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One Million and counting

January 12, 2015 4 comments

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Guest writing spots available

January 11, 2015 Leave a comment

COGIC Abuse Watch blog has three (aapc3) guest writing spots available for qualified writers. Guest writers will receive full byline credit and opportunity to become a permanent contributor to this influential online, COGIC-oriented information source. Writers should be mature, articulate, passionate and responsible. No anonymous guest writers are acceptable, although pseudonyms are acceptable under some circumstances.  Current members preferable but will accept non-members with COGIC backgrounds. Written subject matter must be exclusively connected to the Church of God in Christ. If interested, send an inquiry email to cogicabuse@gmail.com.

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Board of Bishops Secretary wins defamation lawsuit against William McCray III

November 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Report COGIC Abuse has obtained a copy of the lawsuit in which Board of Bishops Secretary Bishop Larry Shaw was awarded a judgment against controversial COGIC personality William McCray III. Shaw had filed suit against McCray and Board of  Bishops Chairman John H. Sheard of Detroit over a sordid defamation issue alleged to have been instigated by Sheard to “destroy” Shaw’s run for office. The case has become an example of the behind the scenes civil war-type political thuggery some COGIC leaders have become known for. See our story here.

The default judgement of $150,000 was issued October 27th in Fulton Country Superior Court by Judge Henry Newkirk after McCray failed to respond to the charges per the 30 day window given by the court.

McCray however, claimed in a May 14th  posting on his website that the lawsuit against he and Sheard had been dismissed.

Judge dismisses bogus charges brought by Bishop Larry Shaw against “Obnoxious” blogger, William G. McCray III and Bishop John Henry Sheard.

Last Monday Judge Henry M. Newkirk dismissed the lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court, against William McCray III and Bishop John Sheard of Detroit. In the suit filed last year, Bishop Larry Shaw sought national attention by falsely accusing Bishop Sheared and journalist, William McCray III of conspiring to defame his character. McCray is the founder of the wildly popular blog, Obnoxious. In his ruling, Judge Newkirk stated that Shaw did not have enough evidence to support his claims and he dismissed the case without prejudice.

But the case against McCray wasn’t dismissed. On April 28th, the case  against Sheard was dismissed because the judge ruled the Georgia court had no personal jurisdiction.  Attorneys hired by Shaw plan to refile suit in a Detroit court. We’ve placed a copy of the lawsuit in our Letters and Documents section.

Categories: Uncategorized

Answering COGIC questions about COGIC abuse

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

repost from September 9th, 2009 [source]

Questions conceptYesterday, 143 years after the birth of Church of God in Christ founder Bishop CH Mason, ReportCOGICAbuse.com was launched (1) in defense and support of victims of COGIC clergy sexual abuse (2) in support of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and (3) to confront ongoing silence and inaction against such abuses.

Its understandable that some COGIC members would take immediate offense (although unwarranted), some will understand,  but perhaps remain silent and some will try to sort out what they perceive as legitimate versus nonlegitimate information on the site.

As I’ve said here previously and on the site, this isn’t theory or conjecture on my part, as a survivor of sexual molestation while growing up in COGIC, I speak from painful past experience and intimately know what is like to be the object of someone’s untoward sexual desires.

That being said, I’ve agreed to answer the following questions posed by Julia Thuston who commented she was “very skeptical” of the new site.

There’s no real guarantee that the answers will satisfy her or anyone else, but unlike leaders of the COGIC, I will answer honestly and openly about this site and its intentions.

Thuston: The question would be what happens to the information given to these “watch dog” groups.

First, let’s orient ourselves to proper biblical terminology in regards to this effort. In the Old Testament, the term watchman or “watchman on the wall” was synonymous with a God-ordained position of trust. You can check Is 62:6, Neh 4:9, 2 Sam 18:24, Ezekiel 33:2,3 and more. Please note their specific duties.  They had a mission to ensure safety and peace.  Jesus commanded us to “watch” as well as pray that we enter not into temptation. In other words, beware lest you be fooled by deceitful people and situations.  This is not an indictment on COGIC, but an indictment on sin which needs to be dealt with at the roots. Unfortunately it is our belief that the leadership of COGIC has failed miserably to do so. God commanded the watchman to set on the wall and to declare what he sees (Is 21:6). Not only have we seen it, we’ve shown proof of its existence. We are not “watch dogs” (a pejorative), rather we function as watchmen (an honorable service to the body of Christ).

