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

July 13, 2013

COGIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS EXPOSE REVISITED

This is a topic whose time has come for it to be revisited.  The Constitutional Rights Expose was written by Brenda Stidham and the Response to the Constitutional Rights Expose was written by Bishop Samuel P. Nesbitt.  The documents are presented in Ebook form a more comfortable reading experience.

Click here on the title to view The Constitutional Rights Expose

Click on this title to read Bishop Nesbitt’s Response to The Constitutional Rights Expose

If you cannot open the Ebooks, here are the PDF versions;

Constitutional Expose 

Bishop Nesbitts Response

Here is another critique of the governmental system of COGIC.  COGIC GOVERNMENT

March 26, 2013

INJUSTICE AT MT. OLIVE; MUNCIE, IND

“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?”

These are not the words of some radical, this is a direct quote from a book written by Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (page 4, para 5:     Why I Testified For The Defense In Orlando ).

Remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Page 1. paragraph 4, Letter From Birmingham Jail ).  Another quote from this same letter says “Oppressed people cannot stay oppressed forever”,  Page 6, paragraph 4.  Make no mistake about it,  the people have no rights as can be evidenced by these events and others chronicled in this blog.   In 2 Corinthians 3:17,  the Bible says  ” Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”     The converse to that is also true, if there is no liberty, there is no Spirit. 



Here is an article from The Star Press, a newspaper which serves Muncie.

Divided church faces foreclosure

Written by Robin Gibson

Mar. 25

thestarpress.com

MUNCIE —When two opposing groups within a church each declare they constitute the actual church, who pays the bills?

In the case of Mount Olive Church of God in Christ, a 60-year-old congregation divided since last year between the family of the founding pastor and his successor, the answer is apparently no one.

The result has been an ongoing conflict now further complicated by proceedings on church property, damage to a day care facility owned by the church, the apparent departure of the new pastor and an uncertain future for the longtime southside congregation.

After the death of Mount Olive’s founder, Pastor Jesse Branson, in July 2011, Victor Champion, a pastor from out of state, was named to succeed him at the request of some church members but against the wishes of the Branson family.

The struggle between the family and Champion for control of the church and records eventually ended up in Delaware Circuit Court 1, with the red brick church closed to everyone for 30 days, then reopened for separate services by the two groups each Sunday.

After an August 2012 court ruling that both sides interpreted in their own favor, Champion had police stop Branson family members and their supporters from entering the church the Sunday of Labor Day 2012 weekend, warning them they would be trespassing if they did so.

Since then, the Branson side of the dispute has tried without success to regain access to the church property, including calling for a vote by church members in September 2012 to withdraw from the denomination entirely. That vote and supporting signatures were duly submitted to the denomination’s bishops, but the local group has never received a response, according to B. Joseph Davis, attorney for the Branson family. The Bransons’ supporters have taken a “wait and see” approach on that matter, since pursuing that in federal court would be so costly, he added.

Champion and Bishop Nathaniel Wells Jr., who oversees the Muncie church from Michigan and who appointed Champion as pastor, both said before the September vote that it would not be considered valid since the pastor had not called the meeting at which it was taken.

Damaged day care

Another issue resulting from the clashes between Champion and the Branson family was the closure of Little Lambs Day Care. Located in a separate building owned by the church, the day care —run by Pastor Branson’s daughter, Dorothy Jean Mills —closed shortly after Champion used a padlock and chains to lock the building’s doors in September 2012. Mills initially moved the day care to another, temporary site, but was soon after forced to close it down entirely.

Little Lambs later sued Champion and won a default judgment against him in November when Champion failed to appear in court, with damages still to be determined. At a hearing earlier this month, Delaware Circuit Court 1 Judge Marianne Vorhees issued an order allowing Little Lamb’s representatives access to the building to retrieve any personal property and documents.

Davis said the building’s power had been cut off, resulting in frozen, ruptured pipes and damage to the property over the winter. The emergency motion to permit entry also contended “agents of the defendant” had been removing property from the building.

Davis said last week he believed Champion had left Muncie and was no longer serving as pastor at Mount Olive. Champion appeared in person in Muncie City Court in mid-December to plead guilty to operating a motor vehicle without ever having been licensed and disregarding a stop sign, resulting in a suspended 60-day jail sentence and 60 days’ unsupervised probation through City Court, according to court records.

Sheriff’s deputies attempting to deliver notices related to the Little Lambs lawsuit to Champion at 815 S. Hackley St. on Nov. 30 noted the “house is vacant,” court files show.

Bishop Wells did not return multiple phone messages inquiring about Champion and the current status of Mount Olive Church, and his office would not confirm whether Champion was still at the Muncie church.

Foreclosure

The church’s future is all the more tenuous because multiple properties it owns —including the church building itself —are facing foreclosure.

According to court records in a mortgage foreclosure case filed Jan. 30 by First Merchants Bank, Pastor Branson and three deacons of the church took out two mortgage loans on the church’s behalf, each for $100,000, in June 2001.

First Merchants notified the church in early December 2012 that it was in default on both loans and that failure to pay would result in foreclosure. As of Nov. 28, Mount Olive owned $35,372.23 on one of the loans, and $69,831.52 on the other, according to court records, which cite liens on properties including the church building at 821 S. Hackley St.

The issue with the mortgage payments —as well as non-payment of utility bills at the Little Lambs building and its subsequent damage —according to Davis, attorney for the Branson family, is that both sides had stopped paying the bills. His clients stopped handling mortgage payments after being kicked out of the buildings in the wake of the earlier court case; Champion allegedly had the original church trustees removed from church banking information after that, but also apparently did not pay the bills either, Davis said.

The foreclosure action on the church’s property could have at least one positive outcome in the overall conflict, Davis said; it will clarify who “owns” the church.

As many as 17 people and entities —including Mills, Champion, the local church and trustees designated by both factions, the Church of God in Christ office in Michigan and Little Lambs Day Care —are listed in court records as defendants in the mortgage foreclosure case. Davis said last week that more would likely be added.

Also listed in the foreclosure case is the Muncie Industrial Revolving Loan Fund Board, likely because of a $50,000 loan the board made to Little Lambs in 2004 for such things as furniture, paving and operating capital. Todd Donati, director of the MIRLF, who has been researching the matter, said a church-owned property on South Hackley was put up as collateral for the loan, on which about $37,000 is still owed.

Neither members of the Branson family nor supporters of Champion returned calls inquiring about the church’s current status.

Contact Robin Gibson at 213-5855.

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