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Gospel singer Rance Allen to be installed as bishop on Monday at the Church of God in Christ’s 104th Holy Convocation

Dr. Rance Allen

Legendary gospel singer and pastor of Toledo, Ohio’s New Bethel Church (COGIC), Dr. Rance Allen, will be installed as bishop on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, to oversee 14 Michigan churches in the Church of God in Christ denomination this week at the 6.5 million-member organization’s 104th Holy Convocation in St. Louis, Mo. He will succeed the late Bishop Alfred D. Knight, Jr. as the Jurisdictional Prelate of the Michigan Northwestern Harvest Jurisdiction.

“I have literally been working in the church since the age of 5,” Allen said in a news release. “Singing and preaching, and now at 62, almost 63 in another week or two, I get elevated to the position of a bishop! I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it because right now I still can’t believe it.”

Allen is also thrilled that the Rance Allen Group’s latest top 10 CD “The Live Experience II: Celebrating 40 Years of Music and Ministry” (Tyscot Records), has been nominated for four Stellar Awards (Gospel music’s answer to the Grammy Awards) in the categories of Group Duo of the Year, Traditional Group/Duo of the Year, Traditional Male of the Year and Quartet of the Year. 

“When I found that out, I was just elated!” Allen said. “I couldn’t believe we were nominated in four different categories.” The 27th annual Stellar Awards will take place at Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn., on January 14, 2012. For more information, visit  The new radio single, “Holy One,” a praise and worship ballad, is currently making its way up the gospel radio airplay charts.

The Rance Allen Group was born in their grandfather’s Monroe, Mich., church in the 1960s. They began recording for Stax Records in 1971 where they made a string of gritty, R&B-flavored gospel and message songs for the Gospel Truth imprint. They toured with the big R&B artists of the day such as Isaac Hayes and Barry White, and literally took the gospel to the world. From there, the group recorded for a variety of labels and scored their first No. 1 gospel album in 1991 with the “Phenomenon” CD that featured the crossover R&B smash, “Miracle Worker.” Allen closed out the 1990s performing in a variety of gospel-oriented touring play productions, but the group signed with Tyscot Records in 2002 and kicked off a new string of hits such as “Do Your Will,” “Closest Friend,” “For Your Feet,” and the Kirk Franklin duet, “Something about the Name Jesus.” For more information, visit or

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Coming Up: Livestream with author Gabe Lyons on Feb. 17th @ 2pm ET.

Check out author Gabe Lyons on Feb. 17th @ 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CST). The event will be moderated by Tim Keller, and Gabe will be answering questions about his new book – The Next Christians. 

Watch live streaming video from waterbrookmultnomah at
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Mitch’s Reflection: A Basic Act of Worship in a Season of Change

Sometimes seasons in life can be difficult and trying. But in the end, those trials give away to renewal and positive results. In my quiet time, I stumbled across this prayer this today from the book “31 Days of Prayer: Enjoying God Anew” by Ruth and Warren Myers, and it truly blessed me. It’s empowering to find the right words for such a time as time. I pray that it blesses you as well.

Your Most Basic Act of Worship

“Lord, I’m Yours. Whatever the cost may be, may Your will be done in my life. I realize I am not here on earth to do my own thing, or to seek my own fulfillment or my own glory. I’m not here to indulge my desires, to increase my possessions, to impress people, to be popular, to prove I’m somebody important, or to promote myself. I’m not even here to be relevant or successful by human standards. I’m here to please You.
I offer myself to You, for You are worthy. All that I am or hope to be, I owe to You. I’m Yours by creation, and every day I receive from You life and breath and all things. And I’m Yours because You brought me, and the price You paid was the precious blood of Christ. You alone, the Triune God, are worthy to be my Lord and Master. I yield to You, my gracious, and glorious heavenly Father; to the Lord Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me; to the Holy Spirit and His gracious influence and empowering.
All that I am and all that I have I give to You.
I give You any rebellion in me, that resists doing Your will. I give You my pride and self-dependence, that tell me I can do Your will in my own power if I try hard enough. I give You my fears, that tell me I’ll never be able to do Your will in some areas of life. I consent to let You energize me … to create within me, moment by moment, both the desire and the power to do Your will.
I give You my body and each of its members  … my entire inner being: my mind, my emotional life, my will … my loved ones … my marriage (or my hopes for marriage) … my abilities and gifts … my strengths and weaknesses … my health … my status (high or low) … my possessions … my past, my present and my future … when and how I’ll go Home.
I’m here to love You, to obey You, to glorify You. O my Beloved, my I be a joy to You!”

