To our Beloved Church Family and Fellow Labourers in God’s Vineyard,
Ever since the beginning of our Church, God has been gracious and faithful to protect and to provide. In spite of glaring odds, he has miraculously worked in and through this Body of believers not because we are worthy, but because of his purpose and glory.
The Church is a Body but it is also called a “Family”. A family with Christ as the head but still made up of broken people. As a result, it is not uncommon for disputes and disagreements to arise; for arguments and miscommunication and even the breakdown of relationships. This was true in the early church and it is true among us today.
Many of you have felt a tension in the church in the past few weeks. Some of you have begun to press for answers and some have heard rumours. This statement is not meant to answer all of them, but we hope it will bring clarity, urgency and much-needed hope.
Although there is no “official” notice given to the CICOGHK Council and to the Cornerstone Congregation, Pastor Eugene has indeed taken actions to plant a new Church of God in Fotan. They will stand on their own, not as an outreach of Cornerstone in an arrangement much like the ePTH Church. The relationship is strained and much of the dispute remains unsettled but we hope to assure you that every effort was and is being made to resolve the differences in a manner that is honouring to God.
We pray that although these events are deeply confusing and hurtful, let us not be overcome with despair. Do not allow the Enemy to plant seeds of disunity within the Church. Do not allow the flesh to take hold over your thoughts, emotions and actions. Do not entertain gossip, slander or worry. Instead, let us be led by the Holy Spirit who leads us to truth and calls us to speak the truth with love.
It is not over – the hard work has just begun. Families will fight and if we should fight – then let us not fight as the world does but as those who have been freed by God. We are no longer ruled by the need to be right or to defend ourselves for God himself is our witness and our righteous judge – to whom we are all accountable and will one day stand before. So in all these things, we plead God for his mercy as we prayerfully seek to obey him as individuals and as a church.
There is no offence that is unforgiveable especially among the fellowship of the forgiven but sometimes, in order to heal we must go our separate ways much like Paul and Barnabas. But there is no separation that is permanent because we all belong to the same body of Christ and therefore we are all heading for the same destination. We can personally testify to this because of our experience with our Chinese brethren who started their own Church and are now helping our Kwai Fong Outreach.
Please pray for the Council of Cornerstone (the Pastoral Staff and the Board) – for protection and provision as we carry the heavy responsibility of leading Cornerstone.
Pray for Pastor Daniel and our Regional Superintendent Bishop Tommy Smith – for wisdom as they continue discussions with Pastor Eugene.
Pray for Pastor Eugene and the Church of God at Fotan – for healing and God’s blessing over them.
Pray for CICOG as we enter into a new chapter of our journey together.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to approach our pastors and leaders. But above all, let us seek God. Pray for discernment and wisdom, for comfort and compassion. Together, let us seek the Lord that we may honour him in our thoughts, words and actions.
Finally, let these words comfort you today. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)