- About COGIC
“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” Psalm 20:16
Welcome to the home page of the General Board of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. The men selected to lead the Church were chosen by God and the membership of the Church Of God In Christ. We hope you enjoy learning more about the Church leadership and the important role they have in leading God’s people.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalms 33:12) KJV
The General Board of the Church of God in Christ, Inc (COGIC) is responsible for establishing and executing policies for the membership, as well as sustaining and perpetuating spiritual order within the Church. These twelve bishops, chosen from the Board of Bishops, are voted into office by the General Assembly for a term of four years. Executive decisions made by the General Board are final unless revoked or modified by the General Assembly. The General Board convenes three times a year for official meetings in the months of April, November and at the time the presiding bishop deems necessary.
The Presiding Bishop of the Church Of God In Christ is Bishop Charles E. Blake, pastor of West Angeles Church Of God In Christ in Los Angeles, CA. Through his leadership the board has continued its vision which is based on Titus 1:5, in which the Apostle Paul appointed Titus to lead the people of Crete as an elder. Bishop P.A. Brooks, 1st Assistant Presiding Bishop and Bishop Jerry W. Macklin, 2nd Assistant Presiding Bishop serve as Presiding Bishop Blake’s special aides on the General Board.
As the spiritual leadership of 6.5 million members worldwide, the Church Of God In Christ General Board has a Pentecostal vision to carry out a message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Right Reverend
The Right Reverend
The Right Reverend
The Right Reverend
The Right Reverend
The Right Reverend
The Right Reverend
The Right Reverend
|Bishop Wilbur Wyatt Hamilton||Bishop Samuel L. Green, Jr.|
|Bishop J. Neaul Haynes|
The Constitutional General Board (1922)
The Late Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, Founder, Senior Bishop and First Apostle
|Overseer R.R. Booker||Overseer D. Bostic|
|Overseer E.R. Driver||Overseer J. Bowe|
|Overseer William Curtis||Overseer R. H. I. Clark|
|Overseer D. J. Young||Overseer E. M. Page|
|Overseer C. C. Frederick||Overseer Mack E. Jonas|
|Overseer V. M. Barker|
Former General Board Members – (1968 – 2009)
|The Late Bishop A.B. McEwen, Sr||The Late Bishop Frederick Douglas Washington|
|The Late Bishop D. Lawrence Williams, Sr||The Late Bishop John Dale Husband|
|The Late Bishop Clarence E. Bennett||The Late Bishop Ithiel Conrad Clemmons|
|The Late Bishop Wyoming Wells||The Late Bishop Cleveland Landis Anderson, Jr|
|The Late Bishop Samuel Martin Crouch||The Late Bishop William Morgan James|
|The Late Bishop Otha Miema Kelly||The Late Bishop Harold Jenkins Bell|
|The Late Bishop John Seth Bailey||The Late Bishop Ozro Thurston Jones, Jr|
|The Late Bishop Junious Augustus Blake, Sr||The Late Bishop Leroy Robert Anderson|
|The Late Bishop John Walter White||The Late Bishop Levi Edward Willis, Sr|
|The Late Bishop Willie Lee Porter||Bishop Jacob Cohen|
|Bishop DeWitt Arthur Burton||Bishop Earl Jerome Wright, Sr|
|The Late Presiding Bishop James Oglethorpe Patterson, Sr.,||The Late Presiding Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson|
|The Late Presiding Bishop Louis Henry Ford||The Late Presiding Bishop Chandler David Owens|
December 16, 2015
BISHOP OF LEADING RELIGIOUS DENOMINATION FILES DEFAMATION LAWSUIT
Allegations against Bishop Charles Blake Declared False by Prominent Pastors
(Los Angeles, CA) Bishop Charles E. Blake, the presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the world’s fifth largest denomination, and pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, filed a defamation lawsuit against Earl Carter, a minister within the Church of God In Christ.
As detailed in court documents filed on Friday, December 11, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, “Over the past several months, Mr. Carter has engaged, and is threatening to continue engaging, in outrageous and malicious attacks upon Bishop Blake that should be punished to the maximum extent under the law. Mr. Carter has viciously used the Internet to falsely profess to the world that, among other things, Bishop Blake is immoral, homosexual and a pedophile. Mr. Carter’s goals are to destroy Bishop Blake’s stellar reputation, interfere with his relationship with Church Of God In Christ, Inc. (“COGIC”), and drive visitors to Mr. Carter’s websites where he seeks to illegally profit off of Bishop Blake’s good name.”