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Mitch’s Reflection: Mother Teresa’s “Do It Anyway”

I noticed the following poem on the wall at an office one day, and it brought many things into perspective. This poem has circulated throughout the world. I hope that the following words may be a blessing for you, too.

“Do It Anyway”

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

– Mother Teresa
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Former Isley Brothers vocalist Elaine Norwood prepares for June 2010 release

After two decades of performing as a backup singer for Mariah Carey, James Ingram and the Isley Brothers, Elaine Norwood is standing in the spotlight. After years of paying her dues, Norwood has her first bona fide national hit. 
The dramatic ballad “He’s Still Working on Me” is #19 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart and building momentum. 
“A lot of people think that when you get saved that you are perfect and that you have no more trials,” Norwood said in news release. “They make idols out of ordinary people, but this let’s people know that in spite of what they used to be or what they used to do, God is still working on us. We’re striving towards perfection. When you make a mistake, don’t throw in the towel because God forgives. We will be perfected when He comes back.” 
On her forthcoming fourth CD Released (Highly Favored Music), Norwood shows all the dimensions to her dynamic personality. Her father, Rev. Charles Norwood, joins her on their remake of Rev. James Cleveland‘s 1976 smash, “God Has Smiled on Me.” The polished but passionate album vacillates from traditional ballads such as “Soon I Will Be Done” and a sanctified rendition of Alicia Key’s “Ain’t Got You” to churchy romps like “I’ll Say Yes!” and funky, up-tempo tracks like “Never Let a Day Go By.” Producing duties fell to ’70s funkster Leon Haywood (of “Don’t Push It, Don’t Force It” R&B fame) and gospel producer Sanchez Harley (Shirley Caesar, Mighty Clouds of Joy). 
“These songs really affirm my heart,” Norwood said. “I’ve been a praise-and-worship leader since 1996. The other albums didn’t capture that side of me totally. In the studio, you are locked into the track, and when it ends, you are done but God might not be!  We can sing a tag in church for ten minutes but to do that on a CD, the record label is going to say that radio needs no more than four or five minutes of the song. They aren’t going to play a ten-minute song. But, on this project, I was allowed to go longer, so I truly feel that with these songs I’ve been released.” 
For more information on Norwood’s project (to be released on June 8, 2010), visit

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Myron Butler to produce gospel artist Tonya Baker’s first live recording in July 2010

Kingdom Records has tapped Grammy-winning producer Myron Butler to produce Tonya Baker‘s first live recording. The live recording takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, July 23, 2010, at
The Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio. Admission is free. 

Baker made her national debut with the acclaimed CD “Special Friend” in 2008, and Dayton, Ohio, native has been critically-praised for her unusual blend of jazzy vocal riffs with a straightforward gospel message.
“I would be lying if I said I weren’t a bit nervous,” Baker said in a news release. “I’ve been asked for several years, `When are you going to do a live recording?’  Well, I guess this is the time and I pray that God will be pleased with our offering and the people will be blessed and encouraged.  There’s nothing like the live experience.  You feel the energy from the people and the presence of God in the place. Most importantly, I don’t want the people to just come looking for a great show – but an encounter with God.”
Butler has produced projects with such notables as Smokie Norful and Tamela Mann from TBS’s “Meet The Browns” series. He’s also made a name for himself as an EMI Gospel recording artist with hits such as “Stronger,” “Set Me Free,” and his current single, “Revealed.”
Baker said, “Myron Butler is an incredibly anointed and gifted artist, songwriter, and producer.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with him.  I’m equally thankful that Kingdom Records’ A&R director Michael Weatherspoon was able to make it happen.”
For more information about Tonya Baker’s recording, call (708) 339-9301 or visit
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Black Methodists meet for historic “Gathering” on March 1-3 in South Carolina

