Tuesday, November 27, 2012

COGIC Issues Pt. 4..."A Man's Church And A Man's World"

I hope and trust that all the Saints of God and readers of this blog had a happy and joyous Thanksgiving and are having a happy and joyous Holiday season.Yes, we all have so much to be thankful for and I am thankful for the service you render to God and your continued prayers!

Sometimes our plans for ministry are altered or changed from the very beginning. There are many things that we don't start off wanting or desiring to do. (step up Jonah and testify) It is always much more easy to comply with the will of men, some of whom are convinced that they hold the key to the personal and spiritual success of others. From a biblical standpoint, we should be reminded that only God grants favor and only he promotes, sets down and raises up, and that is ONLY according to HIS purpose and will as HE deems fit.  

With those things noted, still at times, we are thrust into situations according to God given and God directed convictions on issues. Many of us recognize this constraint toward truth and the fulfillment of purpose as the "calling of God". 

The Call Within The Call

1 Cor. 7: 20-24 ~ 20-Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21-Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22-For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. 23-Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24-Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

Desiring for individuals to be healed from the dreadful pain and disease of clergy and church related sexual abuse is no less than a calling of God for me. Focusing on the healing of those who have suffered and been victimized as a result of church related and clergy sexual abuse is nothing that I set out to do or accomplish when I acknowledged the call of God in my life some almost 27 years ago. 


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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is COGIC A "Safe Place" & The 2012 Press Conference

(If YOU or someone you know has been victimized, call I Am My Brother's Keeper (IMBKCAC) or email us at Imbkcac@gmail.com. All  inquiries are CONFIDENTIAL)

Many of our readers know that I conducted a Press Conference on Clergy sexual abuse and victims advocacy at the 2012 Holy Convocation. At least I scheduled a press conference and did manage to do an interview which I will post shortly. In a minute I'll tell you the results of that press conference and what transpired. Until then enjoy this snippet of a message from our Presiding Bishop's address on Official Day.

Now, that certainly sounded like a great message. "I believe that children are the future" sounds so familiar...In fact this is the part of that snippet that especially caught my attention:
"The church has got to be a safety zone for our children. If you are a pedophile, if you are a child molester  if you are a child abuser, if you are determined to pursue sexual misconduct, then either get right or get out!"
Didn't that sound good???

If What He Said Is True, Then Please Tell Me Why...

As I stated in a Press Release regarding COGIC's absentee victims advocacy policy, that I made shortly before the Presidential election, I was on my way to STL to ask church leaders, and the candidates (over 23 of them for the General Board) to undertake the issues of victims advocacy, which is an area that this Grand Ole Church has yet to touch...In other words, the children and adults that suffer from sexual abuse and church or clergy misconduct have NO ONE inside the church or associated with it in any way to help readjust their lives whether spiritually or emotionally and the church does NOTHING to help a victim heal from the atrocity that they have suffered. In many cases they are stepping in to clear themselves of liability or paying settlement funds, but there is nothing in place resembling a victims advocacy plan and neither is there anything considered in spite of my efforts to bring the focus to the issue.

Victim's Advocacy IS NOT A Zero Tolerance Policy. OK, do I have to say once again that a a zero tolerance policy against clergy sexual misconduct and screening of pastors and leaders IS NOT a victims advocacy policy???? It seems like I have to consistently say this especially to people who should know the difference. A "zero tolerance policy" is certainly a step in the right direction, but it is NOT a victims advocacy policy. Do we really not understand the difference between the two? I only ask because most every one I speak to in leadership, either doesn't know the difference or wants me to believe that they don't know the difference. As I tell my kids, "I can't call it", but what I do know is that is the case....That is a sad case, but it is true.

Contacting The Presiding Bishop

Well, out of honor and respect, even though my 2009 proposal faxed to Bishop Blake and the then General Board went unacknowledged, I tried once again to engage our Presiding Bishop by contacting him through his personal assistant by email in STL the night before the conference was to take place seeking to establish a partnership with him seeking to work together in addressing this very important and serious issue. My tone was positive reserving the right to speak truth.

Here is the part that should be of special interest to every person who is a member of COGIC and otherwise, that has received misinformation and LIES regarding my efforts; this is what I said to the Bishop in a letter to him:
"So that you will know, unlike some of my friends and associates, I am not willing to bash our church. However, I am willing to tell the truth in effort that we can come to greater and higher accountability and implement programs in favor of those who have suffered the greatest among our ranks."
One can read the full email letter that I sent to Bishop Blake and  that he received, by clicking HERE.

What Happened?

Well, the Press conference was delayed due to my late arrival. (about 30 minutes ) Clearly this was not a COGIC press session...COGIC did not call it at all. I,  through I Am My Brother's Keeper Christian Advocacy Council,  called the conference and media inquiry, complete with our phone number and email for clarification, questions or concerns.

Unfortunately, some media asked COGIC about the Press Conference. When that happened, COGIC press core evidently had been instructed to inform the media that the press conference, which they had nothing to do with, had been cancelled....WHAAAAAT???? CANCELLED????


This is the interview with Erin Williams of STL. Public Radio regarding the issue. 

Who instructed COGIC Press Core and staff to tell the media that a press conference that I Am My Brother's Keeper Christian Advocacy Council had called regarding clergy sexual abuse and the lack of a victims advocacy policy within the Church Of God In Christ, had been cancelled??? Better yet, why would COGIC officials evidently  INSTRUCT the press core officials to tell the media that a press conference,  which implicitly and explicitly deals with the safety of CHILDREN and adults that suffer from church related abuse, had been cancelled???

Is the church really a "safety zone"? Then why are the voices calling for the safety of individuals through advocacy  SILENCED?Why is there obfuscation on the issue???