Uleses Henderson, General Counsel for COGIC states, “Bishop Blake refrained for several weeks from taking action against Mr. Carter hoping that Mr. Carter would have a change of heart and would, on his own, retract his false and defamatory accusations and apologize to Bishop Blake for the harm he has caused to his family. Unfortunately, Mr. Carter has not done that and, instead, has escalated the nature of his false accusations, such that they are now extremely inflammatory and reckless. Accordingly, Bishop Blake is now compelled to file this lawsuit.”
The complaint continues, “Mr. Carter, who is a COGIC minister, delivered a sermon against homosexuality at the 2014 Holy Convocation, during which he made an inappropriate statement beneath the dignity of COGIC and its divine calling … As a result of Mr. Carter’s inappropriate statement, COGIC received a backlash of negative publicity, from within the church and from the outside media. In his role as Presiding Bishop, spokesman and leader of COGIC, Bishop Blake publicly apologized for Mr. Carter’s inappropriate statement, while reaffirming the Church’s teachings about homosexuality. Mr. Carter perceived Bishop Blake’s apology as throwing Mr. Carter “under the bus. Shortly after the apology, Mr. Carter embarked on a vicious campaign to attack Bishop Blake’s character, ruin his reputation and have him ousted from COGIC leadership.”
Henderson continues, “While COGIC believes that homosexuality is a sin, COGIC believes that the Bible commands us to speak the truth in love. Bishop Blake believed that, while Mr. Carter’s overall message was consistent with COGIC’s beliefs, the brash and graphic nature of some of Mr. Carter’s remarks were offensive to many and did not reflect the views of COGIC. As the leader of COGIC, Bishop Blake felt that he was obligated to protect the reputation and views of the Church.”
Well-respected ministers, who were mentioned in Carter’s videos have offered support for Blake. The complaint notes, “In the Flyer and YouTube videos, Mr. Carter has falsely attributed various untrue and defamatory statements about Bishop Blake to certain individuals who categorically deny that any of those allegations are true, while others have no first-hand knowledge of the untruths Mr. Carter asserts to be factual…”
Specifically, Bishop Patrick Wooden, a COGIC pastor for 34 years, declares in a written document that Blake, “is a devoted family man who has been married to his wife for decades. I have spent substantial time around Bishop Blake and his family. He is heterosexual. He has never said or done anything in my presence which in any way expressed or suggested – whether explicitly or implicitly – that he is gay or sexually attracted to men, or that he had engaged in any sexual conduct with another man. Mr. Carter’s accusation that Bishop Blake is a practicing homosexual is a particularly offensive and incendiary allegation…”
Wooden, who has known Blake for over 20 years, further declares: “There is not a shred of evidence to support Mr. Carter’s lie that Bishop Blake is a pedophile. In the time I spent with hm, Bishop Blake has never said or done anything inappropriate around children. Mr. Carter’s allegations that Bishop Blake is a pedophile and/or a child molester are outrageous and completely false. I would totally trust Bishop Blake around my own children and anyone else’s.”
Dr. David Wright, a medical doctor and pastor of the Community Church Of God in Christ, declared, in response to Earl Carter’s repeated defamatory allegation that a grandmother confided in him about alleged improper conduct with her grandson, “Specifically, I am not privy to any information that would support Mr. Carter’s charge that Bishop Blake is a pedophile or child molester. Bishop Blake has never, to my knowledge, engaged in any improper conduct with any minor, young adult, or anyone else. I am also not aware of any “grandmother” who claims that Bishop Blake molested her grandson.”
Many respected preachers have submitted letters of support for Blake. The letters are located on COGIC.org. Bishop James L. Whitehead, Jr. and Bishop Roger L. Jones, who have known Blake for over 50 years, offered letters attesting to Blake’s integrity since the days of his youth. Whitehead wrote, ”During the 52 years I have known Bishop Blake, I have never, never, never, seen the slightest indication that he had any inclinations other than being 100% male.” Jones wrote, “During our many years in this church as young ministers, I cannot say that I have observed any inappropriate behavior … At all times I have found Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. to be above reproach; any suggestions, allegations or accusations otherwise, are despicable and ungodly!”
