Saturday, August 9, 2008

It's Over!

This is Saturday, August 9, 2008 and the General Assembly of our Church has just concluded. I'm still in the hotel, waiting for flight time tomorrow. I have my bags packed and am ready to go...and I'm experiencing mixed emotions. I can literally feel little shots of adrenalin when I think about the fact that I don't go back to the office in Cleveland. This feeling is similar to "butterflies" in the stomach. On the other hand there is a tinge of sadness that I won't go back to the offices. Now, don't get me wrong, but I am not quitting. I cannot imagine me sitting down and doing nothing. Maybe you (mostly my children) will pray for me to know exactly how I can be most useful to God for the remaining years of my ministry. I only have to live 30 more years to keep the promise I made to you (my daughters) that I would live to be 100 and would be here for you. Yes, I do mean it when I ask for your prayers --- but I am not worried nor afraid of the future. The same God who took care of us when we first started out in missions will also take care of us now as we begin this new chapter. I'm excited about it!!!

OK - I think I've already reported to you the major elected persons to fill offices of leadership in our church...from the General Overseer down to the Council of Eighteen. I've also reported to you that Peter Thomas, the man who had been serving with me in Africa as the Continental CE Director, has been appointed to replace me. Stepping up to replace Peter as CE Director is Jurgen Rudolph. Here are some other appointments you might want to know: Dennis McGuire, Director of Multi-Cultural Ministries; J. David Stephens, Overseer of Tennessee. Thomas Madden, Int. Youth and CE Director; Gary Lewis, Assistant Youth and CE Director; Paul L. Walker, Director of Local Church Development; Paul Conn, Lee University; Don Aultman, School of Ministry; Gary Moncher, Patten University; Steven Land, Theological Seminary; Robert White, T.L. Lowery, & Bill Claypoole, International Evangelists;

Well - there's a few more coming later. If you have a question later I'll try to answer it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Council Elected & Business Underway

The Council of Eighteen is the most prestigious council of the entire Church of God which has delegates here from 164 nations of the world. 3000 plus men have a hand in selecting these leaders by through the power of private ballots. The following men were selected:

1. Bryan Cutshall
2. Loran Livingstone
3. Bill Isaacs
4. Tony Scott
5. David Cooper
6. Don Walker
7. Grant McClung
8. Lamar Vest
9. Jentzen Franklin
10. Oliver McMahan
11. Fedlyn Beason
12. David Ramirez
13. Gary Sears
14. Nick Park
15. David Munguia Z
16. Mike Chapman
17. Mark Walker
18. Thomas Propes

I personally feel good about these nominations which took place yesterday and today. It is my hope and expectation that all of them will be confirmed by the General Assembly. Actually, the by-laws state that these men are elected by the General Council and not by the General Assembly. I'm very pleased with the entire list of those selected to serve on the Council of Eighteen.

BUSINESS IS NOW UNDERWAY in the General Council. Today we had a very emotional beginning of discussion on a most important issue...the issue of reducing the amount of money that pastors are asked to send to the General Offices with their monthly reports. I came away with a feeling of confidence that the Church of God is well set to step into the future because I heard some young men with intelligent proposals and polite manner offer their alternative ideas. They refused to be intimidated and, in my judgment, were brilliant in following Robert's Rules of Order - the rules which govern our discussion. God is with us! I'm willing to privately share more details with any of you who read this blog. It was a truly remarkable day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Newly Elected COG Leadership

This morning we started electing new leaders of the General Executive Committee who will lead us for the next two years. Here are the names so far:

Raymond Culpepper - General Overseer (Moved up from First Assistant)
Tim Hill - First Assistant General Overseer (Moved up)
Mark Williams - Second Assistant General Overseer (Former Overseer of California)
David Griffis - Third ASsistant General Overseer (Former Overseer of Tennessee)
Wallace Sibley - Secretary General (Former Director of Evangelism & Home Missions)

Thomas Madden - General Director of Youth & CE (Moved up from Assistant)
Gary Lewis - Assistant General Director of Y & CE (Former Youth Director/S Carolina

Jimmy D. Smith - General Director of Evangelism & Home Missions (Moved Up)
Larry Timmerman - Assistant Director of Evang (Former Overseer/Alabama)

Douglas LeRoy - General Director of World Missions (Moved up)
Victor Pagan - Assistant General Director (Former Field Director of South America)

When we concluded the afternoon session today we had cast ballots for the Council of Eighteen. Results were to be announced at 7:00 this evening. Since I have walked back and forth to the Building twice today I decided not to go again tonight - but rather to get some rest. I'll try to post again tomorrow and let you know.

