Monthly Archives: December, 2014

Homegoing of a Saint – Dr. Johnnie Coleman, Chicago, Illinois

by Robert Earl Houston

Dr. Johnnie Coleman, the iconic Chicago minister who founded and built the Christ Universal Temple, for which she led for over 50 years, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, December 23, 2014.  Homegoing Services are pending and will be announced on the church website,

The Church, now led by Rev. Derrick B. Wells, released the following statement:

On Tuesday, December 23rd, our beloved spiritual mother and founder, the Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon, made her transition. We lovingly hold her up in prayer as we release her into the grace, peace, and harmony of God’s presence.

We are praying with her family and everyone who was touched by her life-transforming ministry.

At this time, arrangements for a memorial service in her honor are incomplete.  Additional information will be forthcoming as promptly as it is made available.
From the Christ Universal Temple Website:

The Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon, often referred to as the First Lady of the New Thought Christian Community, founded Christ Universal Temple, a thriving, spirited, and progressive New Thought Church in 1956. In 1974, she established an international organization of affiliated New Thought churches and study groups called the Universal Foundation for Better Living.

As a member of the International New Thought Alliance (I.N.T.A.), Rev. Colemon served as the district president and the chairperson of the 60th I.N.T.A. Congress held in Chicago.

“Johnnie”, as Rev. Colemon is affectionately called, celebrated fifty years of building and teaching in 2006, the year she retired as the Senior Minister of Christ Universal Temple. During her tenure, she built five structures to spread the “Better Living” teachings, including three churches and two institutions of learning (Johnnie Colemon Institute and Johnnie Colemon Academy). She also constructed a luxury banquet hall and restaurant in service to a community that, previously, had little access to a high end dining experience. The first church, built in 1962, was named Christ Unity Temple, with a its addition to accommodate another 1000 parishioners constructed in 1972. When the congregation outgrew the first church and the additional building, Rev. Colemon designed, constructed, and moved into the current Christ Universal Temple, located on the 100 acre campus at 119th Street and Ashland Avenue in Chicago.

The Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon’s leadership, vision, and love continues to have an impact on a global scale as Christ Universal Temple remains a ‘Light Unto All Humanity.’

From: The History Makers

The Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon, founder-minister of Christ Universal Temple, has a message: “Teaching People How To Live Better Lives”. Often referred to as the first lady of America’s religious community, she is the pastor of the thriving, spirited and progressive New Thought Church, which has nearly 20,000 members. Born in Columbus, Mississippi, Colemon was raised in a rich spiritual environment. Her parents, John and Lula Haley, were active members of the church and encouraged their only child to participate. Colemon demonstrated leadership skills early at Union Academy High School, graduating as valedictorian of her class. She received her B.A. at Wiley College and first became a teacher for the Chicago Public Schools and later an analyst for the Quarter Masters.

Open Your Mind and Be Healed is not only the title of her book, but her remarkable personal story of the use of universal principles of healing. After learning that she had an incurable disease in 1952, with encouragement from her mother, Colemon enrolled in the Unity School of Christianity, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, where she received her teaching certificate and became an ordained minister.

Colemon is a builder and a teacher. She has built six structures to spread the better living teachings: three churches, two institutions of learning and a restaurant and banquet facility. The first church was Christ Unity Temple built in 1956 and its addition in 1973. The congregation expanded to the current Christ Universal Temple, located on the sprawling campus grounds at 119th Street (named Rev. Johnnie Colemon Drive in 1996) and Ashland Avenue in Chicago. Close to 4,000 people flock every Sunday and are taught how to think, rather than what to think. Her experiences compel her to share with others: “Change Your Thoughts and Change Your Life.” Out of a sense of knowing that a need for a vital, new affiliation of independent New Thought Churches existed, Colemon’s dynamic leadership led to the organization of the Universal Foundation for Better Living, Inc., an international association of New Thought Christian Churches and study groups located in the USA and abroad.

Her civic positions include Director of the Chicago Port Authority and Commissioner of the Chicago Transit Authority Oversight Committee, recognition as one of Chicago’s Living Legends by the Institute for African American Youth Development. She was honored by DuSable Museum as an African American History Maker.

Colemon is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. She holds the distinction of advancing the New Thought movement and received the Minister of the Century from the International New Thought Alliance (INTA). Colemon was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from her alma mater, Wiley College in Wiley, Texas; the degrees of doctor of humane letters and doctor of divinity from Monrovia College, Liberia; and a Ph.D. in humane letters from Gospel Ministry Outreach (GMOR). Other honors include proclamations from the States of Illinois and Michigan; the City of Chicago; the Ohio House of Representatives; the Michigan Legislature; the City of Oakland, California; Miami, Florida and many others.

