particular, this couldn’t be closer to the truth. Marriage, family, and generational ties were the foundations of our cultures in Africa. Even after being denied to marry during generations of slavery, our ancestors got married and stayed married decades later, making historic strides during the Civil Rights Era. Fast forward to the new millennium, however, and we’re now a generation that’s questioned our beliefs and traditions in favor of society’s trends and movements when it comes to marriage, relationships and child-rearing.

Adopting the permissiveness of the ‘sexual revolution’,  the materialism spawned by the 1980s, and the self-absorption characteristic of the millennial – or “ME” – generation, has thrown some of us off track, landing us in worse financial and emotional shape than our parents or even grandparents. Where previous generations got married and stayed married, many of us have chosen single life or divorce, allowing ourselves an “out” as soon as something goes wrong.  We dissolve the marriage before fully understanding the benefits of enduring and transcending trials.

But there’s no triumph without a trial (James 1:12), and if you’re ready to throw statistics out the window and breathe renewed life into your family and your future, it’s time to get back on track by:

1. Putting Christ at the center of your family life. The common denominator among strong civilizations is a common spiritual belief. Yet, while those of other faiths stand firm in their beliefs, we Christians have seen – and allowed – more challenges to our beliefs than any other religion. Ephesians 6:13 tells us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and therefore after you have done everything, to stand.” As past generations have proven, the only way for us to thrive in an unstable society is to stand by the principles of our faith.

2. Putting the marriage first. When we travel by plane, one of the first things the flight attendants tell us is if the plane goes down, put on our own life support vest before helping others. The same goes for a marriage. The husband and wife – not career, money, possessions or even the children – are the core of the family.  Show love and affection toward each other and attend to each others’ needs. Continue to grow as individuals and as a couple, and always keep your relationship new, exciting and alive.  Joined by God, a husband and wife create a supernatural bond that knows no bounds. And the good news is, we’re not alone: marriage is on the rise [2]!

3. Guarding your heart, mind, and ears. Staying focused on the Word, using discernment when deciphering society’s trends, limiting media intake, and surrounding yourselves and your family with like-minded people are important ways to maintain strength and focus as a Christian family. For example, studies show that you’re 75 percent more likely to become divorced if you spend most of your time with friends and family who are divorced [3].

4. Preparing your children to serve. Cultivate their walk in their God-given purpose – not their wants or desires as promoted by society. Teach them the importance of giving back, and of becoming global citizens (read more on raising strong children here).

5. Doing things together as a family. Whether through meals, vacations, charitable and leisure activities, a family enterprise, or worship, spending quality time together as a family is key. As the saying goes, “The family that prays together, stays together [4].”

6. Having faith in faith. For centuries we’ve overcome trials by summoning faith in Christ. But in modern times, many have turned their backs on faith, thinking that we’ve somehow “evolved” beyond a need for Jesus’ strength. True strength is found in “walking the walk,” having the courage to live by your beliefs, and by being the first example of how your children should live. Being a Christian isn’t ‘weird,’ but very special (1 Peter 2:9).

7. Creating a ‘Vision Statement’ for your family. Call a family meeting to create a mission statement together, and write down your process and your results. Having a mission statement keeps everyone focused on ultimate goals and the big picture, not the quick fix or the gamble. Another great idea is to adopt a family scripture, as the Bradley family discusses here.

8. Creating your “Village.” As the (Yoruba) African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Multi-generational families are making a comeback. We honor the wisdom of the elders to keep us firmly rooted in our faith, our traditions, and our past triumphs, as well as to project a vision for our future. Your village may include trusted friends and your church family, as well as blood relatives. Put the well-being of the family first while setting limits. Discipline is a biblical principle (Proverbs 13:24); allow the wisdom of God to protect your family.

