From the Heart

Rebecca Florence Osaigbovo Answers Five Questions About her Book …
Spiritual Sisterhood: Mentoring for Women of Color ( July/Aug. 2011)

Rebecca Florence Osaigbovo"I have a tremendous passion for the issues of discipleship / mentoring," explains Rebecca Florence Osaigbova. "Some of it comes from my own experiences and seeing how essential mentoring relationships are. I hope to encourage women to be mentors. It's something God mandated older women to do. Older woman mentoring younger women was a common practice in the black community years ago. Grandmothers lived in the homes and helped raise the grandchildren. They also helped these families with their Christian walk."

Can only saved women be spiritual mentors? Yes, you must be a Christian in order to be a spiritual mentor. Of course, this also applies to women who are committed to the principles of other faiths. The intent is to support and encourage younger women in their spiritual journey, to model and teach God-like practices and beliefs to younger women.

Are spiritual mentors for younger women only? Every Christian women needs to have three different mentoring relationships … a spiritual mother - a spiritual daughter – and spiritual sisters. Spiritual mothers should be at least five years older than the person they are mentoring and have a thorough knowledge of the Christian walk and the teachings of the bible. A spiritual mother teaches special grace and wisdom on how to live a Christ-centered life. Bonds developed between older and younger women can last a lifetime. Of course, for those who did not grow up with Christian values spiritual mothering is a new concept. Some new believers have never experienced the joy of a healthy family or interacted with a loving mother. Regardless to the family circumstances or how old they are, a new female believer needs a mentor to guide her to the right path and help her stay on track. Spiritual sisters offer prayer support, encouragement and help with maintaining accountability.

Spiritual Sisterhood: Mentoring for Women of ColorIs there a specific checklist of qualities that a spiritual mentor should have? Let's say that I am doing a hypothethical matching of mentors with mentees. There would definitely be some real stringent criteria. (1) They should not be felons. (2) They would have to complete a structured training in the whole area of mentoring/discipleship. (3) I would want references from their community to verify that they are respected. (4) There would be an age limit. Mentors would have to be at least 35 to 40 years old. (5) They must also have been a Christian for at least five years and have an actively growing relationship with the Lord.

You suggest that the mentor / mentee relationship should last for three years. Why? I use the example of Jesus with his disciples. They were together about three and half years. I think that teaching the qualities and principles of the Christian walk can be accomplished in that time. The relationship doesn't end once that is completed. However, there is no longer the need for formally scheduled interactions.

Mentors seems to be spiritual caregivers. Research shows that care giving is a draining experience. What should mentors do to 'save' themselves? The relationship that a mentor has with her spiritual sisters fills that need. My spiritual sisters and I attend conferences, plan personal retreats and spend time together sharing.

What Do You Think About This? The 'F' you Preacher (May/June 2011)

ShawPreacher tells congregation, "Touch your neighbor and say 'F' you…" … Speaking from the pulpit and captured on YouTube this Ohio pastor said, "Since we have been forgiven what should be our corresponding action. … We should forgive and extend grace to everybody else. … As a Christian, you got to forgive. Now that said, and please don't get offended, but the new "F" word in the Word Church is forgive. … Now touch your neighbor and say 'F' you. … Pastor, my mama don't like you. Well, 'F' your mama. Jump on your feet snap your finger and say "F" everybody in here.

Pastor Richard Shaw, St. Matthew CME, Milwaukee In preaching three things must come together - text or scripture, context or the life/time that we live in, and content. Looking at the video, the message seemed to have been received within the intended context. A congregation has a special relationship with its pastor. I think that his attempt to be pastoral allowed that message to come off appropriately to his congregation. What stood out for me in the sermon was that he said, "The new 'F' word at the WORD CHURCH … which leads me to believe that he was addressing some specific problems within his congregation. His sermon was a personal one to his parishioners. I can definitely see how use of this term could be offensive. As a pastor of a church where that content would not work within my context, I would never use it. The language seemed inappropriate to us on the outside. However, for those at The Word Church with an understanding of what was going on in that congregation it was received.

A black man found to be gay will receive a fate that is far worse than any womanizer, thief or adulterer … this according to Boyce Watkins, PhD – scholar, CNN commentator and host of YOURBLACKWORLD.COM who was responding to the Twitter 'battle' between actor Boris Kodjoe and political analyst/journalist Roland Martin that was instigated by Sherri Shepherd's (The View) rant about the Bishop Eddie Long's out of court settlement with four young men who accused him of sexual assault.
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Capacity Crowd Witnesses Signing of Cogic Health Covenant
with Columbia St. Mary's Hospital(March/April 2011)

Bishop C. H. McClellandBishop C. H. McClelland, Third Ecclesiastical COGIC Jurisdiction of Wisconsin, and Bill Solberg, Director-Community Services, Columbia St. Mary's Hospital signed a historic covenant symbolizing their partnership in providing health and supportive services to individuals and families throughout the community. A capacity audience of Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) members and local leaders gathered to witness signing of the agreement between a major institution and COGIC to provide free health clinics throughout the COGIC connection. Bishop McClelland pastors Holy Cathedral Church of God In Christ. He is also founder and president of the Word of Hope Ministries. He said, "The resonating message of the COGIC COVENANT is that health is a communal responsibility. We are responsible for creating communities that enable people to be healthy."

Julia Means, a parish nurse with Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, is regarded as the compelling force behind the COGIC HEALTH COVENANT - to provide healthcare to underserved communities through free church clinics. A parish nurse assigned to Ebenezer COGIC Means said, "Prevention and early detection is key. I went to Bill Solberg, Director of Community Services at Columbia and explained that COGIC has 44 churches. I asked for his help in making this work to organize the churches as a source to disseminate health education, screenings, and information." Free health care and health crisis intervention will be available at clinics within three COGIC churches to members and neighborhood residents. A variety of outreach programs will also be implemented.

Pastor Jonathan Saffold, Sr., Ebenezer COGIC says, "Access to quality care as well as affordable health care is essential. This initiative will provide healthcare to people who cannot afford it."

Julia MeansSolberg explained, "This Covenant is just an extension of our history with Pastor Saffold and Julia Means at Ebenezer. . You look for strong partners to bring health care to the community. We have found that strength within the COGIC community. Bishop McClelland has made health care for his parishioners a priority."
Julia Means provides nursing services to Ebenezer Church of God in Christ, Solomon Community Methodist Church and New Life Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee's central city. She also supports Clinton Rose Senior Center, the Adult Literacy Center and Martin Luther King Elementary School. Julia runs a health education and screening clinic based at the New Life Food Pantry. She developed the Kids of Nia character development program at Martin Luther King School as well as the Blanket of Love prenatal care and parenting education program at Ebenezer Church. Brenda Buchanan and Teresa Flaherty are also parish nurses with Columbia St. Mary's. Parish nurses are dedicated to community health ministry. They treat members experiencing health crisis and assist them with navigating the health systems and service providers.

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

For 103 years, the Church of God in Christ has been active in communities across this nation to not only have good in reach but outreach as well. When we look at the needs of members, it must include healthcare. Our position is that we should be ministering to the total person body, soul and spirit. This opportunity to partner with Columbia St. Mary's Hospital opens the door to serve our congregants and community at large. When the community does well, we all do well not just as individuals but families, children and seniors. The challenge that we face today with health care necessitates that we be proactive. We can't just talk about problems we have to do something. Word of Hope Ministries and Mason Temple COGIC are targeted to house the first in what we hope will eventually be church clinics s throughout the city. Although it is the COGIC COVENANT, our goal is to include not only COGIC but whoever is interested, and coordinate this effort to affect the city in a very positive way.

— Bishop C. H. McClelland

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