Finally, home and rested from close to two weeks in St. Louis for the 108th Holy Convocation of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC). Overall it was a great meeting with some amazing highlights with a COGIC son, Bishop Paul Sylvester Morton, coming home to open the meeting to the Black Pope TD Jakes preaching Friday Night. Not to mention the hottest ticket and event of the week, COGIC Charities Banquet with Denzel Washington. Bishop Blake out did himself this time and it is nothing left to do, but have President Barack Obama and Oprah come to the convocation. In spite of all the recent chatter of a disgruntled former member of the church all was well in St. Louis.
There is nothing like the fellowship of the Saints! COGIC is one big family and like any family we have relatives we love and like more then others. However, the excitement of having moved the Convocation to St. Louis is gone now. The city has began to make improvements with the large revenue we bring and is now doing us just like Memphis. An average hotel room was close to $200 per night is just to expensive when you are apart of a 65,000 plus group coming into the city. No room should be a dime over $99 per night or we got to move again!
Well, we are one year out from our quadrennial elections and it is going to be on and popping. Now the word that my Obnoxious Street Committee has reported that the race for General Board is going to be a fight! Who will stay on and who will come off? The true test will be to see if the Saints keep Ted Thomas and Dr. Lawrence Wooten on or coveted General Board. The word is Darrell Hines and Michael Hill, former Youth Department President are going to run. Hines was a Spritual Son to G. E. Patterson (he should have gotten his church and let his wife hold what they have in Milwaukee, but that is another story). Seems he will be a walk on to the board as the president of the Men’s Confrence (the largest voting group in the church) if he would stop calling his wife Pam co-pastor, which is a cardinal sin in COGIC. Michigan is going to be tough to beat and Micheal Hill, who I like to call the Jay-Z of the church due is swag, will come full force. Prince Bryant is said to make another attempt, but will really have to wow the people to make a difference from the last election. The question everyone wants to know is will someone challenge Bishop Blake? Roy L.H. Winbush should be emeritized at the April Call Meeting that would make one open seat to make three total up for grabs.
Bishop Martin Luther Johnson was elected to fill Bishop Floyd Perry’s seat on the judiciary board, which was a good choice. However, the Saints is going to have to take another look at the National Trusttee Board and follow some of these folks home. Seems if it is raining in your local church then why are you a National Trusttee? Charity starts at home! A resolution should hit the floor to put a cap on how many terms you can serve as a Trustee. The Church Of God In Christ is The Lord’s church a some think they one it and have to much so called power and your time is up. Should you be a Trustee and you lost your local church? Allow room for new people with new innovative ideas and not the same old business as usual.
Read my Convocation Overview below:
Bishop Paul Sylvester Morton, a son of COGIC opened our meeting and had one of the largest crowds on a Tuesday Night of Convocation I have seen in years. The man preached ‘I Am Walking In Wreckless Faith’ and he took the Americas Center on his back and set down that Baptist style and preached like he never left the church!
Bishop Brandon Bretheart Porter, General Board Member, form Memphis preached and did a fantastic hid. Good to see him take his father’s seat on the board. The Late Willie Lee Porter a former truck driver that the Lord saw fit to saved and did a great work in Memphis, COGIC Jerusalem.
Tuesday night a so called preacher, who’s name is not even worthy of being mentioned on my platform was ejected from the Americans Center. It seems he attempted to film one of his horrific YouTube clips and COGIC security shut him down. Once he was asked to leave and escorted out of the building he attempted to continue, but St. Louis police told him he was on private property and had to leave at once. He was back Wednesday Night and he cannot make a move with police and security following him. Needless to say it is on and popping in St. Louis. According to my Obnoxious Street Committee he was ejected along with his wife everyday and was facing great financial difficulties until Brian Carn stepped in and gave him $3,000 dollars in cash and vowed to sew in to his ministry on a monthly basis. Now this is most interesting that Brian would support a man that is trying to destroy the presiding bishop of an organization that supports his ministry greatly. It seems that all the COGIC pastors that are no longer inviting Earl Carter will now add his benefactor Brian Carn to the list. It is extremely ironic that Brian would support Earl, but yet still want COGIC church doors open to him.
