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Spiritual dancers praised God through movement during the Sunday morning service held in the Edward Jones Dome as part of the Church of God in Christ’s 105th Holy Convocation being held in St. Louis.

Continued from A1 “Please apologize for your neighbor for me because I speak with a Kenyan African accent,” Kamau said. “I wish I could imitate and speak the way some of the great speakers who have already spoken – but I will speak the way my mama taught me.” Calm and reserved, his preaching style bore little resemblance to the down-home whoops and melodic shouts that COGIC has become known for since being  “Lift up founded by your Bishop hands and Charles H. Mason in the say, ‘God, late 19th help me Century. win my As he city.’” used statistics of waning – COGIC faith around Presiding the world, he Bishop quietly Charles E. assured the Blake Sr. audience of the promises that lie within the Church of God in Christ by dipping into his faith and his homeland. He used the example of the global reach of the music of COGIC – even citing St. Louis’ own O’Neal Twins. Kamau reflected on an incident of a lion breaking into his village and killing cows and the beast’s subsequent capture. “The devil is already in a cage,” Kamau said. “We just have to shut the gate. We have to shut the gate of poverty from this country and the world – and we have to shut the gate of personal and corporate moral decay.” The thought of Satan in captivity brought on praise that shook the room. Praise from the motherland by way of COGIC’s Holy Convocation continued Friday night, but this time from further down the continent. Bishop Tudor Bismark, who serves as the senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Harare, Zimbabwe (and a ministry that reaches 27 nations across the world), delivered fiery words more in line with what COGIC is used to. “We would be extremely

AWARD Continued from A1 “I know we have come a long way and we are doing some phenomenal things for children and families,” said Laurie Wenzel, director of Pattonville’s Early Childhood Education Program. “But we were up against some tough competition.” The Nixa School District, located south of Springfield, Mo., and Park Hill School District in Kansas City placed second and third, respectively. “It’s a difficult choice

Photo by Wiley Price

naïve to think that gatherings like this alone will change the trajectory of our world. There is going to have to be brazen courage and brazen decisions that will position the body of Christ for what we believe is an in-time thrust and move of the Holy Spirit,” Bismark said. “It seems like the body of Christ is under duress, like we are retreating in so many ways. If we do not understand where we are, we could have been delivered but we walk around as slaves unnecessarily. Thank you for all that you have done, and thank you for 105 years. But now we’ve come full circle. We want our schools back. We want our power back. We want the Holy Ghost to empower what has never been empowered before.” He spoke with prophetic flair, in reference to the biblical prophet Daniel. “God is about to anoint Daniels all over this room – Daniels in Africa that will speak as God has said,”

Bismark said. “Africa is not for sale. Our families are not for sale. Slavery is a thing of the past. We must mobilize our numbers and our thoughts – a flood is a drop of rain put together.”

“I said if, ‘I could just get to the Holy Convocation – if I could go where the saints are, where the prayer warriors are,’” Gilkey said. “I’m here to let you know that whatever you came to the Convocation for, if you believe, leave it  “We should be ‘Healing is here and go home ashamed that we in this place’ healed.” On Saturday think so small “Any of y’all afternoon at the when our God is believe healing is World Youth Day in this place right so great.” celebration, a now?” asked praise break last– COGIC Presiding Mark Gilkey, ed longer than the Superintendent of Bishop Charles E. keynote address Blake Sr. the Kansas as people shouted Southwest in thanksgiving Region. “If you for everything believe healing is from student loan in this place, look at your relief to a new car. As they neighbor and say, ‘Healing is counted their blessings, Bishop in this place right now.’” Blake reminded his church to He started out delivering be mindful of the bigger picthe invocation on Thursday, ture. but ended up sharing a praise “We should be ashamed that report about being healed from we think so small when our diabetes since the last time God is so great,” Bishop Blake COGIC met in St. Louis. said as he delivered the

Official Day message. “We should be ashamed that we are not shaking cities and impacting nations for our God. Let’s lift up our hands and call on our God to impact nations. Our cities are being destroyed. They are decaying. Lift up your hands and say, ‘God, help me win my city.’” COGIC is working to do so through its Urban Initiatives, which focuses on education, economic development, crime reduction, family enhancement and financial literacy. “The Bible says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Unless we do something dramatic, something out of the norm, something aggressive, the future will indeed be bleak,” Bishop Blake said in a video presentation on Friday. “We need to take action. We need to use our Godordained positions of influence to advocate for changes in the schools, the home and

in the community – with the support of government and businesses.” He looked toward the future. “We cannot stand by and wait for others to take the lead,” Bishop Blake said. “All that we work for will one day be in the hands of our children. We leave them an ecologically devastated world. We leave them a trouble world – a world torn by war and conflict and a nation reeling from the impact of slavery and racism.” Blake’s messages fell directly in line with Bismark’s live presentation later that day from the perspective of the other side of the world. “So what we have to do is get those children singing ‘God Bless America’ and start pouring into them that ‘you will 30 years from now be the leaders,’” Bismark said. “We have the power to put them there.”

because there are so many excellent programs in Missouri,” said Melissa Randol, CEO of the FutureBuilders Foundation. However, she said, there’s typically a clear winner. “Pattonville seems to understand that creating high-quality opportunities for children is critical,” Randol said. “And they’ve put the right programs in place to make sure that happens.” Award recipients were selected based on their innovative approaches, outstanding ability to engage and support the development of children, and their overall commitment

to the early The PAT pro “We love our childhood edugram is a free, diverse populations. cation profesvoluntary We’re happy that sion. resource availwe’re one of the “In our able to expectant overall promost diverse school women, and all gram, we’ve families within districts in the integrated a the district with St. Louis area.” seamless children under design,” five. – Laurie Wenzel Wenzel said. “We really “We don’t have partnered with things working our families in in isolation of our community each other. An example would to help them be their kids’ be teachers and parent educafirst, best teacher,” Wenzel tors from the Parents as said. Teachers (PAT) program workPattonville’s nine PAT eduing together with kids and cators meet regularly with families.” families and children during

pre-arranged home visits. The PAT program offers parental support, classes and group meetings, play groups and ageappropriate health and developmental screenings for children. Last school year, PAT educators in the district served 1,551 children and 1,020 families – 582 of whom were minority and more than 60 percent classified as “high needs.” Pattonville’s Early Childhood Education Program has flexible enrollment options with before and after child care, two and four half-days or five full days, and three Head Start centers. There are six pre-

school sites located throughout the district at Bridgeway, Robert Drummond, Parkwood, Rose Acres, Willow Brook elementary schools and the Pattonville Learning Center. The Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program is in its fourth year and earned a Silver Award from the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). Through PBIS, Children learn “positive” social, emotional and behavioral skills by caring for themselves, friends and school. In each classroom, positive behavior is defined, expected, reinforced through role-playing and literaturebased activities, and rewarded daily. Jeanne Schottmueller, president of Pattonville’s Board of Education, said staff members have high expectations of their students and treat them as if they were their own children. “The staff does everything they can to make sure those kids succeed to the full potential that they are capable of and that they are ready to move on to the next step in their educational process,” Schottmueller said. Schottmueller said her own two children, who are now young adults, wouldn’t be as successful had they not went through the program. Pattonville is also the most diverse school district to have earned the Missouri DESE Distinction in Performance Award for academic performance 11 consecutive years. “We love our diverse populations,” Wenzel said. “We’re happy that we’re one of the most diverse school districts in the St. Louis area.” For more information about enrollment, contact Laurie Wenzel, director of Early Childhood Education, at 314-213-8105 or


a6 November 15

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