Tag Archives: ecumenical

Renovation for a Church, Renewal for Far Rockaway

Pastor Arthur Davenport speaks at the building dedication.

By Emily Ploetz

On the Sunday morning, October 8, worship filled the room in the First Church of God of Far Rockaway, New York. The service was unlike any typical Sunday morning gathering for a very special reason, six months in the making! Far Rockaway had been under a full-scale renovation for half a year and, after everything had been completed, Pastor Arthur Davenport invited the congregation to join in a procession of prayer and worship. There was much rejoicing at this celebration because everyone there knew that God had blessed them in so many ways. Continue reading

Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy: Advocating for Women in Ministry

Back row: Carron Odokara, Deidra Johnson, Joy Sherman, Randee Doe, and Rebecca New-Edson. Front row: Ann Brandon, Melissa Pratt, MaryAnn Hawkins, and Cheryl Sanders. Ron Duncan was also in attendance as executive director for the Global Wesleyan Alliance.

By Carron Odokara and staff

The Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy (WHWC) organization held a “think tank” Congress on February 23–24, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. Forty representatives, both women and men, from five member-church groups, came together to discuss the state and mission of the twenty-five-year-old organization. The Congress welcomed representatives from the Church of God (Anderson), Brethren in Christ, Free Methodist Church, Church of the Nazarene, and the Wesleyan Church. These faith groups came together not only under the banner of Jesus, but also because they’ve each taken a stand in support for women in ministry. Continue reading

Jesus Message Sweeps Across Dominican Republic, Thousands Saved

Photo: Prayer at the Church of God where Juan Santos is pastor.

By Carl Stagner

Though some might consider it overused, there’s likely no better word to describe what’s happening today among Christians in the Dominican Republic. Revival can be seen breaking out in churches, on street corners, in sports, in the media, and even in politics. Unconcerned with denominational differences and squabbles over style, churches are banding together under one unifying message—Jesus. Church of God pastor Juan Santos recently led his Santo Domingo congregation to participate in a weeklong evangelism initiative, a national effort which resulted in several thousand souls won to Christ. He’s delighted to report on the incredible impact of the experience and reveal insights into the cultural transformation permeating nearly every level of society. Continue reading

Kingdom-Minded in Muncie: Mary and Cornelius Dollison

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Photo: The Dollisons and Kirby Avenue Church of God.

By Rachel Eldridge

Unity. Reclamation. These are tough goals. It’s easier to think about them than to do them, far simpler to dismiss them as buzzwords than carry them out, day by day, in the messiness of life. But for Mary and Cornelius Dollison and Kirby Avenue Church of God, unity and reclamation are part of life itself.

“‘Working together, involving all’ has been my motto, and I strive to live it every day,” Mary wrote in a recent column in her local newspaper, expressing gratitude for a Lifetime Achievement Award she recently received. Continue reading

Michigan Ministry Blankets Cold World with Love

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Photo: School children blessed by the quilting ministry.

By Carl Stagner

The world can be a cruel and cold place. Especially for children and families living in poverty. Especially for the homeless. Especially for inhabitants of third-world countries. Congregations and ministries of the Church of God are known across the country and around the world for bringing the light and warmth of God’s love to “the least of these.” One such ministry creates and distributes quilts and blankets to those in need both here and abroad. Mary Scott joins approximately fifteen other ladies and three gentlemen who meet on Mondays at Beaverton Church of God in Beaverton, Michigan. More than a social club, this quilting ministry she leads warms both the body and the soul. Continue reading

Miracles in Homeland: California Church Rises from the Ashes

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Photo: Fire engulfs Community First Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

A raging inferno blazed all around it, but it did not burn. The roof collapsed above it, but it didn’t budge. Thousands of gallons of water poured onto it, but it remained in place. The seven-foot wooden cross in the sanctuary of Community First Church of God in Homeland, California, which stood tall in the midst of piles of charred rubble, has since become a visible reminder of God’s faithfulness. Over the next few months, the church’s nightmare would set into motion a series of developments leading to a stronger, healthier congregation and community. Several hours earlier, however, Pastor Mike Gratzke found himself staring in disbelief at the sickening orange glow that illuminated the night sky. Continue reading

