Bishop Blake and the ministry of apologizing

November 21, 2014 2 comments

blakeapologyOver 60% of the people polled on our survey of the Blake vs Carter issue, support Supt Earl Carter’s preaching. Notwithstanding, Carter used words and phrases many would call unacceptable, the truth still produced repentance and change.  Only 23% said Bishop Blake was right to repudiate Carter’s message and apologize. Still, 17% felt both were right to say and do what they did.

But an IL COGIC pastor is calling out Bishop Charles Blake’s selective apology-mongering with challenges about other more serious issues Blake has ignored or failed to give an apology for while acting as Presiding Bishop. Calling the massive PR disaster “a sad day for COGIC”, Supt. Harvey Burnett elaborates on six serious issues in the COGIC that Bishop Blake has neglected to take responsibility for.

SIX APOLOGIES WE ARE WAITING TO HEAR FROM BISHOP BLAKE

#1:
Since we are apologizing or in an apologetic mood…I would like to know when our Presiding Bishop will apologize to me and the nearly 12,000 member churches and pastors for signing us on the section of the UDHR (Universal Declaration Of Human Rights) which affirms gay unions. May we remind the people that the UDHR is currently a document used to affirm gay unions and the rights of gay to marry all around the world? In fact this document is the pathway to gay rights as gay advocacy holds it, delivering gay rights to the gay community all over the world and the United States.

#2:
Since we are in an apologetic mood…WHEN will COGIC apologize for the neglect of ALL the victims of clergy and church related sexual abuse? When will COGIC apologize for our church’s failure to implement, create, or act upon a SOLID Victim’s Advocacy plan? I mean it has only been about 7 to 8 years that I have been after the church about implementing a plan to address the fallout that victims and those who have survived sexual abuse have experienced within this church. In fact, I personally delivered a topical proposal into Presiding Bishop Blake’s hands, in Joliet, IL. with a tentative agreement to personally meet with he certain church and representatives in STL. during the 106th Annual Holy Convocation (last year)…Well that meeting NEVER happened. Is there an apology for either me or more importantly to the victims and survivors for our church’s apparent failure to act since we have been so keenly made aware of the problems?

Bishop Charles Brown
LA.
We are proud that we have planted flowers in STL, gave folk blankets and haircuts and even read books to children while we were there, but what about the terrible weeds that have been allowed to grow around our victims such as those stemming from the alleged perverted actions of a Bishop from Louisiana for example whom the church has never tried in adequate council? I could name many other places and persons. They are self evident and additional information thoroughly posted on ReportCOGICAbuse.com….Are we saying that “flowers” and cleaning up neighborhood garbage is more important that these souls that have survived one of the worst type of attacks from the enemy?

In conjunction with that, I wonder and listened for additional apology to the church in general for waiting so long to openly address alleged clergy and member pedophiles and sexually immoral persons that use our name and our pulpits to take advantage of the sheep. we have NEVER apologized for the sexual immorality of former General Board Bishop JD Husband, yet alone anyone else. I know that some of those we need to apologize for have nothing to do with homosexuality, but relieving them (the offenders) from office or at least trying them in front of their accusers in an open and fair forum SHOULD be the standard. Now, shouldn’t it? Yet only SILENCE? Why???

#3:
To the issue of the message at the convocation, As our Bishop states, there were over 15 messages delivered. There was one delivered at a round-table banquet that Bishop Blake annually sponsors for COGIC Charities. The message at that banquet was delivered by a West Angeles member who openly affirms gays and their “right” to marry. I didn’t hear an apology to anyone for allowing Earvin “Magic” Johnson to speak to folk who otherwise believe that what he affirms as OK, is condemned by the church. Although we certainly love Earvin, has he ever apologized for his support of gay inclusion in the face of our church’s supposed teaching and “stance” on the issue? Did Earvin ever apologize for wanting Prop 8, the gay marriage ban of CA. approved by the citizens of CA, overturned? I still remember what he said in his call:

“This is Magic Johnson calling to ask you to join me and Barack Obama in opposing Proposition 8. Prop 8 singles out one group of Californians to be treated differently – including members of our family, our friends, and our coworkers”…. “That is not what California is about. So this Tuesday, vote no on Proposition 8. It is unfair and wrong. Thanks.

