Today on the birthday of our beloved founder CH Mason, we give praises to God for 3 years of labor to bring awareness, accountability and assistance to victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Church of God in Christ. In 2009, God gave us a vision where the river of justice was blocked with debris and our goal has been to remove the debris and allow the river of justice to flow freely. We first launched the website, then as the mission expanded in March 2011, we added this blog to make information and education more accessible. I want to thank Ms Toni Loving for joining me in this great effort to help heal the hurts of so many who had no where to turn. Also gratitude to Pastor Burnett and Elder Stidham for hours and hours of consulting and advice so that God would be glorified in this difficult, but needed assignment. Still, our work is not done. As we move forward, we anticipate in faith that the will of God will be done despite the obstruction of ungodly men. In this, we ask for your prayers and support until victory is won. —Pastor DL Foster
Repost from our original announcement.
September 8, 2009
On behalf on a growing group of concerned parents, leaders and former clergy sexual abuse survivors of the Church of God in Christ, I am pleased to announce the launch of ReportCOGICAbuse.com.
The site has been in months of planning, researching and developing. And we felt it appropriate to launch it on Bishop CH Mason’s birthday to honor his call to holiness, purity and righteousness and to alert people to a growing problem affecting a cross section of the church’s constituency.
Mason, called one of the most influential spiritual leaders of the 20th century, was born September 8, 1866 just outside Memphis, Tennessee and later founded what has become the nation’s largest black pentecostal denomination.
The site’s main goal is to empower the people of COGIC with solid information, resources and a grass roots friendly instrument to fight the culture of silence and inaction which emboldens sexual predators to continue their devastation upon innocent men, women and children. We believe Bishop Mason would not have stood by silently in the face of such grave abuses of someone’s sexual sanctity. The site also raises up the profile and plight of victims and the families who are often quickly pushed to the side and forgotten.
We also take this occasion to once again call on Bishop Charles Blake and the leadership of COGIC to demonstrate true leadership by supporting reform and stricter accountability measures in the church.
Future plans include press conferences, awareness seminars, cross-denominational partnering and an expanded database of convicted clergy sexual offenders.
ATLANTA – Perhaps it is inconvenient for COGIC’s newly formed Georgia Jurisdiction to mention that one of its past leaders was a serial child molestor and a sexually immoral monster. That’s understandable. But why whitewash his crimes and sins by referring to his tenure of rule as “dynamic leadership”? Is dynamic leadership defined by ruining the lives of young men and boys, infecting some with a deadly virus?
From the Georgia South Central COGIC website:
“At that time , the office of Bishop was bestowed on Elder John Dale Husband, who continued a progressive program of spiritual growth and development. Under the leadership of the late Bishop John D. Husband, many, many great leaders materialized. The late leaders, Supt. Simon Shuman, Supt. Odell Barnwell, Supt. H.T. Benton, and Bishop John Cooper were great men of God that emerged from under the auspices of Bishop Husband’s dynamic leadership.”
As bishop of Central Georgia, Husband’s wickedness was boundless without regard to the faithfulness of the men who served under him. He sexually molested the grandson of Supt. Simon Shuman to which he later admitted guilt. For many decades, the truth about John Dale Husband was concealed by church leadership and his poisoned legacy nearly erased by those embarrassed by his exploitation of the high office to which he was consecrated. Others had a personal, vested interest in concealing his history.
But we have uncovered the truth so that those who read may know that this spirit is still alive and in operation in COGIC. And some of the same leaders who covered for and excused Husband are still in office as well. God’s mercy is truly astonishing. The scripture records that He will allow persons and organizations to continue for long periods of time even after he has warned them of his coming judgment. The hope is that his goodness will lead to repentance. Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4 ESV
Despite warnings and repeated violations of the weak, defenseless and vulnerable among them, COGIC leadership seems to continue on a business as usual path. Hush money —with nondisclosure clauses— is still being paid. Lawsuits are hurriedly, but quietly, being settled to keep up the facade that all is well. But God is beholding the good and the evil and to ignore his vigilance is to one’s own peril.
And when he (Jesus) was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. Luke 19:41-44
Isreal did not repent, turn or amend their wickedness. They continued with an arrogant attitude, living off their history of being Abraham’s seed and believing that nothing could touch their privileged position. But 40 years later, as prophesied by Jesus, a violent destruction came. The 12th and 15th Roman legions were stationed on Mount Scopus, further to the east and commanding all ways to Jerusalem from east to north. On the 10th of August, in A.D. 70 – (the 9th of Av) — in Jewish calendar reckoning, the very day when the King of Babylon burned the Temple in 586 B.C., the Temple was burned again. Titus took the city and put it to the torch, burning the Temple, leaving not one stone upon another.
The Church of God in Christ has indeed enjoyed the blessings and favor of God bestowed on it via promise to the beloved founder Charles Harrison Mason. But his legacy has been hijacked and perverted. And even though God is merciful, he will not overlook the wickedness of this leadership. We do not suggest the time of judgment and we pray it does not come. But remember that God is not impressed with history when repentance, righteousness and justice is forgotten.
In the dream, I entered Mason Temple and began walking alongside the right corridor of the building. There were different doors there and one was an open door. I stopped and looked inside and there were a group of men and women there who appeared to be talking over some matter. As soon as I looked in the door, they said to me almost in unison, “take these papers to bishop”.
They gave me a stack of papers of which the contents were unknown to me and I did not attempt to look at them. Dutifully, I took the papers and went back down the corridor to the sanctuary.
On the platform was a table which stretched the length of it. And seated at the table were men (whom I assume were bishops and church leaders). Since I was not told what bishop to give the papers to, I looked at each man to see who might be expecting me. But strangely, I could not connect with any of them as all were unfamiliar to me. When I looked again, there was a chair seated in the very center of the table, equally dividing the men. It was an old brown high back leather chair, worn from years of use. In it sat Bishop Mason.
When I saw him, immediately a voice said to me, “give him the papers”. I walked up to him and without a word, handed him the papers. He looked at me, then began reading through the papers. All this time, every person was silent and still. After he went through the papers, he looked again at me and said, “Don’t judge them, but you tell them the truth”. He never told me what was on the papers, nor did he return them to me.
At that point, the dream ended.
If you believe God has given you insight into the meaning and application of this dream, I welcome you to share it here or with me privately if you feel that is what should be done.
In his graces,
Pastor DL Foster