New Sheriff Appointed

This morning at 7:00a.m. we had our Africa Breakfast in the Hard Rock Cafe. Dr. Roland Vaughan, our out-going General Director of World Missions made the announcement to all of our group that Peter and Deborah Thomas are the new Field Directors for West, Central, and Eastern Africa. At that time I presented a very dressy looking ten gallon hat to Peter and also pinned a gold colored "tin star" on his coat which had his name on it. This was intended to show all the leaders in our area that the power has transferred. He is NOW officially carrying the load, so I don't have to wait until high noon on Saturday. In fact I have already begun to send those with questions about the work in Africa to him for their answers. Of course I will miss the interaction and the opportunity to give my input to the work there - but we could have no one more familiar with the COG in Africa than Peter. Jurgen Rudolph, who has been serving as E.A. Regional Supt has moved into the Continental CE Director's slot to follow up on the Educational programs which Peter has initiated in our 33 countries.

West Africa Superintendent David Le Page also is retiring at this Assembly will be succeeded by Ephraim Shawa, who has just completed his Master's Degree at the COG Seminary in Cleveland. Eastern Africa's new Superintendent is to be Bishop Joseph Kagarama, who has been serving til now as the Overseer of Uganda. He is a very loyal and kind person who has always treated me exceptionally well whenever I've visited in his country. Please pray urgently for Bishop Jack Nkandu, the person appointed to serve as Central Africa Regional Superintendent.

Bishop Nkandu, who has been serving as the Central Region's C.E. Director, was on his way to the General Assembly and had stopped to visit a friend in Germany when he started vomiting and spitting up blood in the middle of the night. Had a doctor not been his host it is un-likely he would be alive now. The doctor did a tracheotomy that night to help him breathe. When he was taken to hospital next day for complete tests it was discovered that he has a huge cancerous tumor growing behind his nasal passages and invading the area of his brain and down into his throat. Doctors have induced a coma and also inserted a feeding tube into his stomach so that he can survive while a decision is made as to whether even radical surgery can save him. While doctors do their best, I am asking all of you who may read this to pray fervently for Brother Jack and also pray for his wife, whose name is Peace, to have the strength needed during this ordeal. GOD STILL DOES MIRACLES. We NEED one!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Would You Believe It?

I arrived in San Antonio last night without Frances, who decided at the last minute that she was too sick to make it. Being here without her is very difficult for me, especially in light of the fact that this is my last General Assembly to attend as the Field Director. However ... Her blood pressure is too high and her heart rate is too low and the stress of the flight alone might have triggerred an "incident" for her health. Neither of us want that to happen. So I have to make the best of it. I won't have any pictures of this event for I decided that with all the security regulations and luggage carrying restrictions I did not want to keep up with it.
On the trip out there was considerable turbulence between Chattanooga and Memphis. At one point the plane suddenly dropped and then stopped as if it had run into a brick wall. We continued on without further major incident. Fortunately the plane out of Memphis was late, so all luggage was safely transferred and I was able to make the connection from Memphis to San Antonio.
After a good hot shower I found nothing on TV worth watching, so spent an hour channel surfing, picking up tidbits about Senator McCain and Senator Obama trading political barbs and lashing out at one another's ineptitudes with meaning meandering. God help America! Give us someone as President who loves God and is not ashamed to say it publicly; someone who supports our constitution and our bill of rights; someone who will lead with moral courage and not let the UN (nor anyone/anything else) influence us to leave behind the convictions of our founding fathers.
I have been out of the hotel twice this morning to walk around and orient myself to the area. Breakfast in the hotel is $18.00. Would you believe water in the room is $5.00 for a 24 oz bottle? It is sitting on a divice that is designed to add the price to your bill when you pick up the water???

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton