- 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|
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.
PENTECOSTAL LEADERS REPRESENTING MILLIONS MEET TO DISCUSS CRITICAL TOPICS
February 23, 2015 (Los Angeles, CA) Leaders from six global Pentecostal denominations, representing over 90 million members combined, recently met in Los Angeles to discuss a wide range of international and domestic topics.
The Pentecostal Leaders Summit convened for three days last week in Los Angeles, California to discuss a number of topics including the effects of terrorism, the church’s role in racial harmony, religious freedom, and same-sex issues facing the church just to name a few.
The leaders in attendance included Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ; Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God; Dr. Glenn C. Burris President, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; Bishop Doug Beacham, General Superintendent/Presiding Bishop, International Pentecostal Holiness Church; Dr. Mark Williams, General Overseer, Church of God; Rev. Randall A. Bach, President, Open Bible Churches and Dr. Jack W. Hayford, Former President, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Additional persons in attendance included other elected officials from each organization.
A goal of the summit was to provide an opportunity for each leader to listen and discuss the various national and international crisis-facing Christians around the globe, while also seeking to help bring unity to the Body of Christ globally.
Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. says, “This gathering of Pentecostal leaders has provided each person with a unique opportunity to come to Los Angeles and dialogue with their contemporaries in other denominations, with similar beliefs, about issues that are confronting us all.” He further states, “This summit has shown us what we, as Christian leaders, have said and known for some time now: We are all better when we come together as one.”
Dr. George O. Wood states, “This was truly an historical meeting. We are all the grandsons and granddaughters of the Azusa Street revival, and in these days, the Holy Spirit is drawing us together in united witness, fulfilling the prayer of Jesus that the world would know us by our love for one another.”
Dr. Glen Burris emphasized, "There is a strong sense that the conversations among us have resonated much like the early church, that experienced a 'one accord' dynamic. An African proverb says, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.' Finishing the Great Commission will require all of us.”
The last discussion topic of the summit was how the six denominations can continue in dialog with one another and provide opportunities to include additional Pentecostal denominations and enlarge the representation from each group.
Bishop Doug Beacham shares, “People are so thankful that we are meeting like this. Whatever steps we take are important for us, for our country and for revival . . .”
Dr. Mark L. Williams declares, “Our shared history along with the collegiality and genuine respect we have for one another holds great promise and unlimited potential for fulfilling the mission for which Jesus died. Only a united church can reach a divided world. We must be one.”
Rev. Randall A. Bach explains, “It is always meaningful to gather with leaders of like faith. It is particularly joyful, however, to fellowship and collaborate with leaders of like experience, who love and pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Our family of ministers and churches embrace and value our sister fellowships with love and respect. Unity in the Spirit glorifies the Lord.”
This is the first time in history a conference of this kind, with these leaders representing such a large and diverse membership, has ever taken place.
Letter from George O. Wood, General Superintendent – Assemlies of God