Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Pastor Publishes Legendary Account of Pain, Redemption, and Triumph

Milton Grannum telling his story at Church of God Convention 2009.

By Carl Stagner

Because of his commitment to Jesus Christ, Milton Grannum’s family kicked him out of their house when he was only fourteen years old. Adding insult to injury, they tossed his school books out the door and told him he should go live at the church. The words of the psalmist brought comfort to young Milton: “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in” (Psalm 27:10 ESV). Stuffing all his belongings in a pillow case, Milton left, unsure of what he might face. Still, Milton Grannum found resolve in the words of a song: “Whether I live or die, whether I wake or sleep, I am the Lord’s, I know.” Continue reading

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

Renewed Life, Purpose Follow Philadelphia Regional

By Carl Stagner

A historic gathering came to end on Thursday, September 29, after three days of renewal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the last of three Regional Conventions, but the experience inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit was no afterthought. What some expected to be an “off year” of less significant smaller-scale meetings on the heels of two major conventions in Oklahoma City proved to be anything but that. Those who came together on the beautiful and expansive campus of New Covenant Church were not only blessed by the convention coming to their own backyard, but also enthusiastically supportive of the new day in the Church of God that dawned only a couple of years ago. The result: pastors and lay leaders committed to return to their local churches and communities eager to reclaim their neighborhoods in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Philadelphia Wednesday: When God’s People Come Together

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Photo: When God’s people come together…

By Carl Stagner

Incredible things happen when God’s people come together. The presence of God is powerful when God’s people come together. When God’s people come together, regardless of ethnicity or culture, differences diminish and Jesus Christ is magnified. Hope shines bright, the body of Christ is strong, and the kingdom advances when God’s people come together. In a world so strongly divided by race and politics, Jesus Christ was the clearly the unifying subject on Wednesday at the Regional Convention of the Church of God at New Covenant Church in Philadelphia. In a culture exemplified by competing aspirations and agendas, Church of God pastors and lay leaders came together Wednesday to embrace a common mission: to reclaim our neighborhoods in Jesus’ name. 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

Reclaim 2016 Finale Begins in Philadelphia

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By Carl Stagner

This year’s third-and-final Regional Convention begins today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. New Covenant Church of God, the church founded by Reclaim 2016 speaker Milton Grannum and his wife Hyacinth, hosts the event, which officially kicks off at 7:00 PM EDT. Many Church of God pastors and lay leaders have already arrived, drawn by extra events, such as the CARE Initiative workshop from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM today. Adding to this week’s grand finale experience is the highly-anticipated CHOG Table on Thursday, which will allow guests to grapple with the current, hot-button issue of race and reconciliation. From Vancouver, Washington, to Anderson, Indiana, to the City of Brotherly Love—the call to reclaim our neighborhoods in Jesus’ name is taking hold and turning in to action. Continue reading

Bonus Events Enhance Reclaim Philadelphia Experience

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Photo: Greeting Warner U. President David Hoag (left) in Anderson.

By Carl Stagner

September is upon us, and so is the third-and-final 2016 Regional Convention of the Church of God. These historic gatherings have brought us to new places, fostered new relationships, and sparked new energy and excitement in the movement. Many who have never attended a convention in Anderson due to distance have seen or will see the experience brought to their own backyards. As New Covenant Church of God prepares to welcome the Church of God to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, convention-goers are making arrangements to arrive early and take advantage of several bonus events and activities slated to make a great experience even better. Continue reading

Church of God to Have Conversation about Race, Reconciliation

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Photos: Diana Swoope, Vivian Moore, Jim Lyon

By Carl Stagner

Ferguson. Baltimore. St. Paul. Dallas. Baton Rouge. At the mention of these cities, a range of emotions is awakened in a time when issues of race and reconciliation once again dominate the headlines. The tragic deaths of young black men and police officers over the past few months have not only incited rage, sorrow, and further exacerbated racial tensions, but have also surely grieved the very heart of God. Does the church have anything to say? Would it be easier to avoid the issue because it’s so contentious? Politicians and pundits have weighed in and offer no shortage of opinions. No, the church cannot stay silent. We need to talk. 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

Locals Introduce Church of God to Philadelphia Ahead of Regional Convention

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By Carl Stagner

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For those who’ve never been there before, mention of the City of Brotherly Love might conjure up images of scrumptious cheesesteak and the historic Liberty Bell. But to those who call it home, Philadelphia is so much more. That may be why Church of God locals are so eager to talk about their beloved hometown ahead of the third and final Regional Convention slated for September 27–29 at New Covenant Church. Continue reading