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Celebrate The Resurrection: What Does Easter Mean To You?

Revelation 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.

It’s Spring, the season of the Resurrection Celebration!  Each year at this time, we celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ Resurrection and the phenomenon of God’s miraculous power of rebirth.  This spirit is also reflected in nature and throughout the earth: dark, cold, rainy days give way to light, warmth, and longer periods of sun; plants, shriveled and dormant throughout the winter months, are now reborn with new, tender blooms; animals emerge from hibernation to introduce new young to the world.

The Easter Season symbolizes hope and rejuvenation, and it also magnifies the resilience of the human spirit.  It’s humankind’s call to renew its strength (Isaiah 40:28-31); to celebrate freedom from physical, emotional, and spiritual slavery (Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 12:12-15); to reaffirm a personal connection to God’s amazing universe and power (Ephesians 1:17-20).   As our Presiding Bishop Blake would say, “That same power that brought Jesus back from the dead, also resides in us!”

In the spirit of this glorious season, tell us: What does Easter mean to you? Does it represent tradition?  Does it conjure a memory?  Or does Jesus’ Resurrection inspire you to create a path to something new in your life?  Shine your light on the world by sharing your reflections with us on social media.  The West Angeles family would love to hear from you!

Everything You Need to Know About Resurrection Sunday at West A! Please join us!

The American Journey of the Negro National Anthem

At the age of 28, James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) began to pen a poem which would become one of the most celebrated hymns of all time. Johnson was not only a writer, but also a lawyer, teacher, United States diplomat, and the author of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Negro National Anthem. He became the first African-American to pass the bar in the state of Florida, and also served as executive secretary of the NAACP from 1920-1930.

VOICE OF A PEOPLE, SONG OF A NATION

After receiving his bachelor’s and law degrees, Johnson balanced dual careers as educator and lawyer, while also writing poetry. In 1900, at the age of 29, he was asked to speak at an observance at the Florida school where he was principal, but chose to write a piece instead. That piece became what we now know as Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Said James Weldon Johnson –

“A group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. My brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and I decided to write a song to be sung at the exercises. I wrote the words and he wrote the music. Our New York publisher, Edward B. Marks, made mimeographed copies for us, and the song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children.

“Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds. But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country. Today the song, popularly known as the Negro National Hymn, is quite generally used.

“The lines of this song repay me in an elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children.”[1]

 

In 1939, renowned artist Augusta Savage received a commission from the World's Fair for a work of art. She created a 16-foot plaster sculpture titled “The Harp”, which was inspired by “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. The sounding board of the harp is the arm and hand of God.

In 1939, renowned artist Augusta Savage received a commission from the World’s Fair for a work of art. She created a 16-foot plaster sculpture titled “The Harp”, which was inspired by “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. The sounding board of the harp is the arm and hand of God.

In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded and by 1920, Johnson was appointed as its Executive Secretary. As he worked with the organization to combat racism, lynching, and segregation, the popularity of his anthem began to spread throughout the South. Copies of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” could be found in Black churches across the country, and the NAACP had adopted it as its theme song. It was also during this time that “Negro History Week” (now “Black History Month”) was first celebrated, conceived by noted historian Carter G. Woodson.

According to Harry Henderson and Romare Bearden in A History of African-American Artists (From 1792 to the Present)-

“[Lift Every Voice and Sing] resonates strongly as a Christian hymn because it is a song about exodus. It is a story of a journey sanctified by faith, and protected and prospered by God”[2].

Though the Johnson brothers wrote over 200 songs together (mostly for the stage), this anthem would be their most renowed. Recent historic references to Lift Every Voice include the recitation of its 3rd stanza by Civil Rights leader Reverend Joseph Lowery (formerly president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), for his benediction at the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama in 2009, and a beautiful performance by noted soprano Denyce Graves at the opening ceremonies of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC in 2016.

Lift Every Voice and Sing continues to serve as inspiration of a people, and an anthem of resilience, hope and faith – not only for African Americans, but also for all Americans who are on the journey to freedom, liberty and justice. 