Homegoing of a Saint: Bishop Kenneth Lewis Tate, Huntsville, Alabama

June 1, 1960 – Dec. 16, 2014
Bishop Kenneth Lewis Tate, 54 of Huntsville, AL departed this life on December 16, 2014 at 9:34 am at his home surrounded by love.

Bishop Tate was educated in the Madison County school system, and attended Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biblical Studies at American Baptist College, Nashville, TN. He retired from Redstone Arsenal as an Information Technology Specialist in 2004.

Bishop Kenneth Tate was the establisher, and Senior Pastor of New Shiloh Church Ministries in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Third Presiding Bishop of Dominion Covenant Fellowship of Churches, International; headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

Bishop Tate leaves to mourn a wife, Cynthia Tate, Huntsville, AL; daughters, Angelia (Anthony) Huggins, Kenethia Tate, both of Huntsville, AL, son, Le’Quinton (Jimilee) Tate, Hazel Green, AL; mother, Alma J. Tate-Anderson, West Bloomfield, MI; father, Pastor Elijah (Lorine) Tate, Huntsville, AL; sister, Kabba Tate-Anderson, West Bloomfield; MI, four brothers, David (Valarie )Woods, Detroit, MI, Jarvis Tate, Huntsville, AL, Minister Christopher Tate, Johnson City, TN, Reverend Wayne Sibley, Huntsville, AL; step-sister, Alicia Burwell, Madison, AL, father and mother-in-law, Freddy and Vera Abernathy, Decatur, AL; three sisters-in-law, one brother-in-law, seven grandchildren, and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Visitation was held December 19, 2014, at New Shiloh Church Ministries (5101 Mastin Lake Road, Huntsville, AL). Funeral service was on Saturday, December 20, 2014, at Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church (1919 Brandontown Road, Huntsville, AL) with Bishop James E. Kellem officiating. Interment will be in the Valhalla Memory Gardens. Bishop Tate will lie in repose one hour prior to funeral time. – See more at:

Homegoing of a Saint – Dr. John T. Teabout, Sr., Newark, New Jersey

The Homegoing Services have been announced for Dr. John T. Teabout, Sr., pastor of the Greater Friendship Baptist Church Newark, NJ.

Rev. Teabout went home to be with our Lord and Savior on Friday, December 19, 2014.

Arrangements for his home-going services are as follow:

Friday December 26, 2014 from 3 pm until
at Greater Friendship Baptist Church 84 Custer Ave, Newark, NJ

Home Going Service:
Saturday December 27, 2014 from 9 am until
at Zion Hill Baptist Church 152 Osborne Terrace, Newark, NJ

Rev. Teabout has been a faithful part of the Late Night Services for the National Baptist Convention. Let’s pray for his family and his church family and the community of faith.

Homegoing of a Saint – Rev. W.L. Baker, Hopkinsville, KY

by Dr. C.B. Akins, pastor of the First Baptist Church Bracktown, Lexington, KY
From the American Baptist Newspaper, December 15, 2014 Edition


Homegoing of a Saint: Bishop Gordon A. Humphrey, Jr., Chicago, Illinois – UPDATE

by Robert Earl Houston

10675550_10153428703292564_7920888724677080544_nUPDATED, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2014 –

Funeral plans / Memorial Concert set for Pastor Gordon Humphrey, Jr.

Members, Friends and Family will have three days to honor the life of Pastor Gordon Humphrey, Jr. of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago and Olivet Baptist Church in Oakland, California.


Saturday, December 20, 2014
12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pastor Humphrey Jr.’s body will lie in state
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago
10540 S. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60625

Sunday, December 21, 2014
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Memorial Concert will feature gospel artists
from the Chicagoland area
House of Hope
752 E. 114th Street, Chicago, IL 60628

Monday, December 22, 2014
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (doors open at 10 a.m.)
House of Hope
752 E. 114th Street, Chicago, IL 60628

Private Burial Immediately Following

One of the most gifted preachers, bishops, pastors, mentors, singers, musician, and recording artists has gone home to be with the Lord. Bishop Gordon A. Humphrey, Jr., pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, December 14, 2014 he was 60 years old.

Homegoing Services are pending.  Below is a bio which appeared on the website of the congregation he formerly pastored in Oakland, California, which he recently installed a new pastor:

Pastor Gordon A. Humphrey Jr. was born to the proud parent of Gordon Humphrey, Sr. and Helen Humphrey in Ohio. Rev. Humphrey’s father pastored the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois for over 40 years. Rev. Humphrey was reared in the Chicago public school system and later attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. He is accompanied in ministry by his wife Diane and two children, Gordon III and Cha’Rena.

Pastor Humphrey is noted for his prolific urban message that encourages people from all walks of life to give their lives to Christ. He has been the Pastor and visionary of the Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, California for the past 30 years. Rev. Humphrey is in great demand as an evangelist and his ministry has allowed him to preach the Gospel across the entire nation.

