COGIC church wins legal battle

by | Jun 30, 2000 | Charisma Archive

A Florida appellate court rejected Presiding Bishop Chandler D. Owens’ latest attempt to oust an Orlando pastor

The Church of God in Christ’s (COGIC) Presiding Bishop Chandler D. Owens lost his second court battle to remove an Orlando pastor from his pulpit on grounds that the pastor refused to give up his dual position as pastor of a COGIC church in Columbia, S.C.

The Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals in May rejected Owen’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that allowed Derrick Hutchins, senior pastor of Orlando Institutional COGIC, to remain in his position. “We affirm because no legal error has been identified and no record adequate to demonstrate

error [in the lower-court ruling] has been provided [by Owens],” the three-judge panel wrote in its May 5 decision to reject the presiding bishop’s appeal.

Hutchins contends that Owens has only political motives in his campaign to remove him from his Orlando pastorate because Hutchins supports Los Angeles pastor Charles Blake in the upcoming November election for presiding bishop. Hutchins won a July 1999 lower-court battle against Owens when state Circuit Court Judge Belvin Perry Jr. ruled that Owens had not followed COGIC procedures for removing a pastor.

Owens wants to replace Hutchins with West Florida Jurisdictional Bishop H. Jenkins Bell, who supports Owens as presiding bishop. But both men say election politics have nothing to do with the legal issue. They contend that Hutchins’ rebellion against the authority of the
presiding bishop is the core reason behind their pursuit to remove him.

Perry, however, rejected Owens’ opinion that the presiding bishop has the same hierarchal authority of the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. And Perry’s admission of the testimony of Charles Blake as an

expert witness on the COGIC constitution sunk Owens’ case when Blake refuted Owens’ opinion that he had sweeping administrative powers similar to the pope’s.

The appellate court’s decision pushes the matter back into the hands of COGIC officials who continue to wrangle over interpretations of the COGIC manual.

The Orlando church left the Western Florida Jurisdiction after Owens appointed Bell to the top administrative spot there, and Bell led an ecclesiastical trial against the church for walking out in rebellion against his now rescinded appointment as Hutchins’ replacement. The trial board found the entire Orlando church guilty, and issued an edict dismissing Hutchins as pastor.

Hutchins then moved the church into the Central Florida Jurisdiction, headed by Bishop C.D. Kinsey. Kinsey’s support of that move cost him his position as leader of COGIC’s Men Of Distinction men’s ministry. Meanwhile, the Orlando church appealed the Western Florida trial board’s decision to COGIC’s National Pastors and Elders Council, an appeal ruled appropriate by COGIC’s general counsel. Kinsey sits on the council as associate justice.

After receiving notice of the appeal, Owens issued a letter that said the Elders Council has no authority to review an appeal by a jurisdictional ecclesiastical trial board. The Orlando church must first appeal the Western Florida decision to that district’s pastors and elders council, Owens said.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are...

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

This month we are entering a season which, in the United States, has been devoted to gratitude and thanksgiving for 400 years! While the Thanksgiving holiday has had a long and varied history within the United States, the practice of devoting sacrificial offerings,...

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

My frequent trips to developing nations always help me adjust my attitude. Just when I start to feel spoiled and entitled, I meet people from places like Congo, India and Honduras—and I realize just how blessed I am. This happened to me again last week during a trip...

The Power of Being Thankful

The Power of Being Thankful

One of the best ways to show God we love Him is to be thankful. When we express our deep gratitude to Him, it actually invites His presence onto our lives. Being thankful also neutralizes the enemy and brings victory into our situations no matter what the outcome....

Get Off Your Pew!

Get Off Your Pew!

As God’s clock inches closer to the final hour before His return, many people find themselves filled with angst, anxiety and despair. People are not sleeping well, many have fallen into depression and are feeling hopeless. These are the very days that we have been...

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

Read Time: 4 Minutes 28 Seconds While all of the stories we read in the Torah are meaningful, sometimes the events we read about can seem to hold more relevance, especially for those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. One such event is the calling...


The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

Read Time: 3 Minutes 17 Seconds The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises...
Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Read Time: 4 Minutes 42 Seconds Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away for U.S. Americans. It is a favorite holiday—perhaps only exceeded by Christmas—to gather with family and friends to watch parades, play (American) “football” and eat delicious food—often from...

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Read Time: 3 Minutes, 10 Seconds Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are murderers, pedophiles and cannibals walking along the streets of gold? We are taught in the book of Romans, "That if...

Pin It on Pinterest