The truth is, marriage and family are central themes in the Christian faith, and they’re also symbolic of the church. To each other, we are “brethren,” “fathers,” “brothers,” “sisters,” and as a unit, we are the “household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

By far, more people claim Christianity as their faith than any other religion[1], yet no other faith on earth has experienced the level of challenges – or triumphs – that belief in the power of Jesus has. Work hard to maintain your focus on faith, and believe that the strength of your marriage and your family is one of God’s secret weapons of prosperity.

[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/04/u-s-doesnt-rank-high-in-religious-diversity/
[2] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/06/new-census-data-show-more-americans-are-tying-the-knot-but-mostly-its-the-college-educated/
[3] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/21/is-divorce-contagious/
[4] – Father Patrick Peyton.

 

Did you know?
• Christians are the largest religious group in the world, and make up 33 percent of the world’s population.

• The common belief that “50 percent of all marriages end in divorce” is a myth. Origins: In 1979, during a time when new ideas and movements like Women’s Liberation and the Sexual Revolution began to hit their peak, the number of divorces peaked at 47 percent of the number of marriages performed that year. However, the number did not reflect the millions of marriages which had endured through previous generations.

• Grandparents’ Day is celebrated in September.

 

CELEBRATE FAMILY with West Angeles at the 2015 FAMILY LIFE CONFERENCE with Bishop Blake and the West Angeles Counseling Center.  Details coming soon to Westa.org.

 

 

Member Testimony: Elder Edward & Cozette Bradley

Marriages, especially in today’s world, are subject to many challenges.

Our society seems to offer more hindrances to true love and lasting fidelity than it does support. Add the role of parent to the equation – of not one, but three African American young men – and you might expect an especially challenging situation.

Married for 34 years, Elder Edward Bradley and his wife Cozette are long-time  West Angeles members who’ve gracefully raised three wonderful sons. They’ve been involved in several ministries, including Connections To Care, and the Fatherhood class at the West Angeles Counseling Center.  Elder Bradley’s book, “Fatherhood: The Role of a Father” (Tate Publishing) explores what it’s like to be a man in today’s society where balancing the roles of provider, protector, and head-of-the-household can be difficult, to say the least. He explores reconciling manhood and fatherhood from a biblical perspective, while challenging men to become all that God has asked them to be.

Elder and Mrs. Bradley recently shared with us some of their wisdom, insights, and a funny story or two about maintaining a strong marriage and raising sons into strong men in a new millennium.

Q: Elder and Mrs. Bradley, thank you for sharing your story with us. How did you meet, and how long have you been married?

We were both born in California. We met on June 1st, 1980, on a Sunday afternoon at West Angeles Church of God in Christ. We were married five months later on November 22, 1980.

Q: Wow-a whirlwind romance! Through Him, anything is still possible. We’ve all heard it said that “Marriage is work.” As a wife myself, I do find that to be true – but not necessarily in the way society describes. Can you please share a challenge that you have overcome as a couple, which you transcended and became stronger because of it?

There are books on marriage, but every couple has a different makeup. Learn to work on your strengths and determine what will enhance the relationship. We really did not have any problems coming together. Yes, we had to work on logistics; moving my wife from another city to Los Angeles. We then worked on our finances. But overall it was pleasantly smooth. We were – and are – very happy; that took care of a lot of problems that may have derailed another couple. We made plans for our marriage; and yes, we made mistakes. But through it all, we trusted in the Lord. For our marriage, going to mid-week bible study (at West Angeles) was key. We learned so much as Pastor Blake (as he was known back then) ministered to the congregation. Both Sunday morning and evening services were excellent, but those services in the middle of the week handled life’s issues that may have tested us between Sundays.

Q: Elder Bradley, you’ve written a book on parenting, and you’ve been successful at raising three African American boys into men. Looking at today’s world and the challenges we face, what tips can you share that may help other parents who are struggling to keep their children on the right path?

In parenting, we must live what we preach. Parents should not live a double life at home; another at church, and another out in public places. Your children lose respect for you. Parents, be a person of your word; be “on one accord.” And do not be afraid to discipline your children. “Yes” is yes and “no” is no! Show them love and affection, and tell them you love them, even if you never heard it from your own parents. Teach them the word of God at home. Come to church together and sit as a family.