Now, before one begins to shout and say that "the Lord confused the enemy", which is invariably a certain statement of ignorance and scriptural illiteracy as it pertains to this issue, one should ask, who is the enemy???...Is the enemy the one stifling the victims that have been abused and suffering life changing atrocities, or is the enemy those who speak up for the victims trying to find a way to make their lives better???

The Rest Of The Story

The reason I am taking time to explain this is because many people, and I say many people were praying for this event and praying for some acknowledgement from COGIC over the plight of victims of this type of ungodly abuse at the hand of COGIC personnel. I certainly appreciate all the prayers and support I received for this, but we're not through yet...

Once I saw where this was going I did two things in response. First, I held the Press Conference anyway. 

The full text of what I said in a prepared statement can be found by clicking HERE.

Of course, this was to the dismay of some reporters who contacted my office, complaining that there was no press conference after the fact. When I explained the situation, they (members of the press) finally understood that they should have read and followed the instructions in the release, because none of the press realized that they were entering into the COGIC landmine of obfuscation and excuses for poor service and misdirection...and Yes, I did endorse this message....

The Search

Secondly, along with my my personal assistant who witnessed the entire series of events, I went to the administrative offices to speak with Bishop Blake and Bishop Enoch Perry. After finding their section of St. Louis, I made it known clearly who I was and that I would await for them to meet me, as I desired to speak with them, and had heard that at least Bishop Enoch desired the same. After a brief wait, we were told that they were unavailable due to meetings and that they couldn't speak...Not even their assistants were available to speak with us. 

I thought that funny because only two weeks prior Enoch Perry himself had spoken to my Bishop, Bishop Robert Sanders of Illinois Third, asking him all kinds of questions about me, even having my report payment history in front of him. Go for the MONEY....It seemed that now that I was in his presence, neither he nor any of our Presiding Bishop's assistants could meet with me or discuss any issues of exactly why I was doing what I was doing or even ask any questions pertaining to it at all. 

For The Critic: 

Invariably, there are corporate lovers, and cronies that will see the corporation of COGIC right no matter what is done. That's OK, I am not trying to prove it wrong as a corporation. What I am saying is that there is far too much lip service given to the issues and no impetus placed on those who have lost and had their world turned upside down due to the sins of some, deemed charlatans. 

2012 COGIC Presiding Bishop
& General Board
Why am I talking about the church and officials like this? First, because it is 100% TRUE. Secondly, because it is horrific for our leaders to chase financial improprieties as they do, making those situations high priority looking to find dollars that they think are lost,  while at the same time making very little time for anyone that solely wants to address the value of human life and assist in addressing the plight of victims who have been hurt due to these type of clergy sins and abusive situations...

The question is how can anyone contend that serving victims as we do with utter silence and distribution of checks under the right circumstance is Godly service or according to a biblical mandate? How can the church continue to roll on without a victims advocacy simply because the impression is that this would mean admission of guilt and potentially cost the church more money....

OK, if it costs the church $800,000 per claim of sexual impropriety according to the statements of our Presiding Bishop in the COGIC General Assembly record, and we can trace the loss of jurisdictions, property, not to mention the disheartening of countless souls, how can we simply get by....Let me ask this:

If Penn State University COULD NOT get by, because, in essence, it did not handle victims properly, how can the Church Of God In Christ feel that it will get by if it continues to fall derelict in serving the spiritual needs of those among us who have been damaged by clergy and church abuse? How can we escape if we don;t provide a tangible and real way to help them? Are the new and reappointed General Board members of this church ready to deal with this issue? One thing is for sure...the issue is NOT going away!!!!!

Blessed!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The New 2012 COGIC General Board

We would like to extend a warm congratulations to the new COGIC General Board Members pictured below. 

In order of their election and vote totals they are as follows:

Bishop Charles E. BLAKE 2970 (retained as Presiding Bishop, ran unopposed)
Bishop Jerry MACKLIN 2655
Bishop J. D. SHEARD 2605
Bishop P. A. BROOKS 2545
Bishop Sedwick DANIELS 2528
Bishop Frank WHITE 2451
Bishop George MCKINNEY 2393
Bishop Roy L. WINBUSH 2275
Bishop Nathaniel WELLS 2038
Bishop  Brandon PORTER 2011
Bishop THOMAS 1447
Bishop Lawrence WOOTEN 1398

In my next post I will ask the question:
"What will you do with this new opportunity?"
Blessed! 

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Monday, November 5, 2012

105th Annual COGIC Holy Convocation & Victims Advocacy Press Release


As you can see, "Seeking God's Way...Through Prayer, Obedience, And the Word"  is the theme for the 105th annual COGIC Holy Convocation which begins Monday Nov. 5th - 13th 2012.

With a church General Board election in which over 23 candidates are vieing for 12 seats of position of what has been otherwise deemed to be "power", and a National Presidential election, all on the heels of one of the worst hurricanes that the Eastern United States has seen in almost 2 decades, makes it a sure bet that this week promises to be an historic and event filled week one way or another.

Is There HOPE?

Yes, there is hope, and the good news is that the theme points us in the right direction.

IF we are seeking "God's way"...he has promised that we will find it

IF we are going to God in prayer for HIS intervention...he has promised to answer.

IF we are looking to make sure that we are obedient unto HIM...he has promised that IT (the act of obedience) is better than any sacrifice that could be made.

and

IF we are seeking HIS WORD...HE will not hide himself and will make it abundantly known as it is HIS WORD that has established the order of all that we see and are aware of and all that is unseen and unknown to us.

We Need Clarity Because There Are Issues?


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