CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST (COGIC)
“Bishop Blake is always looking for ways to advance the Kingdom”
EXPONENTIAL GLOBAL IMPACT
“Bishop Blake founded and is president of the Pan African Children’s Fund (PACF). Save Africa’s Children, a program of PACF, provided support to over 420 orphan care programs, 200,000 children and 24 nations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.” 2
“Your gift will make room for you when you have righteous men at the top.It is almost impossible to articulate how much Bishop Blake has influenced the Missions Department. He is the Missionary in Chief of the Church of God in Christ. He has been doing missions going all the way back to his many decades in ministry. He leads by example He has a heart for Africa, as we saw in the Save Africa’s Children Foundation. His vision to literally change and have an impact on the world is unparalleled. There is no Presiding Bishop that has traveled the world half as much as Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake. Bishop Blake is always looking for ways to advance the Kingdom,” said COGIC World Mission’s President Bishop Vincent Mathews. 3
“COGIC Charities is the benevolent arm of the Church of God in Christ whose mission is to provide assistance for areas devasted by natural disasters and to provide educational scholarships for high school students entering college. COGIC Charities has awarded over half a million dollars in scholarships since its inception. Under the leadership of Chairman of the Board, Presiding Bishop Blake, it has awarded the most scholarships in organizational history.” 4
REBUILDING IN HAITI
July 12, 2010, a 7.0 catastrophic magnitude earthquake occurred in Haiti. Three million people were affected 316, 000 died, 300,000 were injured and one million were left homeless. Shortly after Bishop Blake made an urgent call to respond to this crisis. More than $400,000 was committed to the Haiti Relief Project through COGIC Charities. Additional money was raised at that year’s Leadership conference totaling $60,000 also a fund of $50,000 was established to assist in the rebuilding of COGIC Churches in Haiti that were damaged by the 2020 earthquake.Bishop Blake, “has a tremendous love of people, not only in this country but across the world. He is looking to take missions to the next level,” said Bishop Jerry W. Macklin, Second Assistant to the Presiding Bishop.5
TSUNAMI IN JAPAN
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake triggered a tsunami in the island nation of Japan, causing one of the worst natural catastrophes in recorded history. Some tremors were reported in Okinawa, the region where COGIC Japan Jurisdiction churches are located, yet were not affected. Nevertheless, Bishop Blake presented a check and donated rice cookers to assist those victims keeping with the mission of COGIC Charities. 6
EBOLA PANDEMIC IN LIBERIA
Along with COGIC Charities Bishop sponsored a Hand Washing Challenge to help families combat the Ebola virus in Liberia during the height of the Ebola crisis (2014) where health care facilities were over three hours away. Mother Emma Sanders, State Supervisor for Liberia said, “we are thankful for a presiding bishop who genuinely cares. Thanks to Bishop Blake, we were able to send over $120,000 worth of supplies to the national defense to aid in the fight.” 7
CRISIS IN FLINT MICHIGAN
Blake exposed governmental agencies and named government officials that allowed the public use of contaminated water despite warnings from independent environmental studies. In April 2016 Bishop Blake addressed the challenges of environmental racism and echoed concerns of the residents of Flint(over half of the population was black and almost half the population was over the poverty line) were subject to a poisoned water supply (Flint River) and conduit (lead pipes). Blake called upon the federal government to follow through on the $80 million aid package pledged by the Obama Administration after an initial five million was made available when President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency concerning Flint. Bishop Blake urged the continuing efforts to distribute bottled water, ready-made infant formula water filters, and water test kits. COGIC Charities Water for Flint coordinated with eleven COGIC Churches in the city as distribution points. Blake continued efforts to work with health care providers to continue to test children for lead poisoning, giving financial aid to public health services for children’s health and aid to the Flint Water at Virginia Tech for continued research to keep the public informed. Blake encouraged the churches in Flint to engage in the political and structural sources of environmental racism in poor black communities. 8
On September 21, 2017, in response to Hurricane Harvey, a 60,000 sq. ft warehouse was opened that served to house items donated to help the people of the Houston area. Bishop Blake and other leaders arrived for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially opened the COGIC Super Resource Center (SRC) at 440 S. 66th Street Houston Texas. The COGIC SRC was fed from regional centers located in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. 9
- McNair, Marion. “A Conversation with the Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. Past, Present, and a Visionary Future for the Church of God in Christ.” TWT, November- December 2016.