I know that’s over, (yea right) and the courts of California overrode the will of the people and the legislative branch of the system of government and approved gay marriage, but did the church ever apologize for Earvin’s support of gay marriage in any way especially since we are hailing him as a great leader among our ranks?

It seems to me that IF there is going to be apologies issued, that some of them should be based on this and things like this that the church has allowed.

#4:
The bible says:

2 Tim. 4:2 ~ Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Now, which and whose is a greater command or commendation? The command to preach the truth or the command of men, to preach something, nearly anything, that accommodates men and their desires? What should Carter have done? Cowered to public opinion, even that of the Presiding Bishop, and the world who doesn’t care about the church or God anyway? Should there be an “apology” for a “harsh, un-compassionate, disrespectful spirit, on the part of that speaker” ?

I wonder if how “harsh” and “un-compassionate” they thought Ezekiel was when he was commanded by God to deliver a message to Israel and their leaders while laying on his side eating cow maneuver mingled with certain food and wasting away? I wonder would our church and those who agree with the Bishop’s apology tell the prophet that he was being “harsh, un-compassionate, disrespectful spirit”? So it sounds like that the “prophet” as Dr. Carter called himself, may need an apology as well, for being called names when his claim is that he was only delivering a message that he received from the Lord?

#5:
Further, I would like to know when, since a message is given or delivered under the rights of free speech in AMERICA, the land of the free, that the message needs to be apologized for. In a free and civil society when no threat was made a person, a group of individuals either based on religion, creed or anything else, would a church associate statements with

“violence against and the subjugation of any person to verbal or physical harassment on the basis of their sexual stance.”

It seems that an apology is in order for the violation of the guaranteed and protected right of free speech. Then, when I examine our church we find that this church has a history of people who have taken the church’s largest stage and have either inadvertently or purposefully said something wrong. YET the statements and presentation of a preacher, delivering a message in the pulpit is apologized for??? WHAT IS THAT???

#6:
In addition, I would like to know why Bishop Blake felt a need to apologize to a person that claims that they need nothing from the church. Andrew Caldwell, like him or leave him, has not asked the church for anything to my knowledge but for a book sale, CD sale and prayers…Why is this church in the habit of apologizing to folk who are not asking for an apology, while overlooking those whom we should REALLY and SINCERELY apologize to? According to the Bishop, it was because we “think” we have arrived when we are criticized by a comic like Jimmy Kimmel? (whom I’ve NEVER watched nor considered a source of entertainment)

Read full commentary at Dunamis Word Blog

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Categories: Bishop Charles Blake

POLL: Was Bishop Blake right to repudiate Supt Earl Carter?

November 17, 2014 26 comments

The negative fallout from the COGICs 107th Convocation has been massive to say the least. The message preached by Supt Earl Carter of Florida has been rebuked publicly now by Bishop Blake. Which do you support? Was Earl Carter right to call out this sin and strongly rebuke COGIC leadership for enabling it or was Bishop Blake right to rebuke Earl Carter and apologize to the homosexual community? Watch the two videos and then vote.

Federal lawsuit seeks to unseat COGIC General Assembly Chairman

November 15, 2014 Leave a comment

rcagraphic-johnsonvshuntAlleging abuse of power and refusal to abide by the Church of God in Christ constitutional mandates among other grievances, a 17 page federal lawsuit was filed November 8th in the US District Court of Northern Illinois against General Assembly Chairman, Bishop James Hunt, Sr.  The COGIC, Inc was also named as a defendant.

Hunt became Chairman of the General Assembly when Bishop J.O. Patterson Jr. of Memphis died in 2011.

The suit was filed by Pastor Andre Johnson, who is listed as the “court overseer”. [source]

Since the suit is not filed on behalf of the church’s Judicial Court, its unclear where the battle lines will fall in this case.