Information given to ReportCOGICAbuse.com may come from many sources, but until they are vetted, with accompanying evidence, it will not appear on the site. If information is given to us of a current situation, rest assured we will immediately pass on the information to authorities. One of the factors which aid molesters to go undetected for so long is ignorance, whether willful or not. The other factor is opportunity. If we do not shine the light on this issue, it will only grow worse with time. The site is to serve notice to any man or woman stalking a child or another vunerable member of the church, if God so allows to expose you, we will gladly assist. Repent and turn now while God’s mercy allows it.

Thuston: Is this ministry or just slander?

Not one, single person or situation cited on ReportCOGICAbuse.com is remotely slanderous. All have been traced to official legal documents and or verified media reports (which also cite court records) and/or official COGIC documents. In addition, everything can be verified as all are matters of public record.

Slander is legally defined as making of defamatory statements by a transitory (non-fixed) representation, usually an oral (spoken) representation. Libel involves the making of defamatory statements in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine or newspaper. Biblically, both would be summarized as lying or bearing false witness.

It is ministry because the fundamental definition of ministry is finding and meeting needs. This is a need that has been rejected by COGIC’s leadership and God has given it to us.

Thuston: When do we  actually do Galations 6.

Galatians 6 which states that spiritual members of the Body are to restore a brother who is overtaken in a fault is certainly to be considered in these cases. And no one is beyond forgiveness and restoration. We do need to understand the connotation of “overtaken” as opposed to pursuit and maintenance of a sinful lifestyle.  However, sexual crimes pose a legitimate caveat for Gal 6. To wit, a sexual crime and a sexual sin ( or fault) are not automatically interchangeable, thus consequences come to bear.  If a brother committed a sexual sin, forgiving and restoring him or her would be the sole jurisdiction of the church or at least those who are spiritual. Galatians 6 is applicable. If a brother committed a sexual crime which is also sin, the church does not hold sole jurisdiction and Galatians 6 is only applicable in part. While such a one can be forgiven, restoration (and restitution) is in the hands of the state. When we unjustly use scripture to protect individuals from facing the consequences of their crime, we become partakers of their sin and instead of facilitating the intent of Gal 6, we thwart it.

Thuston: Are the abused really helped on this sight [sic]?

Yes, they are. The site sends a clear, unwavering message that we do not support those who violate the innocent. Very few persons who are sexually abused jump out in the open and fight their abusers. The reason is because they have been conditioned by the abuser to be quiet and submissive. We stand in the gap and speak up for them. This helps them to gain confidence to go forward towards restoration. Unfortunately, confidence is not all they need. They need justice, they need compassion and they need compensation to handle counseling (and medical) bills in the wake of a plethora of emotional, sexual and relationship deficiencies that result from sexual damage. At the very least, if the guilt of the perpetrator is proven, why isnt grace, compassion and assistance extended by the church to the victims and their families? Are they somehow unworthy of this because they were forced to seek justice outside of the church? We have already cited how COGIC ignored and in some cases chastised the numerous victims and families of Bishop John Husband while they offered the guilty man help and an open door back to his position. Is that justice?

Additionally, we welcome the assistance of COGIC members in the legal, counseling and medical fields to offer their expert services to victims and their families. We need a healing support community to help with the intangible aftermath of sexual abuse. Its my belief that the Women’s Department could very easily absorb this responsibility given its natural  function of  teaching and raising children and young women. And we must not forget that there are many young men who have been sexually violated that have never spoken up yet they suffer the same.

Thuston: Will there be an actuall [sic] investigation of the situations that are reported on this sight[sic]?

If you take time to actually read each case cited, you will see patterns emerge.  If you read the deposition of Enoch Perry (which is posted), you will see that COGIC is either in shambles or someone is clearly lying about the structure and governance of the church. Either one spells serious disservice to victims of clergy sexual abuse. We certainly hope Bishop Blake will direct and organize the appropriate persons within COGIC to deal with the problem. As you can see from the two year old public quotes made by Bishop Blake, he has no intention of doing so. Therefore, ReportCOGICAbuse.com became a necessity.

