Tag Archives: social justice

Growing Spokane Church on Front Lines of Freedom Fight

Pastor Randy Hood preaches at New Horizons Community Church.

By Carl Stagner

The status quo isn’t good enough for New Horizons Community Church. Whether you’re talking about the congregation itself, the progress in the fight against human trafficking, or the condition of their surrounding community, the Church of God congregation on the northwest side of Spokane, Washington, believes God has more in store. So, as they finalize preparations to enhance their fifteen-acre property, they’ve determined not to pull back forces from the front lines of the fight for freedom. Instead, they’re all the more resolved to support anti-trafficking efforts to the point of putting other pursuits on the back burner. Continue reading

Trafficklight Partner Remerge Celebrates 20 Years of Ministry

Creating art for the museum housed onsite by Remerge. Learn more at www.remerge.org.

By Carl Stagner

Twenty years ago, Church on the Street emerged in Atlanta, Georgia, radically transforming the way we do ministry to those outside the walls. Church on the Street took church to the people living without homes and beckoned traditional churchgoers into proximity with, and investment in, the lives of persons in poverty. Having become a Trafficklight partner since, Church on the Street never sought to engage the fight against trafficking; still, that fight came to them, and they’ve responded with holy boldness and love. Remerging in recent years from the starting point of reconciliation—that is, with God and neighbor—Church on the Street became known as Remerge in 2016. With intentionality, flexibility, and fervor, Remerge enters its twenty-first year, ready to change hearts from the streets to the suburbs, from underpasses to newly upholstered pews. Continue reading

From the Archives: The Church of the Living God

By Wayne M. Warner

Calvary knew neither candle nor cathedral. Roman overseas veterans crucified Jesus on crossbars between two filching thieves. This took place near the city dump of a community so cosmopolitan that Jesus’ title was lettered in three languages. Calvary provided a hangout for beatniks and social dropouts who ran the gamut of smut and filth. Thieves cursed. Soldiers gambled. Ladies avoided the place, but God was there. It was the place where Jesus died. Continue reading

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

Georgia Church Gives Food, Health, and Life to Community

Children, families are important to Community Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

When Jason McClendon was a child, there were grown-ups in his life who spent quality time with him. One gave him his first Bible, and said, “Jason, God will do something special in your life.” That moment may have seemed insignificant to the one who said it, but to Jason, it meant the world. Over the years, he’s not forgotten that blessing, he’s learned to love authentically, and he’s developed an especially soft heart toward children. The pastor of Community Church of God in Macon, Georgia, says, “Now, I have the privilege to look into a child’s eyes and say, “God has the ability to take you to places you’ve never been!” It should come as no surprise then, that when the need became clear for a summer feeding program for local children, Community Church of God rose to the occasion. Continue reading

Texas Church Tackles Trafficking on Freedom Sunday

By Jim Feirtag

At Parkgate Community Church, our vision is: “As Jesus gave his life for us, we give our lives for others in our community and world.” For us, that means we love God, love people, and love now! Partnering with CHOGTrafficklight falls well in line with that vision and mission. We were honored to join our brothers and sisters in the Church of God to commemorate Freedom Sunday again this year. We have been engaged in CHOGTrafficklight since the beginning. We believe strongly in this important cause for justice. We are convinced that it’s absolutely in line with our biblical mandate as a church. Continue reading

Calgary Church Fosters Culture of Adoption

Pastor Mark Kowalko’s family today.

By Carl Stagner

Poverty, trafficking, homelessness, illiteracy, hunger, and lack of access to clean water are just some of the issues that plague our world. Often heard in response to such a list is the familiar refrain: someone should do something! Of course, that someone is usually someone else. But not in the case of Pastor Mark Kowalko and Glamorgan Church of God in Calgary, Canada. They’ve seen and heard about too many children who have fallen through the cracks of society, and simply won’t stand for it anymore. For more than two decades, they’ve fostered a culture of adoption that has resulted in homes for more than a hundred kids. Continue reading

Statement from the General Director: Charlottesville

By Jim Lyon

Paul Goodloe McIntire was an investment genius, whose savvy management of stock portfolios in both Chicago and New York empowered him to be one of his hometown’s preeminent philanthropists. Inspired by the City Beautiful movement dramatically brought to life at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, he dedicated himself to funding monumental public spaces, city parks and squares, most often featuring heroic sculpture. He was born in 1860 and polished his fortune in New York City before retiring in 1918; he then returned to the beloved city of his birth: Charlottesville, Virginia. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday. Freedom Summit. Freedom Fight!