 

LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING

Lift every voice and sing,

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the list’ning skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF OF THE COMPLETE LYRICS. Watch violinist Karen Briggs perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ below:

Read more about The American Journey of Black History Month HERE.

See Dr. Judith McAllister and the West Angeles Mass Choir’s presentation of “We Shall Overcome” HERE.


[1] – Poetry Foundation, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46549

[2] – Bearden, Romare and Henderson, Harry:  A History of African-American Artists (From 1792 to the Present), Pantheon Books (Random House), 1993, ISBN 0-394-57016-2. Pp. 168-180.

Image of Augusta Savage, courtesy, New York Public Library.

The American Journey of Black History Month

The American journey of Black  History Month begins around 1915, 50 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. In September of that year, historian Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a National Negro History week in 1926.

The American Journey of Black History Month - Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History Month.

Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History Month.

 

CREATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The son of former slaves, historian Carter G. Woodson was the second African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University. Like W. E. B. Du Bois (who was, incidentally, the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard), he believed that truth could not be denied, and that reason would prevail over prejudice [2]. Through his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), he conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass[1]. The NAACP was also founded in February in 1909.

Woodson lobbied schools, churches, and organizations to participate in a special program to encourage the study of African-American history. The response was overwhelming. Black history clubs sprang up, teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils, and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. Mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

By the 1970s, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.  During America’s Bicentennial Celebration in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford recognized Black History Month as a national celebration, calling upon the public to “seize theThe American Journey of Black History Month opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”[2]

HONORING BLACK HISTORY MONTH TODAY

Since its official, national recognition in 1976, Black History Month has been designated by every American president as a time to reflect upon the history and accomplishments of African Americans, and to honor the individuals and groups which have worked tirelessly toward racial justice.  Other countries around the world also devote time to celebrating Black History.

American Presidents have also adopted the practice of endorsing specific themes for the month’s observations. The 2013 theme, “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington,” marks the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two pivotal events in African-American history.

For Black History Month in 2014, President Barack Obama in his Presidential Proclamation  said the following:

“As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage. We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.  Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.”[3]

As the Black American journey continues to uplift the hopes and dreams of those of other cultures worldwide, the stories and testimonies found in African American history serve as a constant light and reflection of the true soul and promise of America. Carter G. Woodson, in promoting the study of black history, has inspired a nation to honor the resilience and spirit of a people.

 

Video, courtesy, Biography.com.  Many thanks!


[1] – “About Carter G. Woodson”, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). https://asalh100.org/our-history/carter-g-woodson/, accessed 2-7-2017.

[2] – “About African American History Month,” excerpted from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/about.html; accessed 2/4/2016. 

[3] – “African American History Month”, The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. http://www.national-consortium.org/Special-Recognition/African-American-History-Month.aspx

FEATURED PAINTING – Aaron Douglas: “From Slavery to Reconstruction, Aspects of Negro Life”, 1934; courtesy, The New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • In September 2016, the Smithsonian Institution opened the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC. Thirteen years since Congress and President George W. Bush authorized its construction, the 400,000-square-foot building stands on a five-acre site on the National Mall, close to the Washington Monument.
  • AfricanAmericanHistoryMonth.gov is a collaboration between The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • The Library of Congress has a branch dedicated to law and legislative documents. The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to African American History Month.

 

 

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. is Re-elected as COGIC Presiding Bishop

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., Pastor of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, has been re-elected for a 3rd term to the Highest Office of the Church of God In Christ – the largest African-American denomination in the world.

 

bishop-trnsp-bkBishop Charles E. Blake Sr. was reinstated as the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) by winning the vote at the COGIC General Assembly on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, following the COGIC 109th Holy Convocation. Presiding Bishop Blake now begins his 3rd term as the Presiding Bishop. Blake is the 7th leader in Succession, and the 7th Presiding Bishop of the denomination since its founding in 1907 by Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

COGIC boasts over 6.5 million members and has congregations in 63 countries around the world. “I am humbled and overjoyed that God has allowed me to continue my service as the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ,” stated Blake. Blake is the Senior Pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, where the membership exceeds 25,000. West Angeles represents the largest church within the COGIC denomination.