Johnson is no stranger to legal battles.  In 2008, he sued Kimberly Ann Lewis in the same court for libel, slander and assault. [source]  The suit identified Lewis as a member of St Paul COGIC in Detroit. According to court documents, the married pastor carried on a “brief but intense”  sexual relationship with Ms Lewis while on a ministry engagement in Detroit and that due to his deception, should be removed from office.  Johnson contended that the woman showed up at the 2008 Bishops Conference in Chicago to accused him openly but was later legally forced into silence about the case.  Johnson said he had already been disciplined by his jurisdictional bishop Robert Sanders for the adultery but what that discipline entailed is unknown. In 2009,  both parties agreed to an existing permanent injunction order. Read the full court case Johnson vs Lewis

This latest lawsuit reflects yet another example of how the church hierarchy seems to be imploding. Unable to quell the lust for power, authority and the money it brings, legal battles continue unabated.

We’ve posted the official court document under Letters and Documents.

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

COGIC debuts new National Deliverance Ministry

October 29, 2014 1 comment

Deliverance-Ministry-Top-Brochure-as-of-10-21-14Has the Church of God in Christ finally realized it has a serious national problem on its hands? Has it glimpsed the littered trail of broken people spanning decades of church history? Has it recognized the need to acknowledge that much of the hurt, brokenness and devastation did not come from without but from within? Perhaps they have but it remains to be seen.

Earlier this month, the denomination, known for its pentecostal exuberance and flashy church attire, has launched a new ministry venture, one we hope will be what it is advertised to be. Called COGIC Ministries of Deliverance with the tag “Hope, Healing and Restoration”. EX-drug addict Bishop Roger L. Jones of Flint, MI was named National Director. Jones’ own story of descending into drug addiction while in office as a COGIC bishop may add a needed layer of authenticity to the ministry only if COGIC’s obsessive desire to institutionalize all of its departments doesn’t cause an early demise.

The ministry seems yet undefined. Is it a ministry geared towards leaders or a ministry for all COGIC members who have experienced various forms of brokenness?

On Jones’ facebook page, a graphic cites a quote from him inviting leaders to talk to him. “Leadership needs someone to talk to before we have another pastoral suicide. Therefore I’ll listen”, it says. Call 810-610-1713

But the official flier released by COGIC makes no references to the ministry being geared to leaders.  A statement on the flier is attributed to Jones as well.

“This ministry is for those who are struggling and hurt, but need healing and deliverance. As a church we must be prepared to minister and witness to this deeply distressed and troubled world. As we continue to grow and expand in various ministries, we must be prepared to develop a process for recovery, total honesty and transparency in healing the hurts and restoring our congregations, our families and our communities.”

This could be very good news for the numerous victims of clergy sexual abuse. It could be good news to the untold numbers of young men who are struggling with homosexuality, some of them have had their sexual innocence stolen by church leaders. If you have been wounded by the church and still in state of brokenness, call Bishop Jones and see what’s really being offered. Other than the number on the flier, there’s no website, no plans, no nothing to give an indication that this ministry is ready for the work its advertised.  For a denomination this size and with the damage so obvious and widespread, that’s not a good sign. We’re willing to give COGIC the benefit of the doubt, but healing broken people and returning them to wholeness requires more than just a flier. We will continue to watch…and report till victory is won.

Is disbarred lawyer Javier Bailey speaking for Bishop Brandon Porter?

