Largest Pentecostal Groups in the US Gather in Historic Meeting to 'Heal Scars'

Leaders from the Assemblies of God and Church of God in Christ participated in a historic meeting in Springfield, Mo., earlier this week, marking the first time two of America's largest Pentecostal movements gathered for dialogue.

"This is a wonderful day," said AG General Superintendent George O. Wood. "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!"

During a chapel service, Wood reflected that the long-standing separation between the two groups occurred because of the racial culture in America almost a century ago, which shaped the church rather than the Bible. He added that the meeting represents a step toward healing that rift and moving forward.

COGIC leaders who attended the meeting included current Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., who also pastors the 24,000-member West Angeles COGIC in Los Angeles; 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.

The historic meeting was hosted by AG at its national office, which welcomed the COGIC representatives in a spirit of dialogue.

"Many of us have scars. Nobody considers a scar to be a pleasant thing. But, do you know what a scar is? A scar is nothing but a healed wound. And if you have a scar that just means the worst is over and the best is yet to come," Bishop Blake said in his speech.

Blake's full speech can be watched on the AG video site.