- Eaddy, Monique. “The Heart of a Servant Leader.” TWT, Special Edition 2015.
- Mathews, Vincent. A Conversation with Bishop Vincent Mathews World Missions Department.” TWT, November – December 2016.
- Manning, Kim. “COGIC Charities Globally Helping Others” TWT, November – December 2017.
- Newsome, David-George, Up from the Ashes: The Rebuilding of a People.” TWT, April- May 2014.
- Boswell, Reginald. “COGIC in the Land of the Rising Sun” TWT, July- September 2016.
- Sanders, Emma. “A Call for Help from COGIC Liberia.” TWT, November 2014.
- Blake, Charles E. “Crisis in Flint Michigan and The Challenge of Environmental Racism.” TWT, April 2016.
- Phillips, Queen E. “COGIC Charities Response to Hurricane Harvey” TWT, November – December 2017.
Humility as a Guide
As a writer just starting out I found Bishop McKinney to be a humble man who was easy to entreat. He gave me access to do my job as a writer just starting out with COGIC. My confidence was increased by his cooperation as he freely gave me information and opened up without a reservation to candid questions. I kept his number saved in my phone for years even though I only used it on two different occasions it was like having power in my pocket. When I called him the second time he obliged me and participated in a panel discussion in The Whole Truth (TWT) article called, “Leading Through Complexity” that appeared in April, May, June 2017 edition. (RE Boswell)
Leading Through Complexity
TWT: Does your personality assist or take away from handling tough issues?
Bishop Mc Kinney: I was born the 9 of 14 children in abject poverty. A son of a Pastor and Sharecropper early in life, I experienced health problems and the pain of racism and discrimination. We learned to Trust God, practice love and forgiveness and God would see us through. My personality reflects this Faith and dependence on God. My patience and confidence in God enable me to deal with tough issues.
TWT: How do you maintain your spiritual growth?
Bishop Mc Kinney: I maintain my spiritual growth through practicing “the presence of Christ”. I believe he is with us all the time. I practice the spiritual discipline of prayer, meditating, singing, reading, worship and service to the least among us.
TWT: How do you strengthen yourself when facing internal opposition?
Bishop Mc Kinney: When facing internal opposition, I strengthen myself through prayer. I want to know how I contributed to the internal opposition. I pray for wisdom and the spirit of righteousness and peace that there be no bitterness or unforgiveness. How I face, opposition is informed by Mark 11:22-28 and Matthew 18.
TWT: What is the biggest problem when working with a council of elders?
Bishop Mc Kinney: The biggest problem when working with the Council of Elders is engaging them in a journey from carnal worldly thinking to biblical spiritual thinking and from “church thinking” to kingdom thinking.
As a Climate Change Advocate
The Centennial Proclamation (2007) presented by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake was an interfaith document that called for a directive for future leadership to reverse current “ill-conceived” social trends, including those that threaten the environment.
In response to the Bible’s God-given mandate to exercise good stewardship over the earth (Gen 1:26, 2:15). Church of God in Christ (COGIC), General Board (the presidium) Member and Bishop George D. McKinney, Ph.D. Prelate of the Southern California Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Senior Pastor of St. Stephen’s Cathedral submitted a resolution on behalf of the General Board at the April Call meeting entitled, Climate Change 1 which was quickly recognized and resolved into COGIC
The COGIC Climate Change Resolution: “resolved to take action and recognize our role and responsibilities in confronting climate change, and engage in measurable stewardship actions that reduce energy consumption, use sustainable practices in our houses, building and houses of worship, and seek good counsel in peer-reviewed climate scientist that will increase our knowledge and actions to confront climate change (Prov. 12:15; 15:22).