The declaration of Wooden further pronounces, “Bishop Blake is not a thief or embezzler; he has not misused or misappropriated Church funds. COGIC is run by a Board of Directors, and its accounts are independently audited. I am not aware of any credible allegations of financial impropriety on the part of Bishop Blake, and I have never witnessed any such conduct in the almost 20 years that I have known him.”
The lawsuit is an action for damages in excess of $75,000.00, as well as for injunctive relief, based on Mr. Carter’s blatantly false and outrageous public statements about Bishop Blake.
This is a Church Led National Faith Action as the Church’s response to the alarming numbers of incidents of VIOLENCE and SENSELESS DEATHS.
This Faith Campaign is to RAISE HOPE, DEMONSTRATE SOLIDARITY, PROVIDE A VISIBLE SYMBOL OF AGREEMENT and BLANKET THE COMMUNITIES with a protective covering through FAITH in the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST
The PLC emerges by inspiration from the biblical account of God preserving the nation of Israel through DIVINE instruction of slaying a lamb and dipping the hyssop in its blood and placing the BLOOD on the doorposts of each home to PRESERVE THE LIVES IN THAT HOME FROM THE DEATH ANGEL. The Blood served as a TOKEN of that protection.
PLC’s TOKEN will be represented through a SOLID RED DOOR HANGER symbolizing the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST over the doorposts which will be hung on the doorknob of EVERY HOUSEHOLD THAT EMBRACES THIS ACTION BY FAITH.
This FAITH ACTION will illustrate each participant’s agreement and stand in unity throughout each community and city of a DIVINE COVERING FROM SENSELESS VIOLENCE AND UNTIMELY DEATH and the PRESERVATION OF LIFE of the occupants in each house.
We are appealing to all communities of faith, churches, faith based organizations, residents, block clubs, community organizations and faith minded citizens of in every community to join in this FAITH ACTION
For more information contact Superintendent Michael Eaddy, Chairman, General Council of Pastors and Elders773 531-4411 or [email protected]
MEMORANDUM CONCERNING THE RECENT SUPREME COURT RULING ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGES
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”), by a 5-4 majority vote, issued a landmark ruling making same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states. While the Supreme Court’s ruling clearly requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages from other states, at the present time, it is unclear how the Supreme Court’s ruling affects clergy, churches, religious nonprofits, parochial schools, and other church operated and/or affiliated entities.
In light of the uncertain impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) publishes this Memorandum to provide guidance to congregations and clergy throughout the Church Of God In Christ in regards to their current church policies to ensure that they align with the Church Of God In Christ’s resolution on same-sex marriage approved by the General Assembly on November 10, 2014 (the “2014 Same-Sex Marriage Resolution”). The OGC has received numerous queries regarding the impact of this ruling on religious institutions throughout the United States. While there are no definitive answers at the present time, it is important to recognize that a number of states and their law-making bodies continue to consider legislation that addresses particular exceptions for religious institutions. In the meanwhile, the OGC publishes this Memorandum to offer guidance to local pastors as churches review their bylaws, policies, practices and other rules, and conform them, if necessary, to ensure that they align with the 2014 Same-Sex Marriage Resolution.
The OGC recommends that you consider the following actions:
Local congregations should adopt a building use policy that prohibits the use of its church facilities to conduct same-sex marriages and other activities related to such unions. Should your church be challenged on this issue, courts will likely conclude that the greatest constitutional protection under the First Amendment applies to churches that only allow members in good standing to use their premises for weddings or other related activities. However, such constitutional protection may be diminished or eliminated in the case of churches that rent their facilities to the general public as a revenue-raising activity. Church leaders should carefully consider the potential downside of entering the commercial marketplace in order to raise church funds. Thus, churches should avoid advertising their facilities for public use. Once a church begins to “look like” it is in the business of facilitating public weddings, it may become subject to non-discrimination commerce laws.
