IS THERE JUSTICE IN THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST?

September 13, 2016

PACIFIC MOUNT OLIVE COGIC, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

WHO OWNS THE LOCAL CHURCH, LOCAL MEMBERS OR THE NATIONAL CHURCH?

This is a question that is being asked across the country in the Church of God in Christ.  Bishops seem to believe the National Church owns the property and because they are the National Church’s representative, they manage these so called ownership rights.

Local churches and, pastors are leaving the Church of God in Christ.  They are leaving because they see no benefit in laboring to develop a strong congregation whose assets are vulnerable to the intrusion of those who have contributed nothing to its well being, or  establishment. Can we validly insist on authority without any investment, withdrawals without any deposits?” (Why I Stood For The Defense In Orlando; Bishop Charles E Blake)

In the Church of God in Christ, many of the local members believe ownership of the local church rest with them.  They believe, they purchased, repair, and pay all the bills means ownership.  That is not what the leaders of COGIC believe.  We are still asking the question;Can we validly insist on authority without any investment, withdrawals without any deposits?”

Here is a list of churches where the people are in civil court because the National Officials believe (in the words of Bishop Blake)   the trust creates ownership rights for COGIC, Inc. which they can exert and manage [Read Letter].

  • Greater First Knoxville, Tennessee– By using deception and half-truths Bishop James Scott with assistance from Bishop Blake is trying to take over this church. It is all about the Benjamin’s ($100 dollar bills).
  • Pacific Mount Olive Los Angeles, CA – Bishop Hackworth and Bishop Blake , with the use of deception, half-truths are trying to oust these members from their Church and all PMO property. [Read Chronology]
  • Bishop Brandon Porter– At Williams Temple Houston, Texas, Bishop Brandon Porter, in violation of Texas statutes has held a bogus vote and removed the duly elected Board of Trustees, refused to perform a count and is trying to steam roll over the people.  A letter was sent to Bishop Blake and other COGIC official which fell on deaf ears.[Read Letter]
  • Bishop David Hall – Bishop Hall sued a church there in Memphis seeking control over the church’s real and personal property.  His suit was dismissed, Bishop Hall appealed and the dismissal was affirmed. [Read Order]
  • Bishop Matthew Williams – Is suing the Remnant Church in Tampa, Florida which wants to leave COGIC.  This story was reported by the Tampa ABC affiliate TV News.

In the April 2014 General Assembly meeting the Constitution Committee presented and read an amendment which would end all of this madness.  The amendment which is included in Attachment H, calls for the local church to have exclusive control and ownership of the local church.  It does not change or modify in any way the appointment of the Pastor.  For whatever reason, this amendment has not been allowed to come forward anymore.  It is not known if that is because Bishop David A. Hall is now the chairman of that committee or not.  This amendment would eliminate most of the lawsuits such as the ones listed above.  If the local people build it, pay for it, maintain it, it is only logical that they should own it.  Again this amendment has been read once, do not allow it to be weakened.

From the April 2014 General Assembly Minutes Attachment H

June 7, 2016

Greater First COGIC Knoxville, Tenn- The Judiciary Board Stand For Justice

Greater First Church of God in Christ, Knoxville, Tennessee is a church at the center of a firestorm.  Bishop Thomas Holsey requested an interpretation of the Article III, Section D of the COGIC Constitution which controls the transfer of churches from one jurisdiction to another.  Now the Judiciary Board has ruled and the Church leadership is not pleased.  Here is an excerpt from his request;

“It is requested the Judiciary Branch of the Church of God in Christ, render an interpretation of the constitution:
ARTICLE III
Part II
SECTION D TRANSFER OF CHURCH
CONSTITUTIONAL PROCEDURE FOR LOCAL CHURCHES”

Does Article state  geographical guidelines?

Click here to read Bishop Holsey’s request

The Judiciary Board’s interpretation;

Article III, Part 2, Section D, ¶ 17, 18, 19, of the Constitution of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. governs the transfer of churches between jurisdictions.  A  careful review of said provision reveals that the Constitution is silent on the issue of geographic location as it relates to  transfers.

Therefore, it is the finding of this Court that the Constitution does not prohibit nor restrict local churches from transferring their jurisdictional affiliation regardless of geographical  location(s).