Pastor Humphrey is currently the Senior Pastor of 3 churches: Olivet Church, Oakland, CA, Olivet Church, Stockton, CA, and the Shiloh Baptist Church in Chicago, IL

After a brief sabbatical, along with a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, God spoke to Pastor Humphrey regarding the direction for his ministry. Out of this came a new and nonconventional approach to worship that accepts people as they are but challenges them not to stay in the shape they’re in. This was also a time when the Olivet Church began to experience a worship experience that has been implemented in other churches across the country.

Over 20 years ago Pastor Humphrey established “Sunday Night Live,” a service where all are welcome to come and experience the presence of God without condemnation or judgment. This “Come As You Are” service has been modeled by Pastors and churches across the nation. Pastor Humphrey is also the executive producer of the CD entitled, Olivet Oakland, Sunday Night Live! “You’re In The Right Place At The Right Time.” This project has gained national and international recognition for its inspirational and spirit filled tracks.

Pastor Humphrey is a visionary with boldness to proclaim the Word without compromise. He is inspired by God, directed by the Spirit, and passionate about people and their growth. He is forever your servant, Pastor Gordon A. Humphrey Jr.


Don’t See “Exodus: Gods and Kings” (Review)

by Robert Earl Houston

“This movie was horrible” was the first thing that crossed my lips at the conclusion of the new movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”  It seems like Hollywood is hell bent on using promising Biblical narratives (see: Noah) and then turning the story upside down. My problem (and I suspect the problem of many) will be if you have even a rudimentary knowledge of the story of Moses and the flight of the Hebrews from Egyptian captivity – what you see on the screen will not jive with the Biblical narrative.

I too was distracted by the lack of people of color in the starring roles. It was like watching a high school production of “Purlie” and there were no black actors available. They seemed oddly out of place, pale, and spoke more European english than American english. The costumes were not strong enough to be convincing that there was a person of color shortage in Hollywood.

The script is very loosely based on Biblical fact and unbelievable.

SPOILER ALERT – if you have not seen the film and don’t want things exposed to you, stop reading here. Otherwise, here we go:

There are five things that are ridiculous in this movie:

First, Moses’ encounter with “God” is absolutely insane. According to the movie, Moses is rounding up three sheep on the side of a movie, for some unknown reason, in the midst of a driving rain storm and becomes the victim of a mudslide, which results in him being knocked unconscious. While unconscious, he wakes up engulfed in mud, and is face to face with “God” who is a small european descent child who allows Moses to argue back and forth with him. There is no “let my people go” and the “I am” phrase is uttered and then “God” disappears.

Secondly, Moses’ encounter with Ramses is way off key. Instead of Moses killing an Egyptian for torturing a Hebrew, Moses is “outted” as a Hebrew by his sister and is reunited with his birth mother, at the insistence and persistence of Ramses’ mother. Their rivalry is strange as well, especially since Pharaoh is obviously a huge Moses fan, but has made it clear that his blessing is upon Ramses.

Thirdly, the plagues were difficult to watch.  Instead of confronting Ramses/new Pharaoh, “God” tells Moses “you won’t have to do a thing” which is not sensible or biblical. In the Bible, Moses and Ramses were confrontational. In this context, Moses sits on the sidelines while “God” sends plagues seemingly for no reason. The Nile River is turned to blood when “God” causes alligators to appear from the waters and attack a fishing vessel and then the alligators turn on each other and the Nile River is full of blood. The other plagues were interesting to watch but the reaction of Ramses and Egypt was strange.

Fourthly, these slaves were not caught in the mechanics of slavery. They didn’t look that oppressed throughout the movie. I saw more oppression in “Twelve Years a Slave” than I did in this movie. When they left slavery in Egypt, it looked like they were packing up entire neighbors and a mass exodus looked like a mass gentrification.

Fifthly, the Red Sea. Oh my friend – it ticked me off to see how this played out. Moses is scared of Ramses and he has a four day head start on their army. (By the way, Moses is a master military genius and in the movie, he trains the Hebrews (who are supposed to be in slavery) how to fight as marksmen). Moses decides to cut through the mountains which will slow the Egyptian armies because their vehicles and supplies can’t endure the slopes and hills. Oddly, Moses and “dem” make it through without few problems, but when Ramses and his boys come through, the whole hillside collapses, wiping out about a third of his army.

Then they get to the Red Sea and Moses is waiting for “low tide” instead of a miracle from God. Not only that, the ground is noticeably wet and ponding, unlike the Biblical account that they crossed through the Red Sea “on dry ground.” When Ramses and his army shows up, the Red Sea all of a sudden raises up and kills the army, some Hebrews, and even Moses is caught up in the water but protected.