Also, the Church of God In Christ, Inc. pledges to find ways to reduce the impact and risk of climate change through promoting good stewardship habits and increase awareness in our houses, business, relationships, and congregations” 1
As an Author
Bishop McKinney, author of eight books and contributor of many more also wrote a chapter in a collection of sermons and lectures published by the Evangelical Environment Network (EEN) called, The Best Preaching on Earth. Bishop McKinney has been a member of EEN since 1993.
Psalm 24 is a foundational scripture for Bishop McKinney’s view concerning environmental issues. According to Bishop McKinney action must be taken in response to the scientific findings relating to the current condition of our environment.
Bishop McKinney affirmed in his review presented on behalf of the General Board, the findings of a United Nations Program, called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that, “confirmed the increase of the number and length of heatwaves, the increase of the frequency of heavy rainfalls and the increase of duration and intensity of droughts.”2
Bishop McKinney presented findings from the IPCC this study “the surging carbon-dioxide (greenhouse gas) levels in our environment are from fossil fuel emissions, recent global temperatures demonstrate human-induced warming, the current sea-level rise is underestimated, the acceleration of melting of glaciers and the delay in action risks irreversible damage.”3
Bishop McKinney said, “In light of these findings, protection of the atmosphere and addressing human suffering are both a moral responsibility and spiritual answers to the divine commandment that humanity takes excellent care of the earth (Gen. 2:15) and that people love God and their neighbors (Matt. 22:37).” 4
- Change is past due, Americans are less than 5% of world population but consume 25% of the world’s resources is not a successful model to those outside American shores and can’t be convinced that our system is the best. 5
- COGIC Resolution # 042013-13, submitted April 10, 2013, by Bishop George D. McKinney
- IPCC, 2012: Summary for policymakers. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaption [Field, C.B., et al. (Eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Proposal Group I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1-19.
- The Copenhagen Diagnosis, Executive Summary (2009)
- Proposed Resolution to the General Board, The Church of God in Christ, Inc.
- The Secret History of the American Empire by John Perkins, Aug 7, 2007
WHERE MULTIPLE DREAMS FLOURISH
Brazil, the 5th largest country in the world has a diverse population of over 3 million people. Historically Brazil became populated by many cultures from various backgrounds and has the largest population of people of color in the western hemisphere. Primed for Pentecostalism Brazil experienced a powerful movement of the Holy Ghost that changed the lives of many former worshippers of voodoo, witchcraft, Orish and compromised Christianity.
FIRST TEN YEARS
The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) hit the ground running there in 1985 with the arrival of Pastor Samuel Moore. Elder Moore conducted a one-week revival preaching holiness and sanctification and by 1986 property was acquired and COGIC was officially established in Brazil. In July 1993 Youth on a Mission (YOAM) arrived and proved to be a potent catalysis in efforts to secure more property implementing plans to build further. That same year Evangelist Lee Van Zant arrived and organized the women’s work in Brazil. By 1995 there were nine churches affiliated with COGIC representing 300 members. After experiencing nearly 100% growth over a period of ten years Pastor Moore was elevated to the office of Bishop and Mother Van Zant to that of Supervisor of Women.
Bishop Terence P. Rhone
Brazil had 29 Churches by 2000. Dr. Terence P. Rhone a board-certified Physician in the disciplines of internal and pulmonary medicine at the request of Bishop Samuel Moore came to Brazil in 2000 to conduct the first Youth Congress for the Jurisdiction. At the time Dr. Rhone was the President of the Southern California First Jurisdiction, Youth Department (1996-2009). In 2004 Dr. Rhone was appointed by Bishop Moore to Auxiliary in Ministry (AIM) Chairman of COGIC Brazil. In 2012 after the demise of Bishop Moore on this earthly plane Chairman Rhone was elevated to the Office of Bishop. Under the direction of Bishop Rhone rapid grow ensued. Currently, COGIC Brazil consists of 80 churches in 12 ecclesiastical districts in three regions within the largest country in South America.
