April 14, 2020 A.D.
Dear Brothers and Sisters & Delegates of the General Assembly! Time has brought us to the glorious season of Eastertide. I greet you in the name of the risen Savior. All power in heaven and earth is in His hand. We praise the head of The Church, Christ Jesus.
1. NON-CONFLICTED VOICE OF LEADERSHIP. Until now I have reluctantly but intentionally delayed any official communications with the General Assembly constituency because of the swirling uncertain currents of this corona pandemic. The excruciating impact on our great church is undeniable. I also chose to steer clear of any possible conflicting messaging with the leadership of the church. This is not the time for grand standing by anyone. Thus, I have repeatedly stated that after all internal leadership deliberations, the Church Of God In Christ should speak through one voice in times of national and global catastrophic crisis. We honor the Presiding Bishop and General Board in such capacity.
2. SUSPENDED APRIL CALL MEETING. In mid-March 2020, the leadership jointly discussed the prospects of the General Assembly April Call Meeting. Because of escalating concerns, transportation and hotel uncertainties, changing public health statements, and threat of logistical nightmare for the saints we concurred to postpone the April Call Meeting. Amidst pressing and essential matters of business, the safety of God’s people was always the foremost concern. We had limited information available back then; time has confirmed our collective wisdom.
3. CALL MEETING RESCHEDULED. The burning question: what is the rescheduled date? The
obvious answer, in the spirit of the Gospel: “the day and the hour, no man knows, no not even the angels in heaven.” [Matt. 24.36]. We can hardly speculate when we shall meet. By now you know the Men’s Conference, Women’s Convention, and AIM have been canceled. Possibly by September the pestilence will have lifted, and meeting will be feasible. The week of Bishop Mason’s birthday is on the calendar and would not necessitate an additional calendar entry. In discussion with the Presiding Bishop, I concur it is far too early to know or announce any certain date. As soon as I know, I shall endeavor to inform you immediately.
4. ONGOING GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUSINESS. You understand how the work of General Assembly continues daily between its sessions. Under strenuous circumstances the staff and committees are continuing their work. The pace has necessarily become significantly reduced. However, with the use of technology and commitment of our committee members, preparation for the next General Assembly has continued remotely to advance nearly every committee.
5. APRIL ASSESSMENTS. The budget and reporting process for receiving national reports has been approved by the General Assembly for male and female credential holders. It is requested this time that all national reports be sent directly to the office of the Financial Secretary. Although the Call Meeting was suspended, the reports are yet requested, required, and much needed. Thank you for supporting your church with your national reports. The May extension has been provided for those particularly impacted, but the church needs these funds as swiftly as possible. Approximately 64% of the global church revenue is reported through the April Session of the General Assembly. Thank you for your continued sacrificial support of the greatest church in the world. Ironically,
THIS is the week originally scheduled for our meeting in Memphis. But this season has afforded increased praying opportunities for your chairman and so many others. Like mine, many of our families, congregations, and jurisdictions have been stung and stabbed during this season. I have been blessed to be asymptomatic throughout, but my wife has been quite afflicted. However, our confidence is in the Great I AM who always causes us to triumph and enables us to do great exploits in the midst of life’s storms. Our church is mightiest when we are on our knees. We will pray and praise Him until Shiloh comes.
In the service of our MASTER,
+L. F. Thuston
Chairman – General Assembly
Church Of God In Christ – Worldwide
P.S. God is raising up Sister Thuston. Praises & more praises