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Election Series Review: General Board Candidate Lawrence Wooten

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Bishop Lawrence Wooten is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board. Wooten is part of a small group of bishops  making a second run for the denomination’s top office. Wooten’s platform is made up of intangible qualifiers he identifies with an acronym spelling FAITH: Faithful, Accessible, Integrity, Trustworthy, Holy. This, he says on his campaign website, will “add to the value of the general board”.

Using a political strategy which emerged to elect a Wisconsin bishop in 2008, Wooten formed the Midwest Alliance and held a rally to elect him. The purpose of the MA according to a flier [slow download] was to increase  Midwest representation on the General Board. The Board has been dominated by bishops from California,  Tennessee, New York and Michigan.  A significant proCalifornia voting bloc is firmly entrenched in the general assembly. Consequently, without widespread popularity, that could hurt chances of any Wooten election. Much of the voting power of the church’s general assembly would be concentrated in California due to the  greater number of jurisdictions and the wealth of West Angeles church.

As a member of the General Board, Bishop Wooten said he would “suggest” implementation of a retirement program for pastors. Its unclear whether such an idea has already been proposed in COGIC or whether it would work.

He also proposes  a “system to help young, new struggling pastors with reports”. Perhaps this is a good idea, but wouldnt a better idea be to decrease first year assessments for first year pastors (not just young ones) and then incrementally increase their assessment based on church growth statistics?

His third point was to introduce ideas to enhance the financial stability of the church. Considering the increasing costs of sexual abuse cases the church has been burdened with, enhancing its financial stability is a great idea.

Bishop Wooten did not respond to our General Board Election questionnaire which would have given him a greater opportunity to address real issues facing the church he seeks to lead.

Current popular vote leader:  1.21%  (268 votes)

WATCH: Forum on COGIC pedophile crisis in Albany NY

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Categories: COGIC, crime Tags: , ,

Election Series Review: General Board Candidate J. Drew Sheard

October 29, 2012 2 comments

Bishop J. Drew Sheard is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board. Sheard is arguably on an ambitious climb to the top of his denomination, having been appointed bishop just two years ago.  If elected, he could be among the youngest and least experienced heads of church COGIC has ever seen. He’s been noted for his successful tenure at the head of the denomination’s youth department and is the son of controversial board of Bishops chairman John Sheard.

Bishop Sheard’s  brief, one page platform touts him as a “progressive teamplayer”. Progressive, yet embracing the foundational tenets of the Church of God in Christ, he says. He describes himself as a teamplayer who “assembles, attracts and influences individuals to achieve excellence in their churches and communities.” You can find that here, third panel on the slide.

While both platform agenda points sound broadly laudable, they are still undefined and unrelated to anything specific to the COGIC. Exactly what does COGIC need to be progressive on that its not now? And given the ecclesiastical gridlock and slightly impotent governance structure of COGIC, does Bishop Sheard believe he can actually affect any changes as a “progressive”?

Sheard had faced media scrutiny about his leadership ethics when in 2007, Ryan Baker a convicted pedophile was alleged to appear at Greater Emmanuel Church in Detroit despite a judges’ order that Baker not be near children. Baker was the well known lead dance choreographer for Dorinda Clark Cole (Sheard’s sister in law) but was busted for sexually molesting a 14 year old boy. While Sheard denied that Baker was allowed to appear at the church, Cole denied any knowledge of his sexual crimes. [source]

“He has not performed in our church since we got that information and I am emphatic, I am not making a mistake on that. I know that for a fact.” said Sheard to a Detroit reporter. But the boy’s mother said she saw Baker perform at the church.

Bishop Sheard did not respond to our General Board Election questionnaire which would have given him a greater opportunity to address real issues facing the church he seeks to lead.

Current popular vote leader:   7.87%  (1,724 votes)

Election Series Review: General Board Candidate George McKinney

October 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Bishop George McKinney is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board. He was first elected to the Board in 2001 and has been consistently re-elected since that time.

A well known defender of traditional marriage, McKinney’s publicly vocal opposition to numerous issues such as homosexual marriage and abortion distinguishes him from other COGIC bishops who generally are either silent or take  passive, disengaged positions.  Additionally, his persistently stellar labor to transform inner city culture is admirable. He made news and history last year when he ordained a former Klan Imperial Wizard into the COGIC. McKinney seems to shy away from the typical title mongering that occurs among the COGIC’s ecclesiastical ladder climbers. His bio lists no long resume of church appointments, which may indirectly speak to his disdain for such encumbering culture.

In April of this year, McKinney slammed a white homosexual reporter at MSNBC for “disrespecting” the black church’s position on homosexual marriage and attempting to equate race with so called “sexual orientation”.