Thuston: Or will as the person cited every COGIC church and preacher be targeted by the actions of very few?

No, we have not speculated or entertained rumors nor implicated anyone not guilty. But the guilty, proven in a court of law, reflect negatively on the whole church. Its not ethical for the whole church to beam with pride over the positive accomplishments of a few, but divorce themselves from the criminal activity of a few. In most of the cases we cited, these men had been part of COGIC for decades if not more. While I agree that not every person in COGIC is directly responsible for the actions of its members, those who KNOW and remain silent are equally guilty. Furthermore, the scriptures warn us that it only takes a small amount of leaven to affect the whole lump. Incidentally, this warning was given as a result of leaders in the Corinthian church refusing to deal with sexual sin in their midst.

Thuston: Or will this just  end up as another “National Enquire” gosip slander site?

No, your fears are completely unfounded. Gossip is sinful and deadly. Gossip is defined as habitually spreading intimate or private rumors or facts. What we have done is to gather already public information, archive it and present it as evidence that the problem is far greater than some believe it to be. Trust that we know much more that we are able to speak about at this time. But let judgment begin at the house of God. His house is to be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a place where sexual thieves find comfort. That is truly an abomination the National Enquirer could never come close to duplicating.

—Thanks for your questions.

Categories: Uncategorized

COGIC’s rancid politics driving away the best and brightest?

Wbass For one man who’s had enough of the rancid politics, stifling nepotism, repulsive arrogance and leadership greed, the time has come to say goodbye to the church of his birth.

Pastor Wayne Bass, Sr. of New Haven, CT, son of  Bishop Joseph E. and Mary Bass wrote on his facebook page that  the ” Almighty positioned our church at the vanguard of the Pentecostal-Holiness movement in America. However, we have long since abandoned our roots and departed from our destiny.” Many others believe that as well but do not have the courage to voice it.

Bass was a  lifelong member of the Church of God in Christ and in ministry since  1967.  He and his wife served as long-term missionaries in South Africa. That’s something you wouldn’t expect from a man who holds two degrees from Yale University, along with extensive studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.

Bass’ four page, open letter style monologue is both a heartbreaking but also a frightening portrait of what the corporate church has become.  Apart from infrequent bouts with “shouting and dancing” and harkenings to its historical legacy, the Church of God in Christ is no more.

“Despite frequent and urgent warnings, the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST has gradually morphed into an organization that can now be aptly described as the poster child for PERSONAL-AMBITION-RUN-AMUCK. One can scarcely dialogue with those who seek to scale its ecclesiastical ladder without being queried as to the quality and quantity of one’s personal participation, e.g. one’s official positions held within the hierarchy of the church. This degree of abject carnality constitutes a death knell to our divine calling and anointing.”

Bass sees the problem as systemic. Much like the injustice of  clergy sexual abuse we’ve consistently documented, other “fruit” has manifested itself and there seems to be no collective will to self correct.

“A grave, systemic problem exists. Something is terribly wrong. We have a deadly cancer in the body and we desperately need to identify and excise it. Indeed, we ourselves have created a self-perpetuating, hierarchical monstrosity, characterized by rugged individualism, power grabbing and unabashed greed. To cite one crystal clear example, our financial system is ineffective, nonsensical, and even corrupt. Consider this: How can we ever hope to FUND THE MINISTRY MISSION OF OUR CHURCH when we are so intent on siphoning off funds to “bless” those who hold leadership positions? It is important to note that such funds are frequently raised on the backs of those at or near the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.”

Its hard to spot idolatry when you are maintaining the mountain of religious activities that look and feel like God, but a spiritual eye can see it. Idolatry has crept into the COGIC psyche and sprouted roots.

