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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.

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.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. dedicates the Financial Literacy Center at COGIC National Headquarters, with General Board member Bishop Brandon Porter and Operation Hope CEO John Hope Bryant.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. dedicates the Financial Literacy Center at COGIC National Headquarters, with General Board member Bishop Brandon Porter and Operation Hope CEO John Hope Bryant.

 

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. 

 

Former President Bill Clinton Praises West Angeles’ Redevelopment Success

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. discusses church concerns, and President Clinton claims West Angeles Redevelopment is blueprint for national initiative to improve quality of life in urban communities.

By Tanya Young Williams

LOS ANGELES – Former President Bill Clinton and a host of Los Angeles-based politicians descended on West Angeles Church of God in Christ (COGIC), where Bishop Charles E. Blake is the pastor. West Angeles has one of largest congregations in America with over 25,000 members. Local and state representatives often visit West Angeles, especially during the campaign season, however, a visit from a former President is not commonplace.

“When a former President of the United States is inclined to visit West Angeles Church of God in Christ for Sunday worship service, out of respect for the highest office in our country, we are honored to oblige, irrespective of party affiliation. The attendance and participation of any politician is not an endorsement from Bishop Charles Blake, the leadership of West Angeles, nor the COGIC denomination,” said Gladys Ross, Chief  Operating Officer of West Angeles COGIC.

PresidentClintonBishopBlake

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and Former President Bill Clinton share a private moment before service on June 5, 2016, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ in Los Angeles, CA.

The 1954 tax reform act, commonly termed the “Johnson amendment,” instructs that all tax-exempt organizations are banned from supporting or opposing political candidates. “Legally, constitutionally, the church cannot and should not exert influence over the outcome of elections and individuals involved in elections. Morally, and from a humane perspective, the church should take positions on issues that impact people; the poor, disenfranchised, those who cannot speak loudly for themselves either because of lack of resources or lack of access. We don’t take partisan positions, nor do we endorse individuals. However, the church can educate people and encourage people to participate in the electoral process.”

Blake and Clinton are both natives of Arkansas. Prior to attending the service, Blake and Clinton met privately. “I welcomed the unique opportunity, as the Presiding Bishop of over 12,000 COGIC churches and the Co-Chair of the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA), to share with President Clinton that we cannot compromise our stance, and are doctrinally opposed to all policies that support same sex marriage and abortion. It was also important to begin a conversation about what I perceive is an increasing infringement on the religious rights and freedoms of the Black Church,” said Blake.

“West Angeles…If we did what you’ve done here everywhere in America, we could bring people back from the depths of despair” – Former President William J. Clinton 

Clinton addressed the packed church and was received with a standing ovation. “I was in West Angeles before you had such fancy digs, I have noticed that you did not just move into your fancy digs, you also helped to develop the whole area: something you should be very proud of,” said Clinton.

West Angeles COGIC has developed over 400 units of housing and commercial property, including West Angeles Plaza, in the inner city of Los Angeles. It has initiated and implemented scores of civic, social, financial and educational programs that have assisted thousands of congregants and Los Angeles County residents. West Angeles’ newest development initiative will provide modern housing for senior citizens in the Los Angeles Community. Blake and West Angeles are in the midst of a capital campaign to develop the West Angeles Family Life Center which will provide educational, medical, financial, social and recreational resources to its congregants and community-at-large.

“We are very proud the of expansion and redevelopment initiatives that have improved the quality of life of our members and our community. COGIC Urban Initiatives is our national platform that is positively impacting our neighborhoods throughout the country. The Black Church remains the cornerstone of our communities and it’s our responsibility to provide access to resources oftentimes out of reach for our neighbors,” stated Blake.

Clinton continued to praise the success of West Angeles’ programs to audible cheers and claps from the congregants. “Do you believe that we can have shared prosperity like you are trying to create all around this church? If we did what you’ve done here, if we did it everywhere in America, could we reduce inequality? Could we restore upward mobility? Could we help bring people back from the depths of despair? I believe we could,” stated Clinton.

“It would be tremendous if West Angeles’ CDC and COGIC’s Urban Initiatives could be implemented in communities around our nation. Helping our community, our ‘brother in need’, the ‘widows and the orphans’ is not political, its scriptural and we will continue to do the work of the Lord at West Angeles Church of God in Christ,” concluded Blake.