The election rounded out a week of worship services, meetings, and fellowship during the COGIC 109th Holy Convocation, which took place in St. Louis Missouri from November 7-15. It has been estimated that over 40,000 people attended the Convocation, generating over $30 million dollars for St. Louis’ businesses.

“The Church of God in Christ is a body of Holy men and women whose mission is to seek and save that which is lost. I count it a blessing to serve the members of COGIC and my Lord and Savior with integrity, righteousness and a daily commitment to do the will of God,” said Blake.

Tanya Young Williams, Chief Strategist
TRY Williams Consulting Group
[email protected]

REVIVAL: Who’s Going To Lead The New Black America?

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake called for a 4-day revival at West Angeles Church of God In Christ to take place this week, from July 25-28, 2016. Bishop Blake’s theme for the revival is:

A CRITICAL GATHERING OF THE SAINTS FOR A CRITICAL TIME IN OUR WORLD, THE NATION, AND THE CHURCH”.

 

The always electrifying Bishop Dwight Pate of Baton Rouge, LA revealed a mighty prophecy for the congregation at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, for the COGIC denomination, and for inner-city Black America during a revival titled, “Who Is Going to Lead the New Black America?”  The revival grew from a sermon delivered by Bishop Pate  for the Sunday, July 24, 2016 evening service at West Angeles.  The prophecy contained within Bishop Pate’s series of revelations emerges from a divine vision he received in 1967, and the time of  its fruition has now come. Those in attendance at the revival were anointed with oil and received the laying on of hands by Bishop Pate, and each of the saints also shared their own gifts of prophecy with each other.

Said Bishop Pate to the congregation, “Look at your neighbor and say, “I am revival.”

Highlights from nights 1 & 2 of the revival follow:

“Who’s going lead this new Black America? God is about to do something special with minority people in America.”

“Study church history. Every time there was a move of God where God took cities and nations over, men had nothing to do with it.”

“God’s going to give you the blessings of your neighborhood; people will be knocking on your door because they found out God is in your house!”

“God’s going to start moving in the penitentiaries in California; your sons and daughters are going to come out of the jailhouse prophesying! Make some noise in this house tonight.”

“God has erased that record of selling dope; cleaned him up. Now he’s sanctified, saved , and filled with the Holy Ghost!”

“God is doing a new thing, and he’s getting ready to do a new thing with you.”

Bishop Dwight Pate prophesies to the congregation at West Angeles COGIC.

Bishop Dwight Pate prophesies to the congregation at West Angeles COGIC.

“God’s getting ready to take over!”

“Your patience is full…You’ve got to let go and let God have his way. Hallelujah!”

“You heal the church, you heal the community.” – Bishop Dwight Pate

“A promise is a gift that you give to yourself…A promise is assured by acts of faithfulness.”

“If God ever lied, the whole universe would disappear.”

“It’s not a hard thing to do God’s promise: you do it because you love Him.”

“As Bishop Blake says, the dreamers are coming…The dreamers are in the house!”

“I’m glad I read Isaiah: ‘Who’s going to believe our report?’”

“You’re not going to get this watching the Kardashians. You’re going to have to turn the TV off and find a prayer closet somewhere.”

“We don’t look so righteous right now, but were getting ready to be righteous.”

“Everybody who needs the devil to be cast out of your mind, make some noise up in here!”

“Blocked but not stopped!”

“The Black man and woman is going to set the moral standard for the end of time.” – Bishop Dwight Pate

“When God revives you, you’ll trigger revival everywhere you go. But you’ve got to come to a place of making our Lord personal.”

“When is the church going to rise up? When is the church going to be sincere?”

“You heal the church, you heal the community.”

“I wish there was somebody in here who knew they’ve got a revival in their mouths…Loose it in your house. Loose it in your community.  Loose it in your church!”

“I believe the greatest move of God in the history of America is getting ready to happen among people of African descent, Amen, and our Spanish brothers and sisters.”

“God is getting ready to do something so special, it’s going to make the 1st century church seem like it was just a shadow of what’s about to take place.”

“The Black man and woman is going to set the moral standard for the end of time.”

