Edna Pollard of Clovis plays the tambourine as she and Charlene Perkins of Clovis sing a praise and worship song during Tuesday night’s service. CNJ photo: Eric Kluth
By Darrell Todd Maurina
Shouts of “Hallelujah!” and “We praise God tonight!” rang out Tuesday evening from a church in west Clovis.
Enthusiastic praise and intensive teaching are standard fare each year at the state women’s convention of the Church of God in Christ, said Mother Lula Kitchen, state supervisor for women in the denomination.
Women from Church of God in Christ congregations as far away as Las Cruces came to Clovis this week, where the denomination’s bishop for New Mexico hosted the annual event at one of the largest predominantly black churches in Clovis, the First Church of God in Christ on Vinton Street. Sessions end this evening closing out the four-day conference.
“When we come, we come to support and undergird the men’s ministry,” Kitchen said following Tuesday night’s service. “We want to be an encouragement to young women, showing them how to do what needs doing.”
Kitchen, who has held her role since 1997, compared women’s need for the state convention to a car driver’s need for gasoline.
“It’s like going to the gas station; we get a spiritual refueling so we can go on,” Kitchen said. “One of our missions is to teach and give directions for our (women’s) leadership. So many people are struggling with problems and troubles, and we are here to help.”
This year, Kitchen said the women will focus on how to do practical ministry for those in need. Kitchen said her assistants have arranged a visit to a local convalescent home and to the Lighthouse Mission, a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and clothing bank.
Kitchen, an Alamogordo resident, said she prays for communities all over the state where the Church of God in Christ has local congregations.
“I read a lot, pray a lot, fast a lot,” Kitchen said. ”I hear you all (in Clovis) have had a number of murders up here, and I pray for that. When I read the news, I cry, because that’s someone’s son or brother, daughter or sister.”
A fiery opening message by Bishop W.C. Green left no doubt about where his church teaches people must turn for help.
“There are only two families in the world, the family of Lucifer and of God, and if there is any time we need to come together, it is now,” Green said. “We, the people of God, are responsible for training those who are willing to be trained. The reason I say that is that some refuse to be trained.”
Green called for unity in the broader church.
“Satan wants the whites against the blacks, and the blacks against the whites, and the Hispanics against the blacks and the whites and the blacks and the whites against the Hispanics,” Green said. “Each one of you who name the name of Christ must follow him by making peace in the world.”
Green cautioned that peace doesn’t mean agreeing with everything some people in the church teach. Green blasted a number of recent developments including legalization of homosexual marriage in Massachusetts and said people advocating such positions call God’s wrath down upon themselves.
“The things that are happening in our world are quite disturbing,” Green said. “There’s only one place that we can find peace, and that is in the Lord.”
Green told the assembled women that they have a special calling in the church, citing a biblical passage in Proverbs 31 regarding the ideal wife and mother.
“Women of God, God brought you to the kingdom for such a time as this. What should you do?” Green asked. “Be a virtuous woman whose price is far above rubies.”