A/G, COGIC join forces
through inner-city campus
By John W. Kennedy
The Assemblies of God
and the Church of God in Christ have entered into a corporate
partnership to operate the School of Urban Missions, an urban
Bible college that combines theological education and practical
hands-on training in Oakland, Calif., and New Orleans. The school
offers an associate of arts degree in biblical studies, with practicums
in areas such as homeless shelter ministry, church planting, and
outreach to gang members.
This marks the first
time that the two Pentecostal fellowships have embarked on such
a joint project. Previously the A/G had sole possession of both
campuses, but collaboration with a like-minded Pentecostal group
is designed to produce a more effective ministry. COGIC, a predominately
black fellowship, is the largest Pentecostal denomination in the
SUM has more than 150
students this term, around two-thirds of whom are African-American.
superintendents and COGIC bishops have been trying to find ways
to work together,” says A/G U.S. missionary George Neau,
who is school chancellor. “Now we’re going forward.”
the two fellowships signed a partnership agreement at an August
21 dedication service of the Oakland campus.
“Those who see
the unifying move of God will rejoice in the coming together of
the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ to accomplish
God’s purpose of preparing men and women for relevant and
effective ministry,” says W.W. Hamilton, secretary to the
COGIC general board.
SUM Oakland opened
five years ago. MAPS RV workers helped keep the renovation of
the 15,000-square-foot educational facility — which includes
a library, student lounge, classrooms and computer lab —
to $650,000 and construction of a new 300-seat chapel to $500,000.
The chapel and bookstore are part of the 20,000-square-foot administrative
building, which includes dormitories to house 100 residents. The
campus is now worth $7 million.
Neau founded the first
SUM in New Orleans in 1992. The school meets in a three-story,
“The church in
contemporary America has to face the reality of changing demographics
and philosophy to be effective,” says A/G Assistant General
Superintendent Charles Crabtree. “The Lord will build His
church in the middle of urban sprawl, and He will build His church
with denominational cooperation and racial harmony in a Pentecostal