Church of God at Front Lines of Societal Transformation

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By Carl Stagner

The world is hungry. Starving, in fact. Decades of devolution into trite programs and a focus on religious rituals have often offered only gristle in lieu of hearty spiritual meat. Regardless of cultural background, people today are craving convictions that lead to meaningful action. They’re searching for answers amid a smorgasbord of platitudes and pretense. But at the forefront of change is the Church of God movement, revitalized by a bright new day of reclaiming what hell has stolen and changing the world by making Jesus the subject. Such theology really isn’t new; it’s New Testament, and it’s leading Church of God ministers and ministries to lock arms with like-minded brothers and sisters in spite of what name may be over the door of the church they attend. A new book edited by Barry Callen celebrates the multitude of faith groups connected by their Wesleyan roots which, through their distinct voices united under Christ, are living out common-held truths and transforming society. Continue reading

Churches Share Youth Pastor, Maximize Kingdom Impact

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Photo: Pastor Matt Derby and family.

By Carl Stagner

For two years, the two Church of God congregations of Ithaca, Michigan, have shared a youth pastor. The radical arrangement simply makes it possible for one to have a youth pastor, while the other church now has resources it didn’t have before. Ithaca Church of God and Edgewood Church of God have discovered that competition crumbles when it’s all about the common mission. That mission isn’t to outdo one another, see who can fill more pews, or beat each other to the buffet! While churches in America have been known to act like they’re on different teams, the truth is we’re on the same team when we seek God’s kingdom first. Not only do Ithaca and Edgewood share a youth pastor and various activities through the year, but they also team up with churches of a variety of denominations to meet the community’s needs. Perhaps that’s why the recent joint fundraiser for the local food pantry brought in record crowds and dollars. Continue reading

Jesus is the Subject on the Reservation, Too!

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Photo: Volunteer and child at Wounded Knee.

By Carl Stagner

They may not agree on everything, but they agree on the mission. You have to understand: on the Pine Ridge Reservation, hope is as sparse as the vegetation. All of the mission teams that come to Wounded Knee Church of God in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, know that what the Lakota people need so desperately is Jesus. They don’t first need a lesson on a distinguishing doctrine of the Church of God. They don’t need bickering. They don’t need a divided church. They need Jesus. Continue reading

Pennsylvania Church Celebrates Healing, Kingdom Partnership

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Photo: Community outreach through a car show at University Park.

By Timothy Coppess

God has been at work at University Park Church of God in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. As God has moved, he gave a theme for each of the last three years, but the special focus of each year has continued on into subsequent years. The theme for 2014 was “A Year of Healing.” God continues to perform wonderful healings of past hurts and division, as well as miraculous physical, emotional, and mental healings in the congregation and outside the congregation. Continue reading

Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy Names CHOG Clergywoman as President

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Rev. Dr. MaryAnn Hawkins, Church of God (Anderson) has been chosen to serve a three-year term as the new president of Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy. Hawkins, a member of the Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy board of directors since 2008, is a professor of intercultural studies and associate dean at Anderson University School of Theology. Continue reading

Global Wesleyan Alliance Rallies Faith Groups Around Christ

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From December 6–7, 2013, national leaders of several churches in the Wesleyan tradition of the global Christian community met for the third time as the Global Wesleyan Alliance (GWA). Organized in 2011, the GWA seeks to unite in prophetic voice and missional engagement in service to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings transformation to persons and societies by the power of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Several Denominations, Just One Subject

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By Carl Stagner

A recent tweet* from Jim Lyon on the subject of unrest in the Middle East suggested that in some parts of the world, typically divisive subjects become trivialities: “The luxury of division in the body of Christ evaporates in a world where professing Jesus as Lord brings persecution, even death.” Others have said that when we all get to heaven, there’s going to be one church, so why not start living like it now? Huber Heights Church of God in Huber Heights, Ohio, is reaching their hands beyond themselves, bringing a taste of heaven to earth. They recently organized a worship service featuring several denominations, but just one subject. Continue reading

Global Wesleyan Alliance Promotes Collaboration Among Wesleyan-Arminian Groups

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Leaders of 18 faith groups convened for meetings of the Global Wesleyan Alliance (GWA) on Friday, November 30, 2012, and Saturday, December 1, 2012, at the headquarters of the Churches of Christ in Christian Union in Circleville, Ohio. The GWA partnership was formed in December 2011 to amplify the prophetic voice of Wesleyan-Arminian holiness ministries and to increase their effectiveness in spreading scriptural holiness throughout the world. Continue reading