Church of God in Christ Leaders from Detroit Travel to Israel to Solidify Ties

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Leaders with the largest African-American Christian group, Church of God in Christ (COGIC), are on a week-long trip to Israel

Several Christian leaders from metro Detroit with the largest African-American religious group left for Israel on Monday on a trip to solidify their ties with the Jewish nation and its people.

About nine pastors from metro Detroit with the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) will be in Israel on a week-long trip organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a Chicago-based organization led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who has done extensive outreach to evangelical Christians who support Israel.

About 20 pastors will be on the trip, most of them with COGIC, a Pentecostal denomination popular in Detroit that is socially conservative.

“It’s exciting to make this trip,” said the Rev. P.A. Brooks of New St. Paul Tabernacle Church in Detroit and the second-highest-ranking leader of COGIC nationally. “We want to continue our good relations with Israel.”

Like many other conservative Christians, Brooks said that supporting Israel and the Jewish people is mandated by the Bible. The visit comes as Israel tries to convince African-American leaders and others to oppose the Iran deal, which Israeli leaders say will threaten their nation.

“Israel is the tree that’s going to blossom as we approach end times, so they are like a time clock,” Brooks said. “The Jewish nation is a time clock. They are a modern-day miracle prophesied in the scriptures.”

Eckstein spoke during Sunday services Aug. 16 at three churches in Detroit: St. Paul Tabernacle, Third New Hope Baptist Church and Family Victory Fellowship Church. Also on the trip this week will be the Rev. Gary Plummer, a prominent metro Detroit pastor who is director of missions to Israel with COGIC. Eckstein’s group started an outreach program to African-American Christian communities about a year ago.

The pastors and Eckstein see a tie between African Americans and Jewish Americans in terms of civil rights, given the involvement of Jews in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest white adviser was Jewish and the two white civil rights workers murdered in Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964, along with an African-American man, were Jewish.

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Source: Detroit Free Press | Niraj Warikoo

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