Overwhelming #1 Issue in Florida (Tampa & Cocoa) Listening Tour = SEGREGATION

Without a doubt, the most discussed issue many times over at both Listening Tours in Florida (Tampa & Cocoa) was the issue of segregation in Florida and broader issues of segregation or limited denominational leadership opportunities.  To pass over this issue without correction, Download and read the documents from both Listening Tours for yourself below.  At the bottom, you’ll find the distilled, bulleted points highlighted for the Executive Committee on the issue of race and segregation.  You will not want to pass over those comments as they speak more deeply to the issue than even the data or this writer’s opinion.  With that said, I have to ask:

  • What was the purpose of the Listening Tour?
  • In light of these findings, what should the Executive Committee do?
  • In light of these findings, how should the respective state offices and state ministers respond?

*It’s also worth noting that almost an exact equal amount of Latinos and Caucasians were at the Tampa Listening Tour with an equivalent number of Blacks (African-Americans, Jamaicans, Haitians, West Indian, etc…) at the Cocoa Listening Tour (see results).

Florida COG – Cocoa

Florida COG – Tampa

DISTILLED BULLET POINTS

FLORIDA COG – COCOA

Ernesto Armstrong:  I here on behalf of my pastor, Bishop Quanelle Miller.

Bro. Pratt:  Question with regards to your mention with the Listening Tours is this Listening Tour here the Tampa Office and the Tampa mention for March, is that the one we are suppose to attend?   This is just a state function here for us.

Unidentified Speaker:  This Listening Tour in Cocoa is an afterthought and that is a little bit disconcerting that we came up after the fact.  May I suggest that if it is in order that the next go around if this would get back to the GO, that Cocoa Office or Cocoa Area could be the primary or principal area for the next Listening Tour?

Bro. Porter:  The divide in FL

Kathy Franks:  Why is it being ignored?  Do you see no need?  I’m just wondering because I know people don’t want to say black and white, we got a black president now because, anything’s possible.  But you guys are not, it’s not right that we’re not together.  And even for you to say that it isn’t being considered, that’s not right either.  That’s what I wanted to know.  Why is it not being considered?  Is it being ignored or you just don’t see a need for it?

Bro. Pough:  I wonder, I wonder, I wonder, are we in a church that is sensitive to this in the time in which we live.  Are we in the right church or shall we look for another?

John Diamond:  What I would like to know is why has that been allowed, and not just why it has been allowed, but what will be done to correct that issue?  I believe and it may be my personal opinion, but I would like to see if Tampa is going to take our strong churches that they should be willing to pay their bills, bring them current and then bring them under their wings?  That would be my opinion.  Thank you.

Theodore Ballard:  Division of the state of FL.

Unidentified Speaker:  I spoke once before so just miniature, not going long.  If we should go back to the subject of the Tampa Office and the Cocoa Office, the problem is we have two standards for the same Minutes.  Two standards for the same Minutes that should govern all of us.  The problem is M – O – N – E – Y.   Because our black churches get to the place where they make a couple of dollars of tithe, the Tampa Office don’t want us to send the tithe into the Cocoa Office.  Gentlemen that is the problem.  If you fix that from up top everything will be alright.

FLORIDA COG – TAMPA

Degrando Franks: Segregation – We are segregated in the State of Florida and that is a problem that must be addressed.
Theodore Ballard: Segregation – We should amalgamate the Cocoa and Tampa offices.  Why should we have a “black” office in these days of wanting to reduce segregation issues?
Hosea Perez: Segregation – The SEH territory has taken a first step in swapping churches with the black community.
Pastor Juan: Segregation – We started an English ministry and it is bringing down all racial barriers.  We should embrace each other’s differences.
Bro. Marciel: Segregation – The Hispanic church is breeding unity.  Each group has to retain his own identity and each group has their own style.  We should consider this discussion but analyze it carefully because there hasn’t been another organization that has survived moving too fast on this topic.  Much dialog is needed to maintain unity.
John Diamond:  Segregation – I believe that culture and identity is important.  We have to find a way to amalgamate and maintain our identity.  How can we keep identity and also have unity?Instead of three offices, bring all three offices under one roof could be a possibility.
Carlos Labras: Segregation – We should be able to adapt to the Church of God framework and we must merge together.  The Latino population is very different depending upon where they come from – the Carribbean, Mexico, South America, etc.
Jerry Pough: General Assembly; Segregation – If we are an international church, why haven’t we had a General Assembly outside the United States?    Why is it that the overseers from the Cocoa Office are sent back to a local church instead of following on in the leadership tract?
Jonathan Walker: Finance; Segregation – I believe strongly in the tithe of the tithe as the Scripture directs.  No one can afford tithing, but you can’t afford not to.  Integration in the church will be a costly endeavor and must be accomplished.  It begins in training our congregations about segregation to begin to lessen the effects of racial bias.
John Morgan: Structure; Segregation; Finances; Trust – Are we truly an international church or a church in the United States with a large constituency overseas?  We should not highlight different ethnic groups but combine all and be one.  That is integration.  The committee could possibly be more sensitive to ethnicity in making appointments to achieve a balance.  You’ll get
my tithe of tithe or my credentials.  We need some indication about what is happening financially at headquarters.  I applaud efforts to cut back.  This will help with trust.
Unidentified Speaker: Segregation – I’ve not experienced any discrimination in the COG.  In addressing these issues please remember the unique cultures of every group and their importance in establishing guidelines.
James Andrews: Segregation – There is great diversity and potential in the state of FL.  Do you foresee that this state will look this segregated in 20 years?
Carl Thomas: Segregation; Doctrine – I want to hear the word “cooperation” on the topic of segregation.  I’m less concerned about the number of younger pastors and more concerned about the number of those who have not received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

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