How to Access the COGIC Judicial System
The Ecclesiastical Jurisdictional Pastors and Elders Council is the gate way to the COGIC Judicial system. The exception is when the charges are against a Bishop which would be filed with the Board of Bishops.
All charges against a Pastor or a local Church must be filed with the General Secretary, and the Jurisdictional Secretary.
- The Jurisdictional Secretary shall forward the charges to the Jurisdictional Bishop.
- The Jurisdictional Bishop shall appoint an investigating committee of from three to five members who will examine the facts and report to the Bishop their findings. If the charges are without merit, they will be dismissed and all parties including the General Secretary will be notified. If the charges are found to have merit, the Bishop shall send it to the Jurisdictional Pastors and Elders Council and the Pastors and Elders Council Secretary shall give written notice to all principle parties and copies of the notices shall be filed with the General Secretary in Memphis.
- Once the Bishop sends the charges to the Pastors and Elders Council it is solely responsible to conduct the trial. The Bishop carries out their judgment.
A Pastor can only legitimately be removed (per the COGIC Constitution) after having been found guilty in a Pastors and Elders Council trial. He may be suspended for sexual misconduct, but unless he resigns, his permanent removal can only happen if he is found guilty at a trial. He may appeal an adverse ruling to the General Council of Pastors and Elders. The trial of a Jurisdictional Official is the same as a Pastor. Complaints against local members would be handled at the local church.
Always send your communications via both Certified Mail, and First Class Mail*, even to the Jurisdictional Secretary, this establishes a paper trail which is accepted in a court of law. Always save the green return card as well as the proof of mailing receipt. If the addressee does not pick the mailing up, do not open it when it is returned to you. The postmark on an unopened package as well as the receipt still serves as proof it was sent. * Also send it via regular first class mail, this is in case they refuse to accept it. One other interesting thing to note, as the Executive Branch, the General Board no longer has any Judicial Duties in the Constitution (except they do adjudicate the departments. Sunday School, YPWW, etc.)
* I was corrected on this point so I am passing the information along
(The word shall removes personal discretion from the individual. Failure to follow the instructions is in itself a chargeable offense; nonfeasance.)
THINGS TO AVOID
In the Church of God in Christ, the trustees do not have the authority to remove a Pastor themselves. The only way anyone including a Bishop (except for sexual misconduct) can remove a Pastor, who doesn’t want to leave, is when a majority of the members file charges and it goes through the Pastors and Elders Council using Article VIII, Section B.
If the Pastor is teaching things that violate doctrine or living an immoral lifestyle, and his church supports him, the church can be brought up on charges by one member of the church, filing charges against that church using Article VIII, Section A. The church could then be tried by an Ecclesiastical Council consisting of five (5) Pastors appointed by the Jurisdictional Bishop based on the findings on the investigating committee. If a crime has been committed, it should be reported to the authorities.
Procedures and Offenses which can be cause for a trial.
Offenses for which a Church may be tried; Article VIII, Section A
The only way, a Church of God in Christ Pastor can be involuntarily removed, is by following the procedures found in the manual. You can find the procedures by opening the document below.
Offenses for which a Pastor may be tried; Article VIII, Section B
Trials of Jurisdictional Officers; Article VIII, Section C*
- The Trial of Jurisdictional Officers, except Jurisdictional Bishops, shall be the same in all respects as that of a Pastor The decision of the Jurisdictional Assembly shall be final. (*As found in the Official Manual)
This is contrary to what is believed, most believe the bishop can remove them at will. This is not true, Article IV, paragraph.
5. Each Jurisdictional Bishop shall have the right to appoint and or remove District Superintendents. Departmental heads and all other State officials in his Ecclesiastical jurisdiction, unless otherwise provided for by this constitution.
Offenses for which a Bishop may be tried; Article VIII, Section D
Procedures to follow if charges are filed against a Bishop, if the correct procedure and form is not followed it can be thrown out. (PROCEDURES)