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COGIC General Board Member marches in National Marriage Protection March

April 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Porter-marriage-march

Give honor to whom honor is due. And COGIC General Board Member Bishop Brandon Porter of Memphis is due honor for breaking the mold and marching with supporters of natural marriage aka nonsurgically altered,biological male-female marriage which is under severe attack from within and without. Its not just marriage. Behind the attack on marriage, is that age old satanic rebellion against the authority of God. No matter what face the rebellion takes, men of God ought to be the first to lead the counterattack. Those who will not speak out and stand up should not be trusted.

Porter, one of the featured speakers at the rally, told thousands of participants:

“We believe in marriage God’s way “I often view God as a parent. I see the Heart of God more and more each day through the act of marriage. What is the one thing that parents want from their married children? You got it: Grandchildren. And God wants the same. He wants us to multiply and replenish the Earth. Same-sex marriage cannot provide that Kingdom request. [source]
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Numerous assault complaints filed against COGIC National Trustee Cari Barnes

WTCHOUSTON – Some members of the Williams Temple Church of God in Christ in Houston say that they are being bullied, threatened and even physically attacked by a woman who serves as a National Trustee of the denomination. And neither the pastor, bishop or national church has responded to any of their cries for support and justice.

Its a sad situation to report but when one looks at those in authority, it becomes very clear why little has been done to reel in Cari V. Barnes’ from attacking fellow church members.

Williams Temple was once a spiritual crown jewel COGIC congregation with a glorious history.  Founded in 1919, the  church saw several storied pastors, including Bishop CH Nelson and Bishop Robert Woodard, Sr.  lead it to prominence in the 3rd Ward of central Houston. A 2 million dollar complex was built in 1989. When Bishop Woodard, Jr. died in 2001, Williams Temple’s membership hovered at over 1,000.  Now, the church is a shell of its former self, having lost over 75% of its members, much of it a reaction to the sexual abuse arrest and scandal of its current pastor.

In December 2007,  the church fell into the grasp of Bishop Charles Brown who was caught up in a storm of controversy after 3 female members of his family accused him of molesting them as children. After being arrested, Brown was removed from his position in the denomination but then quickly “reinstated” once the sexual abuse case was dismissed on a legal technicality.

Report COGIC Abuse later learned that The General Board paid off all of Brown’s accusers in an out of  court settlement. Listen to the victims tell what happened to them.

Since Brown took control, according to church members, the congregation has suffered greatly.  Cari Barnes is a product of the confusion and discord controlling the church now.

UNGODLY CONDUCT?

Barnes is granddaughter of the late Texas Women’s Supervisor Victoria Barnes and her husband the late Titus, Sr,  a successful funeral magnate, trustee and deacon at Williams Temple. She was elected to the national church’s Trustee Board in 2012.

Documents obtained by Report COGIC Abuse show that Barnes’ out of control behavior at the church prompted complaints to be filed with the Houston Police Department,  jurisdictional Bishop Rufus Kyles (see here for another Kyles legal controversy), and to Bishop Charles Brown but thus far, no corrective actions have been taken against Barnes.

According to a letter dated Aucbarnesg 8, 2011 from Deacon Weldon Meeks, a former trustee who’s been a member for 33 years,  to Bishop Kyles,  Barnes used profanity and physical assault towards him in the church office after he asked another member about a check signature.

“You [the other member] don’t have to explain nothing to him”!  I was not talking to you and you go to Hell, you go to Hell, you is [sic] a ignorant as Hell and you go to Hell! *sshole, that [sic] what you do go to Hell!  Meeks said Barnes told him to “get the hell out of my way” as she “elbowed” him in passing.

Another undated letter to the church’s trustee board from its finance manager said Barnes accosted her openly in church in front of other saints and youth, loudly accusing her of attempting to sabotage relationships and deny compensation to a family member.

On another occasion, the finance manager wrote that Barnes confronted her because an announcement wasn’t read. Barnes told Bishop Brown to fire the finance manager and Brown did so.