Even more recently, McKinney as a executive member of the National Black Evangelical Association weighed in on the unjust firing of Dr. Jamal Hopkins, a professor at Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center. Hopkins was the target of homosexual activists at the consortium where COGIC also has a flagship seminary.

Such public boldness is a desirable trait COGIC deserves at its helm. The church’s current leadership is woefully lacking in the type of bold leadership needed to navigate and inspire the church in this season.

Still, McKinney is not without his faults. As vocal as he is on these issues, he has made no public rebukes, statements or writings on the massive outbreak of sexual immorality and the sexual abuse of women and children in his denomination. As a noted marriage, family and child counselor and author, McKinney’s voice is needed to rebuff the culture of silence in COGIC leadership. Although there’s no current evidence McKinney was directly involved, his former Administrative Assistant Donald K. Barrett is being sued by two California women who claim he  financially, physically and sexually abused them. Its not known if Barrett was allowed to leave or was asked to leave Southern California 2nd jurisdiction,but at some point he fled to Arizona.

Bishop McKinney did not respond to our General Board Election questionnaire which would have given him a greater opportunity to address real issues facing the church he seeks to lead.

Current popular vote leader:  8.96%  (1,804 votes)

Open Forum to be held on COGIC sex crimes in Albany NY

October 13, 2012 4 comments

One would think with severity of the crimes, the implications and depth of the vast coverup of pedophiles in COGIC’s pulpits, the church’s presiding bishop Charles Blake or its general counsel Enoch Perry III would have by now convened a forum to deal with the massive fallout. Or conducted a public hearing or investigation. But they havent.

Instead, an open forum is being convened by someone who could  have shrugged his shoulders and walked away upon hearing revelations of widespread sexual abuse allegations in the Albany NY COGIC community. But he chose not to.

Christopher Davis, whose shocking and detailed letter documenting sexual abuse by COGIC pedophiles, announced the open forum for October 16th at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio 339 Central Ave, Albany, NY. More information below.

Election Series Review: General Board Candidates William Cahoon; Dwight Green

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Bishop William T. Cahoon is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board.

This candidate has served as the jurisdictional bishop of the New Jersey Garden jurisdiction for the past 18 years and as the vice chairman of budgeting, a subcomittee of the Board of Bishops. Other than that there’s no information available on Cahoon’s candidacy or his platform for this election.

Bishop Cahoon did not respond to our General Board Election questionnaire which would have given him a greater opportunity to address real issues facing the church he seeks to lead.

Current popular vote: 6.7%  (1,218 votes)

Bishop Dwight Green, Sr.  is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board.  Green, the son of current General Board member Bishop Samuel Green, is bishop of the Republic of South Korea jurisdiction. The jurisdiction encompasses the church constituents stationed at military bases. Its unknown whether Green has any military experience since his biography isn’t public.

Green served as a church trustee board member at some point but other than the official church announcement,  there is no information available on his general candidacy, his platform for this election.

Bishop Green did not respond to our General Board Election questionnaire which would have given him a greater opportunity to address real issues facing the church he seeks to lead.

Current popular vote: 3.73%  (677 votes)

Election Series Review: General Board Candidate Matthew Williams

October 8, 2012 1 comment

Bishop Matthew Williams is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board. Since, 2005 Williams  has provided leadership as the Adjutant General of the Church of God in Christ. Such a task requires great attention to detail which Williams obviously has, but it was disappointing to discover that same attention to detail missing from his candidacy for the General Board.

Williams provides the delegate no vision (or platform) as to why he should be elected to the church’s group of 12 governing bishops. Is that because he has none or because he doesn’t take his candidacy seriously?

The only election information available was found on the Florida Southwest  jurisdictional website. Williams is the bishop of that jurisdiction. On the webpage, Williams lists his graduated tenure of church appointments as evidence of “proven leadership”. They include: 36 years marriage, 27 years pastor, 15 years bishop, 8 years as the adjutant general. Perhaps the deeper problem with the entire COGIC GB election is that the qualifications are  poorly defined and the bishops tend to “run” with a longevity equals privilege mentality.  Even the denomination’s official election website contains scant candidate/qualification/status information.

Williams, of course has the perfunctory picture with the Presiding Bishop on his election site. Of concern, Williams shows signs of  the same type of purple wall of silence that his current leaders have demonstrated in the past. Although two shocking cases of clergy sexual abuse emerged in his jurisdiction, Williams has remained silent, not even apologizing to the victims, all of whom were small children.  See here.  If this is what he will bring to the General Board, the church’s spiritual, moral and ethical deficiencies will only grow worse.

Bishop Williams did not respond to our General Board Election questionnaire which would have given him a greater opportunity to address real issues facing the church he seeks to lead.

Current popular vote: 3.35%  (565 votes)