Everything Is Going Down, But The Word Of God……Obnoxious Media regrets to inform you that a man we really like and one of our great preachers has been stripped. Rufus Kyles was told to remove his gold chain before he could enter the meeting with the Presiding Bishop and the General Board. No longer a bishop or pastor during this difficult time he faces serious charges and court battle back home in Houston. In all fairness it is just an allegation until it is proven. However, his daughter that recently passed the bar after many years of taking the bar might not be the ideal person to represent her father!
Thursday Night was a little flat and the Saints stayed in and got some rest. Hardly none of the Superviors showed up due to their getting ready for Women’s Day Friday. The speaker or teacher I guess you want to call it should have come with because this is Convocation and not his local church on a Sunday Morning! Bishop Vincent Matthews, Jr. was the teacher/speaker.
Convocation is in full swing today is Women’s Day/Men’s Day and the General Supervisor Willie Mae Rivers, who should make this her last year as the General Mother and be emeritized so Dr. Barbra McCoo Lewis can assit Bishop Blake in taking the church to the next level, address the women and Bishop Darrell Hines, Men’s Conference will address the men. Our beautiful First Lady of the Church Of God In Christ, Lady Mae Blake had remarks in the Women’s Service.
While these two services are going on simultaneously the trial of Rufus Kyles continues for the third day in the Board Of Bishops chambers for the third day. According to a number of bishops that are members of the Obnoxious Street Committee say the testimony of the two females that are now in their 20s is very compelling. They gave graffic details of their sexual encounters with Rufus Kyles.
Friday Night is another big hit night. One of the largest nights of the meeting and you have got to bring it. My pastor The Late Nathan Simmons preached the coveted Friday Night two years in a row. Now let me be frank you all know that I tell it like is and very honest with you on my outlook. Friday is a big hit night and you can not play no games. Well, I am going to hold my feelings and not call the man by the new title I gave him in this one instance. However, Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes (TD Jakes), the Black Pope preached the “The Pain Of Recovery”. Now I hate to say it but this was one of the most dynamic messages of the convocation. Long story short sometimes it has to hurt for you to get better, but you got to walk it out. Now Jakes knew he was coming to our house and he had to bring and that he did. I do not know which big man danced and shouted more, Sedwick Daniels or TD Jakes. Bishop Sedwick Daniels presided over the service in the most excellent fashion and set the atmosphere for TD to deliver easily.
Friday Night is also the night of the Midnight Musical that goes on until the wee hours of the morning. Judy McCliaster brought her A-game this year and seemed to prove she is the right woman for the job. Let’s face it! There has been a great deal of talk about the Music Department and if Judy was the right choice. The choir stand was packed and the musical selections took us to church each night. The musical was a hot ticket with Shirley Ceaser, Mississippi Mass Chior, Beverly Crawford, and Ty Tribett as the MC. Shirley seemed to have gone on forever until someone should have told her to stop so we could enjoy the other artist.
Saturday has become a very busy day of the meeting. Some years back The Late Bishop Glibert Earl Patterson started a forum on Saturday to address the men of the church prior to the General Assembly and the tradition has carried on with Bishop Charles Edward Blake’s administration. Jammed packed at 10:00 in the morning the largest voting body in the church met and everyone wanted to hear if Bishop was going to address the nuisance at the Holy Convocation,mBut the class act that he is he did not. Rather he discussed the business aspect of the church and corporate gifts to the church.
Saturday is also Youth Day and form the report Obnoxious Media received the COGIC Youth had some serious church.
Saturday Afternoon is the hottest ticket in town! The COGIC Charities Banquet, which is a fundraiser the support COGIC donations. Now it was a nice program introduced by Bishop Patterson, but has reached another level of perfection with Bishop Blake’s Midas touch. Each year Bishop Blake and Lady Mae out do themselves by brining in celebrity keynote speakers that are COGIC and the masses may just not have been aware. This year was three time Academey Award Winning Actor Denzel Washington, who’s father was a COGIC pastor and his mother was a District Missionay. To add to an already incredible evening Grammy Award Wining Gospel Artist CeCe Winans was the guest soloist.