“Cari Barnes consistently and constantly abuses and misrepresents the power entrusted to her by the congregation of Williams Temple COGIC, Inc. and is an embarrassment to the office of Trustee. I am sending my documented proof at this time, because previously nothing would be done about her out of control behavior by Bishop Brown. Now that we have new leadership whether it is temporarily or not, I am sending my statement so that a true picture of occurrences can be conveyed.”

On June 21st, Barnes was involved in yet another altercation in the church office with Deacon Robert Price. According to  Price’s complaint sent to Bishop Brown, Price says after he refused to give Barnes a receipt she demanded, she “struck him in the back of the head and jumped on his back.”

Brown acknowledged receipt of the incident the next day writing in an email, “Robert and Cari
I am sorry to hear of this unfortunately [sic] incident between the two of you. I will set a meeting with you and resolve this problem. I will contact both of you for a time to meet! Thanks!”

Its unknown whether this meeting ever occurred.

Admittedly, internal church conflicts never benefit anyone. If Williams Temple is to stop itself from sliding into mausoleum status, it will have to resolve these conflicts once and for all. Perhaps part of the resolution is putting a leader in place that has the moral authority to bring peace and discipline offenders of the peace.

 

Houston lawsuit accuses Bishops Blake, Kyles, Perry and Brown of over one million dollars property theft

April 18, 2014 5 comments

rkylesHOUSTON, TX – A lawsuit being adjudicated in Harris County Texas’ 133rd District Court alleges that COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles Blake, Sr.,  Texas Southeast First Jurisdiction Bishop Rufus Kyles, Bishop Charles Brown II and newly minted bishop Enoch Perry, III acting on behalf of the denomination’s General Board, were responsible for the theft of over 1 million dollars of intellectual properties and items from a church location [source]. The Church of God in Christ, Inc. is also a named defendant.

The plaintiffs Dr. Patricia Brown-Johnson and Interfaith Interdenominational Ministries, Inc say that in 2005 Bishop Kyles accepted Brown-Johnson as a member of his jurisdiction under a special program due to COGIC’s prohibition of female pastors. Brown-Johnson was to be given the designation of  “Special Alliance Supervisor”.  Kyles later offered to buy a Baytown, Texas church owned by Brown-Johnson and while in possession of the property, sold or allowed to be sold equipment and other items not contained in the agreement. The agreement went sour when Kyles refused to close on the property.

When Brown-Johnson sought to get the items returned through church leadership channels, she was asked by Presiding Bishop GE Patterson (deceased) and then General Secretary AZ Hall (deceased)  not to pursue criminal charges and that the church would recompense the losses. Church leaders wanted to keep the issue private and handle it “internally”.

Brown-Johnson stated in the lawsuit that she contacted the General Board and was instructed to provide extensive documentation because [she was told by Enoch Perry] Bishop Kyles was going to be “defrocked” over the incident and a trial was to be held. She was repeatedly assured by GB bishops that her property would be returned and she would be compensated for any unreturnable losses. Based on these assurances, she did not file criminal or civil suits.

But after providing the evidence to the satisfaction of Enoch Perry, Charles Blake, COO Charles Brown and other defendants, the evidence disappeared. Brown said the items would be returned after Blake reviewed them. Documents and program she had written and copyrighted later resurfaced as COGIC related documents.

In March 2010, she received a letter from Enoch Perry stating that nothing would be compensated or returned. The good ole boy bishop’s club circled the wagons and begin denying that Brown-Johnson was ever given any assurances of compensation or justice. Brown-Johnson subsequently filed suit.

Bishop Rufus Kyles never responded to the lawsuit and never showed up in court. In a July 2012 judgment the court found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $900,000 in damages plus court costs and interest until the amount was paid.  COGIC’s current legal strategy is to get the case dismissed. The next hearing on that is April 21st at 11 am. You can read the actual lawsuit and judgment under Letters and Documents.

My Spiritual Heritage has been stolen from me”

An Education specialist with a degree from Sam Houston State University, Brown-Johnson told Report COGIC Abuse, “My Spiritual Heritage has been stolen from me!”

brownjohnson“I am being blackballed by chief leadership in the Church of God in Christ Church Organization which I have laid my life down for and sacrificed for so many years.

