missions

Bishop Blake’s Contribution to Missions

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Artwork by Juan Roberts, Creative Director & Designer at Creative Lunacy

“I feel the Lord’s will for me and for the Church is, at this time. We are in a situation calling for and demanding that we be ready to fight. Fighting at a level of Intensity I feel the Lord would have us to operate on, and fighting is what our enemy is doing.” 1

Bishop Charles E Blake

“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 

“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.”

The Whole Truth, April May 2013

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

The Whole Truth, Nov. 2014

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

HURRICANE HARVEY

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

References:

COGIC Circa 2016
  1. 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.
  2. Eaddy, Monique. “The Heart of a Servant Leader.” TWT, Special Edition 2015. 
  3. Mathews, Vincent. A Conversation with Bishop Vincent Mathews World Missions Department.”  TWT, November – December 2016.
  4. Manning, Kim. “COGIC Charities Globally Helping Others” TWT, November – December 2017. 
  5. Newsome, David-George, Up from the Ashes: The Rebuilding of a People.” TWT, April- May 2014.
  6. Boswell, Reginald. “COGIC in the Land of the Rising Sun” TWT, July- September 2016.
  7. Sanders, Emma. “A Call for Help from COGIC Liberia.” TWT, November 2014.
  8. Blake, Charles E. “Crisis in Flint Michigan and The Challenge of Environmental Racism.” TWT, April 2016.
  9. Phillips, Queen E. “COGIC Charities Response to Hurricane Harvey” TWT, November – December 2017.

WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN? An Encounter with a Homeless Man

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“People should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor.”

Art by Alan Hicks, appears in the Church of God in Christ: Sunday School, Young Adult Quarterly, June 2012
Art by Alan Hicks, appears in the Church of God in Christ: Sunday School, Young Adult Quarterly, June 2012

I was approached by a homeless man in the parking lot at a local shopping center. He asked me if I had something so that he could get a hot meal. I told him that I don’t know (I didn’t know if I had anything in my wallet or not) so I checked it and saw a lonely five dollar bill. He saw the bill too and said real quick “I have two dollars.” I pitifully looked at him and said well I got three dollars and we promptly exchanged my five for his two. “I hope this helps”, I gulped. We exchanged cordial remarks then parted. Thinking about the fact that I had scripture cards in my pocket, I called him back over, he shuffled back and I handed him a scripture card that read, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh,but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1); giving it to him, saying that it could be used as a book mark as I quoted this scripture. He responded by pulling out a Bible from his stuff and said to me “my favorite scripture is I John 3:16 not John 3:16” (which I though he meant), He went on to quote “because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers”, he when on to say that people should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor, thinking it a big thing to designate their favorite charity as their only place to give and ignoring the hungry ones right in the midst of them.

Source: Designs by Reginald Boswell
Source: Designs by Reginald Boswell

Distinguishing Between Good and Evil

“People don’t like giving to the poor when the say they are hungry because they may spend it on alcohol or harmful drugs” I said. He answered, “Christians have the Spirit of Christ within, that is able to discern whether a person is putting on a sham or not, the Holy Spirit lets you know whether a person is truthful. If you are a Christian walking in the Spirit you will not be deceived. After you talk to a person who expresses need, after awhile you’ll know whether it’s right or wrong to do what you feel and give.” The profound message I heard was the age old interest in knowing whether a purpose you face is true or not. Distinguishing between good and evil has been sought by man even when we were immortals, during the age of Adam’s innocence. This is the one request of Solomon that he asked when given the chance to ask God for anything he said, ”Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I King 3:9)

Bible opened to Proverbs Source: Christian Concepts @ Hubpages.com
Bible opened to Proverbs Source: Christian Concepts @ Hubpages.com

Strange Encounter

After a minor conversation with a major impact we again parted as I pondered the meaning of this odd meeting. He did say that God brought me there. I didn’t buy anything from the store, I just browsed. Why was I really there? Just to look, to see or to waste time, knowing that in-Christ, no time is wasted and everything is purposeful. This ideal resounded after reflecting back to the tune I heard in the store playing “will the circle be unbroken.” I heard these words before but never heart felt like the tune I heard that seemed to be a primitive version, as if playing on a phonograph (I later found out this was the original Carter Family’s 1927 version that played). It seemed that everybody was humming this tune in the store before this faithful meeting and as I passed one lady sung it out loud. This seemed like an experience from the movie Fallen (when everyone was humming a Stones tune) especially with the words reverberating over and over “will the circle be unbroken”. Then this thought abated when I bumped into the homeless guy named Kevin mentioned earlier. Right before leaving Kevin I asked him did he like yogurt (still having the three dollars I shared earlier). He said yea I love it. I was able to give him two boxes (containing 12) that the soup kitchen rejected earlier because they where over stocked and had a limited shelf life. This is the point when Kevin said “God sent you.” It was cold enough to be kept outside. Kevin told me that he lived in a tent in the woods but not tent city (a community of the homeless) like in my hometown and maybe in yours too.