“Men and women of color are going to set the last righteous move for this country to be redefined.”

“We are at the end of an age, and God visits certain people at certain times.”

“God’s getting ready to bless you, whether you like it or not.”

“The women prayed the Holy Ghost in. Bishop Mason just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

“(William J.) Seymour died with 20 members.  Bishop Mason died with over 400,000. Where did Seymour’s anointing go? To Bishop Mason.”

“’Wherever’ the anointing goes, the wealth’s going to follow. You don’t have a money problem: you have an anointing problem.”

“It’s no accident that slavery took place to get a people from Africa here to America”– Bishop Dwight Pate

“Evil has always happened in darkness, ever since the time of Nimrod 4600 years ago. But never in modern times have we got men and women in the political arena who will look at you and say, ‘I’m lying, but don’t believe I’m lying.”

“God must raise His people up”

“This type of darkness is going to make the church shine brighter.”

“Right before Jesus Christ went to Heaven, the Roman government threw the cross on a Black man’s back…God’s getting ready to call some of you out, whether you like it or not.”

“It’s no accident that slavery took place to get a people from Africa here to America.”

“When the church doesn’t act in her rightful position, a murderous spirt takes over the land.”

“The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

“We’re getting ready to get violent to get this Holy Ghost power.”

“How does revival look? Just like you.”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘I am revival.’”

“In this hour, there’s a stirring…because religion is not working.”

“Everything God does has a purpose. He did not allow slavery to happen to create slave camps in the south or in the factories in the north.”

“When are we going to learn that our answer is not in a worn-out political machine?  The answer is where Bishop Mason and Bishop Seymour found it: in the church.” – Bishop Dwight Pate

“Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered.”

“Ain’t got no more patience…now God’s going to show up.”

“Murder’s going across the nation like never before.”

“The foolishness of God is wiser than men.”

“I prophesy that the spirit of God’s wonders be released onto you. I loose the Spirit of God’s wonders upon you!”

“The same Holy Spirit that was in Peter and Paul is in you…the gifts are real! The manifestation of the Holy Spirit is real!”

“We are the only ones with the right to predict the future.”

“When you are blessed, you want other people to be blessed.”

“Sovereign grace is when God releases imagination on you.”

“Visions and dreams are the language of the Holy Spirit.”

“The church is about to take her rightful place…bigger than a Democrat bigger than a Republican.” – Bishop Dwight Pate

“God gave you a prayer language to build up your inner man.”

“God will create an environment where He, with your permission, takes over your fleshly desires to mature you; to choose His desire, amen, for your life.”

“God is about to hijack your desires.”

“God has used all the things that has happened in inner city America…all of the Jim Crow Laws, all of the foolishness, all of the lies and promises of the political machine; disappointment after disappointment…God is saying, ‘I let these things happen because there’s no victory in the flesh.’”

“50 years ago, the voting rights act; the civil rights bill.  50 years later, inner city America is in worse shape now than any slave master has ever done to us. And we did it to ourselves.”

“When are we going to learn that our answer is not in a worn-out political machine?  The answer is where Bishop Mason and Bishop Seymour found it: in the church.”

“Give us the revival of Azuza!” – Bishop Dwight Pate

“There’s a price to be paid to let God take you over.”

“Dead things are going to come alive when I touch you tonight.”

“I prophesy: 3 major miracles are going to happen in here.”

“America’s going to have 1 last move, and the church is about to rise up above all these worn-out political machines, and your church is going to take her rightful place: bigger than a Democrat bigger than a Republican, bigger than an independent.”

“Give us the revival of Azuza! …Give us the revival of William J. Seymour!…Give us the revival of C.H. Mason!  From NY to San Diego…Walk up and down the nations of the earth…We bind death!  We bind wickedness!  We bind sin!”

“I release joy upon you!  I rebuke doubt, fear and unbelief.  I command a hunger to get into your soul!”

“I bless you tonight with a new spirit of liberty!”

“New leadership is here!”

“Be God! Be God!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: James 1:4, Psalm 81, Isaiah 58, Acts 17:26, Matthew 11:12, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, 1 Timothy 2:2.