Local congregations should consider adopting a policy that not only limits weddings, but also funerals and baby dedications to members of the congregation in good standing with the faith and teachings of the Church Of God In Christ. “Members in good standing” should be carefully defined as members who offer evidence by their confession and conduct that they are living in accord with the faith, teachings and doctrine of the Church Of God In Christ.
Many who are opposed to same-sex marriage are encouraging churches to amend their bylaws or other governing document(s) to insert a provision defining marriage as exclusively a union between one man and one woman. While such an amendment is not inappropriate, it may be unnecessary, redundant, or ineffective for the following reasons:
First, the governing documents of many religious denominations contain provisions that provide a theological basis for a church’s definition of marriage. As mentioned above, the General Assembly of the Church Of God In Christ adopted the 2014 Same-Sex Marriage Resolution in November 2014, which prohibits our clergy from performing same-sex marriages and precludes our church facilities from being leased, rented, or loaned for any purpose related to such a union. Because the General Assembly is the law expressing body of our church and the 2014 Same-Sex Marriage Resolution governs the conduct of our licensed clergy and member churches, amending the bylaws of your local church to reflect the same is not necessary, but optional.
Second, bylaws are rules of internal governance and administration. Policies pertaining to marriage or other issues are best addressed in a policy manual.
Third, and most importantly, a bylaw amendment adding a marriage policy to a church’s bylaws is no guaranty of protection since it might be ignored by an activist court. For example, in 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) had properly revoked the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University on the basis of its racially discriminatory practices, even though the university based its practices on biblical grounds that were clearly referenced in its governing documents. This suggests that bylaw amendments are no guaranty of protection.
The bottom line is that including a statement in a church’s bylaws defining marriage may be of some help should the church’s tax exemptions be challenged, or if the church is sued for violating a public accommodations law due to its refusal to host same-sex marriages, but it, in itself, is no guaranty of protection.
The November 2014 Same-Sex Resolution prohibits licensed credential holders of the Church Of God In Christ from performing same-sex marriages. Therefore, the OGC recommends that our clergy:
C. Tax exempt Status of Religious Schools and churches
A question frequently asked is: Are the tax exemptions of religious schools, churches and organizations jeopardized by the recent Supreme Court ruling? Possibly.
As discussed above, in 1983, the Supreme Court upheld the IRS’s revocation of the tax-exempt status of a university based on its racially discriminatory practices, even though the university based its practices on an interpretation of the Bible clearly articulated in its governing documents. The Supreme Court’s ruling in that case suggests that doctrinal provisions in the governing documents of religious schools that are viewed by the IRS or the courts as incompatible with the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry may not be enough to fend off IRS challenges to tax-exempt status.
This same logic could apply to churches based on the Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex marriage as a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. Some legal experts believe that churches that engage in any discriminatory practices involving sex, sexual identity, or sexual orientation should be denied tax-exempt status.
The Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling leaves many unanswered questions. The OGC will be monitoring developments and will provide you with updates when warranted. We ask that if you become aware of any proposed or active legislation in your respective states or municipalities regarding this issue that you notify our office at [email protected].
 This Memorandum contains certain excerpts from Richard Hammar, Supreme Court Decision: Four Common Questions, PE News! (June 30, 2015), available at http://penews.org/Article/Supreme-Court-Decision–Four-Common-Questions/?fb_ref=Default
 Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015 WL 213646 (2015).
 A copy of the 2014 Same-Sex Marriage Resolution is attached to this Memorandum as Exhibit A. The 2014 Same-Sex Marriage Resolution reaffirms a previous resolution against same-sex marriage adopted by the General Assembly on April 13, 2004.
 Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983). In Bob Jones, the Supreme Court, in particular, held that the religion clauses of the First Amendment did not prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from revoking the tax exempt status of a religious university whose practices are contrary to a compelling government public policy, such as eradicating racial discrimination.
 Please note that churches are tax exempt by law. Therefore, a church does not need to obtain 501(c)(3) status to be tax exempt. But once a church obtains 501(c)(3) exempt status, it must abide by the federal code governing such religious nonprofit organizations.
 Senate Bill 2065, also known as The Pastor Protection Act, protects houses of worship, religious organizations and their employees and clergy or ministers, from being required to participate in a marriage or celebration of a marriage if it would violate a sincerely held religious belief.
