In July, 2008, I was honored to sit down with my friend and a spiritual mentor to me, Bishop Charles E. Blake, Presiding Bishop for the Church of God in Christ worldwide, to sign a historic and first ever agreement between the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and Operation HOPE, focusing on one of the church's and Presiding Bishop's 5 urban focus areas -- financial and economic empowerment, starting with the financial literacy of COGIC's youth.
The Phase I initiatives have showed promising results, but from my perspective, much more needs to be done in Phase II, by Operation HOPE, with support from the COGIC family.
Participating COGIC Jurisdictions included Detroit, the Bay Area, Washington, DC, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Los Angeles, amongst others. In these Jurisdictions in 2009 and 2010, 1343 youth were educated and 127 COGIC Members become dedicated COGIC committed HOPE Corps Volunteers Trained.
Monday August 9, 2010, Operation HOPE, COGIC, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) partnered this month to bring Banking on Our Future to nearly 300 kids from the COGIC church and surrounding communities in the Bay Area. Through a coordinated effort over 150 volunteers from PWC, educated students at three different church locations, Glad Tidings in Hayward under Bishop Jerry Macklin, True Hope in San Francisco under Dr. Aurelius Walker, and The Prayer Garden in San Jose under the leadership of Elder Paul Bates. Pastor Edwin Bass, President of COGIC Urban Initiatives flew in from St. Louis to support the event, for which we thank him. This Bay Area initiative simply would not have happened without the leadership and support of Pastor Bass and his team fro the COGIC Urban Initiatives.
Furthermore, in the period since the launch...
Under the leadership of Sarafia Fleming, PA Jurisdictional Coordinator representatives from 40 COGIC area churches were trained as HOPE Corps members in Lancaster, PA
Under the leadership of Bishop Malcolm Coby (Victory Temple Church of God in Christ World Ministry Center), and Paula Hearn (VP COGIC Urban Initiatives) representatives from 45 churches in the Oklahoma jurisdiction were trained to be HOPE Corps members and take Banking on Our Future back to their church and communities.
Over 250 students were educated in the St. Louis Area at 5 area churches.
Over 200 students we educated in the Oklahoma jurisdiction at 4 area churches.
Over 100 new COGIC committed HOPE Corps Volunteers since June 2010
Over 800 Youth Educated since June 2010
We are honored to be engaged and partnered with a leading moral authority in the world, and during these unique times in our nation and world's history, but the best is yet to come. This is but a taste of the power and impact of this critically important partnership, friendship and alliance.
COGIC has more than 12,000 churches and more than 6 million members worldwide. What an impact we could have at scale. This is a perfect example of civil rights to silver rights empowerment for a new generation of future leaders in and for our world.
Okay, let's go.
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama.
The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) is a Pentecostal Holiness Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership. With nearly five million members in the United States and 12,000 congregations, it is the largest Pentecostal church and the fifth largest Christian church in the U.S. Internationally, COGIC can be found on six continents and in more than 60 nations. Its worldwide membership is estimated to be between six to eight million members. There are more than 15,000 COGIC congregations found throughout the world.