Bishop Dwight Pate accepted the call to ministry at age 13. Church Point Ministries in Baton Rouge, LA was founded in 1983, and in 1992 Bishop Pate was ordained Bishop under Apostle Clifford Turner of Liberty Temple in Chicago, IL.  Bishop Pate conducts revivals regularly, and has been secluded in prayer three times: in 1994 for 7-1/2 months; in 2000 for 5 months and most recently in 2013 for 11-½ months. During the first shut in, the Lord spoke to him to pray over oil and send it out free of charge all over the world. To date, over 16 million bottles have been sent out. He is the author of 5 books and leads a thriving arts ministry at Church Point Ministries. This anointed man of God is married to Lady Sandra Pate, and together they have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.

 


If you don’t yet know the power of revival, then now is your opportunity.  To witness the amazing prophesy of Bishop Dwight Pate titled, “Who’s Going to Lead The New Black America?”, please click HERE to go to West Angeles Gospel On Demand, or purchase the entire 4-night series from The West Angeles Christian Emporium, 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Phone: (323) 731-3012.

WEST ANGELES is now streamed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Join us HERE, at Westa.tv.

West Angeles Counseling: Which Spirit Drives Your Family?

In Part II of our Focus on the Family series, the West Angeles Counseling Center shares the principles of developing a strong family: starting with the right spirit.

 

Is your family ruled by hope, or by fear? Do you empower your family? Do you express love and acknowledge love in your family? Do you teach and instruct with an even-handed approach?

These are important questions to ask. Sometimes in families, our actions feed and encourage fear, and not power, love, and self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7 says that:

A mother and daughter enjoy Sunday fellowship.

A mother and daughter enjoy Sunday fellowship.

God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power, love and, self-discipline (NLT.)

In this scripture, fear comes before power, love, and self discipline, and it can block us from achieving a Christ-like spirit.

THE POWER OF FEAR

When fear is present in a relationship, it can take our power or be used as a weapon to take someone else’s. Our personal fear comes from insecurities in our lives that we bring from childhood or from previous relationships into our families, and if we are not aware of them, they can feed the wrong spirit. These issues can affect our ability to:

  • Be able to be trusted
  • Discipline our children in a fair manner
  • Love one another as Christ loves us

In a relationship, arguments are often driven by our insecurities as we try to protect our fears and shame, but these feelings are not of God’s plan for us. They are events and situations that have happened in the past, but we always have the power and self-discipline to overcome them. Those situations can never rule us unless we allow them to.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHY COMMUNICATION

Unhealthy communication is an issue in families because of the presence of anger. This is not love. We are instructed that love is not easily angered (1 Corinthians 13:5), and this is one of the core principles that Christ came to teach us. So, if we argue a lot or struggle with anger, then this blocks us from sharing and receiving love. Communicating feelings without blaming others, or addressing and alleviating personal stress in our lives can help a family to communicate and grow with a spirit of love, as opposed to being repressed by fear.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER DISCIPLINE

When you discipline your children, do you only focus on instilling fear in the child, or teaching the child that there are consequences to their actions? For example, if we only instruct our children to not touch the stove without teaching them why, then we are inadvertently instilling fear in them. A person develops self-discipline in their lives when they are free to think through experiences in their lives which help them measure the consequences of their actions. A child whom is taught that touching the stove will lead to a burn is more likely to not do it, and in the future they will make better decisions because their parents did their best to not allow fear to govern how they disciplined their child.

A father enjoys time with his 2 sons.

A father enjoys quality time with his two sons.

CONCLUSION

Challenging ourselves to embrace a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline as husband, wife, father, or mother, can aid in achieving the family harmony that Christ desires. The family we desire is in our spirit, because God has blessed us with it.


West Angeles Church of God In Christ is celebrating family strength and unity! Please join the West Angeles Counseling Center from July 15-18, 2016, as we launch Focus On The Family Weekend, a weekend of family unity packed with four days of events for the entire congregation. Please CLICK HERE for more information!

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. The West Angeles Counseling Center provides support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. and 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.