Complete Order

Article III, Part 2, Section D, paragraph 17,18, 19

Just this past November in the General Assembly, Bishop Blake spoke of a meeting between the three branches of Church government, (excerpt from page 2 of the November 2015 General Assembly minutes);

“Bishop Blake continued informing the delegates of a meeting he convened between the leaders of the three branches of the church’s government. The goal of the meeting was to work out any division or differences among these bodies for the unity and future of the Church. A special resolution (see Attachment C) was prepared as a result of their collaboration and read to the Assembly for acceptance. A motion was made to adopt the resolution. After a proper second, the MOTION  CARRIED  and  Joint Resolution  #112015 was ADOPTED.”

Paragraph 5 of the Joint resolution stated;

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the rulings of the Judiciary Board are final and not subject to scrutiny or review; and”

Complete Joint Resolution

As I stated before there is now a huge uproar over this ruling.

More on this subject at a later date.

June 3, 2016

Bishop Rufus Kyles, Jr.-The JUDICIARY BOARD TAKES A STAND FOR JUSTICE:

cropped-scales-logo_small1.pngThe Case of Bishop Kyles

The Judiciary Board of the Church of God in Christ,  has taken a stand for justice that is unprecedented.  This week they have released two rulings in which they looked at what the document says (what is written) and made these rulings.

In the case against Bishop Kyles of Texas, because of errors by the Board of Bishops, Bishop Kyles won his appeal.  The Judiciary Board did not address his guilt or innocence, they only looked to see if errors claimed by Bishop Kyles occurred in his trial..  These are their findings of errors made by the trial court (Board of Bishops).    Judiciary Board Order

Here are excerpts of the Judiciary Boards Order which only consist of the reason their decision was rendered as it was.  The purpose of these excerpts is so the average person can understand their decision.  Links will be provided for the complete documents.  Links will be provided for the Board of Bishops rules which are mentioned.

I.

Certification, Function and Deliberation of Jurors

The first issue the court will consider pertains to the certification, function and deliberation of the jurors in this case.  The Constitution of the Church of God   in Christ, Inc. as recorded in Section D, paragraph (i) of the Official Manual and  the Board of Bishops Rule 10(r) govern the trial of a Bishop. For a Bishop to be convicted of misconduct, the majority of bishops present and voting must so vote. (See Board of Bishops Rule 10(5) (r)).* Likewise, the sentence for said  wrongdoing must be agreed upon by the majority of bishops present and voting. (See Board of Bishops Rule 10(q))….

…The record is silent as to the number of bishops that voted for conviction. That deafening silence renders a review impossible. In  the absence of numbers, there is no way that this court can accurately calculate the existence or absence of a majority.  If this court is unable to confirm the existence  of a majority, it cannot affirm a conviction predicated thereupon.  As  for  the penalty  phase,  the  record  reflects  that  46  (+5)  voted  for  removal  from  office.

Simple arithmetic clearly indicates that the sentence cannot stand as is does not reflect a majority of the certified number of bishops present. It  is  largely  irrelevant, however, because without a valid conviction, the sentence cannot stand. As a result, both the conviction and the sentence must be vacated.

This court is at a loss as to why the specific voting results were not recorded and incorporated into the official record of these proceedings. The failure to do so denies the respondent fundamental fairness and impugns the integrity of our church’s adjudicative process.

[(from Official Manual Article VIII, Section D, paragraph 2(i))]

(i) It will take a vote of the majority of the members of the Board of Bishops, present and voting, to sustain the charges or charge. If less than a majority, present and voting, fail to vote to sustain the charges, the accused Bishop shall stand acquitted.

II

Grievance Committee Members as Jurors

It appears from the record that bishops who served as grievance committee members also served as jurors. (See transcript of Day 2, Page 7, Line 6). For  bishops to serve in this dual capacity denies the respondent due process and fundamental fairness.

First, the Grievance Committee members serve in an investigative capacity. As such, they are privy to information pertaining to the allegations that may or may not ultimately be admitted at trial. Additionally, their function is not merely to collect data, but they must evaluate that data. They not only determine whether charges should be brought, but they actually issue the charges. (See transcript of Day 1, Page 3, Lines 22-24; Page 4, Lines 1-5).

…Additionally, as investigators, they may be called upon to testify as to some portion of their investigation, in much the same way that a police officer is subject to be called upon to testify during the course of a criminal trial where he conducted some portion of the investigation.

In summary, not only does such a circumstance deny the respondent due process by tainting the jury pool, but it also compromises the legal process as it allows for the potentiality of grievance committee members to serve both as jurors and as witnesses in the same proceeding.