I trusted the men of God, Bishop Charles Blake, Bishop Charles Brown, Judge Enoch Perry and now deceased Bishop Chandler Owens.  [They said] No matter how long it would take, Interfaith church and I would be compensated for all losses.

My true proofs copyright venues placed in their hands are worth $1,000,000.00 apiece.  They have four. Even in a witness protection program with my life under threat, special alliances were made for compliance with request made by the General Board through Judge Enoch Perry.

I need to recover my losses so my children and my life can move forward. Interfaith church can move forward.

Judge Enoch Perry and the IRS have Kyles’ original police reports.  We only want what is due us rightfully.  I did not have Bishop Kyles and pastors arrested per the General Board’s request because they wanted to settle within the church.  The witness protection and life protection program had to be handled in a way that my true location was not disclosed from 2004-2011.  Bishop Chandler Owens did everything he could to resolve this until he became ill and passed.”

Nonbiblical COGIC Bishops

These are inglorious acts on the part of COGIC’s leadership. However, as we have reported for many years the facts of this case come as no surprise.  The defendants in this case are no strangers to Report COGIC Abuse. Under Enoch Perry’s disastrous reign as chief legal advisor,  COGIC leadership has employed unscrupulous tactics against its own unwitting members.  As they did with Brown-Johnson, false promises are made to avert court cases only to later capitulate. All four have been involved in numerous cases of sexual, judicial and administrative abuses in the last five years.

The bible is clear and there’s no shadow of turning in its qualifying instructions for the man who would be bishop. Titus 1: 7-8 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. (our bold).

When it comes to the flesh and sex, a bishop must exercise self control and discipline. Otherwise, with the magnitude of his influence and the attraction of his persona, his charisma will bring him numerous opportunities to indulge himself sexually and financially. If he does not exercise due diligence in his sexual life (apart from his wife or 100% celibate if single) he will endanger the flock and invite the same spirits to have free reign among those under his jurisdiction.

Secondly, 1 Timothy 3:7 adds this qualifier: Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

A bishop cannot have a bad character/reputation report. This doesn’t include false accusations, it means that there must not be a consistent cloud of suspicious/ungodly/unseemly behavior following him due to his own actions. This extends even to the unsaved. They must not be able to “spot” the bishop’s life inasmuch as his ethics is concerned.

If this is not valued, the bishop will “fall into reproach by giving way to the excesses of his former life [of sin]. Apparently, and with a preponderance of evidence, these COGIC bishops have no resemblance to what is shown in scripture.

Mother of COGIC abuse victim dies

July 19, 2013 Leave a comment

df58270c-26f8-4105-9127-d1e309505ba7Mother Gwendolyn Fox, of Atlanta passed away on July 4th and was laid to rest after a funeral service at Cathedral of Faith COGIC on July 13th.  Her death brought to a close a long and painful chapter of woman seeking justice in a denomination unwilling to give it to her.

Mother Fox, daughter of Georgia COGIC pioneer Supt Simon Shuman, was never celebrated by the church she was born in. Rather, she became an isolated figure. To some, a “troublemaker” not because she did anything wrong but because she dared confront church leadership over a grevious injustice done to her.  Gwendolyn Fox’s son  (James) Tobias a talented musician, songwriter and choral director was sexually abused as a teen by COGIC General Board Member Bishop John Husband. Fox’s quest to seek justice for her son resulted in serious health and financial issues. Tobias passed away June 4th, 2010 in Atlanta at age 43.

Mother Fox and her story impacted me deeply.

After I appeared on a local Atlanta Christian TV station about 11 years ago, Mother Fox contacted me the next morning and asked if I would talk to her. Though tears she told me some of the story of what happened to her and her son and asked if I would visit and minister to him at the nursing facility where he resided due to incapacitation from HIV issues.  I immediately agreed to do what I could to help. After visiting with Tobias and praying for him, he later was strong enough to move out of the facility and into an apartment with Mother Fox. She hired a personal nurse to help with him.

Mother Gwen Fox wearing the prayer shawl my wife made for her. She said she wanted to get "dressed up" and take a picture in it.