“Along with these untoward attitudes, a not-so-subtle FORM OF IDOLATRY has systematically infiltrated our ranks, and even our worship services. The creature is now exalted above The Creator, and it is now an integral component of our collective consciousness. However, we must be ever mindful that ALMIGHTY GOD will never brook or tolerate ‘lesser gods,’ be they animate or inanimate. While I love and respect the late Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. (our first elected Presiding Bishop), he made one grave error, i.e. allowing one egocentric man [we all know who he is]* to radically rewrite and revise our heritage – changing us from what we once were and transforming us into pretentious and highfaluting versions of our former selves. If Bishop Mason could see our present-day pomp and pageantry, our esteemed Founder would roll over in his grave, if possible.”

When I grew up in the church, if you left COGIC, you were viewed —and treated— as a backslider. Not in a good way. You were shunned and talked about because you left holiness.  Because we anointed ourselves “the greatest church in the world”, we were taught there was nowhere to go but down if you left. I pray that COGIC has educated itself enough to know that the Body of Christ isn’t restricted solely to the denominational confines of a 5-6 million member black pentecostal church. That would be like the Jehovah’s Witnesses 144,000 lie.

Bass seems to anticipate there will be some of that. “It will be quite easy for some to dismiss my words as the ramblings of a cynical, unwise, or embittered man.”, he writes.

Bass’ letter should in no way taken to mean that every member and officer of the Church of God in Christ has become a baal-worshipping  heathen. He’s not saying that, but he is grieving over the purity of  what once was is no more. And something wicked has taken its place.  We grieve with him and praise him for moving on as the Lord gives him grace to do.

Read Elder Wayne  Bass’ entire letter in Documents and Letters section.

*Bass is referring to Bishop J. Delano Ellis, who is credited with bringing the “high church” look to COGIC’s ecclesiastical aristocracy.

Seattle area COGIC pastor jailed for fraud

September 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Our thanks to Sis Barbara McHenry for reporting this to us. What a sad and shameful thing for pastors and elders to take advantage of the elderly saints.

Sis McHenry writes:
“I am writing to inform you of a case in Seattle/Tacoma Washington. Pastor Peter DodsonDance or Peter Dance  and [pending confirmation] have finally had their day in court and Peter Dance was sentenced to 2years jail for taking advantage of God’s people through his Mortgage company. He talked my mother into re-financing her home at age 65 creating a second mortgage resulting in her  home being foreclosed.  While moving her personal belonging it was discovered that he borrowed money from her with a promissory note attached from the proceed.  He has not paid the money back as with many of his other victims of predatory lending practices.

100308_Peter_DodsondancePastor Peter Dodsondance is a preacher in the COGIC church.  He along with [pending confirmation] took advantage of the kindness of church members in Washington State through his Mortgage business.  He caused many people to lose their homes, including my mother, Ella McHenry.  He talked her in to taking a second mortgage on her property at 65-year-old.    His predatory practices have now landed him in jail.”

More on DodsonDance’s criminal activities here and here.

Remembering a church war

June 25, 2013 Leave a comment

conflict-managementI rarely, if ever get personal on this blog. Mainly because my job is to inconspicuously document injustices, abuses and hopefully provide a place where some people know that someone cares about the hurt they are experiencing.  After hearing about the situation at Forest Hill COGIC in Texas, things hit very close to home and caused me to remember the church of my youth. A church that went to war and I think that everybody lost.  So I decided to write about it. Im sure many of you many have witnessed the same things but never said anything, so I will speak for you too.

Church conflicts are nothing new. A major conflict arose in the early church between the Christian Jews and the newly engrafted Gentile believers. It took a full apostolic council in Jerusalem to settle it. Reference Acts 15. However, lest we become comfortable with conflicts as a growing norm, let us remember the warning of scripture.

 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:13-15 ESV

My mother was a proud member of Power House COGIC in Marlin, Texas. The church was named Power House after a series of revivals in the mid 40s brought people from miles around to witness the power of God moving as the saints shouted, preached, prayed and sang like nothing folks had seen before. The name was very appropriate.

I started attending the church when I was about 6 years old with my brothers and sisters. Sometimes my mother couldnt go to church because she was tired from working two jobs to support us, but she made sure we all got up, got dressed and got to church in time for Sunday School. I loved going to Power House. Even after 30 years, it still was a place that lived up to its name. As my siblings got older they went to other churches or moved away from home, but us younger ones kept going.

