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Newly Appointed Bishop Designee Joe L. EalyPastor Joe L Ealy becomes Bishop Designee of So. Cal First JurisdictionThe pastors, elders, missionaries and laity of the Churches of God in Christ of First Jurisdiction, and beyond, packed the West Angeles north campus on Saturday morning, September 12th to witness another historical moment.Â The courtyard of West Angeles was filled with the â€œsaintsâ€ gathered from beyond the Southern California borders, waiting to hear the voice of their Presiding Bishop.Â This morning he was not robed to preach the gospel, but to make his decision official that he indeed is ready to pass the baton after 24 years of leadership of Southern California First Jurisdiction which ranks as the largest jurisdiction, comprised of over 200 churches. His decision to step down from his service as the jurisdictional bishop came out of an assessment of all his demanding responsibilities.Â Not only is he the Pastor of one of the largest Pentecostal churches in the nation, but also serves as the Presiding Bishop of the COGIC worldwide, not to mention his admirable philanthropic work in Save Africaâ€™s Children. He felt it was time to save his own strength and allow another qualified pastor to lead the jurisdiction on.Â Seven of the beloved Pastors within the jurisdiction responded to Bishop Blakeâ€™s auditory signal. With their hands stretched and their vision strong, it would only be seven of Godâ€™s men in a possible handoff.Â Â This exchange would be void of the political tension and cruel attacks often seen during any electoral process. After all it is Bishop Blake- his godliness, and internationally known dignity would only allow a proper baton exchange.Â Seven Shepherds had seven minutes to share their love and vision for the church and Godâ€™s people. Seven minutes along with their personal history of service would be their campaign. Bishop Jerry Macklin (2nd Assistant Presiding Bishop of the COGIC) graciously introduced each candidate:Â Pastor Reuben Anderson (Tower of Faith COGIC-Compton), Pastor Joe L. Ealy (Gospel Memorial COGIC-Long Beach), Pastor J.A. Ford (Mt. Zion COGIC- Santa Maria), Pastor Ron M. Gibson (Life COGIC- Riverside),Â Pastor Garon Harden (Greater Open Door COGIC- Long Beach),Â Pastor Ron Hill (Love and Unity COGIC- Compton), and Pastor Lenton H. Lenoir (Holy Land COGIC- San Bernardino). Each candidate shared their vision with the congregants.Â Their words were accepted with pure joy and applause.Â These men are no strangers, but all have served the COGIC for many years, as well as Bishop Blake, with devotion and excellence.Â They are brothers and their speeches showed the respect and esteem they have for each other.Â Bishop Blake made it clear that this was not an election but â€œa recommendationâ€ by only the Pastors of the jurisdiction.Â Â The ultimate decision rests in the hands of the Presiding Bishop with the consent of the General Board.Â Â Â Every speech was indeed unique but the common theme was the soul of man and progress.Â Their message was a blend of virtue, business, â€œchurch talk,â€ humor and inspiration. Although they all would represent the jurisdiction proudly, there can only be one leader at a time.Â Â Rows of Pastors sat prepared to fill in one name out of the seven.Â Who would be their recommendation to build on the foundation of the leaders before them and the great man who sits beside them?Â After about forty minutes the count was in.Â Out of 132 recommendations Pastor Joe L. Ealy of Long Beach received 69, following him was Pastor Ron Gibson of Riverside who received 19 recommendations, the peopleâ€™s choice was clear.Â Pastor Ealy has a reputation of grace.Â He is known not by the many words he shares, but by his profound quiet confidence, his holy gospel messages, an impeccable character and a smile that will cheer any depressed heart.Â It was a peaceful victory.Â The men pledged their devotion to First Jurisdiction, promising not to split but to continue the peace.Â After the General Board sanctions the Presiding Bishopâ€™s recommendation, Southern California will have a new Bishop.Â After the dismissal prayer, Pastor Ealyâ€™s only words were, â€œI am humbled.â€Â And that he is.Â Â