Mother Gwen Fox wearing the prayer shawl my wife made for her. She said she wanted to get “dressed up” and take a picture in it.

Over the next several years, Mother Fox and Tobias became part of my family and I became part of theirs. We ate dinner together, and went to church together. My wife washed Tobias’ clothes when their washer went out, I took him to his favorite barbershop to get his hair cut. Tobias told me many times he wanted to get married and he wanted a wife “just like First Lady Dee”. She was overjoyed at the birth of my last son in 2005 and doted over him like she was his grandmother.

I accompanied a hopeful Mother Fox to see a lawyer at the Equitable Building after he agreed to review the case in an attempt to get assistance to help with Tobias’ expenses. Her hopes were dashed when after a several months of waiting the lawyer told her there was “nothing he could do”.  At the time, the two of them were living in a one bedroom apartment in Dekalb County and she frequently slept on the couch allowing her son to have the bedroom.

A treasure trove of church history, she told me that she wanted to tell me what many people did not know and asked me to write about what happened to “Toby” so people would know.  Both she and Tobias granted me first hand interviews which appeared for the first time anywhere in my 2002 book Touching A Dead Man.

I don’t have the space to write about all the conversations, prayers, tears, hopes and struggles Mother Fox shared with me, but hearing of her death brought a sense of joy to me. I know her struggle is over and she’s now with the Great Consolator.  Although she received no justice in this life, I have peaceful confidence that God is not unjust and will in his own time vindicate the cries of her heart.

Rest in the Lord, Mother.  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15

Small Texas COGIC church seeks relief from bishop’s bad decision

June 22, 2013 3 comments

After numerous ignored written appeals to have their voices heard by COGIC leadership, a small Fort Worth, Texas church who lost its founder, is at its wits end. Now, feeling like they are trapped in an abusive marriage, they are reaching out with their story.

The Forest Hill COGIC sent a letter to controversial Board of Bishop president John Sheard pleading for help with the decision of Bishop [emeritus] J. Neaul Haynes of Dallas. Haynes, they contend is afflicted with dementia and unable to make sound administrative church decisions which are part of the core responsibility of the bishopric. Haynes gave an impassioned speech in the 2012 convocation requesting he be emeritized. See the video of the speech. Haynes stated that while he was “not lacking in passion and committement to the clarity of my heart and mind I hear and feel the sands calling me across the distance of my 81 years of life”

But men can give great speeches in front of crowds.  Despite hundreds of people standing around the room, Haynes asked “is there anyone standing in the room besides me?” The church believes that Bishop Haynes’ mental capacity is indeed wavering. Consequently, an additional letter was sent to Sheard.

UPDATE 9:28p EST We have received a complete copy of the Forest Hill Church letter and are replacing the previous incomplete one. This complete letter, addressed to the Presiding Bishop and General Board, detail Bishop Williams’ alleged unsavory disrespect and mistreatment of the founder’s widow and church members. The full text of the letter can be downloaded under Letters and Documents. Here is an excerpt:

rwilliamsBishop Reginald Lamont Williams who is an Auxiliary Bishop came to the church in a very negative, arrogant and spoke to us in degrading manner. If he is allowed to remain as pastor, this would no doubt mean oppression for our founding widow and the church.
In Bishop Williams’ greeting and introduction of himself as assuming the pastorate of the church, he stated that: He asked if anyone had any questions or anything to say. He went on to say “I know church folk, they will not speak up and say anything but will talk amongst themselves;” when founding Widow Henderson spoke up to say that we have ministers who are capable of preaching or carrying on, he said in a disrespectful way “I don’t need you to say anything Sis. Henderson”.
He spoke of an anniversary service for Elder White and wife, without details of the agreement made between Elder White and the church concerning compensation; he spoke as though we had never shown them appreciation. He stated that he would communicate to Elder Oliver who had been an assistant under Elder White and that he assisted Elder Oliver in getting his ministerial license. He said emphatically that he does not want anyone coming into his office with any concerns. He let us know that he does not recognize or communicate with the head deacon, elders or the board that was already in place under Elder White (as required by the 501c-3 IRS) non-profit status.
He explained the difference between a pastor governed organization or church and a congregational governed organization. He stated emphatically that the Church of God in Christ is a Pastor governed organization.
Compensation: He stated what he expected in the way of compensation. He said that he would accept an offering. $125.00 was taken up the first Sunday he preached and after service he (without recognizing the deacons or board of directors), asked the church secretary to write him a $500.00 check. You can do the math, if we only take in a little more than $800.00 and he takes 500.00 the church will not be able to pay the bills. He asked the members to give $21.00 each and he does not contribute any offerings himself. On Sunday May 19, 2013 he not only received $500.00 but paid another brother from Love Sanctuary COGIC $50.00. This is highway robbery right before our eyes. This lack of integrity and spirit of greed should not be among God’s people.
He was absent one Sunday, did not contact anyone until the last minute. We have to wait until he gets to the church, and then he has the audacity to say he preached the same message at his other church (Love Sanctuary COGIC, Fort Worth, TX). He is not considerate of our church family, comes in making changes without any discussion whatsoever. We are treated as though we have no voice. Needless to say, this is all wrong!

Although numerous members have written to various COGIC officials, this particular letter was written by Sis Martha Kelly a member of the church. Kelly,  is to be applauded for not hiding behind anonymous monikers like “concerned member”. Kelly, along with Deacon Adrian Winston are seeking to bring resolution to the situation. Both say what many members of the COGIC have voiced to RCA in the times of church conflicts: leadership is almost always nonresponsive, leaving members without fair and adequate representation. And at the mercy of unjust appointees.

Additional info: http://cogicjustice.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/trouble-in-texas-northeast/

Get right or Get out?

February 16, 2013 Leave a comment

At the close of last year’s convocation, Bishop Charles Blake gave an impassioned speech about pedophiles and child molesters getting out of COGIC.  “Get right or Get” out became the memorable echo line of Blake’s speech. But was he serious? Apparently he wasn’t or he is powerless to remove an obvious child molester that stood on the platform with him during the Convocation.  Four months, after the speech, Charles Brown is still in COGIC and still not right. Brown’s presence is a raw offense to victims of the church but yet he was allowed to occupy a position of honor as if he had done no wrong. We know that not to be true because Bishop Blake you and the General Board paid his victims money to keep his wicked sex crimes concealed.  Bishop Blake, at what point are you going to get right and remove this wicked man from office? If you show favoritism to your friends, your speech was nothing but empty words and hot air. The appropriate idiom would be a “dog and pony show”.

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Election Series Review: General Board Candidate Brandon Porter

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Bishop Brandon Porter is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board.  We’d previously given campaign presentation honors to Virginia Bishop Ted Thomas, but Porter’s campaign materials, website and media  far eclipse all others in terms of professionalism.  The 53 year old Memphis native builds his campaign heavily on his COGIC roots. At one point in a promotional video, he seems to be campaigning for his father, rather than himself.

Appointed bishop after the death of his father, Porter’s platform is much more comprehensive than other contenders.  Perhaps that comes from his accumulated  years of “media” experience other bishops do not have. But despite the slick, well designed campaign, it still lacks congruence of definition and focus. An example of that is Porter’s rambling 21 minute campaign video.  He fails to get to the point quickly and instead takes the viewer on a journey through his church roots as if no one is aware of who he is.

The phrase “proven leader/leadership” must be a COGIC buzz phrase because most, if not all the candidates use it  to describe themselves. Porter is no different. To his credit, Porter’s brochure is much more succint. We suggest skipping everything and only read the brochure.

Posted prominently on his campaign site, Porter offers this  strange retort on homosexual marriage which seems to invalidate his prior stated convictions:

“I think it necessary to stick to our convictions when it comes to our faith and moral issues. However, when it comes to the political processes, we need to focus on issues that directly affect our nation – like the high price of gas, inadequate health care, growing unemployment, etc. Whereas the gospel, or preaching, initially affects a person at a time, legislation affects a people at a time. Remember that the gospel gives us a choice; legislation does not!”

Bishop Porter 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 :  3.87%  (875 votes)