Tag Archives: Reconciliation

Massey Legacy Lives On through Newly Published Book

By Carl Stagner

On Sunday, June 24, Dr. James Earl Massey’s life on this earth came to an end. But his incredible legacy has only just begun to affect the lives of students, pastors, and parishioners. One of the many ways his legacy lives on is through his latest book, Views from the Mountain. Published within days of his passing, the compilation of select writings from the brilliant mind of Massey was co-edited by Barry Callen and Curtiss DeYoung. As the back cover of the book states, “Rarely does one voice speak with equal wisdom on fields as diverse and demanding as Bible interpretation, Christian education, inspired preaching, seminary education, and ministries of reconciliation.” Indeed, Dr. Massey did all that and so much more, for the Church of God movement and beyond. Now the Church of God—no, all of Christendom—has the opportunity to glean wisdom from the pages of what Dr. Massey called the “last great goal” of his life. Continue reading

Phoenix, Oklahoma City Regional Conventions Commission All

Friendships, both old and new, are a Regional Convention highlight.

By Carl Stagner

Two of the five Church of God Regional Conventions 2018 are now history, but their impact is still being felt from Alaska to Alabama. Some may have flown to Arizona to escape winter’s clutch on spring, but they stayed to drink from an oasis in the desert. Others may have descended upon Oklahoma City for the fine barbecue, but they stayed because their cravings were satisfied in the life-giving teaching and fellowship. Still others attended, many as first-time guests of a Church of God convention, because this year’s variety of regional locations afforded them accessibility. Challenged to reclaim what hell has stolen, but inspired to fully embrace the Life, attendees of the first two Regional Conventions ultimately climbed in cars or boarded airplanes to return home, ready and resourced to change the world in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

MACU Hosts Luncheon Celebrating Legendary Race Relations Victory

Photo: Dick Soergel and Russell Perry today.

By Whitney Knight

As a part of Mid-America Christian University’s monthly E-Club lunch series for athletics supporters, local football legends Dick Soergel and Russell Perry held a Q&A session on March 29 at MACU’s campus in south Oklahoma City. In 1955, Soergel and Perry broke racial barriers when they quarterbacked opposing high school teams—Capitol Hill and Douglass—in the state’s first integrated football game. Continue reading

Ferguson, MO-Area Pastor Calls Church, Community to Reconciliation

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Photo: First Church of God community Thanksgiving meal.

By Carl Stagner

August 9, 2014. That was the day Michael Brown was shot and killed in a city which has sadly become emblematic of recent racial tensions in our country. Ferguson, Missouri, drew massive media attention in the days and weeks following the tragedy, but there was one near-tragedy that took place in another St. Louis, Missouri-area municipality which few know about. Five days earlier, Brian Burton found himself looking into the barrel of a gun which discharged; no explanation as to why the officer’s gun went off, nor why there was no bullet to be found. But Brian Burton, now pastor of First Church of God in St. Louis, considers it only by the grace of God that he’s alive today. Based on his perspectives growing up within a few minutes of Ferguson, as well as his experience leading a multicultural church today, Pastor Brian offers a clarion call to the church for reconciliation. Continue reading

IYC, NIYC and Concilio Hispano Youth to Hold Unity Event in 2017

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By Carl Stagner

Two of our partners in ministry celebrate vibrant youth ministry outside of involvement in the International Youth Convention, including the National Association’s NIYC (National Inspirational Youth Convention) and the student ministries of the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano). For many youth in the Church of God, IYC is not the pinnacle of their year; NIYC or the youth events of the Hispanic Council take that description. It is with great anticipation then, that in 2017, students of IYC, NIYC, and the Hispanic Council will come together for a groundbreaking unity event. ONE will gather youth across ethnic and cultural lines together under the banner of Christ to worship and serve together. When unity becomes more than just talk, incredible things begin to happen. Continue reading

Soldier-Turned-Pastor Washes Feet of World War II Enemies

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Photo: Felipe’s Bible (left); picture of Felipe & Mitsuo Fuchida (right).

By Carl Stagner

We cherish the stories of God’s grace and power at work among his people. They have become a part of who we are. We’re eternally grateful to God for preserving his Word through the ages, often in spite of opposition. We’re thankful for our church historians and writers who have told and retold the stories of our pioneer pastors and missionaries in the Church of God. From the biblical narrative, to our earliest days as a movement, to the kingdom activity of our local churches and missionaries today, such stories inspire us, remind us of God’s faithfulness, and bind us together. This year the gripping account of a World War II-ravaged Filipino pastor has come to light. It’s a story which few have heard, but no doubt one for the history books. 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

From Hinduism to Christ: Another Grace-in-Guyana Story

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Photo: Dindial “Daniel” Pooran

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve attended any of the Church of God Regional Conventions this year, you’ve heard the gripping account of unfettered grace offered to a young boy in Guyana who ultimately became the founding co-pastor of New Covenant Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But Milton Grannum’s isn’t the only grace-in-Guyana story. The story of Dindial “Daniel” Pooran is another testimony to the transformation that can take place when believers invite, and invest in, others. Because of one invitation to church, and the investment that followed, this young man traded Hinduism for Christ. Continue reading

