Pastor Ray Hodges preaching the gospel at Resolute Church.
By Carl Stagner
Ray Hodges had personal experience with church; he’d never had personal experience with the risen Christ. Growing up Catholic, he’d acknowledged the existence of God but would confess there was no relationship with Jesus. Even when he began attending the Iglesia de Dios (Church of God) with his girlfriend, it was the kindness of the people, the lively music, and the relatable preaching that he came to know and love. Without the foundation of Christ in his life, the allure of drugs and parties soon became too much to bear. Thankfully, the patience and persistent prayers of his wife and pastor over Ray’s fifteen-year addiction paid off when Jesus Christ gloriously redeemed his painful past for a future of purpose and promise. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged addiction, addiction recovery, barber, Bill Banda, church growth, church multiplication, church plant, church planting, Corpus Christi, drug abuse, drug addiction, drugs, ethnic, Gilbert Davila, Hispanic, intervention, life change, Michelle Hodges, mistakes, multi-ethnic, multiculural, multiplication, pain, past, patience, persistence, personal, prayer, Ray Hodges, recovery, redemption, Resolute Church, restoration, story, testimony, Texas, transformation, TX, unconditional love
Church of God of East New York dressed for Black History Month.
By Carl Stagner
Cultural traditions and observances have long been a part of the church calendar. While they don’t demand acknowledgement in worship settings, they’ve been used effectively to establish connections between Christ and community, and between the present-day congregation and faithful servants of the past. From “Souper Bowl” Sunday to fall (Halloween?) festivals, from Labor Day picnics to celebrations of God and country (Independence Day), celebrations of otherwise secular occasions are often used by the church to reach neighbors, encourage fellowship, and/or put into practice biblical values. Each February, numerous Church of God congregations celebrate Black History Month and, in so doing, build bridges between church and society, often shining a light on topics sometimes overlooked or ignored by popular culture. Three Church of God congregations in the Northeast offer a snapshot of Black History Month in the Movement. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Northeast
Tagged African American, black history, Black History Month, Brooklyn, celebration, Church of God of East New York, Clifton McDowell, Connecticut, CT, cultural, culture, diversity, Esau Greene, ethnic, ethnicity, February, heritage, heroes, holiday, legacy, multicultural, New Antioch Church of God, New Haven, New York, NY, NYC, observance, race, racial reconciliation, Refuge Church of God, Tatum Osbourne, unity
The book, Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Christian Higher Education was published on August 8, 2017, and explores the unique need for diversity in Christian universities and colleges. The book begins with various universities and colleges that have made diversity a goal and priority. Among these is Warner Pacific College, the Church of God college in Portland, Oregon. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Colleges & Universities, Western
Tagged Andrea Cook, book, Christian higher education, college, cross-cultural, culture, diversity, ethnic, multicultural, published, race, unity, university, Warner Pacific College
Photo: Gathering Place Church of God marriage retreat.
By Carl Stagner
Remember that slogan? “A United Church for a Divided World.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be just a slogan, and it doesn’t have to only represent a theme of days gone by. For The Gathering Place Church of God in Fairview Heights, Illinois, it represents present reality. They’re the product of two churches coming together; that is, a predominantly black church and a predominantly white church. While the rest of the world is busy arguing over this, that, and the other, this unified church across the Mississippi River from St. Louis is preoccupied with communicating Jesus to a lost and hurting community. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central, Great Lakes
Tagged Eric Livingston, ethnic, Fairview Heights, Frederick Wright, functional unity, Gathering Place Church of God, Illinois, Jesus Is the Subject, merge, merger, multi-ethnic, multicultural, race, racial unity