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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.

Inspiration: You Can Make A Difference

If  you were told that you could end a war, would you believe it?  If you were told that you could save the world from hatred, hurt and pain, or that you are the cure to the cancer that’s spreading throughout our society, would you doubt it? It’s overwhelming for us to believe that we, alone, can make a difference in solving the issues that seem so massive today. However, it only takes one person with the compassion and vision to heal a particular pain in our world to stand up and do so…

The rest will follow.


WHAT ONE PERSON CAN DO

I am reminded of Esther, who saved her people, the Jews, from slaughter; and the young shepherd boy, David, who slayed a giant all on his own. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw the need for economic equality; to free the poor and disenfranchised from discrimination, and from oppression and repression by the wealthy. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake saw the need to create a ministry which helped children orphaned by AIDS in Africa. Save Africa’s Children created much needed support for more than 100,000 children in over 23 African nations; now, Bishop Blake has set his sights on building an economic and educational legacy here at home to empower the generations to come.

Every revolution begins with a single person deciding to make a stand. 

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”, but he who keeps the law is happy. The pattern in the word is that each battle and triumph begins with one person: and you can be that person. This does not mean you have to join every battle, but rather, pursue that calling which touches your heart most. That is the ministry that God has placed on your heart to help others, and to take each step one day at a time towards change.  You may begin alone, but I guarantee that God will not let you fight the entire battle by yourself. He will put like-minded people in your path, and together, as a mighty team in the name of Jesus, we can empower God’s people, build His Kingdom on earth, and make the world a better place.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” – Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

Hear William McDowell perform the beautiful hymn, “I Give Myself Away” below:

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. 

 

Bishop Charles E. Blake and West Angeles CDC Partner with Wells Fargo

Bishop Charles Blake and West Angeles Church Community Development Partnership with Wells Fargo Garners Los Angeles Times Placement

 

LOS ANGELES, May 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Wells Fargo launched an advertising campaign in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times featuring Bishop Charles Blake, pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and Presiding Bishop of the 5th largest denomination in the world.  Blake and West Angeles COGIC have partnered with Wells Fargo to make significant improvements in the urban Los Angeles community wherein the 5,000 seat West Angeles COGIC Cathedral resides.

The high-profile advertisement* in the Los Angeles Times demonstrates WellsWELLS FARGO Bishop Fargo’s recognition of Blake and West Angles CDC’s commitment to develop and improve their community.  “Wells Fargo Bank has been a committed partner to West Angeles Community Development Corporation. For over 20 years, Wells Fargo Bank has demonstrated strong support for our programs in homeownership, financial capabilities and small business development here in South L.A.,” Grant D. Power, Executive Director, West Angeles CDC.

West Angeles CDC, with the support of numerous corporate partners, have 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. “The primary benefit of a mega church is that is has resources to initiate programs that are conceived for the work for the advancement of the community,” said Bishop Blake.

West Angeles CDC newest development initiative will provide modern housing for senior citizens in the Los Angeles Community. Blake and West Angeles COGIC 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. “With the development of the Family Life Center, our goal is to leave a stable, future ministry legacy for the community, strengthen the fiber of the church’s outreach to men, women, children, and families in the community, and to further impact the nation and world for Jesus Christ,” stated Bishop Blake.

*UPDATE: The Wells Fargo advertisement featuring Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake appeared in electronic billboards over New York’s Times Square on June 2, 2016.

 


About West Angeles CDC:

The mission of West Angeles Community Development Corporation is to increase social and economic justice, demonstrate compassion and alleviate poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God through the vehicle of community development.

Media Contact: TRY Williams Consulting Group, TRY Williams Consulting Group, 3108487695, [email protected]

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

 

SOURCE West Angeles Community Development Corporation

                                                                                      

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 the right 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 millennials – 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 during unstable times 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 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.

*SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Hebrews 13:4, James 1:12, Ephesians 6:13, 1 Peter 2:9, Proverbs 13:24, Galatians 6:10, Jeremiah 29:6, Deuteronomy 6:6-8.

Karen Lascaris is a regular contributor to Westa.org.  She is the author of “In Our Own Image: Treasured African American Traditions, Journeys and Icons” (Running Press, Philadelphia, 2001, ISBN), the first visual document of black social and cultural history in America from World War II to the present. 

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[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.

GET INVOLVED!  

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. and The Church of God In Christ worldwide supports the COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES, which includes an emphasis on the strength of the family.  For more information on how you can become involved, please CLICK HERE.

 

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!