COGIC Statement on Nice Attacks

On Thursday evening, as families peacefully celebrated Bastille Day, a terrorist attack once again affected the lives of many in the European country of France, this time in the city of Nice,

On behalf of the Church of God In Christ, we strongly condemn the actions of those responsible for this attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this unspeakable tragedy, and at this time, we must call on God to ease the suffering of those that have lost their loved ones as a result of this terrorist attack.

AIM Convention Promotes Healing, Cleansing and Peace for Our Nation

There was cleansing and “healing in the place” at the 2016 Auxiliaries in Ministry (AIM) Convention, the annual summer convention of the Church of God In Christ, Inc. Superintendent Linwood Dillard is the International Chairman of AIM, a family involvement experience geared toward spiritual enrichment, effectiveness in ministry, education and fellowship.

Many presentations this year focused on the need for true evangelism and worship in the world, the cleansing power of repentance, the strength of the family, and remembrance of our true heritage and purpose as the church.

On the final day of AIM, NAACP President Robert Richardson Sr., and Cincinnati’s Mayor John Cranley attended the convention in response to the shooting of five police officers in Texas  on the evening of July 7, and the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota. Mayor Cranley spoke about challenges between the police and the community in Cincinnati which are mirrored in other cities around the globe, sharing initiatives created to promote healing and understanding in the city. Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake then took the podium to request a moment of silence and prayer, and presented an official statement from COGIC which addressed the shootings.

“We could not come to Cincinnati and face the tragedies and crisis that our nation endures, and then conduct business as usual,” Bishop Blake said.

Bishop Blake said that the times require us to stop, pray, and ask for God’s guidance for our families, our cities, and for our people. He denounced the attacks on the police in Dallas which perpetuate the cycle of violence in our nation, and he also denounced the deadly force used by police, stating that “execution-style killings by the police do not institute due process” under the law. Bishop Blake called for peace in seeking justice, and that we pray for the families of the police and those who have been killed by the police.

“Our first commandment is to love God,” said Bishop, “and our second commandment is to love one another. I pray that love will prevail, and that our nation will strive to be an example to all nations.”

Additional highlights from the 2016 AIM Convention include:

  • Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr. cited the lives of David and Bathsheba, Solomon, Rehoboam, and Elisha; showing the effects of the sins of the parents on future generations, which Bishop Matthews referred to as “the dirty seat.” He encouraged us to keep our children close, and to take an active role in their spiritual development.
  • The Elect Lady Dr. Rita Womack gave a prophetic word about the violence in our atmosphere and attacks on the weakest among us, and provided encouragement to those in attendance to move past earthly titles and man-made status in order to refresh the church. “We’re losing our best [and brightest] to the world because they feel there’s no place for them in the church,” said Dr. Womack.
  • International Youth Department President Dr. Ben Stephens, III encouraged the youth to put down their Xboxes, maintain their virginity, and focus on excellence in their studies and in pursuit of God’s vision for their lives. “Because there’s a champion in you, you have to understand that it’s time to fight,” said Dr. Stephens. “The devil wants to cripple and destroy you. He wants to end your career. God only makes a way out of no way when you walk in God’s way. Even as youth, you must stand up for something.”
  • Pastor Donnie McClurkin began his ministry at the convention with a powerful, acapella medley of “songs that the church forgot” which included “Rescue the Perishing” and “I Will Give You Rest.” He also reminded us, as he ministered in song in different languages, that missions start right across the street. “Sometimes I wonder if we remember the true essence of who we’ve been called to become,” said Pastor McClurkin. “We are all called to do the work of the evangelist. It is not a title…it is a way.”

Pastor McClurkin also shared a revealing testimony about his own battles with sin; admonishing us to put on repentance, and to “hate the qualities [which lie within us] that God hates.” Said Pastor McClurkin, “You cannot do the work of the ministry with unclean hands.”

The AIM Convention brings together the work of five COGIC auxiliaries: Music, Youth, Missions, Evangelism, and Sunday School. Events also included a College Summit, Youth Choir Showcase, and Disability Training. The 2016 AIM Convention runs from July 4-8 in Cincinnati, OH.