Last week the Assemblies of God executive leadership hosted the executive leadership of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) at the AG national office in Springfield, Mo. The historic meeting marks the first time the full leadership of these Pentecostal movements—two of the largest in the U.S.—have gathered specifically to dialogue together.
George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, expressed his great pleasure in the COGIC's acceptance of the invitation. He also warmly welcomed the executive leadership as well as local COGIC leaders and members to the Tuesday chapel service held at the national office each week.
During the chapel service, Wood explained that the Assemblies of God and COGIC were children of the Azusa Street revival—citing that it was COGIC's presiding bishop, C.H. Mason, who personally attended the first General Council in 1914 and blessed the Assemblies of God as it was being formed.
Wood reflected sorrowfully on the separation that occurred because of the racial culture at that time in America, when culture—not the Bible—shaped the church into racial division. The coming together of COGIC and AG leadership now in a historic-time dialogue represents another step in the healing of a rift that occurred long ago.
Current COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., who also pastors the 24,000-member West Angeles COGIC in Los Angeles, then addressed the chapel attendees. He shared a brief but passionate message based on Acts, encouraging listeners to follow Paul's example in thanking God during and after life's storms. To view Bishop Blake's full message, click here.
In addition to Bishop Blake, other top COGIC leaders who came from across the country for the meetings included: First Assistant Presiding Bishop Philip A. Brooks, Second Assistant Presiding Bishop Jerry W. Macklin, Bishop J. Drew Sheard (general board member), Financial Secretary Frank Anthone White, General Secretary Joel Harley Lyles Jr., Missions President Carlis L. Moody, Chairman of Auxiliaries in Ministry Lindwood Dillard Jr., and Chief Operation Officer James W. Smith.
"This is a wonderful day," Wood said, prior to entering additional meetings with the COGIC leadership. "Meeting with our like-minded brothers from the Church of God in Christ is something we and the leadership of COGIC have longed to do for years, and now it has finally happened!"