The death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore is yet another tragic loss in a series of apparent criminal acts perpetrated by certain law enforcement officers against African American men. The Church of God in Christ offers our sincere condolences to the Gray family and to the many families throughout the nation devastated by the loss of loved ones under similar circumstances.
The swift indictment of the six police officers responsible for the death of Freddie Gray is the correct message: that no one is above the law and that the lives of young African American men have value. We are prayerful that the Gray family will ultimately receive the justice that was denied to the families of so many young men who lost their lives at the hands of the police.
Police brutality along with racial inequalities in the criminal justice system have had a negative impact on African Americans since the end of slavery. In the sixties, it was the primary cause of rage among blacks identified by the Kerner Commission Report. Since then it has continued to plague African Americans of every generation provoking outrage, protests and even riots.
Harvard sociologist Bruce Western argues that the riots of the sixties fueled a national backlash and a preoccupation with law and order which was the catalyst for the current epidemic of mass incarceration which is decimating the black community.
We decry the cruel victimization that is prevalent in the inner city and seek to highlight the root causes of the injustice that African Americans across the nation suffer. We urge the immediate adoption and implementation of social policies and laws that will stem the tide of violence unleashed on our citizens by those charged with protecting and serving.
Despite the injustice African Americans face at the hands of society, in general, and law enforcement, in particular, violence and rioting are never justified. Therefore, we condemn such behavior in the strongest terms possible. Violence is antithetical to Christian teaching and counterproductive.
We must continue to follow the example of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and the work of so many other Civil Rights leaders who won an end to segregation through non-violent tactics.
We both urge and support the continuance of peaceful demonstrations which typify our preferred response in Baltimore and where ever the cry for justice needs to be heard.
The Church of God in Christ will continue working in concert with government and civil society to achieve change. We will aggressively advocate for enacting social policies and laws that will ameliorate the current, untenable situation and reverse the militarization of our local police forces while strengthening community policing practices.
The Federal Government’s recent decision to provide funding for body cameras for police forces in small and medium sized cities is an excellent example of policies that can lead to true progress. Research indicates that both police officers and the public are more judicious in their actions when body cameras are used.
We believe the ultimate prescription for our inner cities must give all citizens access to quality education, jobs that pay a living wage, a fair criminal justice system and policies that strengthen the family and promote financial literacy.
With the help of God, we can turn our urban neighborhoods around.
Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop & Chief Apostle
Seventh in Succession
Church of God in Christ
SOUTH AFRICAN BISHOP NAMED NEW COGIC INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS PRESIDENT
February 25, 2015 (Memphis, TN) Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr. has been chosen to lead the International Missions Department of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC).
Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. has, with the approval of the General Board of the Church of God in Christ, selected Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr. to be the new president of the International Missions Department. Bishop Mathews succeeds Bishop Carlis Moody who served admirably as president for over forty years.
Bishop Mathews is the jurisdictional prelate of the South African First Jurisdiction and the pastor of Tabernacle COGIC in Ivory Park, Johannesburg.
Presiding Bishop Blake says, “Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr. has a heart for missions. His desire to reach those men and women in the countries around the globe where the Church of God in Christ is located, and beyond, will continue our church’s long tradition of empowering people to transform their communities.”
For the past 10 ½ years, Bishop Mathews and his devoted wife, Sharon Mathews, have served as full-time COGIC missionaries in South Africa. They have been married for 21 years and have 10 children.
Bishop Mathews says, “I'm honored that Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and the General Board have afforded me the opportunity to serve as International Missions President. I am confident that thousands of saints of the Church of God in Christ will join me and answer the call to extreme commitment to The Great Commission through radical, relevant and innovative worldwide ministry.”
Bishop Matthews was born in the United States and left a lucrative career in education to go on the mission field. He received a BA from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, an MA from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and a Doctorate of Theology from North Carolina College of Theology. He has authored six books and loves the ministry of worldwide missions.
About the Church of God in Christ:
The Church of God in Christ is one of the oldest Pentecostal denominations in the world and the 4th largest Protestant group in the United States with churches in 63 countries worldwide and a membership of nearly 6.5 million adherents.