SANDY COVE DECLARATION AND COVENANT
[An important private meeting occurred during the first week of February 2005 among the elders and many branch pastors of GGWO. Michael Marr, one of the Baltimore elders, offered these summarizing remarks during a Sunday morning service. His comments are followed by the full text of the Declaration.]
"Thank you, Pastor Bilowith. Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I just want to report to you about the nature of the very historic week that a group of us spent in Sandy Cove, Maryland this past week. But I want to set the stage with one scripture which really tells it all. If you’ll open with me to I John, Chapter 2 and we’re going to read one verse, verse 27. ‘But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you,’…that speaks of the presence of the Holy Spirit which has given us that anointing…’and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.’
Now, we in our frailty and in our humanity tend to deny reality. We tend to say, oh, there’s never any problems…everything is fine. But the Spirit of God will convict us always about the truth. And the only way that we can enjoy real unity is in truth. And before we get to truth, we must understand that Truth is a person, and that His Spirit is the one who gives us that Truth…the Holy Spirit.
We came together as a group of men and I don’t think it’s not symbolic that there was sixty-six of us there. And the very first thing that we did was to examine the scriptures. But, even before we examined the scriptures, we examined hermeneutics...what is the proper interpretation of the scriptures.
I was so full of joy that week and I was so privileged, privileged to be with these amazing men of God. I can’t tell you, I cannot remember a time in my entire life when my soul was not as rich, as built up, as edified because what I saw is…I saw men, many who were hurting because they’ve been falsely labeled and shunned and marked unbiblically come together and examine the scriptures. And I saw the most beautiful, beautiful sense of unity develop around the truth.
We broke down into twelve groups…another significant number for twelve is God’s governmental number. Half of the groups had five men and half of the groups had six men. And no person in particular had any position, only the Holy Spirit was the one who was honored and through His leading and by His leading and with His leading and with His encouragement and with His anointing, He taught us...amazing truths and things that we all agreed on.
It was so precious. It was so great. We had a lot of fun too. And we prepared a document that we’ll be reading to you next week, called the Sandy Cove Declaration and Covenant. Oh, it’s a beautiful piece of work. And you know something? All sixty-six of us wrote that document. We wrote it together and we finished it at two-thirty in the morning, the last day, Friday morning. It is an amazing document. It’s very, very, very, rich in terms of what it says. And we also...all of our comments in terms of the examination of the scriptures that we did...we, we preserved and we’re going to make them available as a CD to all of you because we resolved to be transparent. We want you to know exactly what your body is doing.
It was an amazing time. And let me just say this as I finish…a few comments that I wanted to make…and there will be much more said about this…this is an historic time. I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen…your ministry is in great, great health. And you can praise and thank God for that."
The Sandy Cove Declaration and Covenant
On December 5, 2004 we were given a commission by Pastor Carl H. Stevens, Jr. to convene this meeting at Sandy Cove, Maryland for the purposes hereinafter stated; and
This document will ensure the reflection of his commission under the leading of the Holy Spirit; and
We express our gratitude to Pastor Stevens for the vision, ministry, and work in imparting the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to us for its further propagation in response to the Great Commission; and
We are grateful to our Pastor for almost fifty years of selfless service to Jesus Christ and His Body including his personal investment in each of our lives, we entered into this labor of love to honor him, his life, and that portion of the Body of Christ entrusted to his pastoral care; and
It is our desire to acknowledge the challenges and problems we have all experienced; and
We desire to reflect the unity of the Spirit in Eph. 4:3; and
Christ is our life and we have a vested interest in the future of this ministry; and
We pledge to confront those who would cause division within the Body of Christ through gossip, rumor, and casting suspicion; and
It is our desire to protect every individual’s spiritual growth and liberty in discipleship unto Christ that has been entrusted to us and that none would be marked in a manner that is unbiblical, and contrary to what we have been taught by our Pastor; and
It has come to our attention that many people regrettably have been unbiblically and unjustifiably marked and shunned, including but not limited to the following:
Pastor Bill Reed, Pastor Rick LeClair, Pastor Mark Morin, Pastor Tim Kelley, Pastor Brian Williams, Pastor Philip Mawaka, Pastor Rob Prokop; and
The ministry’s integrity and reputation has been questioned; and
We want to publish these truths and make them evident for ourselves and the posterity of the ministry; and
We believe that this meeting at Sandy Cove in North East, Maryland is in the providential will of God.
We followed the biblical process and mandates in resolving issues and problems and established this meeting to address relational and doctrinal issues; and
We have gathered together to stand against the wiles of the devil designed to destroy this ministry as well as this meeting; and
We made a covenant to protect one another in Biblical integrity and uphold godly character; and
We restored and reconciled with one another as we communicated openly and honestly; and
We have unanimously agreed to honor the Biblical process of discipline; and
We reaffirm the unity, one heart, one spirit, and one message that we have been given by God; and
We have experienced the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and His leading in the work of this meeting and thank Him for the love and unity we witnessed; and
As undersigned, we, the affiliate pastors and the elders of Greater Grace World Outreach in Baltimore stand united; and
We have reviewed doctrines and their proper application relevant to the issues at hand; and
We have affirmed and validated our affiliation.
AS A SACRED COVENANT, THEREFORE, in the spirit of I Corinthians 13, we agree to pledge and affirm our loyalties to the above-stated purposes and to each other; and
We further reaffirm our commitment to Greater Grace World Outreach, to stand together, and to protect the purpose and plan of this meeting for the future; and
We unanimously agreed to pursue a process of reconciliation with Pastor Paul Stevens; and
Finally, we unanimously recognize that there are a number of existing problems that are yet to be resolved and we commit to continue to openly discuss and work on them and to develop solutions together as they affect Greater Grace World Outreach.
Signatures of sixty-six elders and affiliate pastors follow the text.
(You can download the files below to view the signatures of the participating elders)