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
Presephoni (center, middle row) with part of the congregation.
By Carl Stagner
Liberal, Kansas, never saw it coming. The city of only about 20,000 people couldn’t have imagined the day. Only 3.8 percent of the population is African American, and the new pastor of South Church of God is both black and a woman. Presephoni Fuller is, in fact, the first black pastor in the ninety-year history of the church. Still, Pastor Presephoni takes it all in stride. She doesn’t have time to ponder the uniqueness of her situation; she’s too busy reaching deeper into the community and taking the Kansas congregation to new heights. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central, Give Life
Tagged African American, black, community involvement, community outreach, diversity, ethnicity, Georgia, Give Life, Jason McClendon, Kansas, KS, Leadership Focus, Liberal, ministerial calling, multicultural, neighborhood, pastoral call, Presephoni Fuller, race, racial reconciliation, Reclaim, reclamation, South Church of God, unity, white
Nora and J. R. Stepp in scenic Alaska.
By Carl Stagner
One year has passed since J. R. Stepp became the first black pastor of a predominantly white congregation in Palmer, Alaska. But to Palmer Church of God and Pastor J. R., it’s really no big deal. While they certainly acknowledge the effective witness of multicultural ministry, they’re most concerned about the advancement of the kingdom. Simply put, they’re too busy preaching the gospel in word and action to spend time thinking about their unique situation. As the Spirit convicts and compels the Church of God movement to reconciliation and greater unity, Palmer Church of God offers a glimpse of what it looks like when Jesus is truly the subject. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Western
Tagged AK, Alaska, community, ethnicity, J. R. Stepp, Jesus Is the Subject, Jim Lyon, Leonora Stepp, love, missional, multi-ethnic, multicultural, Nora, Northwest, outreach, Palmer, Phoenix Regional Convention, race, racial reconciliation, unity