MEDICINE FOR THE SAINTS
From the Bishop’s heart extend tangible results. Dr. Rhone gives his time conducting a Medical Outreach using a medical mobile clinic on wheels to minister health. The clinic has served all of the major areas of Brazil including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and now Bahia. Each year during the Jurisdictional AIM Convention Bishop Rhone leads a US delegation into the inner city to administer medical clinics. He uses his medical expertise to minister to the saints and uses this vehicle as an evangelistic outpost bringing souls into the kingdom. This model of evangelism has since become Bishop Rhone’s standard mode of operation in his travels to different parts of the world. Within the scope of this ministry Supervisor Patricia Lewis, and the Women’s Department distributes eyes glasses to at least 300 people annually.
Dr. Patricia Lewis
Dr. Patricia Lewis currently serves as the Supervisor over the women’s work in the Churches of God in Christ, Brazil Jurisdiction. Since May 2013 she has served under Bishop Terrance Rhone. To maintain the firm foundation laid by Evangelist Lee Van Zant of a holy lifestyle and fearless dedication to the people of God, Dr. Lewis was handed the baton and never looked back. No stranger to danger, Dr. Lewis served as former Supervisor of Women of COGIC Pakistan (2007 – 2013). In a country that is 97% Muslim where strict blasphemy laws against “the Prophet Muhammad” carries a penalty of death by hanging. She said, “God gave me the green light” when waiting to go to Pakistan in 2007. By the hand of God, she evaded kidnappers in Pakistan and accomplished the arduous task of establishing the Department of Evangelism there. In January 2013 Lewis resigned her Pakistan post only later to receive the mantle to continue the women’s work in Brazil organized by Mother Van Zant.
According to Mother Lewis, COGIC Brazil Jurisdiction has the DNA of COGIC and thoroughly reflects the style practice and beliefs of COGIC. However, added to this distinction is the language of people who speak Portuguese and according to Lewis “has the best singing people on this side of Heaven” She serves The International Depart of Evangelism as Assistant Elect Lady and an Itinerate Evangelist and gospel recording artist.
“The mission’s dept is the undeniable evidence that COGIC has made a transformation from a mission field into a jurisdiction that sends missionaries to other countries,” said Bishop Rhone. Two Auxiliary Bishops assist Bishop Rhone in the day to day operations on the ground in Brazil.
In 2016, 120 pastors in Mozambique was organized into a region under COGIC Brazil. Moses Gali is the current Regional Superintendent of Mozambique under Bishop Rhone.
Holiness teaching consistent with COGIC doctrine is now entrenched in the hearts and the minds of the saints in Brazil which has become a launching pad for the Portuguese speaking nations of the world. Portuguese is also the official language of Mozambique.
“Annually, a team sponsored by the Missions Department of the Brazil Jurisdiction leads a delegation of US and Brazilians to Mozambique in Southeast Africa. This team conducts medical clinics and ministry training to over 100 pastors and churches. They are also providing Bibles to many who have never before owned one. Their lives are being impacted by this great ministry are helping to expand the Church of God in Christ in Southeast Africa” according to cogicbrazil.org. Announcing: “Go with us to Mozambique. Help us spread the Gospel in this nation that is hungry for a move from God!”
“The jurisdiction of Brazil currently sponsors 2 rehabilitation centers, the El Shaddai Rehabilitation Center located in Brasília the capital city of Brazil and the New Jerusalem Rehabilitation Center located in the city of Salvador. Both of these facilities are owned and operated by members of the Church of God in Christ. They provide intensive treatment for individuals addicted to drugs and alcohol. The third site for women is currently in development,” said Bishop Rhone.
The C. H. Mason Bible Institute serves to provide biblical, theological and practical training for all laypersons and credential holders within the jurisdiction, regions, districts and local congregations of the Church of God in Christ in Brazil. The academic material provided has been designed to serve persons pursuing licensure, ordination and professional development. The C. H. Mason Bible Institute has been established in the three regions of Brazil to serve the breadth and length of the Jurisdiction.
The CH Mason Bible Institute serves as a Bible Training Institute and has graduated two classes since 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Nevertheless, the much-needed substance to supply this ministry in order to reach the people with the gospel will be accepted.
More information and to minister help contact:
COGIC BRAZIL JURISDICTION
Mt Sinai COGIC
936 West 9th
Pomona CA 91766
909 868 0224
Originally published in The Whole Truth Magazine, March/April 2019.