IS THERE JUSTICE IN THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST?

May 27, 2009

Cry Loud Spare Not…

  In an earlier blog ( My Story) I gave a little background on our struggle.   I will try and give more details now.

   My father was in the hospital for approximately ninety days before he went to heaven.  During this time, as the Assistant Pastor, the members and I carried on the work.  There were no concerns expressed by Bishop Gilkey there was no fighting, splits or anything like that.   Bishop J.C. Gilkey did not contact us in any way with any concerns or questions, except in one Jurisdictional meeting he asked how my father was doing.  To my knowledge he did not go to the hospital to see my father, my father would have a big smile on his face as told me about the saints that visited him.

In about 2003 my father appointed me as the Assistant Pastor.  My father died Wednesday October 20, 2004, his funeral was Tuesday October 26, 2004.  On Sunday October 31st, Bishop J. C. Gilkey sent Superintendent James Watson to appoint Elder Rondell Love as Pastor,Elder Love interjected and said as interim Pastor.   We were stunned, we had heard rumblings that this would happen but I thought surely a man who at one time had been a friend of the family for almost fifty years would not do this.  The entire membership said that won’t work we have a right to have a voice in who our Pastor would be.  We requested a meeting with Bishop Gilkey.  We were ignored until November 27,2004, during this meeting Bishop Gilkey said, “the appointment was temporary but now it is permanent, and if we didn’t like it, well others have left”.  The membership voted to transfer to Kansas Central Jurisdiction under Bishop B. H. Cunningham who said we were welcome if Memphis said it was okay.  In December of 2004 we sent a complaint to the General Board, we received no response.  Elder Love was recalled on Dec 19, 2004.  In Febuary 2005 Bishop Gilkey filed a civil lawsuit, Ammended Exparte, Ammended Petition,  to take the title deed from the members of Emmanuel and quiet the title in the name of the National Church.  This was done on the advice of the General Counsel of The Church of God in Christ, Elder Enoch Perry III.  When the lawsuit was filed, we sent a letter to the General Board informing him, we recieved no response.   We sent a letter to each Board that had the authority to instruct Bishop J. C. Gilkey to obey the Bible,we recieved no response.  His complaint, stated we the members of Emmanuel were preventing him and his congregation from holding services.  Using this decietful language, he obtained a temporary injunction.   Operating under this injunction, Bishop J. C. Gilkey sent a man out as his enforcer, Elder Edward Bereal who acting as  a bully to tried to force the members of Emmanuel into submission.  For a while we could only be spectators at the church we had literally built with our hands with the help of GOD.  When we, through our attorneys, understood what the injunction said, we refused to bow.  The police were called, and Elder Bereal, under the threat of arrest, he began to hold a seperate service, at our church (because of the injuntion Bishop Gilkey had keys to the church).  For four years Bishop Gilkey or his designee has been holding a seperate service.  As you can see from the Ammended Petition, we were going to be put out.  To the General Board, Bishop Sheard and other leaders, he tried to make appear we were a part of the congregation trying to take over.  Three times he had a different list compiled of people he said were members of Emmanuel.  I can only speculate what the purpose of this was, perhaps to try and stack the vote if another one was taken.  The first list consisted of Elder Edward Bereal and people he claimed was part of his congregation although I saw these people one or two times in two years.  The second list consisted of Elder Faithan Frazier and his congregation who were told Emmanuel would be their church.  The third group and the most troubling, Bishop Gilkey had a member of his church, St Mark C.O.G.I.C. of which he was the founder, Janet Sisney, claim to be the church secretary of Emmanuel, not true, and presented a Certified Member list of  Emmanuel of which some of the people I have not seen before.  The church leadership did nothing, did not respond until in September2006 we recieved a response from the Judiciary Board after we requested an interpretation of the trust clause.

These and other things including illegal things that have been ignored by the leadership of the C.O.G.I.C but they want to enforce the rules that pertain to the “authority of the Bishop”. 

Here is a brief chronology of events, Chronological Order

More to come

May 20, 2009

Judiciary Ruling

Filed under: C.O.G.I.C.,Church Justice — R.E. Stidham @ 10:44 PM
Tags: , , , ,

    After almost five years of struggle to prevent our church from being taken,Ammended ExparteAmmended Petition, and three years since we first notified the Judiciary Board, the members of Emmanuel Church of  God in Christ, Wichita, Kansas have gotten an opinion from the Judiciary Board.  They have agreed with the General Board in denying our request to transfer from the Kansas Southwest Jurisdiction to the Kansas Central Jurisdiction. 

