Missions President Selected

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).

pict-matthewsPresiding 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.  

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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 Summit

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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.”

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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.

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Letter from George O. Wood, General Superintendent – Assemlies of God

Nominations Are Open!

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Nominations for COGIC's 150 Influential Women are open from Feb. 15 – apr. 30.

COGIC History: William J. Seymour

William J. Seymour: #BlackHistory #COGICHistory #OurStory

William J. Seymour relocated from Houston, TX to Los Angeles, California. He began preaching from his base on Azusa Street. Seymour rejected the existing racial barriers in favor of “Unity in Christ” and he also rejected the then almost-universal barriers to women in any form of church leadership. This movement became known as the Azusa Street Revival. This street revival is where our founder, Bishop C.H. Mason, received the Holy Spirit. It is amazing to know that the obedience of one man, William J. Seymour, to start this revival and the obedience of Bishop Mason to attend the revival could change to course of the church as we know it and spurred the movement of Pentecostalism that we know and cherish today.

COGIC History: Amanda Berry Smith

Amanda Berry Smith: #BlackHistory #COGICHistory #OurStory

Amanda Berry Smith was an Evangelist in the Methodist church who traveled around the world spreading the Gospel of Christ. Her autobiography entitled, "An Autobiography The Story of the Lord's Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith the Colored Evangelist" discussed her conviction regarding the doctrine of sanctification. Her teachings and writings greatly influenced Bishop C.H. Mason's beliefs regarding the works of grace. He began preaching on sanctification and holiness even before being filled with the Holy Spirit at the Azusa Street Revival. The life and ministry of this remarkable woman left an indelible mark on our Founder and the Church of God in Christ.

COGIC History: Mason Temple

 

Mason Temple: #BlackHistory #COGICHistory #OurStory

Today, Mason Temple, located at 930 Mason Street Memphis, TN, still serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration. This building is so much more than mere brick and mortar; it is a manifestation of a God-given vision, and the majestic headquarters of the Church of God in Christ. In its sacred halls, many souls are yet being healed, delivered and set free. It held the service where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I've Been To The Mountaintop" speech on the eve of his assassination and provided the host venue for former President Bill Clinton to address the Saints. But more importantly, Mason Temple holds the heart of the members of the Church of God in Christ, as we look on it with pride, nostalgia and reverence, celebrating the heritage of our glorious past while embracing a most promising future. We stand united and look forward to the "Greater Works" that God has in store for this "The Grand Ole Church of God in Christ."

If you would like to learn more about the History of Mason Temple, the COGIC Publishing House has an excellent resource called "Facts About the Temple." Click here for more information.

I am #StoppingEbola

 

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Church of God in Christ And U.S. Fund for UNICEF Join Together to Help Stop Ebola During Black History Month
Fundraising initiative to support UNICEF’s lifesaving work in West Africa launches during Black History Month

 

Memphis, TN (February 2, 2015) – The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and The U.S. Fund for UNICEF are proud to announce a new collaboration to combat Ebola The joint initiative, I AM #STOPPINGEBOLA, will launch during Black History Month and aims to raise funds in support of UNICEF’s work to halt the spread of Ebola in Liberia, one of the West African countries hardest hit by the virus.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., First Assistant Presiding Bishop PA Brooks, of the Church of God in Christ in the fight against Ebola. These leaders have stepped up to the plate at just the right time. Global attention on the crisis is fading, but children and their families in West Africa still need our support,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Bishop Brooks says, “In November, 2014 COGIC Charities, the benevolent arm of the Church of God in Christ started a ‘Hand Washing Challenge’ for our 53 churches in Liberia. Joining this collaborative effort with UNICEF allows us to continue our efforts with this worldwide organization.”

“Every donation, no matter the size, helps save lives. We are grateful to everyone who donates and shares the message that with enough resources, Ebola can be stopped,” added Edward G. Lloyd, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

From February 1, 2015 through the end of the month, faith leaders representing churches with more than 11 million members will encourage their congregations to donate toward the purchase of hygiene kits critical to protecting children and families from Ebola. Each hygiene kit costs $43 and contains soap, chlorine, gloves, buckets and instructions for usage, among other much-needed items.

The hygiene kits will be distributed to households and schools in communities across Liberia that are affected by Ebola. The disease has infected more than 21,000 people and claimed over 8,000 lives in West Africa. More than 11,000 children have lost one or both parents due to the virus. To learn more about I AM #STOPPINGEBOLA, please visit http://www.unicefusa.org/churchofgodinchrist 

Members of the Faith-Based Leadership Consortium include Bishop P.A. Brooks, First Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Inc.; Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III, Presiding Prelate of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc.; Dr. Williams B. Moore Chairman, Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, National Baptist Convention USA; Dr. James C Perkins, 20th President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. and Dr. Calvin Butts, the Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York and the President of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.

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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.

About UNICEF:
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit 
www.unicefusa.org.

