Church Of God In Christ, Inc.
Bishop J. Drew Sheard, Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle
A MOTHER’S DAY 2022
On this second Sunday in May, 2022, we are pleased to honor our mothers, both biological and spiritual. There is no doubt that mothers play a significant role in our existence as human beings. From the first mother, Eve, to the mothers to come…thank you. Thank you for your sacrifice, your dedication, your steadfast dedication, your sense and mother-wit, your gut instincts and spiritual awakenings. Thank you for all that you have done, are doing and will do.
The concept of Mother’s Day originated in Europe on the 4th Sunday of the Lent Season when everyone would come home to their “home” or “mother” church for Mothering Sunday. This tradition continued for years until 1870 when Mother’s Day Work Clubs were formed that led way to Mother’s Friendship Days, up to our current celebration of Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May.
Mothers have always had significance in the Church of God In Christ. All churches at one time had a Church Mother who had major responsibility around the church. In modern times, many pastor’s wives function in this capacity as they are not traveling from church to church with their husbands as back in the day. The Church Mother counseled and corrected, she encouraged and chastised, and she cooked and cleaned. She provided the leadership that the local church needed in order to be successful.
In 1911, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason recognized the need for a national Church Mother to lead the women’s work. The work had been started but was not organized. His longtime assistant, Mother Lillian Brooks Coffey, recommended a lady to serve in this role, Mother Lizzie Woods Robinson. Mother Brooks Coffey met Mother Robinson in the Arkansas Convocation and gave her the right hand of fellowship. She further insisted that she come to the National Convocation in Memphis that year. Mother Robinson was given the charge to “organize and create such work as would be beneficial to the development of the church.”
Mother Robinson served until the convocation of 1943 when the Lord called her from labor to reward. It is interesting to note that she died raising major funds for the completion of the new National Temple(Historic Mason Temple). Mother Robinson was followed by Mother Lillian Brooks Coffey – a reminder to all to wait on God and He will exalt you at the right time. Mother Annie L. Bailey followed Mother Brooks Coffey. Next, Mother Mattie McGlothen led the women, followed by Mother Emma Crouch.
In 1997, a cherished Mother came to leadership through His vessel, proclaiming “…all the glory, all the honor, all the praises all day, belong to God” – none other than Mother Willie Mae Smalls Rivers from Goosecreek, South Carolina. Mother Rivers served for twenty years until her retirement. We praise God that she is still alive and providing valuable leadership and guidance to us, with … “all the glory, honor, praises all day, belonging to God.”
In 2017, the seventh General Supervisor of the International Women’s Department was appointed by Presiding Bishop Emeritus Charles Edward Blake, Sr. Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis was no stranger to leadership upon her appointment. Since 1988, she had led the women of the largest jurisdiction in the Church Of God In Christ – California Southern First. She served in this capacity until requesting Emerita status in 2021. Current Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle, Bishop J. Drew Sheard, reaffirmed her appointment as General Supervisor in 2021.
Born to Pastor Richard and Mother Sue McCoo in Los Angeles, California, Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis is lifetime and third-generation member of the Church Of God In Christ. We do not have enough space to list all of the ways that our beloved Mother has served on the local, district, jurisdictional and national levels. Suffice it to say that Mother McCoo Lewis has touched nearly every facet of the life of our Church, in some way or another.
Mother McCoo Lewis’ accomplishments on the jurisdictional level are quite impressive. Her visionary leadership led to the completion of the Hale Morris Lewis Senior Complex, a 4.7 million dollar, 41 unit complex completed in 2002. She formed and served as the president of the Southern California COGIC Economic Development Corporation, as well as the Barbara McCoo Lewis Ministry.
On the national level, Mother McCoo Lewis served under Mother Mattie McGlothen, Mother Emma Crouch and Mother Willie Mae Rivers. Her leadership roles have included:
- Advisory Board Member
- Executive Board Member
- General Supervisor’s West Coast Representative
- Special Convention Assistance Committee Chair
- Program Committee Chair
- International Marshal
- Assistant General Supervisor and Executive Business Affairs Chair
- Women’s Editor, The Whole Truth
- CH Mason Seminary Trustee Board Member
In addition, Mother McCoo Lewis authored The Christian’s Women’s Guide to Church Protocol and Saintly Decorum.
Although very active in the life of the Church on many levels, the role she most is proud of would be as a loving wife and mother in her home. She was married to Bishop James A. Lewis for 57 years before the Lord called him from labor to reward in 2019. She is the proud mother of two sons: Elder James A. Lewis, Jr. and Administrative Assistant Jeffrey M. Lewis, who currently serves as her pastor at the church founded by, Mother McCoo Lewis and her husband in 1970 – New Antioch in Los Angeles. On Sundays, you will find our General Supervisor serving as the Church Mother of New Antioch. She is blessed with two daughter-in-love, Sonya and Floetta (her current First Lady). She has two adult grandchildren, Shannon and Jeffery, Jr.
Mother McCoo Lewis’ theme for her life can be found in Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church:
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Which Strengthens Me (Philippians 4:13).
This writer believes that there is solid movement, with many seconds on a motion, that our beloved General Supervisor of the Department of Women has been faithful over many things and the Lord has elevated her to the current position that she holds to guide us further into the ways of holiness. It has been properly moved, seconded and passed by unanimous consent!
We thank God for all of our biological and spiritual mothers, both living and in Heaven. But a special thanks is extended for our Sainted Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis. May the Lord continue to richly bless and keep her, always, is our prayer.