The country’s three largest African-American Methodist denominations (the African Methodist Episcopal-AME, African Methodist Episcopal Zion-AME Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal-CME) are convening as a body for the first time in 45 years from March 1-3 at the Carolina Coliseum, 701 Assembly St. in Columbia, SC
“It appears that we could do more together than we can apart,” said Senior Bishop George W.C. Walker, one of the organizers for the historic Great Gathering. 

According to a news release, the purpose of the Great Gathering meeting is to address how illiteracy, unemployment, crime, personal responsibility and other issues are affecting African-American men’s ability to be good providers and role models in their communities.
 “Together, all our denominations represent a people and a community with many ills and problems,” Senior Bishop John R. Bryant said. “But we feel strongly that we can overcome all that might separate our churches so we can all focus collectively on what we can do to make things better for our people.” 
Over the course of three days, some of the country’s leading thinkers from the fields of education, religion and politics will discuss and collaborate on an initiative to solve the problems that the Great Gathering will define. Among the confirmed participants are Princeton University professor scholar Cornel West; Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund; philosopher Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu; platinum recording gospel artist Marvin Sapp; singer Byron Cage, and Grammy winner artist Bishop Hezekiah Walker.
AME Zion pastor Dr. Staccato Powell, who is also the CEO of Grace in the City, a community development corporation that is redeveloping the blighted College Park neighborhood in Raleigh, NC; is the chairman for this groundbreaking summit. All activities will take place at the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, SC. For more information, go to for registration details.

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Mitch’s Reflections: The Secret

The following poem was given to me at a Bible study group meeting, and it blessed me. Perhaps it will bless you, too. 🙂

The Secret
I met God in the morning
When the day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise
Like glory within my breast.

All day long the presence lingered,
All day long he stayed with me;
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed;
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings,
With His presence left behind,

So I think I know the secret
Learned from many a troubled way,
You must seek God in the morning
If you want Him through the day.
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Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. to become International Presiding Prelate and Senior Bishop of MCHCA

Mount Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc. will consecrate Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. into the official office of International Presiding Prelate and Senior Bishop during their 80th Annual International Convocation.

Bishop Owens has been a member of MCHCA for over 30 years. He was consecrated a Bishop in the organization in 1988 and was appointed Vice-Bishop in 2001. In August 2008, Bishop Harold I. Williams stepped down as Presiding Prelate taking Emeritus status and appointed Bishop Owens as the Presiding Prelate.

Owens and his wife, Co-Pastor Susie C. Owens, pastor Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, the largest church in Washington, D.C. proper with a membership of almost 8,000. He is also the Dean of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops.

The consecration service will take place Thursday, August 20, 2009, at the International Headquarters of MCHCA Inc. Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church is located at 610 Rhode Island Ave., NE Washington, DC 20002. The service begins at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Bishop J. Delano Ellis, President of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops will be the Consecrator and serve as speaker of the evening. For more information, call (202)529-4547.

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Mitch’s Reflection: “Yes, Lord”

I was viewing this video on YouTube and listening to the song “Yes Lord” took me all the way back to those times, singing acappella as a little girl at my grandfather’s church in the country. It’s a song that no way how one sings it, it was always heartfelt, linking generations to generations. I still get emotional hearing it. May this excerpt bless you today as much as it has blessed me.