III

Arguing in Opening Statement/Standard of Proof

The next allegation to be addressed is whether allowing the plaintiff/prosecutor to argue during his opening statement was reversible error.   It   is fundamental that arguing during opening statements is improper. It is also fundamental that arguing during opening statements is generally not a basis for reversible error. However, in this case, the prosecutor did not merely argue in his opening but he effectively charged the jury which, of course, is improper. (See transcript of Day 1, Pages 17-19)….

Given that multiple standards of proof were provided to the jury, there is no way to ascertain if the jurors utilized the applicable standard of Clear and Convincing Evidence or the lesser standard of Preponderance of the Evidence.  As a result, the conviction cannot stand.

IV

Removal as Pastor

 The respondent also argued that he was illegally removed from his post as pastor. Pursuant to the Board of Bishops Rule No. 3, paragraph (b) “[I]f the Complaint is being brought against the Bishop for his conduct in his capacity as a pastor of a local congregation, the Complainant must certify in writing that the Complaint is being brought by a majority of the members of the  local  congregation. (Emphasis added).” A review of the record from the proceedings below reflects that no such certification was ever referenced, presented or made  part of the record.  Furthermore, the order entered by the Board of Bishops does   not include any language that pertains to restrictions or reprimands pertaining to   the Respondent’s role as Pastor. Accordingly, no action taken against  him as  Pastor can stand, as no charge was levied against him in that capacity and no order has been entered against him infringing upon his functioning in that role. Furthermore, any action taken against the respondent in his capacity as Pastor is void ab initio.

V

Admission of Evidence of 20 year old trial

The final issue considered for review by this court is the admission of evidence of a charge from twenty years ago where the respondent was accused of similar offenses, but was ultimately exonerated. This court is unable to see the probative value of such evidence. Moreover, any probative value that it may have had was substantially outweighed by its prejudicial impact.

We find that such is the case here; it was plain error to allow the jurors to hear and consider that the respondent had been similarly charged over two decades ago.

For the foregoing reasons, the “Final Order and Judgment” of the lower

court is vacated and the matter is remanded for a new trial.

 

February 5, 2015

SAVE OUR CHURCH: VOL. 1, ISSUE 1

Here is a new publication which I have come across which discusses COGIC current events.

(Click on this link to read the newsletter)

 

Save our church

(Source unknown)

November 12, 2014

FEDERAL LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST COGIC

FEDERAL LAWSUIT FILED

There has been another lawsuit filed against COGIC.  This time however it has been filed in the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION. Read the first page below,

Click here to read the complete FEDERAL COMPLAINT.

Federal complaint cover

 

 

April 13, 2014

COGIC, A HIERARICHICAL CHURCH?

The other day I heard someone say, the Church of God in Christ is a “hierarchical church”.   The word “hierarchical” is used in more than one way.

One meaning is as the person said, the power is vertical, meaning the Presiding Bishop is over the Jurisdictional Bishop, who is over the Superintendent and the Pastor.

The other and most devastating usage is that used by the civil court.  The civil court does not care about the leadership structure.  They deal with property ownership.  To the civil court, in a hierarchical church, the National or parent organization OWNS the property and the local people purchase it and maintain it as a gift to the National Church.  The US Supreme Court used the labels Congregational and Hierarchical for the first time in the infamous case WATSON Vs JONES, and since it benefits the National Church, they all said Amen.

A Hybrid would use parts of both systems.  For property ownership, it could use aspects of the Congregational system.  Combining the two systems would give you the HYBRID

The General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ can define itself.  You can say what type of Government or as a lawyer would  say “polity” your church has.

Concerning property ownership, The Church of God in Christ lets it’s members believe the local church owns the property: (Congregational).  Concerning the leadership structure, I think Bishop Blake in his wisdom said it best

“Thus, the structure is not a pure hierarchy; it is a “hybrid structure”   in which power flows both upwards and downwards. Power flows upwards (not downwards like a hierarchy) from the delegates of the General Assembly to the General Board and Presiding Bishop. And then it flows downwards (as in a hierarchy) to the bishops and to those under their charge. It is episcopal in that it affirms the authority of the bishops who are those above. At the same time, it is governed by a constitution, and thus the constitutional rights of the pastors and congregations, who are those who are below, must not be abused or alienated from them.”  (page 4,  paragraph 2, of the book “WHY I STOOD FOR THE DEFENSE IN ORLANDO” )  Click this link to read the complete book by Bishop Charles E. Blake.