 

 

Former President Clinton Visits West Angeles

Former President William Jefferson Clinton graced the pulpit this morning during the 11 a.m. service  at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, June 5, 2016.

Bill Clinton visits West Angeles SNIP from West Angeles COGIC on Vimeo.

To see this entire service and more, Please click HERE, to go to West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

SERMON: Elder Charles E. Blake II Says ‘Our Purpose Lies in Our Hands’

Assistant Pastor Charles Edward Blake II cites Ecclesiastes 9:10, and the secret to God’s purpose for our lives  which lies in our hands.

In Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake’s absence on Sunday, February 21, 2016, Assistant Pastor Charles Edward Blake II presented an inspired sermon based on a verse in the book of Ecclesiastes:

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might – Ecclesiastes 9:10

“He brought us this far because God has a purpose for our lives,” said Elder Blake. “That is my prayer: that He will use me.”

In his introduction of Elder Blake, Elder John Patton said, “God can use anybody. He’ll use a donkey. He’ll use rocks. But the one He uses best is the one who tells God, ‘Yes.’”

For this entire sermon and more, CLICK HERE to go to West Angeles’ Gospel On Demand. Highlights from the sermon follow:

“One of the defining physical characteristics that has separated humankind from the animal world, and has called us to reach such high levels of technical advancement, is the way in which we use our hands.”

“You can observe the world around you with your eyes and ears, but it is with your hands that you interact with the world.”

“We touch, grab, push, pull, feel, caress…pick up, put down, build up, tear down, hurt, help, heal, and kill, literally with our hands.”

“Human hands can paint the Sistine chapel…they can sculpt a David. They can forge steel. They can mold clay; write poetry. Our hands are extremely expressive. They can pray and praise, and sign for the deaf. They can help tell a story or reveal our innermost thoughts.”

“You can say you love your wife, but you show your wife with what you do – or don’t do – with your hands.”

“Everything you do in life is going to begin with, and end with, your hands.”

“In every period of time in history, there had to be someone on earth with these hands.”

“In the time of slavery, in the early days of America, in the 16, 17, and 1800’s, I think of someone with these hands working in the fields and towns helping to build this country.”

“When Paul was knocked off his donkey on the road to Damascus, there was someone here with these hands.”

“The song says, ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord.’ While I was not there myself, there was someone there with these hands when Jesus hung on that tree.”

“In every period of time in history, there had to be someone on earth with these hands.” –  Elder Charles Edward Blake II

“When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry land and God made a promise to brother Abram, someone with these hands, the same hands that I am now looking at, was here.”

“These are your hands. Look at them. In fact, these hands have been here since the beginning, since before God formed them in your mother’s womb, He knew these hands. He sanctified and ordained these hands, and if this were not true, you would not be here this day with these hands.”

“Go on praise the Lord! It’s the truth!”

“I think that over time we’ve come to a point where, unless we lose or injure our hands, we’ve come to take them for granted.”

“Our whole cultural psychology has produced a mindset in us that now wants something for nothing.”

“We think that we should not have to struggle or work to get anything nowadays. Technology has brought us to the point where we almost don’t have to use our hands for anything.”

“Preparing something as simple as a meal used to be an all-day affair. We used to get up early in the morning but now we use someone else’s hands to raise and slaughter and grow and harvest our food for us, and they deliver it nicely packaged to our supermarkets or fast-food restaurants.”

“We use someone else’s hands to build our houses and make the clothes that we wear now. We’re used to everything being done for us these days.”

“In comparison to past times, there’s very little that we have to do with our hands anymore.”

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that we have those who are trained to do what they do, it’s good to have a level of specialization. But what I’m talking about now is an aversion to toil and travail.”

“That’s the way some of us have seen God. We want Him to just bless us with whatever we think we want in life, or at the time.”

“This building is not the church. We must be reminded that we are the church.” – Elder Charles Edward Blake II

“As believers in this time and culture, we have to battle within ourselves what Bishop calls ‘An erroneous, narcissistic sense of entitlement.’ And we have to wonder not if, but how much we as the church have been affected – or infected – with this mindset and world view.”