The church sat on a small parcel of land off Commerce Street. I dont know why they never bought the two houses adjacent to the church so that it could expand but they didnt. So if there was a crowd, everyone had to park on the street.

Power House was in Texas Northeast Jurisdiction (before all the splits) and our bishop was Bishop FL Haynes. What a man of God! I dont remember how young I was but I remember going to the convocation in Dallas and on “Official Day” when the Spirit was moving through Saintsville, Bishop jumped out of his chair and danced across the pulpit like he was losing his mind. When he did that, it was like a 1000 saints just went wild praising God!

Our pastor Supt CE Bennett, was a tall, well groomed and educated man. He always came to pick us up to go to the Corsicana District meeting. He was an excellent preacher and the church was very blessed under him. Our choir, led by Sis Earline Johnson was one of the best in the district. PH always sang those “shouting songs” and people loved it. My mother was a powerful singer too. She would always sing “Im a soldier, in the army of the Lord” and she hated if the song “drug”.

As far as I knew everything at Power House was good and well. Then, Supt Bennett died and we got a new Pastor, Elder Isreal Echols who had a large family. Elder Echols was a very meek man, until he got up to preach. Then, it was all over. His family was very active in the church. They were preachers, preaching missionaries, musicians and teachers. Under Pastor Echols and his family our church rose to even higher levels of “power”.  They were anointed, skilled and eager to serve in the church. They brought Mother Elsie Mason to speak at our church for women’s day and that was the first time I saw a demon cast out. Mother Mason did it and never even flinched.

I grew into my teens and started having other issues develop in my life. But I (as well as my peers in the church) started noticing subtle changes around the church. Mainly, it was a growing coldness between the pastor’s family and a sizeable group of the members.  They started not coming to bible study or would come late and not say anything when they came. It was strange, but noticeable. The testimony service, which used to be free and anointed, became tense and manufactured sounding.  My mother, although she didnt discuss the business of the church with us, continued as normal. She didnt act differently towards the pastor’s family and always supported. marlin

Then one Sunday morning, the ugly truth spilled out. In Sunday School review, the head deacon openly confronted one of the pastor’s daughters about some of her teachings or maybe more accurately, her attitude as he saw it. It was one of those moments as a teen who loved church, that caused you to just freeze.

Eventually more things happened and the rift between the two groups grew wider and wider. Accusations about money being withheld surfaced. Some of the members had circulated a petition calling for the removal of the pastor whom they felt would not or could not “control” his family. I found out about this because my mother got a visit from the “leaders” of the members coalition and they wanted her to sign the letter. She refused. Maybe it was because as a pastor’s daughter herself, she knew that the church could be unkind to the pastor’s family. Thats just a guess. At any rate she didn’t sign it.

As a footnote, us teens were 100% pro pastor and family. We loved them. For some of my peers, it caused a conflict at home.

Things were at an impasse. At some point, a group of members contacted Bishop J. Neaul Haynes, who now presided over Texas Northeast. When the night of the meeting arrived, we were told to stay at home. Of course, we didnt do it. We all decided to wait until the meeting started and then sneak to the church and listen outside by the window that had an air condition in it. We could hear everything like that. Bishop Haynes arrived with Supt TD Daniels and Supt TL Young, his Admistrative assistants. While I wont go into detail, suffice to say the meeting was very ugly. It hurt to hear the accusations.

After that, things were never the same. I cant remember if Pastor Echols left immediately or not. I left the church at 18 due in part to my own internal conflicts and being fed up with the division. Power House lost its former glory and to this day its sad to say has never recovered.  Everyone of the members who signed the petition are dead. Im not suggesting God killed them, just stating the facts. My mother is still a member and at 81, is faithful as best she can be. She was even recognized as a “Member of the Year” in Texas Northeast. But there is no power in that house anymore.

Finally, I want to say that Pastor Isreal Echols, Sr, may God rest his soul,  was no wolf and he cared for the flock of God. The personality conflicts that arose were avoidable. But for churches in the grip of a wolf, the only recourse is to fight to save yourself.

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