Tag Archives: PA

Tornadoes, Flooding Wreak Havoc Across Plains, Midwest

Dayton-area home damaged by tornado (photo courtesy Chris Hall).

By Carl Stagner

UPDATE, as of May 31, 11:15 AM EDT: As floodwaters continue to devastate parts of Oklahoma, Church of God Ministries has authorized $5,000 in relief funds to be sent to aid relief efforts in coordination with Crossings Community Church (Oklahoma City) and First Church of God (Nowata, Oklahoma). Wendell Abbott, pastor in Nowata, reports that the need is great and most homeowners do not have flood insurance. The emergency manager for the county is also a part of the Nowata congregation and the church has become a staging facility for the Red Cross. In Muskogee, also inundated, Pastor Gary Underwood of Eastside Community Church is helping flood victims in a variety of ways, including gathering hay for farm animals. While the story continues to develop, we rejoice that great things are happening through the Church of God in Oklahoma in the name of Jesus! To continue to distribute disaster relief funds, we need your financial support: www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief.

UPDATE, as of May 30, 3:55 PM EDT: Kevin Clouse, of Oklahoma Church of God Ministries, has reported that no Church of God buildings have been damaged from recent storms and flooding. One pastor’s rented house sustained some roof damage, and some churches are hard to reach due to flooded roads. Of course, numerous homes and churches beyond the Movement have been damaged or destroyed, and we continue to lift in prayer those affected, including Church of God congregations engaging in relief efforts for their communities.


ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT: It’s been a rough few weeks from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania and states in between. While weather records reveal an average of 276 tornadoes nationwide during the month of May, as of May 29, more than 460 tornadoes had been reported. While much of the media has focused its attention on the dramatic destruction of structures due to recent tornadic activity, parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri remain underwater. Church of God congregations near and far from the affected regions have already mobilized work teams, supply drives, and represented Jesus in tangible ways, but there is so much more to be done. Church of God Disaster Relief continues to gather information and determine the scope of the affect of such severe weather on our churches and congregants. Continue reading

Grant Gives Movement Opportunity to Participate in Worship Arts Symposium

By Carl Stagner

Want to attend a preaching clinic, church health seminar, or theological dialogue in the Church of God today? You’ll find plenty of options throughout the year. Want to be a part of an experience designed for worship leaders and their praise teams? Those opportunities may be hard to find—until now. The Church of God Ministries U.S. and Canada Strategy team is excited to spread the news of the first-ever Worship Arts Symposium offered by the National Association of the Church of God (NACOG). The event, scheduled to take place August 2–4 at the National Association Campground in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, will offer theoretical and practical insights to strengthen the worship ministry of the local church, give opportunity to practice those insights during the NACOG Camp Meeting that follows, and return worship ministers back to their home churches refreshed and renewed. Continue reading

From the Archives: Leaves, Neighbors, and Creative Confrontation

By C. Milton Grannum

One morning I preached a message on creative confrontation. I emphasized that life has conflicts, that simply avoiding conflicts is not always an appropriate Christian response, and that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather a deep settled confidence that one has chosen the most appropriate options and attitudes in the conflicts of life. Continue reading

Triumph After Tragedy: A Developing Story in DuBois, Pennsylvania

Tri County Church celebrates one of many baptisms.

By Carl Stagner

January 23, 2016. A day Tri County Church of God in DuBois, Pennsylvania, will never forget. A day that could have dismantled much of the good that had been accomplished since the dawn of the congregation in 1995. Dave Bish, founding pastor, died suddenly and unexpectedly that day while out on a trail run. Devastation swept across the community, but hell would not prevail. Instead of a downward spiral, the church rallied together in an outpouring of love like they’d never seen before. God had a clear mission for Tri County Church, and neither the remaining leadership nor the new lead pastor would be deterred. As they relate the timeless story of Jesus Christ to the stories of those near and far from God, Tri County Church is inviting everyone into their own developing story in DuBois. Continue reading

Western PA Churches Band Together for Hurricane-Hit Texas

CHOG Albuquerque team members unloading material in Texas.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Greg Smith lived in Houston, Texas, from 2010 to 2013, where attended First Church of God. Over those three years, he got to know Texas pastors Tim Gould, Jim Fiertag, and Tim West. During that period, he also worked on a Homeland Security grant, and was a part of a three-person team that wrote the Mass Fatality Incident Response Plan for the city of Houston and thirteen surrounding counties. Though he now lives in Pennsylvania and pastors First Church of God in Punxsutawney, the Hurricane Harvey disaster hit home for Greg. It should come as no surprise that Greg’s church would respond. But what he might not have expected was the incredible show of support from a dozen churches across Western Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Church of God Gears Up for Easter

Photo: Cornwall Church’s Skagit Valley “Tulip Team” members.