The Gospel Music Cruise, along with parent company Entertainment Cruise Productions (ECP), presented a $15,000 check to the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) Charities during last week’s Holy Convocation in St Louis, MO. ECP Director of Physical Fitness and Lifestyle Coach Jackie Joyner-Kersee was onhand to make the donation, joining COGIC Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr, Bishop Edwin Bass and ECP Executive Director Michael Lazaroff at the Holy Convocation’s “We Care” Banquet on November 7th. The Gospel Music Cruise also sponsored a highly-anticipated concert by Shirley Caesar during the weeklong event.
“The team behind the Gospel Music Cruise wanted to honor the work that the COGIC Charities does around the world,” said ECP Executive Director Michael Lazaroff. “When we found out that the 2015 Holy Convocation would be held in our own city of St Louis, we jumped at the chance to be a part of it, making our donation to COGIC Charities in person and bringing Shirley Caesar in for a special concert.”
The COGIC Charities provides international disaster relief assistance including food, shelter, medical supplies and clothing. The group also awards nearly 100 scholarships each year to fulltime undergraduate and graduate students in the United States. COGIC Charities is part of The Church of God in Christ, Inc, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States with over six million members and congregations in 63 countries around the world.
The Gospel Music Cruise will sail from March 6 through 13, 2016 featuring concerts by Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, Shirley Caesar, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett, Take 6, hosts Kirk Whalum and Regina Belle, and special guest Donnie McClurkin. The cruise travels from Ft Lauderdale, Florida to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico (San Juan), Tortola and Half Moon Cay with daily spiritual events, activities and concerts. Cabin prices begin at $1500 per person and include admission to all major concerts, all gourmet meals and 24 hour room service.
Seeing a cool, calm and collected Denzel Washington accept two Academy Awards and a Tony Award as millions watched, it would be easy to assume he also has a talent for maintaining his composure.
But the 1200 or so saints and guests in the Majestic Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel Saturday afternoon for The 14th Annual COGIC Cares Banquet saw a different side of the iconic actor when he served as the keynote speaker.
Washington appeared “full” as Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop Charles Blake used his introduction to describe him as a faithful parishioner first and foremost.
Of course he was bestowed with the title of “the world’s greatest actor,” but only after Blake pointed out Washington’s devotion as a faithful COGIC member– and for leading his entire family in sharing their time, talent and resources to West Angeles Church.
“I thought I would introduce him to you in this way,” Blake said. “You are aware of the great roles that he has played – for some of the most significant and some of the great movies of our time. And he has an extensive resume describing the roles that he has played and awards that he has received.
But as his pastor, I just want you to know him. Here is a man who has shown great love and great respect for his church and his pastor.”
Blake spoke of how the two met.
“It must have been in the early 1990s where I went to a social event and sitting in a ballroom much like this one. I had the privilege of sitting beside a young actor,” Blake said. “He was the MC and I was either saying the invocation or either getting an award. As I sat beside the young man, I said to him ‘I enjoy your acting very very much.” And he said to me I enjoy your preaching very very much – I attend your church when I can.” At the time, Blake had no idea that Washington attended his church.
He sat in the back inconspicuously during his visits to West Angeles. He never asked for any sort of special recognition or introduction. Washington soon brought his wife Pauletta. And when they began having children, church became a fully committed family affair.
“There were there every Sunday. They were involved. Their children worked in our nursery and attended Sunday school,” Blake said. “Whenever there was a need Mr. Denzel Washington was always overjoyed to respond with generosity – unprecedented generosity to the life of our church.”
The crowd erupted with applause.
As the camera panned to where Washington was originally sitting to capture him in the moment of being praised, the seat was empty. In his excitement, he had already walked to the side of the stage and was waiting to come to the podium.
Audiences would soon learn in detail why this moment seemed to be of the utmost emotional significance.
A generational COGIC connection
Washington was clearly overjoyed as he asked his wife to stand. And upon reciting the Lord’s Prayer, he spoke of how his family’s connection with the Church of God in Christ – and The Holy Convocation. “My father, my earthly father, Denzel Washington Sr. was a pastor for the Church of God in Christ for 60 years,” Washington said. “I can remember the most important time in our house – and he would be so excited – was when he was preparing to attend Convocation in Memphis, Tennessee. I didn’t know what he was doing when he got here – in fact I couldn’t even say the word, but I knew it was important to him.”
