March 12, 2010

To my COGIC brothers and sisters, Is it lawful?

 Is it lawful, to manufacture a church split?  As strange as that question may sound, that is what has happened in the Kansas Southwest Jurisdiction.   Eld. Joshua Stidham had his first service in a little vacant building, which in 1967 had no restrooms in the city limits,  that was to the North of what was then a vacant lot and is now the church you see in the picture to the right.  As his eldest son, I helped clean out the debris, repair the seats, and clean a building which had been abandoned.   I was 13 years old at the time and his family was his first and only members the first Sunday he opened up.  Here is a picture of the front of Emmanuel COGIC literally built by Eld. Joshua Stidham (the founder) in the 1970’s.  The members who were with him are the defendants in the case I have been reporting on.  

This is a picture of what was then New Beginning COGIC whose pastor was Eld. Edward Bereal.  Bishop Gilkey announced he was merging this church with Emmanuel COGIC.  This was after he filed the first lawsuit, while under a temporary injunction.  This is when the members who under Eld. Joshua Stidham, built Emmanuel, were first accused of taking Emmanuel COGIC hostage.  This property once belonged to Kansas Southwest Jurisdiction but it and a number of empty lots, were Quit Claimed to a contractors wife.  It was in trade for a sign on a piece of commercial property.

This is a picture of what was the Kansas Southwest COGIC headquarters where Bishop Gilkey’s son, Eld. Mark Gilkey pastored the Agape COGIC.  When Agape was merged with St. Mark, this property was sold.  This merger took place in mid 2008.

This is a picture of what was St. Mark COGIC which was pastored by Bishop J.C. Gilkey.  When he merged Agape COGIC with St. Mark,  the name was changed to St. Mark Cathedral COGIC and Eld. Mark Gilkey was appointed pastor.

During the course of the legal action initiated by Bishop Gilkey on the advice of the COGIC General Counsel, Eld. Enoch Perry there have been three separate groups the prelate said were members of Emmanuel which, he said, we were preventing from having service.  Group (1) Pastored by Elder Edward Bereal,  Group (2) pastored by Elder Faithan Frazier, and Group (3) people who followed Bishop Gilkey to Emmanuel after he appointed his son as Pastor of St. Mark.   The prelate had Janet Sisney who he said was the church secretary compile what he claimed was a Certified Member list  of Emmanuel.  These were all people who he claimed we would not allow to worship at Emmanuel.  He said when they followed him, they became members of Emmanuel. 

I ask again, is it lawful to manufacture a church split by bringing in people from other churches?   Is it lawful to do this with the intent to take property from those who built it whose desire was to transfer to another jurisdiction?



  1. Before anyone talks about ‘wickedness’ make sure you get the whole story. The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) has a constitution you must abide by. Any pastor entering into this church is made fully aware of that. All churches within our church are under the ownership of the National Church. Pastor Stidham(dad) knew this when he entered. While he was pastor of Emmanuel, before his death, he attended convocations in the COGIC, paid the required dues, and did what he was supposed to do under said constitution. In our church pastors are made the head of a church as God leads the Bishop. Maybe at the time Bishop didn’t think Elder Stidham (son) was right for the position whereas Elder Stidham thought he was. I feel, if Elder Stidham would have had patients and trusted in God, maybe he would have been appointed to the position. But because of his resistance toward Bishop and the church as a whole things didn’t turn out the way he wanted them too. Elder Stidham is not giving the whole story. He’s upset he didn’t become pastor of his fathers church. Elder Stidham, as an Elder in the COGIC should know all about the constitution.
    The COGIC is not divided because of Bishop. We are still standing strong and as one family. The old members of Emmanuel decided to separate themselves from the COGIC. And that’s their choice. If they ever decide to come back we would welcome them with open arms and love because that’s what we do.

    Comment by Emmanuel Member — September 16, 2010 @ 11:40 PM | Reply

    • I would expect it to be a great thing for you to walk into a church you had nothing to do with, fully furnished, piano, C3 organ. Always investigate for yourself the facts before you form an opinion. Never take someones word except GOD’s. You don’t have a clue!

      Comment by R.E. Stidham — September 17, 2010 @ 6:04 AM | Reply

  2. My brother I cannot tell you how much after reading about this how grieved I am at this wickedness. Sorry, thats how i would describe it. There is no biblical justification whatsoever for these actions. It reminds me of Jezebel and Ahab taking Naboth’s family vineyard.

    Surely God is not pleased, and neither will he forget these wicked actions that dishonor him and the church he gave to our founder.

    I cannot believe that other pastors can see this injustice and not demand that it be stopped.

    God issued a stern warning to leaders who “scatter the sheep”. Any man who is more concerned with land grabbing and property aqcuisition than the sheep has fallen away from the heart of the Chief Shepherd.

    Comment by gcmwatch — March 16, 2010 @ 8:32 AM | Reply

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