My spirit will live in the presence of God

George D. McKinney
  • George D. McKinney

St. Stephen's Church of God in Christ

5825 Imperial Avenue, Valencia Park

Membership: 300

Pastor: Bishop George D. McKinney

Age: 82

Born: Jonesboro, AK

Formation: University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff; Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, Oberlin, Ohio; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of California Graduate School of Theology, Garden Grove

Years Ordained: 61

San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

Bishop George G. McKinney: My favorite subject is the grace of God and the privilege and reality of forgiveness. It is God’s grace that makes life meaningful and purposeful. It is the unmerited love of God whereby we have life, experience love and meaningful forgiveness and salvation.

SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

BM:. There is a seeming attempt to undermine and dismantle what has been established as a pattern for meaningful, fulfilled living. As a member of the clergy I’m concerned about what’s going on in this culture. For example in the holocaust of abortion, nearly 20 billion black babies have been slaughtered since the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. A tremendous number of other kids were destroyed as well, but it hit the black community particularly hard because Planned Parenthood targets the black community as a kind of genocide that is not talked about but it is happening. It’s also a great concern to me about the attitude of marriage being a temporary situation without regards to the welfare of the children.

SDR: Why did you become a minister in the first place?

BM: It was the influence of my mother and father. My father was an itinerant pastor and sharecropper in Arkansas, and I was blessed to be mentored by him when I was 15. He allowed me to be his assistant pastor in a little church in the little country town of Weiner, Arkansas. I got a firsthand account of what it’s like to be a pastor. I also felt that that was a call from God, a consciousness that my vocation would be in the ministry. That was the deep sense I had of a kind of spiritual inclination from childhood.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

BM: The mission of our church is to know God and to make him known to others. There is this focus upon introducing people to Christ, to God, through Jesus Christ, and encouraging people to become the spiritual persons we are endowed by our creator to be. God has created us as spiritual beings having a human experience; the purpose of the local church is to be a presence that advocates for forgiveness, holiness, justice, and peace.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

BM: When I finish here, I believe I’m going home — to my real home — to be with God. It won’t be this body, but my spirit will live in the presence of God; I expect it to be a pleasant, wonderful experience. I don’t expect to go to hell (I think to be in hell is to be separated from God, to be in a place where your selfishness and greed is all you’re obsessed with — it is outer darkness and separation from God), but to go to a place where there will be no more sin, racism, sexism, murder, or deception or marginalization. I believe it will be a place where there will be peace, joy, and I suspect we’ll be busy because God is still carrying on his work of creation and redemption.

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Comments

As a person whose ancestors came to San Diego in the 1880s, I'd like an explanation of the Encanto: Sheep and Goats line...the farms and diaries of Encanto are long gone....so why is this being used still?

acuera...the sheep and Goats" column is a recurring one about religion here in the Reader. you can check it out under the heading, and you'll see they travel around to various neighborhoods. "Encanto" just happens to be where Rev. McKinley's church happens to be.

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