Q: Has purpose factored into the work you’ve been chosen to do? If so, how?

I was a Correctional Officer. I worked behind prison walls. Seeing people incarcerated and seeing that side of existence gives you another perspective on life. You determine through prayer and hard work at home not to see your children caught up in any negative lifestyle that the world is offering through outside influences. You educate them and other young people on the vices that would pull them down. We must lift them up continually! That is what helped me make the decision on how to raise our family. Also, being married since 1980, we have seen many couples go astray. But couples need to know that Jesus can keep them happy, elated, and satisfied with their own spouse! We would say that our gifts are for the purpose of encouraging young men and women. We minister to couples and try to implant the Lord into their lives. Our purpose is to fulfill the dreams and goals of our church. Wherever we can assist is where we want to be.

Q: How did you come to be members of West Angeles, and how has West Angeles been instrumental in your Christian growth?

I came to West Angeles in November of 1979 out of obedience to God. After 8 months He added a wife to my life, then years later, 3 sons. Coming through the doors of this ministry was a profound move of the Lord, and hearing the Word coming from Bishop Blake was phenomenal, mesmerizing, challenging and encouraging. He taught us young men how to be men of God; good husbands and fathers. As my wife and I grew as a couple, we started to share what we were taught. We had many who told us we were having children too fast because they came 3 years in a row! I told my wife that if they had a question about that to come see me! We are married and we are doing it right and we can afford them. Many others felt that raising 3 sons would be hard. Some said, “Yeah they’ll probably end up in gang activity”, or that they were “not going anywhere”; always giving us negative feedback. We knew that we had – and still have – faith in God for their protection. We decided to listen and reflect on God’s word and accepted Psalm 91 as our family scripture. So faith comes by hearing, and we heard and read God’s word. We put faith into action. Do not allow anyone to cast a negative shadow over your family! Always remain optimistic and positive and put the word of God over every situation.

Q: Are there any stories or lessons you’d like to share from your experiences as parents which may help others?

One story we want to share about raising children is, years ago, we went with several members of our extended to an out-of-town wedding at a hotel by the sea. We had a good time with family and friends. At the end of the weekend, as everyone gathered in the lobby to check out of the hotel, we suddenly heard the fire alarm ring and everyone panicked! The Fire Department and EMS came, but there was no fire, and no one knew who pulled the alarm. For a few minutes there was confusion and questions, but still no answers. As we left the hotel, we asked the kids where they’d been during all of the excitement. As we continued our trip home, we still could not get an answer, and we believed them…somewhat. But my wife kept asking. As we continued to ask them questions over the next week or so, we finally found out that one of them had done it and the others covered for him. We dealt with the untruthful son and the two “cover-up brothers” – in a nice way of course – and with a warning about deceit and dishonesty. The interesting part is it hurt them more to cover up the story than it did for any punishment we as parents could dish out.

Q: That’s a great lesson in using discernment and persistence as parents. In closing, is there anything you’d like to share about how the ministry at West Angeles has blessed you both?

West Angeles Church is a church which flows through the Holy Spirit, in a vertical relationship with God who moves spiritually through its members. Those members who are bold enough grab hold of that Spirit through prayer and supplication. With that, the Holy Ghost flows out of each of us and we are commanded to compel men, women, boys, girls, families and marriages through the power of Jesus Christ. We have to tap in and connect to the spirit of this ministry to make world-wide change. So be encouraged to stop sitting on the sidelines and use the talents and gifts God has given you. Yield to the Holy Spirit; for, as Bishop Blake says, “We are called to minister and witness to a deeply distressed and troubled world.”

Elder and Mrs. Bradley, thank you for setting a wonderful example, and thank you for blessing us with your story.

 

The WEST ANGELES COUNSELING CENTER offers classes on marriage, parenting and more.  CONTACT 733-8300 ext. 2360, or email [email protected]