Neighboring Churches Partner to Host Town Hall on Racial Unity

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Photo: Pastor Bryndon Glass and Pastor Josh Deeter

By Carl Stagner

It’s been on the news. It’s all over social media. People are talking about it. Matters related to race are once again hot-button across the country, whether or not we want to admit it. Lives have been forever altered on all sides of the issue. The headlines elicit disgust, disbelief, painful sorrow, and sheer outrage. The pundits and politicians are quick to air their opinions, but we the church know that the wisdom and solutions for such a complex subject can only come from above. After the tragic events unfolded in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas over the first week of July, Pastor Josh Deeter of First Church of God in Tallmadge, Ohio, knew the church could not stay silent. By the end of the month, this resolve culminated in an event at the church that brought together a predominantly white church, a predominantly black church, and the community. Continue reading

Churches Discard Sunday Schedules, Cross Racial Lines to Worship Together

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Photo: Niki Christiansen stands with Demetrius and Latoya Hunter.

By Carl Stagner

We can plan all we want, but sometimes the Holy Spirit just takes over. Sunday, July 10, was scheduled to be the continuation of a sermon series delivered by Niki Christiansen at West Court Street Church of God in Flint, Michigan. But how could the church ignore the tragic events which had since unfolded in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas? Niki and her husband Paul serve as co-interim pastors for the church, and they knew something had to be done. After all, the sermon she was scheduled to preach was about unity—a topic we love to talk about, but don’t always put into practice. Since November 2014, a multiethnic church has met for worship in the West Court Street building at the same time, in another room. The stage was set perfectly for what would happen next. Continue reading

Sowing Seeds of Reconciliation, Restoration in Missouri

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Photo: Handel Smith speaks at First Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Scott Andrews farms for a living. He also serves as interim pastor for First Church of God in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. His experience as a bivocational interim pastor hasn’t precluded him, however, from ministering through some of the most challenging and blessed times. In fact, it’s often the interim pastor who is called to walk congregations through the difficulties of church-wide transition. But the story unfolding at First Church of God isn’t just about an interim, bivocational pastor who sows seeds of hope in addition to corn. The story there is about a church that was struggling, uncertain of its future, and nursing the wounds of broken relationships. This is a story of reconciliation and restoration at the southeastern edge of the Ozarks. Continue reading

Reconciliation: The Time is Now!

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Photo: Arnetta McNeese Bailey

By Arnetta McNeese Bailey

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”—2 Corinthians 5:18 NIV

Just recently I watched a video by comedian Michael Jr. He introduced a segment called “Break Time.” It is an opportunity to take a break from what you are doing and ask yourself why you are doing this activity. This video has had a profound impact on my life. Michael ended the segment by saying, “When you know why you are doing what you do, then your what will have purpose and passion.” So how does all of this translate to a call for reconciliation? This statement so adequately describes my journey as a reconciler to Christian Women Connection. Continue reading

Gertrude Goode: Continuing to Break Racial, Gender Barriers in Virginia

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Photo: Gertrude Goode

By Donald W. Neace

For the past several years, the Church of God in Virginia has looked to and set several historical landmarks. From breaking the barrier of racial lines that existed between the former Virginia Association and former Virginia Assembly, to racially balanced co-chairs of the newly formed Church of God in Virginia, to alternating chairs demonstrating racial unity in leadership, the Church of God in Virginia has set an example for each local congregation, as well as the Church of God nationally. Continue reading

California Pastor, Former Church Reconcile in Renewal of Fellowship

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By Carl Stagner

Six years ago, the congregation heard the news they never expected to hear. Their pastor had confessed to a moral failure and would resign immediately. Without the sovereign hand of God at work in both the pastor and congregation, this could have easily been the end of the story. Instead, biblical reconciliation, humble hearts, and an unquenchable love for one another prompted what happened next. God’s plan would involve a marriage that held together and now thrives, the complete restoration of a minister of the gospel, and a renewal of fellowship between a pastor and the congregation he’d once served. The story of Pastor Paul Sheppard’s impact in the Church of God and beyond has only just begun. Continue reading

Church of God Ministries Relaunches Home Missions

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By Carl Stagner

We end up like islands. The enemy of our souls says, “Don’t talk to each other; die where you are—alone and without hope.” Through years of transition and financial difficulties, Native American Ministries unintentionally slipped through cracks. We helped to create the isolation. A lack of resources and support have drained the life out of vital mission efforts here at home—on our own soil. Critical cultural deterioration among Native American tribes has only compounded the challenges faced by our home missionaries, each crying out for you and me to bridge the vast waters that otherwise separate and destroy. This year we confessed where we’ve fallen short and renewed our commitment to Native American Ministries. Church of God Ministries is humbled to announce a relaunch of Home Missions that has already begun to reclaim what hell had stolen. Continue reading