Delayed but Upgraded: Southern California Regional Represents Redo, Victory

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Church of God Convention, Western

By Carl Stagner

This year’s Church of God Regional Conference scheduled to take place at Center of Hope LA isn’t the first attempt to convene a major gathering of the Movement in southern California. Few can forget the unprecedented upheaval facing the church and society in April 2020 when Pastor Geremy Dixon and his congregation had originally expected to open their hearts and doors to sisters and brothers from across the country and around the world. Though a variety of virtual visits provided some degree of consolation in those difficult days, devices and screens ultimately proved unable to duplicate the proximity and presence of the in-person worship experience. Though previously scheduled speaker lineups and formats preserved no precise imprint for postponement, four years later the chance to try again—with an upgraded design and agenda—represents not only a long-anticipated redo, but also assured kingdom victory.

The idea that the Church of God movement would go to their turf is most exhilarating for host pastor Geremy Dixon, whose Misfits Conference will take place in conjunction with the first Regional Conference of 2024, May 15–18. “I think what’s most exciting about the Regional coming to our church is that it’s coming to southern California to begin with,” Geremy has explained with enthusiasm. “We’re pulling out all the stops, doing everything we can possibly do for everyone who will attend. We want to make sure our hospitality speaks to what all our churches are attempting to do, which is not just the local work, but that we see ourselves as active team players in the global work of the Movement.”

Geremy Dixon at Center of Hope LA

Paul Sheppard serves as a pastor on the West Coast, too, and, although in northern California, anticipates greatly the opportunity to attend, and speak at, the Church of God Regional. Dropping some hints about the direction of his message, Paul says, “At the California Regional, I will address what it will take for the Church of God to demonstrate true Christian unity in a deeply divided world.” Reflecting on the partnership aspect of the 2024 Regionals, starting with Inglewood, Paul insists, “The link with Geremy Dixon’s Misfits Conference promises to make this gathering a unique and powerful meeting like no other!”

Like each of our endorsed and affiliated agencies of the Church of God, Christian Women Connection yet again plans to be onsite for the California occasion. But they’re especially excited about exploring some of their roots in the vicinity of Center of Hope LA. With an open invitation to all attendees of the 2024 kickoff Regional, CWC plans to step back in time to the early part of the 20th century and onto the stomping grounds of their organization’s founder. Nora Hunter, known broadly as the founder of CWC, founded and co-pastored a church in East Los Angeles. An excerpt from Chapter 4 of Madam President: The Story of Nora Hunter offers clues which inspire Christian Women Connection to adventure.

“About 1923, they moved into a new section of East Los Angeles and began prayer meetings and Sunday School in private homes in the Belvedere Gardens area in East Los Angeles. The church was organized between 1923 and 1932 (probably dedicated in 1928). It was located at the corner of Sidney Drive and Sixth Street. The congregation welcomed people of various national and religious backgrounds and provided the needy with food and shelter until they could help themselves. All were made welcome in the Church of God and all who responded found a warm fellowship that had no regard for the color of the skin or the condition of the pocketbook.”

A variety of tourist attractions beckon vacationers to sunny southern California every year. No doubt some guests of the Church of God Regional will take in the thrill rides at Disneyland, the iconic scenes of Hollywood, or the sandy shores along the Pacific. Ultimately, however, the expected mighty move of the Spirit in the midst of many in the Movement is sure to leave the lasting impression as the pages of the pandemic are closed to sweet redemption represented in a return to the Golden State.

Learn more about all the 2024 Church of God Regionals, and register, at www.chogconvention.org.

Feature (top) photo of Los Angeles by Venti Views on Unsplash.

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