It has also led to a small amount of confusion — certainly not by design, but merely by circumstance.
Consider these factors.
Both are conducting their international assemblies during the same week ... this week.
Both are conducting their international assemblies during the same week in the same city — Orlando, Fla.
One (the Church of God of Prophecy) has even invited as one of its very special speakers the general overseer of the Church of God (Dr. Mark Williams).
Many Cleveland-based members of both denominations have made the road trip from Bradley County to the Sunshine State and are benefiting from the inspiring messages of hope, of praise, of faith and of belief that are being delivered from the lecterns of each convention center.
Truly, such opportunities to share The Word and to exercise free and open expression of faith among those of the Christian belief are blessed events — especially to the congregational members ... and regardless of church, whether it is Church of God, Church of God of Prophecy, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal or any of the cherished others.
The point is, these revival-type gatherings are times in the lives of Christians that will be long remembered and that serve as positive reinforcement of life and lifestyle.
But about that little bit of confusion ...
It may have started earlier in the week, but our first inkling that some in the community might be scratching their heads came once the Wednesday edition of our newspaper hit the newsstands and driveways.
In that issue, we published on our front page a news release submitted by the Church of God of Prophecy announcing the start of the COGOP International Assembly. The press statement also pointed out that Church of God General Overseer [Dr. Mark] Williams would be one of the guest speakers.
To help accent the COGOP Assembly’s unique approach of inviting the general overseer of the Church of God, we published a photograph of Dr. Williams with the Church of God of Prophecy news release. In order to avoid confusion among readers, and perhaps even members of both congregations, we titled the headline, “COGOP Assembly underway today: COG’s Williams special speaker.”
That afternoon we received a few telephone calls from well-intentioned readers who wished to point out we had apparently misidentified which Assembly was taking place in Orlando and that we had mislabeled Dr. Williams as the COGOP general overseer instead of his rightful Church of God.
After reminding them that both denominations were holding assemblies during the same week in the same city, and that one had invited the general overseer of the other to serve as a special guest, most offered a lighthearted chuckle and apologized for their phone calls.
Obviously, no apology was necessary.
But for the record, as has been reported, both the Church of God of Prophecy and the Church of God are holding their assemblies this week in Orlando.
We have published news releases twice this week from the Church of God of Prophecy, the most recent being in Thursday’s edition in which the church announced the election of a new general overseer. He is Bishop Sam N. Clements.
Cameron Fisher, coordinator of communications for the Church of God International Offices, has alerted us the COG Assembly has made no major leadership changes. He will be submitting a press release from the COG event, as soon as today, featuring a summary of the week’s activities. It will be published in Sunday’s edition.
Of the underlying themes surrounding this week’s assemblies in Orlando, one is this.
Cleveland is proud to serve as the corporate home for both the Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy. Members of both denominations are our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers and our loved ones.
Although holding such gatherings at the same time during the same week in the same city can create a little confusion, it is also a blessing.
It is the blessing of faith.
It is the blessing of love.
It is the blessing of people regardless of denomination, doctrine or creed ... and regardless of when they meet or the city in which they choose to gather.