Tag Archives: Philadelphia

New Jersey Church Faithful in the Face of Adversity

Volunteers from Highland Park assist local community for veterans.

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes, on the scale of size and influence, smaller churches can feel insignificant. The truth is that the impact of the smaller churches among us cannot be overstated. The Church of God in Gloucester City, New Jersey, for example, has a rich history of impact for the kingdom. Highland Park Church of God also has benefited from pastoral longevity; as senior pastor Bill Dilks prepares for retirement later this year after twenty years, associate pastor Debra Conner surveys the faithfulness of Highland Park, encouraging the congregation to press on in ministry during this time of transition. Through community partnership, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the New Jersey church believes God will do many more amazing things in their midst. But they’re not waiting for some elusive big breakthrough to live out their purpose—Highland Park carries on the work of the gospel, even in the face of adversity. 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

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

CHOG Regional Conventions 2016: Announcing Ben Hardman

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Photo: Ben Hardman

By Carl Stagner

Church of God Ministries is happy to announce Ben Hardman as one of several excellent speakers scheduled for the three regional conventions of the Church of God this year. Though you may not be familiar with Ben, you likely know his aunt. The same dedication to the Lord and disciple-making that epitomized Church of God missionary Susan Hardman is evident in the life and ministry of Ben Hardman today. Director of Missional Think Tank, a coaching and training organization, Ben helps re-awaken pastors and churches to the vitality of mission and discipleship. A brief look into his background and present ministry sheds light on why we’re so excited he’ll be joining us in Vancouver, Anderson, and Philadelphia. Continue reading

Speakers, Leaders Announced for 2016 Regional Conventions

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By Carl Stagner

Convention plans continue to be finalized for what will be a year of historic firsts. The 2015 General Assembly vote to make the Church of God Convention an every-other-year experience also paved the way for smaller-scale regional conventions during the even-numbered years. Church of God people will gather in three different locations this year, including Vancouver, Washington (April 26–28); Anderson, Indiana (June 21–23); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (September 27–29). We’re excited to announce that the leadership for this year’s regional conventions has been named. Continue reading

Steve Arterburn Announced for 2016 CHOG Regional Conventions

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By Carl Stagner

Steve Arterburn is no stranger to the Church of God. He’s offered us valuable insights on CBH ViewPoint, encouraged us at conferences, and skillfully blended humor and bold truth on the Church of God Convention platform in Anderson. We’re excited to announce that Steve will again bless the movement in 2016 for each of the three regional conventions. Continue reading

Grace in Guyana: Grannum Grateful for Global Missions

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By Carl Stagner

Because of his commitment to the Lord, his family threw him out of the house at age fourteen. His school books were tossed out the door, and the injunction to go live at the church echoed harshly in his ears. He remembered the words of Psalm 27:10, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in” (ESV). So even as the young believer collected his belongings in a pillow case and set off into the unknown, a song eased the pain: “Whether I live or die, whether I wake or sleep, I am the Lord’s, I know.” Continue reading