Back When I Used to Sneak in Rev. James Cleveland’s Church

Oh, the memories. The song below brings back memories…and what a masterpiece it is.

I was 12 or 13 and I attended Testimonial Cathedral, Church of God in Christ, “located at 5701 South Western Avenue in the City of Los Angeles.” That’s how they used to say it on their weekly local radio program.  My Bishop, lol, Bishop J. Bernard Hackworth…take it for what it’s worth, was (and still is) one superbad, superfly brotha.  At the time, I couldn’t for the life of me explain why every time this man would lay his hands on my little forehead, I’d seemingly awaken from a peaceful state of bliss.  You’ll just have to read my um, OTHER story to get more clarification, lol.

If you don’t believe in God or the power of God or the hand of God, it’s cool.  It’s understandable, I understand.  Just “eat the fruit and spit out the seeds” with this blog, lol, no biggie.  Hopefully there’s a lil’ “somethin'” for everyone here…and that’s why I created so many categories.  I like to write about many things.  God is vast, limitless, so why should this blog be limiting and one-sided? Blah.

Sad to say, many Christians limit themselves simply because of fear.  They are afraid that if they step back into “the world,” they will lose their faith, their religion, their God and Jesus.  But they don’t realize that, based on the Bible’s teachings, that it is God’s ultimate plan for them to “go back into the world.” (Mark 16:15)

Those who do not understand who they are remain limited, bound and in the comfort zone of religiosity.  Religiosity and legalism are dangerous because it allows the average Christian to psychologically feel superior to “the heathen.”  They develop this “I’m good, the heathen are bad” attitude and so they remain in their own little world among their own people.  Very limiting.  But where was Jesus the majority of the time when he walked the earth?  With the “heathen,” lol.

And yes, bad company does corrupt good habits so there’s your tightrope.  Anyway, ooops, back to the story!

Our church, Testimonial Cathedral, was a good size church but nothin’ compared to the BIGGER church on the corner just a hundred paces away. That BIGGER church was Cornerstone Baptist Church, the Reverend James Cleveland’s Church, and at 13 years old, I used to escape my Bishop’s sermons just to see what Reverend James was talkin’ ’bout. Shhh…don’t tell Bishop Hackworth I told ya.

Movin’? Yeah. Groovn’? Yeah. Cornerstone was ALWAYS packed, vibrant and stompin’! My mouth would drop every time I snuck in.

Well, anyone and everyone was welcome at Reverend Cleveland’s Church, I just say “snuck” ’cause I wasn’t supposed to be there, lol!

Singin’, dancin’, shoutin’, choir sangin’, a few people runnin’ into walls, a few people rollin’ on the floor laughing, lol: (ROTFL) It was all there at Cornerstone!

Yes, back in them days, the early to mid 1980’s, Reverend James Cleveland’s Cornerstone Baptist Church had it goin’ on.  Oh, the memories.  And what does Cornerstone church look like today??


By the way, if you visit Testimonial Cathedral, say hello to Bishop Hackworth for me, hehe.

Note: subject to re-edits, typo fixes, etc.

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    Great web site I enjoyed the photos. and music is the music in the background Chingy? I'm old school but I've heard that tune before.

    Peace out

    • Shavar Ross

      yes, Chingy – Fly Like Me ft. Amerie!