To see how the court views this word click this link THE HIERARCHICAL CHURCH.

For additional information or if you have questions contact me by using the contact form shown below.  No question or information will be posted from this contact form.

In case you think this can’t be true, here is a copy of the opinion of the Kansas Appeals court.   KANSAS COURT CASE involving a church in Liberal, Kansas

January 23, 2014

DON’T TRUST THE TRUST CLAUSE!

DON’T TRUST THE TRUST CLAUSE!

There is a lot of confusion as to what the ‘Trust Clause” found in the COGIC, Inc constitution really means.  The COGIC Trust clause found in the Official Manual, Article III, Part II, Section D paragraph 9 on page 16 states;

“The said property is held in trust for the use and benefit of the members of the Church of God in Christ with National Headquarters in the City of Memphis. Shelby County. Tennessee, and subject to the Charter, Constitution, Laws and Doctrines of said Church, now in full force and effect or as they may be hereafter amended, changed or modified by the General Assembly of said Church”

How many people really know what that means?  To put it bluntly it gives the National Church ownership of your property.
In Wichita, Kansas, in 2005, in District Court, the former General Counsel said;
” The members of the Church of God in Christ are all members who are a part of the national organization from the headquarters down to the local assembly.”
Since the General Counsel in his official position stated this for the court,  that is the position of the Executive branch of COGIC, Inc.
Did you know you are holding your Church for everybody who is part of the national organization? And here you thought it was for the local members.

Black’s Law Dictionary gives the definition of a Trust as;

1. An equitable or beneficial right or title to land or other property, held for the beneficiary by another person, in whom resides the legal title or ownership, recognized and enforced by courts of chancery. See Goodwin v. McMinn, 193 Pa. 046, 44 Atl. 1094, 74 Am. St. Rep. 703; Beers v. Lyon, 21 Conn. 613; Seymour v. Freer, 8 Wall. 202, 19 L. Ed. 300. An obligation arising out of a confidence reposed in the trustee or representative, who has the legal title to property conveyed to him, that he will faithfully apply the property according to the confidence reposed, or, in other words, according to the wishes of the grantor of the trust. 4 Kent Comm. 304; Willis, Trustees, 2; Beers v. Lyon, 21 Conn. 613; Thornburg v. Buck, 13 Ind. App. 446, 41 N. E. 85. An equitable obligation, either express or Implied, resting upon a person by reason of a confidence reposed in him, to apply or deal with the property for the benefit of some other person, or for the benefit of himself and another or others, according to such confidence. McCreary v. Gewinner, 103 Ga. 528, 29 S. E. 9G0. A holding of property subject to a duty of employing it or applying its proceeds according to directions given by the person from whom it was derived. Munroe v. Crouse. 59 Hun. 248, 12 N. Y. Supp. 815.
Law Dictionary: http://thelawdictionary.org/trust/#ixzz2rGkq7QOw

In layman’s terms, what that means is; you give the beneficiary (the National Church) an equitable (think equity as in equity in your house) interest in your Church.  Their name does not have to be on the deed.  When you join, pay your National Reports, participate and go to the meetings you are on the hook.

The attorneys know this but they talk in legal speak where words have a different meaning to them and the civil court than it does to those not trained in the law.  This I think is done to deceive, when you want to communicate truth you speak the language your hearer will understand.

Different states also handle this differently.  Some states use the “Neutral Principle”, that means whatever name is on the deed, that whose it is.  Others states use whatever their state law says.  The third and the one that is most harmful to the local members is the “Hierarchical Principle”.  You should find out which policy your state uses but remember, it  could change with the stroke of a judges pen.

If the Trust Clause stated it was held for none but the local church members or congregation, it would protect the local church.

As it stands, every chicken dinner, every bake sale done for the church is for the National Church, because of the “Trust Clause.”

Because of the Trust Clause, you are owners in name only.  Which makes you a sharecropper.

January 15, 2014

THE ABUSE, OF THE COGIC SEXUAL ABUSE RESOLUTION

IS THE MISCONDUCT RESOLUTION BEING ABUSED?

The resolution granting the authority to suspend, presented and passed on November 12, 2002 is being used in a manner that causes due process for pastors and potentially all credential holders to be in jeopardy. (Resolution is found on page 2)

It was originally purported as way to protect the National Church from Misconduct involving Sexual Molestation (See the first and last Whereas).