By Carl Stagner

We’re engaged in a battle of historic proportions. The Church of God has once again gone to the front lines of a war against sexual exploitation and human trafficking initially waged more than a hundred years ago. With the launch of Trafficklight in 2014 came a renewed fervor for seeing what Jesus sees, living out Jesus’ example in our neighborhoods, and allowing our hearts to be broken for what breaks his. Together we’ve raised awareness, funded life-changing projects, and touched the lives of trafficking victims through several ministries already in the trenches. Freedom Sunday 2017 offered a preview of what’s to come as we turn our attention to the supply side of human trafficking. Continue reading

Initial Reports Offer Glimpse of Freedom Sunday 2017 Impact

Photo: Creative Freedom Sunday approach in Indianapolis.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God first took a stand against human trafficking in India more than a century ago. With the inception of CHOG Trafficklight in recent years, the issue has returned to the forefront of ministry made possible only when Church of God congregations rally together. Once again, the Church of God is fighting side by side not only to raise awareness of trafficking, but also to attack the issue at its root. On March 5, 2017, Church of God congregations across North America and beyond showed the same video announcing the launch of Trafficklight 2.0. Many also gave financially to support the Church of God initiative as they renewed their commitment to engage the battle—even in front of screens both large and handheld. The Holy Spirit’s presence was palpable, and several churches have already shared stories of God’s hand at work. Continue reading

Georgia Church a Historic Leader in the Gospel, Social Justice

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Photo: Pastor Jason McClendon at Community Church of God (Photo courtesy Michael W. Pannell).

By Michael W. Pannell

For years, the Community Church of God has been at the forefront of both social justice and Gospel proclamation. In fact, it has been for 120 years. “We just celebrated 120 years,” said the Rev. Jason McClendon, who has led the congregation for four years and been in ministry for 18 years.

“Our church was started by four women—four freed slaves—who were not allowed to take communion at a Methodist church or be ministers,” he said. “They felt a call and believed in holiness as did John Wesley and finally associated with the Church of God, headquarters in Anderson, Indiana. They started this church at our former 283 Grant Ave. location.”

Continue reading the article, originally published by The Telegraph on November 10, 2016, at http://www.macon.com/living/article113938758.html.

Change Begins with Me: Reflections from the CWC Immersion Trip to Berlin

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Photo: CWC team in Berlin prays together.

By Kirsten Harmon

Imagine being trapped in a foreign country, unable to speak the language, forced to do a job that is unclean and dangerous. Perhaps you want to change your life, but your every moment, choice, and penny is controlled by a person that could easily beat you—even take your life. Say you somehow did escape, and made your way to a new neighborhood or town. You now have no home, no money, no life or job skills, no friends or family. There is a constant fear of being found. The only way you can think of to make a living would take you right back to the very life you’ve just fled. You feel powerless, helpless, worthless. Continue reading

Youth Group Decides Their Annual Fundraiser Shouldn’t Be for Themselves

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By Carl Stagner

The youth group at New Horizons Community Church of God in Jackson, Michigan, just flexed its generosity muscle. Every February they hold a fundraiser to support youth activities throughout the year. With the help of their parents and other church volunteers, the youth prepare a banquet, guests from the church and community dine on fine food, and donations are encouraged. But this year, the issue of human trafficking has been on the hearts and minds of the students. Why should they revel in their revenue when girls are being trafficked in their own communities? This year, the teens boldly decided that their annual fundraiser shouldn’t be for themselves. Continue reading

CHOG in Germany, North America Partner in Response to German Refugee Crisis

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With nearly a million refugees slated to seek asylum, Germany is struggling to deal with the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. The country has received more requests for asylum than any other country, and the strain on the country’s social services has been tremendous. Fortunately, the German Church of God (Freikirchlicher Bund der Gemeinde Gottes) has congregations that are mobilizing to assist those in need. However, the scale of this crisis is so great that the Church of God in Germany and the Church of God, through the Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries, have decided to tackle the crisis together. Continue reading

Pink Door: Joining God’s Mission of Reconciliation

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Photo: Room inside the Pink Door safe house.

By Pink Door staff

The last four months may have been a blur, but Pink Door is up and running. We welcomed our first recovery program participant on January 20, so these first weeks have been filled with doctor appointments, visits to German governmental offices, psych evaluations, language evaluations, teaching her how to shop, cook, clean, and use public transportation. It’s amazing how many life skills are never developed when someone is reduced to less-than-human status, abused, abandoned, and forgotten. It’s a miracle how these women blossom when given a chance at a new life. So, we’re off and running with perseverance the race marked out for us, never alone, often exhausted, but always encouraged and reminded daily of your sacrifice that has made Pink Door a reality—never taking for granted the great privilege it is to join God in his mission of reconciliation. Continue reading