For more information, contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, [email protected]

COGIC History: Bishop C.H. Mason



Bishop Charles Harrison Mason: #BlackHistory #COGICHistory #OurStory

Bishop Charles Harrison Mason was born September 8,1864, on the Prior Farm near Memphis, Tennessee. His father and mother, Jerry and Eliza Mason, were members of a Missionary Baptist Church, having been converted during the dark crises of American Slavery. Elder Mason was converted in November, 1878, and baptized by his brother, I.S. Nelson, a Baptist Preacher, who was pastoring the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church near Plumerville, Arkansas.

In 1893, he began his Christian Ministry with the accepting of ministerial licenses from the Mt. Gale Missionary Baptist Church, in Preston, Arkansas. He then experienced sanctification through the word of God and preached his first sermon in “Holiness” from II Timothy 2:1-3: “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” On November 1, 1893, Elder Mason matriculated into the Arkansas Baptist College, but withdrew after three months because of his dissatisfaction with the methods of teaching and the presentation of the Bible message. He then returned to the streets and to every pulpit that was opened to him declaring Christ by the word, example, and precept.

In 1895, Bishop Mason met Elder C.P. Jones of Jackson, Mississippi; Elder J.E. Jeter, of Little Rock, Arkansas; and Elder W.S. Pleasant of Hazelhurst, Mississippi, who subsequently became Bishop Mason’s closest companions in the ministry.

Jointly, these militant gospel preachers conducted a revival in 1896, in Jackson, Mississippi, which had far-reaching affects on the city.

The theophanic manifestations of the revival, which included the large numbers that were converted, sanctified, and healed by the power of faith and the dogmatic teachings of Bishop Mason on the doctrine of sanctification caused church doors within the Baptist association to become closed to him and to all those that believed and supported his teachings.

So in 1897, when these pioneering, persistent preachers returned to Jackson, Mississippi, Bishop Mason was forced to deliver his first message from the south entrance of the courthouse. A Mr. John Lee, who desired to see Bishop Mason’s ministry continue, provided the living room of his home the next night. Because of the overwhelming number that attended, a Mr. Watson, the owner of an abandoned warehouse in Lexington, Mississippi, gave his consent to transfer the revival meeting to the gin house on the bank of a little creek.

This gin house subsequently became the meeting house for the Church of God in Christ. This miracle deliverance revival was such a success it stirred up the “Devil”, causing someone to shoot five pistol shots and two double barreled shotgun blasts into the midst of the saints while they were shouting and praying. Some persons were wounded but miraculously, none of the shots were fatal.

At the close of the meeting, it was necessary to organize the people for the purpose of establishing a church with a stronger appeal and greater encouragement for all Christians and believers, a church which would emphasize the doctrine of entire sanctification through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

A meeting was mutually called by Elder Mason, Elder Jones, and Elder Pleasant, and sixty stood as charter members. Land was soon bought on Gazoo Street, from Mrs. John Ashcraft, just beyond the corporate line, upon which was built a little edifice 60×40. These charter members formed a Pentecostal body known as the “Church of God.”

Subsequently, in 1897, while seeking a spiritual name which would distinguish the church from others of the similar title, the name “Church of God in Christ” was revealed to Bishop mason while walking along a certain street in Little Rock, Arkansas. The following scripture supported his revelation: I Thessalonians 2:14, “For ye brethren became followers of the Churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye have suffered like things of your own countrymen even as they have of the Jews.” All of the brethren unanimously agreed to the name of “Church of God in Christ.”

Later, the church was reorganized during which Elder C.P. Jones was chosen as General Overseer. Elder C.H. Mason was appointed as overseer of Tennessee, and Elder J.A. Jeter was overseer of Arkansas. The turning point in Elder Mason’s life came in March, 1907, when he journeyed to Los Angeles, California, to attend a great Pentecostal revival with Elder D.J. Young and Elder J.A. Jeter. Elder W.J. Seymour was preaching concerning Luke 24:49, “And behold I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.” Elder Mason became convinced that it was essential for him to have the outpouring of the Holy ghost.

The following are excerpts from Elder Mason’s personal testimony regarding his receiving the Holy Ghost.

“The first day in the meeting I sat to myself, away from those that went with me. I began to thank God in my heart for all things, for when I heard some speak in tongues, I knew it was right though I did not understand it. Nevertheless, it was sweet to me.

I also thank God for Elder Seymour who came and preached a wonderful sermon. His words were sweet and powerful and it seems that I hear them now while writing. When he closed his sermon, he said ‘All of those that want to be sanctified or baptized with the Holy Ghost, go to the upper room; and all those that want to be justified, come to the altar.’

I said that is the place for me, for it may be that I am not converted and if not, God knows it and can convert me…”

“Glory!”

“The second night of prayer I saw a vision. I saw myself standing alone and had a dry roll of paper in my mouth trying to swallow it. Looking up towards the heavens, there appeared a man at my side. I turned my eyes at once, then I awoke and the interpretation came.