From the Church of God in Christ online Sexual Misconduct course, the definition of Sexual Misconduct is;
Any conduct of a sexual nature that is non-consensual, including but not limited to sexual harassment and sexual assault, or any behavior that has the effect of threatening or intimidating the individual against whom such conduct is directed.  A minor or mentally incapacitated individual can never consent to conduct of a sexual nature.
From the Church of God in Christ online Sexual Misconduct course the definition for Sexual Harassment is;
Sexual harassment, which is a form of sexual misconduct, is unwelcome attention, advances, touching, or harassment of a sexual nature that includes a range of behavior from mild, implicit or subtle transgressions an annoyances to overt and blatant activity or conduct than can involve forced sexual activity in an employment environment.

November 12, 2002 Resolution

November 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This resolution has been misapplied and used as an excuse to deny Pastors their due process under the law of the Church of God in Christ.  It is an act of injustice to use this resolution to circumvent the pastor’s constitutional rights of due process when competent, consenting adults are involved.

One such case is at the Bethel Temple Church of God in Christ in Gary, Indiana in the Third Jurisdiction of Indiana, Bishop E. Bobby Warren is the Jurisdictional Bishop .

When you look at the picture of the church, one wonders if the true motive is the acquisition of the church.

An allegation was made of conduct between two consenting adults.  The accusation have to this point not been substantiated but have been categorically denied, a case of He said/ she said.  The pastor was denied the rights as shown here from ARTICLE VIII, Section B, paragraph 2, sub paragraph, pages 31-32 of the Official Manual;

2 The procedure for the trial of a local Pastor shall be as follows:
(a) When a majority of the members of the Church Of God In Christ have documented evidence that a Pastor of a local church has committed any or all of the offenses enumerated hereinabove, they may file charges against such Pastor specifically setting out the acts and things complained of The original copy of the charges shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of the Assembly of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of which the Church and Pastor are a pan, or with which they are affiliated, and copies thereof shall be filed in the office of the General Secretary of the Church Of God In Christ at its National Headquarters in Memphis. Tennessee.

How will the General Council of Pastors and Elders respond?

Will the council require the law be followed?

As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am thought a line from his paper, ”Letters from the Birmingham Jail” where he wrote;

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” [Source ]

Bethel Temple Church of God in Christ, Gary, Indiana

Bethe Temple

[Source Google Maps]

November 4, 2013

NOVEMBER 3, 2013: THE STILL SMALL VOICE-BISHOP SAMUEL P. NESBITT

Brown Bishop Nesbitt Book copy

   TO READ THE LATEST LETTER WRITTEN BY BISHOP SAMUEL NESBITT, CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER

       TO:    The Presiding Bishop, General Board, General Assembly, Board of Bishops,
                  Council of Pastors and Elders, Officers, Members and Friends,
                  Church Of God In Christ, Inc.

August 29, 2013

COGIC LEADERSHIP CRISIS

A CRISIS IN THE RANKS OF COGIC LEADERS

There appears to be a crisis with the leaders of the Church of God in Christ.  Bishops Larry Shaw and Thomas Holsey have sent a notice of intent to file a Federal Lawsuit against Bishop Blake, Bishop J. H. Sheard and THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, INC. alleging violations of the RICO laws.  This appears to come out of the pursuit of Bishop Holsey and other issues.  The Word of God tells us Christ gave himself that he might present it to himself a church without spot or wrinkles (Ephesians 5:26-27).   When we as “saints” of God do these things, we cause the Name of God to be blasphemed, and if those in leadership are guilty, it is much worse.  God places a greater responsibility on leaders because of the damage caused the body of Christ if and when they fail the God say’s;   “For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed.” Isaiah 9:16 (NKJV).  God also told David his sin with Bathsheba gave the enemies of the Lord great occasion to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14)

TO THE LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD

(21) “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? (22) “You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? (23) “You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? (24) “For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.”[Romans 2:21–24 (NKJV)]

  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Ephesians 5:3

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:26–27

Below is a copy of the “letter of intent to sue” sent to Bishop Sheard and Bishop Blake: It was subsequently sent from the office of the Chairman of the Board of Bishops.

Click here to view the letter of intent.

Click here to view a document written by the First Vice Chairman of the Board of Bishops.

Click here to read an article which appeared on the web site of Cogic Abuse

Click here to read Bishop Nesbitt’s letter.

Click here to read the letter Enough is Enough

Also read this article at Cogic Abuse

Click on the image below to read a letter from Bishop S. P. Nesbitt dated September 7, 2013  Brown Bishop Nesbitt Book copy

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