Washington then described the care that was taken as his father prepared to make his annual trek from upstate New York to Tennessee. “He would get his best two suits together and my mother would fry him a tin of chicken and prepare a thermos of coffee and he would make the drive,” Washington said. “I know he’s smiling in heaven, seeing his son doing the best I can do today, by the grace of God.” He took a moment to take it all in – and contain his tears.
The purpose of the COGIC Cares Banquet, which is part of the Holy Convocation programming, is to raise funds for international disaster relief and scholarship funds. 2015 was a record year for the fundraiser as they bestowed 37 scholarships to students around the nation.
Washington gave his denomination a nod for recognizing the importance of sowing into young people both in faith and finances before offering his own testimony on how doing so changed his life. “Forty years ago, march 27, 1975 I was in my mother’s beauty shop. I had flunked out of college. I had a 1.7 grade point average. I had no future,” Washington said. “I was sitting looking in the mirror and I see a woman behind me sitting under the dryer. Of course, the voice of God always comes from under a dryer.”
The woman, one of the oldest members of his family church, began asking for a pen and paper so that she could write down the prophecy she had for Washington’s life. “She said, ‘young man, you are going to travel the world and speak to people,” Washington said. “Now mind you I was 20 years old, with a 1.7 grade point average and had flunked out of school. She said, ‘you are going to preach.
In this 40 year journey, I guess she was right,” Washington said. “Through my work I have spoken to millions of people. In 2015 I said I’m no longer just going to speak through my work. I’m going to make a conscious effort to get up and speak about what God has done for me.” Just minutes after his proclamation to do so, Bishop Blake called and asked him to keynote this year’s banquet.
His faith-based nuggets over the course of his talk were simple, yet profound and seemed to resonate especially well with the audience – partly because of their source. “I remember saying to my mother at a time when I was feeling myself, ‘Ma did you ever think that I was going to become this…”” Washington said as he spoke on the power of prayer. “She said ‘boy, do you know all the people who have been praying for your behind…all the prayer cloths, and prayer meetings…” And she made me clean the windows.”
His was a message that served as a reminder of the power of optimism, gratitude a positive attitude as well – but most of all he seemed to hope to drive home the points of practicing what the church preaches and to work their faith. “There has never been a time when God didn’t, direct, protect or correct me,” Washington said. “There may have been times where I was less than faithful to him – but he had faith in me.
Saturday Night Speaker was Michael Golden, a member of the National Trusttee Board. It was great to have a younger brother apart of the line up of speakers. Saturday Night is always a rough night of the meeting due to the next day being Offical Day. A large number of the Saints stay in and get prepared for the largest day of the Convocation, but those of us that pressed our way to come out got a good inspiring message from Golden.
There is nothing like a COGIC Offical Day Service. My favorite service of the entire meeting is to see the Saints in a sea of black to hear the voice of our leader. The Church Of God In CRIST is laced in a number of wonderful traditions that are masterfully executed during our high order service. Bishop Blake delivered his offical address “The Lord Got My Back” coming form a true place a preaching in the mist of a diabolical attack he lived up to the old saying that you often deliver your best work under pressure. Bishop spoke to 60,000 plus Saints in attendance not to mention the number that was watching at home on The Word Network and online.
The Final Service of the Convocation is Sunday Night. On this evening we receive Holy Communion and the Consencration of New Bishops. Bishop Frank Anthon White preached a fiery message of the state of the church and called out many things that are named among us that should not be. Making a bold move Anthon addressed some of the things being named among the COGIC Board Of Bishops. Some took issue with Anthon and his attempt to bring correction to the church,mbut it was right on time. Someone has to address this foolishness then allow it to bring a reproach on the entire organization. There are some men in COGIC that are Saved, Santified, Filled with The Holy Ghost, and got SWAGGER. Hands down the stand head and shoulders about the rest. These men are not as old as the fathers in the church, but older then the youngsters coming behind them. These make it cool to be saved and a member of the Hand Clapping, Foot Stomping, Tounge Talking church like Drew Sheard, Micheal Hill, Darrell Hines, Brandon Porter, who have all been appointed Bishop and this past Convocation Roderick Hennings was added to the number. These men are to be admired for the work they are doing for the Lord while being so COOL.