More than one thousand two hundred fifty people attended The Church of God General Assembly last week at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina with Oscar Pimentel, General Overseer, presiding. The Church showed a marked increase in membership in the United States and other countries, in sermons preached and salvation experiences worldwide. Two new countries, Liberia and Jamaica, were added, and twenty-nine new churches were organized.
The Assembly also recorded four covenant members received, and two accepted their calling into the ministry, in addition to those who received healing at the week-long gathering.
Robert F. Strong Sr. presented the Sunday school program on Sunday morning with the theme for the coming year, “Embrace the Vision.” In addition to filling the position of Field Secretary to the General Overseer, Strong was appointed State Overseer of the churches in North Carolina. Ray D. Dupre, who is the coordinator for Bible Training Institute, and Donaldo Acosta continue as Field Secretaries, also.
The Assembly Children’s Church filled the rostrum for the program directed by Debra Wantulok and family from Arkansas. The children, all wearing hardhats, were “working on the building,” as they demonstrated their “skills” with hammers and saws. Little Victoria Griffin of Indiana shared the stage with the other children and then gave an outstanding presentation of “It’s My Desire,” with the violin.
Before the break for lunch, Paul Horton, the State Overseer of Virginia and West Virginia, preached a message titled, “Inflow Precedes Perfection.” The Sunday afternoon program included business committee reports before the last message of the assembly by Sharon Griffin of Indiana: “Approving Things That Are Excellent,” relating to the assembly theme, “The Quest for His Excellencies.”
Other continuing general appointments by General Overseer Pimentel included Kevin D. Werkheiser, General Treasurer; World Mission Coordinator Robert J. Hawkins, Jr. of Cleveland; James R. Horne of Alabama, Assistant Editor of The Evening Light; Ray D. Dupre of Tennessee, Bible Training Institute; L. Allene Cox of Cleveland, Assembly Band Movement; Melvin C. Byers Jr. of North Carolina, Church of Prophecy Marker Association; and The Church of God Southside Pastor E. Roger Ammons of Cleveland, Evangelism. New appointees were Bettie Marlowe of Cleveland, Sunday School General Coordinator; Sharon Griffin of Indiana, Women’s Missionary Band; and Joshua Farthing of Georgia, Victory Leaders Band.
The present Tennessee State Overseer James Cox was relocated to South Carolina, and Harvey Anders, who is serving as pastor of the The Church of God, Zion Hill, is assuming the position of Tennessee’s State Overseer.
The Church of God, which was reorganized in 1993, has 819 churches in 53 countries with membership of 27,426. Ministers total 1,131. From September 2015 to September 2016, there were 84,411 sermons/classes preached or taught. New members added to the church were 1,813 with 1,547 baptized in water.
Oscar Pimentel was selected and ordained as General Overseer by unanimous agreement of the assembly in submission to the Holy Ghost in the 2015 General Assembly following the death of Stephen Smith in June.
Other events for The Church of God in Cleveland are District and State Conventions, Bible Training Institute, and Ministers’ Convention. The public is invited to attend any of these gatherings and services, which are usually held at The Church of God, Zion Hill, on Tillie Road.
This article was originally published in the Cleveland Daily Banner on Friday, September 2, 2016.