By Carl Stagner

Jesus is the subject, no doubt about it. The life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—from birth, to death, to resurrection—is one we exalt from Sunday to Sunday, Christmas to Easter, and throughout the year. It’s no wonder that Church of God congregations across the country and around the world are pulling out all the stops for a week of worship, reflection, outreach, community service, and celebration. Throughout the movement, churches are preparing for community Easter egg hunts and festivals, Communion, Good Friday gatherings, Sunrise services, breakfasts and brunches, stations of the cross, special music and drama—and of course, footwashing. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Philadelphia: Grannum Addresses Movement from His Own Backyard

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Photo: Milton Grannum speaks on Tuesday night.

By Carl Stagner

Perhaps unlike any other form of communication, stories capture our hearts. If you’ve ever heard the story of Milton Grannum’s journey of faith from a humble childhood to the prestigious leadership of one of the largest churches in our movement, you’ve surely been blessed. To hear him speak of the unlimited potential of one deposit—one seed—is nothing short of inspirational, but even more so when you’re completely surrounded by the fruit of one small seed planted in the life of a boy from Guyana. On the beautiful and expansive campus of New Covenant Church of God in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Milton Grannum set the tone Tuesday evening for a life-giving, purpose-renewing third-and-final Regional Convention of 2016. Continue reading

Convention Host Church Changing the World by Making Jesus the Subject

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By Carl Stagner

“Most individuals, corporate or nonprofit organizations, and churches fail because they major in the minor things. Jesus is the major person and his mission is the major thing that God and the Holy Spirit are focusing on in the world. ‘Jesus is the Subject’ calls me back to a consciousness of why I am saved, and what is my God-given mission.” Before ‘Jesus is the Subject’ gained traction in the Church of God, Milton Grannum’s God-given mission centered on Jesus. Since 1982, the Christ-centered leadership he and his wife Hyacinth have provided New Covenant Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has propelled the church to its place as one of the largest congregations in the Church of God. As this Regional Convention speaker for 2016 returns to his home church to speak to the “Reclaim Your Neighborhood” theme one more time near the end of September, a glimpse into the church he and Hyacinth founded reveals a church that is truly changing the world by making Jesus the subject. Continue reading

Pennsylvania Church Lights Up the Sky for Fourth of July

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Photo: Fireworks above the New Beginnings Church steeple.

By Carl Stagner

The Independence Day holiday wasn’t exactly a day off for New Beginnings Church of God in Meadville, Pennsylvania. While July 4 doesn’t have the same ring in other countries as it does in the USA, it’s an opportunity for domestic outreach that’s hard to resist. The freedoms we have in America certainly pale in comparison to the freedom we have in Jesus Christ, but on July 4, New Beginnings demonstrated gratitude for all the blessings God has given. They wanted to show, in particular, that God’s love for them overflows into love for their neighbors. So after options for family-friendly fun on the Fourth of July all but faded from the community calendar, the church stepped up to the plate. Reviewing all that the Lord has done since to cement the church’s relationship with their community, they’re glad they did! Continue reading

National Association Camp Meeting to Celebrate 100 Years

By Carl Stagner

For one hundred years, Zion’s Hill at West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, has been the location of a camp meeting that has made an indelible mark on thousands of Church of God men and women. The National Association, which began in 1916 as a ministry largely focused on many African Americans who, at the time, were relocating northward from southern states. Driven to live out the unity that the Church of God preached, the National Association continued to grow in number and influence on the movement. From the earliest days, Zion’s Hill has welcomed all people, regardless of ethnicity or background, onto these hallowed grounds. The August 7–14 event is expected to draw record crowds and feature some of the finest preaching and worship in the Church of God. To celebrate their centennial, several special experiences and artistic components are being added to the schedule. Continue reading