I was recently called a religious fanatic. Swiftly, I pondered from where this saying ascended, and I began to pray, but nothing came out. I just thought quietly in my heart of all the things I’ve been through during my life on Earth. Picturing from where this saying emanated, I began to think that this person was not there when my mother raised me and my brother as a single parent. They were not there when I was protected as a child. They were not there the times when I was shielded from dangers seen and unseen. Yet, God was there protecting me and giving me hope and everything I needed. Therefore, I don’t mind lifting my voice and saying thank you Jesus for all that He has done, I do not mind sharing the joy that I have, I don’t mind flashing a sincere smile. I can not restraint my praise, for the comfort of another. I believed once I heard since the 90’s that it is intelligent to praise God and now I understand the essential vitality that goes along with praising God. I will do it with wisdom, knowing that my help is not derived from the arms of flesh or the power of horses. So if they call me a religious fanatic it does not matter. (12/22/11)
Christmas in August is a COGIC concept that was originally called Christmas in November.
Alabama First Jurisdictional Prelate, Bishop Oscar Louis Meadows, reinvigorated this concept during the 88TH Annual Holy Convocation, held August 15-21, 2011, in response partly to “April’s Fury”, where tornadoes and high winds affected 42 counties in Alabama, causing billions in property damage. Millions were affected, having regions of the state without electricity for over a week, loss of work, and in the most severe cases, the loss of life, on April 27, 2011.
Bishop Meadows stated that in his neighborhood of four square blocks only five houses remained. He said, “God got me out of my comfort zone; midnight is on its way and whatever we are going to do we have to hurry up and do it. We must pray for others and testify outside of the church for the purpose of winning souls”. To help families affected by the storm and other families in need in the Birmingham area, Saturday, August 20, 2011 was declared Christmas in August. Bishop Meadows had a dual mission of feeding the natural and spiritual man. Third Administrative Assistant and Dean of Institute, Wiley C. Neal said “Bishop Meadows is a generous man and such a kind man, let us support his programs”.
The Church assembled at the Jurisdictional COGIC Temple, ‘Holy Hill’ in Bessemer, AL to give clothing, cleaning supplies, food items, work gloves, ice coolers, etc. to over 1400 people representing even more households, serving over six hundred vehicles and other ‘walk-ups’. Mission minded volunteers fell in line to lend support, wearing red tee-shirts symbolizing the blood of Jesus, spearheaded by Selma Superintendent John E. Grayson, and Jurisdictional Evangelism Elect-Lady, Glenda Mason. Mason prayed for a miracle when given the time of less than a month to organize an urban initiative to serve a demographic having less than adequate means. Missions and Evangelism volunteers adopted Joshua 24: 24 as the motto, “And the people said unto Joshua, the Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey”. Jurisdiction Officials quickly responded, like Missions Vice President, Jane Wright who acted as conduit collecting various items and making several trips from the Huntsville area to give.
Surrounded by decorative poinsettias and Christmas trees, Christmas in August, was a “huge collaborative success and I was proud to be involved” according to Jurisdictional AIM Missions’ President, Bobby Sledge. Evangelism President, Terry Ball stated that it was an effort of “neighbors helping neighbors”. WAGG FM in Birmingham gave free advertisement leading up to the event. Among the contributors were: church members from across the state, Family Dollar and Wal-mart, who assisted in monetary relief for the event. An anonymous donor gave over 50,000 lbs. of dry goods worth over $130,000.
Even in the midst of the Alabama summer heat of 90o plus temperature, with fans blowing under tents, volunteers cheerfully sweated and hustled, giving away a record amount of goods in a 3 hour period of time. ‘God did it’ as the Church became the hands of God this day, adding great substance to the Holy Convocation that concluded the next day on Sunday, August 21, 2011, where “God’s Itinerary for His Church and His People” was the theme reflecting the 2011 theme laid by COGIC Presiding Prelate Bishop Charles E. Blake, “God’s Agenda, God’s Church and God’s People”, Bishop Meadows preached and taught from the scripture, I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in world, I am the light of the world (John 9:4, 5).