God had me swallowing the whole book and if I did not turn my eyes to anyone but God and Him only, He would baptize me. I said yes to Him, and at once in the morning when I arose, I could hear a voice in me saying, ” I see…”

“I got a place at the altar and began to thank God. After that, I said Lord if I could only baptize myself, I would do so; for I wanted the baptism so bad I did not know what to do. I said, Lord, You will have to do the work for me; so I turned it over into His hands.”

“Then, I began to ask for the baptism of the Holy Ghost according to Acts 2:41, which readeth thus: ‘Then they that gladly received His word were baptized,’ Then I saw that I had a right to be glad and not sad.”

“The enemy said to me, there may be something wrong with you. Then a voice spoke to me saying, if there is anything wrong with you, Christ will find it and take it away and marry you…Someone said, ‘Let us sing.’ I arose and the first song that came to me was ‘He brought me out of the Miry Clay.’

The Spirit came upon the saints and upon me…Then I gave up for the Lord to have His way within me. So there came a wave of Glory into me and all of my being was filled with the Glory of the Lord.

So when He had gotten me straight on my feet, there came a light which enveloped my entire being above the brightness of the sun. When I opened my mouth to say Glory, a flame touched my tongue which ran down me. My language changed and no word could I speak in my own tongue. Oh! I was filled with the Glory of the Lord. My soul was then satisfied.”

This new Pentecostal experience which Elder Mason found for himself, for he began to proclaim to others upon his return home to Memphis, Tennessee as a New Testament doctrine. A division, subsequently, became evident within the ranks of Elder Mason’s contemporaries when Elder J. A. Jeter, the General Overseer, Elder C. P. Jones, and others regarded the new Holy Ghost experience of speaking in tongues as a delusion. Being unable to resolve their difference in the New Testament doctrine.

The General Assembly terminated by withdrawing the “right hand” of fellowship from C. H. Mason. Elder Mason then called a conference in Memphis, Tennessee of all ministers who believed in receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost according to the scriptures in Acts 2:1-4. Those who responded to Elder Mason’s urgent call were E. R. Driver, J.Bowe, R.R. Booker, R. E. Hart, W. Welsh, A. A. Blackwell, E. M. Page, R.H. I. Clark, D. J. Young, James Brewer, Daniel Spearman and J. H. Boone.

These men of God organized the first Pentecostal General Assembly of the “Church of God in Christ.” Overseer C. H. Mason was then chosen unanimously as the General Overseer and Chief Apostle of our denomination. He was given complete authority to establish doctrine, organize auxiliaries and appoint overseers.

Dr. Hart was appointed Overseer of Tennessee; Elder J.A. Lewis was appointed Overseer of Tennessee; Elder J. Bowe the Overseer of Arkansas; later J. A. Lewis was appointed Overseer of Mississippi. As the church grew, Elder E. M. Page was appointed Overseer of Texas; Elder R.R. Booker, Overseer of Missouri; Elder E. R. Driver, Overseer of California and Elder W. B. Holt as the National Field Secretary.

As the Chief Apostle, he immediately dedicated twenty days, November 25th through December 14th annually as a meeting time for all of his followers to fellowship with each other and to transact all ecclesiastical and secular affairs pertinent to the growth of the National Organization.

This segment of the year was chosen because the majority of the communicants of the church lived in farming districts of Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. By this time of the year, they had sufficient provisions and financial resources from the harvesting of their crops, to enable them to attend and support a national meeting.

The first National meetings were held at 392 South Wellington Street, Memphis, Tennessee. The first National Tabernacle was built and completed at 958 South Fifth Street, in 1925.

This Tabernacle, however, was destroyed by fire twelve years later in 1936. In the interim until 1945, our National Convocation was held within the Church pastored by Bishop Mason at 672 South Lauderdale. In1945, Bishop Mason was able to visualize the culmination of his dream. He dedicated the Mason Temple at Memphis, Tennessee which was built for less than $400,000 during World War II. This auditorium became the largest convention hall owned by any colored religious group in America.

Under Bishop Mason’s spiritual and apostolic direction our church has grown from ten congregations in 1907, to the largest Pentecostal group in America. The membership of the Church of God in Christ grew from three million in 1973 to an estimated 5.2 million in 1997.

Churches under the parent body in Memphis, Tennessee, are now established throughout the United States, on every continent, and in many of the islands of the sea.

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Christ’s Extreme Sacrifice Calls
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“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:  And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 

- 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV) -


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Honoring Pastor Andraé Crouch

The Church of God in Christ would like to take this time to Thank God for the Extraordinary Life and Awesome Legacy of Pastor Andraé Crouch. He touched many lives with his God-given gifts that he used for God’s Glory. We are praying for his family, his friends and all who mourn the loss of this Gospel Music Legend.


 
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