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Head of Major Black Christian Group Backtracks on Mormon Partnership, Apologizes for Causing ‘Discontent’

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Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop John Drew Sheard Sr. has dropped plans to partner with the Mormon Church after apparent backlash from members of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S.

“What an impact that would’ve been,” Sheard said in video remarks on the COGIC website. “However, my brothers and sisters, I, J. Drew Sheard, would never purposely cause any discontent among the saints. Therefore, I ask for your forgiveness, and I have pulled the plug on this effort.”

The Christian leader added, however, that by canceling the partnership, he felt his denomination was “missing a great opportunity to do ministry.”

“But I will acquiesce for the sake of peace,” he said.

In the video published on August 26, Bishop Sheard explained that the now-canceled partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would have primarily entailed distributing food to the underprivileged.

Sheard emphasized that the partnership would not have involved any proselytizing.

Among the four guidelines for a partnership that the religious groups held in common, according to Sheard, was a “faith in Jesus Christ.”

“Supporting the family as God defined it,” “speaking out against the moral decay of our society,” and “meeting the needs of the underprivileged” were the other guidelines.

Although the food distribution partnership with the LDS Church would not happen on a national or international level under his leadership, Sheard revealed that local COGIC pastors “are participating” with the Mormon Church.

It was previously reported that Sheard had visited with Mormon leader First President Russell Nelson and others during a visit to Salt Lake City, Utah. He came out of that meeting looking to move a partnership forward. Not long after, however, he pulled the plug.

The Church of God in Christ, a Holiness-Pentecostal Christian tradition, was founded in 1897 by Charles Harrison Mason. It claims 6.5 million members, most of whom are African American. The LDS Church, which is nontrinitarian, was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith. The church, whose history of racism still impacts its lack of diversity today, has more than 17 million members.

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FM Editors
FM Editors
Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.

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