     Due to what we felt was unjust treatment by the  prelate of Kansas Southwest Jurisdiction, Bishop J.C. Gilkey, we wanted to transfer after the founder of Emmanuel died.  The leaders of C.O.G.I.C.  interpret the constitution to include the “Proposed amendments in the Green and White book” as though they were currently in effect.  Yes, some of the things that are being discussed at the current Constitutional Convention are being enforced now.  The Bishops and the leaders of the church interpret  the Churches constitution to not allow a congregation to change jurisdictions without the Pastors approval.  This is contrary to what the written document says.  In the MajorityOpinion, Emmanuel Church of God in Christ was denied its constitutional right of being allowed to change jurisdictions once a year.  By adding the phrase “to be initiated by the Pastor”, this effectively gives the Pastor, or Bishop in our case, the right to veto the whole process.  This ruling creates two classes of people in the church,  protected and non-protected members.  Only Bishops and Pastors have any rights or protection.  If you as a member don’t like it, there is no where to turn, no one to protect the members from a tryant.   Is this what the General Assembly had in mind?   In the Dissenting Opinion, three justices have correctly interpreted the Constitution, while the Majority merely rubber stamped what the General Board said.  Two of the justices did not follow their own rules, we filed a Motion to Disqualify, which they decided was moot since they had already voted.   According to their rules they should have disqualified themselves at the very start.   Do the rules not apply to everyone?  This is truly a case of taking the mote out of your brothers eye but ignoring the beam in your eye.

More in my next blog

May 3, 2009

My Story

My parents were saved in 1956 at Mt. Olive Church of God in Christ under Elder J.B. Alberta.  We worshipped there for approximately ten years during which my father answered the call to the ministry, and was ordained under Bishop Pleas.  In 1966 , after spending a number of weeks removing old Sunday school books, cleaning the building and repairing the seats,during the Christmas holiday break,my father opened Emmanuel Church of God in Christ.  As his oldest son I had the honor of helping him clean and repair.   Sister Lois Riley (McIntyre) joined within the first month, she invited James Rich and his family these with the Stidham family became charter members of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ.  Over the next few years the work grew and a building project was started.  In 1972 plans were made to build a new church.  In 1975 the new building was dedicated, the old one torn down and God did bless.

In September 2003 my mother became ill and went home to be with God in Dec. 2003,  Bishop J. N. Haynes eulogized her.  My father became ill, and in July 2004 went into the hospital and on October 20, 2004  went home.

I was saved in 1981 in a revival conducted by Elder McCoy out of Fort Wayne, Indiana  I worked in the church as a Sunday School teacher, YPWW teacher, the organist, and sometimes as the Choir director at various times.  Except when I moved to Dallas for about six months I have attended and worked at Emmanuel the entire time my father was a Pastor.   In about 2003 my father appointed me as the Assistant Pastor.  My father died Wednesday October 20, 2004, his funeral was Tuesday October 26, 2004.  The membership was at peace, no infighting was going on however, on Sunday October 31st without so much as a hello how are you, Bishop J. C. Gilkey sent Superintendent James Watson to appoint Elder Rondell Love as Pastor.   The entire membership said that won’t work we have a right to have a voice.  We requested a meeting with Bishop Gilkey.  We were ignored until November 27,2004 at which time Bishop Gilkey said, “the appointment was temporary but now it is permanent, and if we didn’t like it, well others have left”.  The membership voted to transfer to Kansas Central Jurisdiction under Bishop B. H. Cunningham who said we were welcome if Memphis said it was okay.  In December of 2004 we sent a complaint to the General Board, we received no response.  Elder Love was recalled on Dec 19, 2004.  In Febuary 2005 Bishop Gilkey filed a civil lawsuit, Ammended Exparte, Ammended Petition,  to take the title deed from the members of Emmanuel and quiet the title in the name of the National Church.  This was done on the advice of the General Counsel of The Church of God in Christ, Elder Enoch Perry III.

More to come in next blog

COGIC JUSTICE?

April 30, 2009

 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  Micah 6:8

My name is Ronald Stidham.   It is with a heavy heart I’ve began this blog.   As I write this and all future blogs, remember,the word of God is the standard.

The Bible tells us in Matt. 18:15-17 what to do if someone trespasses against us.  What do you do when the church ignores your accusation, or as in the case of the unjust judge, has no regard for anyone who is not important?  What do you do when the leaders don’t follow the rules?   In the Church of God in Christ, we are taught, strongly, “obey your leader” and to be accused of fighting leadership, is frowned upon to say the least.  However we are first to follow Christ, how can you follow someone whose is not obeying the Word of God?

For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.  Isaiah 9:16.  As we follow our leaders, we must remember the Bible is the lamp unto our feet, the light unto our pathway…, Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.  Jeremiah 6:16

It is my prayer and the purpose of this blog that we will return, ask for the old paths, the good way and walk therein.   Let us pray for the leaders of the church and the leaders of our nation.

In my next blog I will begin to tell my story.

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