“We all must continue to question and ponder who we are as the church.”

“At West Angeles, we worship the Lord and the spirit of the Lord is here…We see the love and concern in the heart of our pastor for the least of these in our midst…But most of us don’t focus on it long enough or let it transform us to what God would actually have us to be.”

“Is this a better church because I’m a part of it, or am I just sitting around to see what the world and West Angeles can do for me?”

“There are some of us who come to service week after week with the same attitude as we’d have going to a movie or a ballgame; like this is just another form of weekend entertainment.”

“I’ve seen Bishop give of himself preaching until there is nothing left, and at the most critical time, when we are trying to get souls to walk in the direction of Christ and the altar, we will dissuade them by walking in the opposite direction – toward the door.”

“Why would someone want to come forward when it seems that others are trying so hard to get out?”

“The opposite of loving your neighbor isn’t hate. The opposite of loving your neighbor is apathy.” – Elder Charles Edward Blake II

“We have the power to impact nations transform cities, yet most of us haven’t truly let ourselves be transformed by this Gospel into something new that God can use to help someone else.”

“This building is not the church. We must be reminded that we are the church.”

“We worship Christ, but we are also called to truly follow Him.”

“We are blessed with wealth so we can help others.”

“You doing your job with integrity brings glory to God, in whatever it is that you do”

“The opposite of loving your neighbor isn’t hating your neighbor. That’s too easy. The opposite of loving your neighbor is apathy and indifference.”

“One guy is a fan…the other guy is a follower. I don’t want to be a fan of Jesus…I want to be a follower of Jesus. Somebody offer the lord some praise this morning!”

“We have to remember that only what we do for Christ, for each other with these hands will last.”

“Everything that Christ did with His hands, he did in service to those who He loved.”

“Your life in God’s hands can change the world.” – Elder Charles Edward Blake II

“I think of the hands of our Savior; hands that reached out and healed the land. Hands that mixed spittle and dirt and put clay on a blind man’s eyes and gave him sight. Hands that prayed and divided five loaves of bread and two fish and fed 5000 men, and twice as many women and children. Hands that touched the dead and made them live again. Hands gripped tightly in prayer; crying, ‘Not my will but thy will be done.’”

“A slingshot in my hands is just something that’ll break a window. But a slingshot in David’s hands made him a giant killer; a conqueror. Fish and loaves in my hands is just a sandwich! But fish and loaves in Jesus’ hands…”

“Your life in your hands is just another one of the many lives that come and go on earth which will come and go in obscurity. But your life in God’s hands can change the world.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Ecclesiastes 9:10,  Mark 10:43-45, John 13:1-17, Acts 9, Matthew 27:32-56, Exodus 14, Mark 14:50, John 20:24-29, Nehemiah 2:12-17, Job 36:32, Psalm 102:25, 37:24, 95:4-7.

 

Elder Charles Edward Blake II serves as Assistant Pastor and Director of Community Relations of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. He received his BS in Marketing from Oral Roberts University, and studied for his MD at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Elder Blake also serves as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Ecumenical Congress. He and wife DeAndra are the proud parents of two sons, Charles and Julian.


 

The WEST ANGELES EMPORIUM has DVDs and CDs from your favorite West Angeles services, and has a full range of Bibles in many translations, Christian books, gifts and more.  Visit them at:

3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

 

SERMON: Bishop Paul Morton Opens the 108th Holy Convocation

Bishop Paul S. Morton served the saints plenty of humor and food for thought during his opening sermon for the 108th Annual Church of God In Christ Holy Convocation in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Mayor of St. Louis, Francis G. Slay, gave a heart-felt welcome to the attendees, delegates, and other officials present for the official first day of the 108th Annual Holy Convocation of the Church of God In Christ, on Tuesday November 3, 2015. Mayor Slay praised the effect that COGIC’s presence and uplifting spirit has on the city of St. Louis year after year.

Others on hand for opening remarks at St, Louis’ America’s Center included Michael McMillan, President and CEO at Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, who commended COGIC for providing healing and support on the ground during the Michael Brown tragedy in Ferguson, MO, and for partnering with the Urban League on “Community Caring and Sharing” initiatives. McMillan also presented Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake with the Whitney M. Young Community Award.