October 14, 2014 7 comments
The strange case involving Bishop Brandon Porter, Supt Linwood Dilliard and Pastor Frederick Smith took another strange twist with a statement by disbarred Memphis attorney Javier Bailey regarding the matter.javier-bailey After just a week of Report COGIC Abuse posting the story, Porter had Smith and his church’s name scrubbed from the Tennessee Central website. See here.
No stranger to controversy himself, Bailey posted on an October 1st Facebook discussion about Smith and Porter that he needed to correct a misconception by Memphis radio host Thaddeus Matthews.
I want to briefly correct this post. I am officially stating that Frederick Smith , nor his Church, are operating under the supervision and authority of Church Of God In Christ . Sup. Linwood Dillard is not the person that told me that. Pastor Smith admits that he is not under the authority and supervision of COGIC. It is my opinion that Pastor Smith is very distraught . I spoke with him as a fellow clergic [sic] and in hopes of some healing in this matter.”
If Linwood Dillard didn’t tell Bailey that, then who did? Bishop Brandon Porter? How can a disbarred lawyer “officially” speak for Tennessee Central Jurisdiction without the approval of its official leader? Perhaps what Bailey isn’t saying is more important than what he is saying.
A tale of two policies
COGIC seems to have a flexible release policy when it comes to certain situations its ministers are caught in. Policy A deals with those who legitimately want to transfer jurisdictions or leave the denomination because of the abuse of a bishop. Policy B deals with clergy sex predators.  Using Policy A, such cases are stridently opposed and prosecuted sometimes in civil courts. If the case involves property and money the denomination wants, they enforce COGIC “constitutional laws” with few exceptions.  Just ask Elder Ronald Stidham whose father Joshua Stidham, founded and built Emmanuel COGIC in Wichita, Kansas.
Policy B seems to cover men who are caught in sexual scandals. These individuals are given a quick release to leave the denomination with nothing more than a meaningless statement like the one above. Officials, like Porter and Dillard, remain tight lipped, adhering to Bishop Charles Blake’s mandatory silence edict unless a lawsuit forces their lips open. Sexual wolves are set free to roam as long as they drop the COGIC name. They can keep property, money and whatever else they have acquired while members of the COGIC.
With Policy B, COGIC can easily distance itself from any sexually immoral pastor. For example, when  Orlando Wallace an elder at Lakeview Community Temple was arrested and charged with aggravated statutory rape and sexual exploitation of a 15 year old girl, the church’s pastor quickly invoked Policy B. “He`s a minister, but he don`t work here.  He`s just a preacher here.” Wallace had been an elder at the church for seven years.
Although disbarred and discredited, Bailey said he still advises COGIC entities. “Finally , I do advise several jurisdictions across the nation on ecclesiastical matters. However I am not a part of the Southeast District of Central Jurisdiction. It is my hope that there be clarity and that all of your viewers and FB Friends know that COGIC has nothing to do with this matter.”, he said.
We asked how much did Porter and Dilliard know about Smith’s sexual proclivities and when did they know it. That may never be answered by the involved parties, but God allows deception to eventually ensnare the deceivers.
Bailey is the former attorney for Tennessee Headquarters Jurisdiction, where Frederick Smith was also a member in 2007.

TN Central removes New Life Holiness from jurisdictional website

October 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Just a week after Report COGIC Abuse published the story of  COGIC Pastor Frederick Smith and allegations of financial malfeasance, misrepresentation on a legal document and gross sexual immorality , it appears that Bishop Brandon Porter has taken some action against the pastor and church.

The screenshot of the website taken before and after the report shows Smith and New Life Holiness church now removed from the official jurisdictional website which lists its member pastors and churches.

TNCENTRALIts unclear at this point whether this action is to be viewed as punitive or evasive. Neither Porter nor Smith’s immediate supervisor Supt Linwood Dilliard (also president of COGIC International Youth Department) have made any public statements although the situation has received widespread attention. Has Smith been booted from the denomination? If so, it would seem to verify all the allegations against him.

Has Smith been put on lay low status until the controversy dies? If so, it could indicate his leaders are avoiding dealing with the obvious breaches to COGIC’s policy and doctrine.

Covering or Coverup?

smith-dilliardHow much about Smith’s sexual proclivities did Porter and Dillard know and when did they know it? Is this situation like many others in COGIC where even though leadership is aware of the serious moral and ethical failings of its pastors, they ignore it in their quest to build district and jurisdictional clout within the denomination? Or ignore it because a person has a position and can deliver emotional orations like deceased Bishop JD Husbands?

Records we found show that Smith initially began his COGIC career as a member of a district under the late Bishop JO Patterson, Jr as early as 2007. At some point, he transferred to the Tennessee Central Jurisdiction.