These five reasons alone are a reason not to go. Not to mention that when “God” and Moses meet up on the mountain after making it to the other side, Moses has to construct, build and write his own tablets, taking dictation from “God.”

This movie was terrible. If you want closer Biblical accuracy, rent or download “The Ten Commandments” or catch it this Easter on ABC. Otherwise, I recommend going to any other movie accept this one. This movie should die of gross neglect from the Christian community.


Waiting to Exhale

by Robert Earl Houston

I have been black in America since May 16, 1960. I’ve always viewed myself as American by birth because I have never lived nor desired to live outside of what I consider to be a blessed United States of America. I have worked for this government, received assistance while growing up in a single-parent household, even received assistance as i was attempting to matriculate through the halls of higher education. I pay my taxes. I follow all of the laws of the land that don’t violate conscious. And to a degree I am patriotic – my father served in World War II and I was the result of the “baby boomer” generation.

But today, I have trouble in my breathing. No, it’s not because of an Asthmatic condition or a condition of the lungs or the muscles that surround the area of my breathing apparatus. My problem is that my breathing has been affected by another black man, dead at the hands of police officers, the case being sent to a grand jury, and when you are looking for the system that you studied and honored to do right, decides to say “pass” on the possibility of indictment. The song is not changing – it happens in many of our states with the same impunity . . . I cannot exhale.

I’ve been holding my breath through the years hoping that one grand jury would at least take into consideration that in a nation where you are 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than other cultures. I thought, by 2014, that the vicissitudes of the creed of this nation, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” would have become engrained in our national psyche. Instead, we have learned that those who held the pen who wrote the preamble and the first laws of this nation also held the key to slaves under their subjugation. We have learned that it took well over 100 years for African-Americans to be recognized as equal citizens in a society that we helped build, construct, and laid our lives down, to create a “Christian nation.”

I’ve been holding my breath to see real change and opportunity. I would have hoped that by now college would not become the new place of privilege as it has become too burdensome and too expensive to complete a college education. I would have hoped that some state or community would have said by now that since our taxpayers paid for it, that we should allow anyone who comes, to receive an education.

I’ve been holding my breath that the great society that President Lyndon B. Johnson envision would have at least added several stories to it’s foundation. However, the nation is rattled with an obsession to allow jobs, taxes, and opportunities go to nations that in some cases, want to see our destruction or have interest in seeing us fail. Jobs are needed in Gary, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, Birmingham, Alabama, Houston, Texas, Shreveport, Louisiana, and dozens of cities that are “chocolate cities” that need infusion of jobs that will put people of color to work other than low-paid restaurant jobs. The infrastructure of our nation is crumbling while politicians of every political stripe are busy playing the politics of personal destruction.

I’ve been holding my breath that the Christian community would respond to these issues with swiftness and acumen. Instead it takes weeks if not months for some of our denominational leaders to pen a paper on the outrage of situations. I will hand it to my former denominational leader, Dr. Melvin Von Wade, Sr., he was proactive and being on his staff, he wanted me to make sure that his voice was heard among the many not weeks or months after any tragedy, but that his one of the first voices that were heard. Instead our denominational leaders remind me of a sign that I saw in my third church that spoke of financial written requests: “PLEASE EXPECT THREE WEEKS FOR PROCESSING” when there was only two offices separating the office of the Pastor and the Office of the Administrator. I would hope that the thousands of dollars we spend on getting people elected to office would at least include a computer, an internet connection, and words address situations and not attached to appeals for funds. If there was ever a time for a joint statement by our denominational leaders – it was yesterday.

I’ve been holding my breath that the other cultures,  who may not agree with our anger, would at least place their feet in our shoes for a few moments. Last year (2013) in Gary, Indiana, in the suburbs returning to my hotel room after ordering some fish, I was profiled. I was a black man, in a late model year car, driving on a US Interstate Highway, at the speed limit – but my problem was i was a black man, in a late model year car, driving on a US Interstate Highway. I was pulled over and then the officer told me I had no insurance. I pulled out my insurance card and he said that didn’t mean anything. I looked at him and said, am I under arrest? He looked at me and said, no and acted as if he had another call to take. I guess that cell phone on record mode helped change his mind. If I had not had that piece of equipment, God only knows my outcome.  Until you walk in the shoes of a black man of stature – to see the scared eyes of women who clutch their purses, store detectives who follow your every move, ignorance by store personnel while you’re shopping, and the asking for ID when making a purchase when someone of other color was not asked for the same, you have no idea what it’s like to be black in America. We’re celebrated for athletics and not taken serious academically.

I’m angry but I’m not stupid. I will protest as able but I will not engage myself in behavior that will destroy or burn down property and businesses of which fellow African-Americans have built with their bare hands, but conversely, I understand the anger, I understand the rage, and I optimistically, as a Christian, look forward to a better day.

And then, I will exhale . . .



by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.