Other events for which the Church of God In Christ was praised throughout the evening were the COGIC Health Fair, COGIC Urban Initiatives Job Fair, “COGIC Clean-up” events, where volunteers commenced to cleaning up the city of St. Louis, “COGIC read,” where COGIC members read to children in the St. Louis schools, and “Christmas in November,” an event providing hot meals, personal hygiene, haircuts, job prospects, and health screenings to those in need. The events are an extension of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.’s COGIC Urban Initiatives.

The COGIC’s International Music Department, under the direction of Dr. Judith Christie McAlister, was in wonderful form for the evening. Among the songs performed by The C.H. Mason Memorial Choir was a beautiful rendition of America the Beautiful, which included a new refrain, “Pray for the USA.”
Also among those who traveled to St. Louis for the Convocation were two Messianic Pentecostal Hebrews who committed to joining the Church Of God In Christ denomination.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake presented the speaker for the evening, Bishop Paul S. Morton, founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. Bishop Morton started his sermon by sharing the principle of preparing to receive God’s Word, praying: “The educated mind can kill the Word…place the spirit over the mind.”

Highlights from Bishop Morton’s sermon, titled “Dealing With Impossibilities” follow:

“Perception unchallenged becomes reality, because we really know…that all things are possible with Him if you can just believe.”

“In this story…Jesus is challenging us to rise with Him to another and higher type of life than we normally live. What He’s telling us is, ‘Maximize your potential; maximize that unexposed ability that untapped strength.’”

“You’re not just average…Do you know what average means? Being on top of the bottom.”

“Jesus became what we are so we could become what He is.”

“Perception unchallenged becomes reality” – Bishop Paul S. Morton

“The devil can smell fear and that’s dangerous because the devil will attack you because God has not given us the spirit of fear. He’s given us power. He’s given us love. He’s given us a sound mind.”

“The Disciples are saying, ‘If only Jesus were here’ then they see a walker on the water, and they are afraid. It sounds like some of us. We know how to pray, but when He shows up, we get afraid!”

“The only way you can recognize [His] voice in a storm, you have to get familiar with His voice before the storm!”

“Peter believed that impossibilities could be transmitted into possibilities.”

“Someone once said, ‘You really don’t even test the resources of God until you try the impossible.’”

“One man says, ‘I will do as much as much as I can, [but] anybody can do that. He who believes in Jesus Christ does what you cannot do.’”

“Jesus wants us to have great faith in Him…He wants reckless faith!”

“If you do it because God said, ‘Do it’, He will make a way somehow!”

“I’m just praying the day will come when we just take our hands off the steering wheel and let God drive!”

“Reckless faith will make you break the rules.”

“Get out of your comfort zone and trust God!” – Bishop Paul S. Morton

“I believe we have some water-walkers in this place!”

“This night, you have come to the house of the Lord, and you’re not afraid to get out of the boat. You’re not afraid to get the blessings that God has for you and deal with your impossibilities.”

“If you’re going to get out of the boat, this is one thing you’re going to have to do: get away from negative folk! Negative folk will keep you in the boat!”

“You’ve got to know how to get out of your comfort zone and trust God!”

“I don’t care how much talent you have. I don’t care how gifted you are, you’ve got to know God is the only one who’s able to save you.”

“This is a new season! Church of God in Christ, you’ve got to get ready, because God is raising up a nation [of] water-walkers!”

“Jesus, if you tell me to walk on the water, I will walk.”

“Get out of the boat!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Matthew 14:22-33, 2 Timothy 1:7, Isaiah 43:19, Luke 8:43-48, Luke 5:17-26.

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Bishop Paul S. Morton is founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. He is the Senior Pastor of Changing a Generation FGBC in Atlanta, GA, and Co-Pastor of Greater St. Stephen FGBC in New Orleans, LA. He is also holds several advanced degrees, is an author and Stellar-award-winning recording artist. Bishop Morton and his wife, Dr. Debra Morton, are the proud parents of 3 children, and the grandparents of 6 grandchildren.

Join us in St, Louis! WATCH THE 108th CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST HOLY CONVOCATION LIVE HERE!