Church of god in christ seal

The Church of God in Christ

  • Founding

    "The Church of God in Christ was formed in 1897 by disfellowshipped Baptists, Charles Price Jones, and Charles Harrison Mason. Elder Mason founded the St. Paul Church in Lexington, Mississippi, as the first church of the new movement. This Holiness group/fellowship adopted the name Church of God in Christ, and COGIC began to develop. In 1898, these men were expelled from preaching in local Baptist churches under the Mississippi State Convention."
  • Period: to

    Bishop C. H. Mason Era

    Founder and First Senior Bishop
  • Incorporation

    With ten congregations, COGIC became the first legally chartered Pentecostal body incorporated in the United States. C. P. Jones and those Holiness leaders who did not embrace the Azusa Revival experience continued as Holiness churches.
  • Split of "Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A."

    Notable Difference (no emphasis on speaking in tongues to be the result of the holy spirit)
  • First Holy Convocation

    "Originally, this gathering of the 'Saints' lasted for twenty days, from November 25 to December 14. This seasonal period was selected because most of the COGIC members were farmers and were finished harvesting their crops around this time. COGIC members gathered for praying, fasting, teaching, preaching, fellowship and conducting business related to the national COGIC organization."
  • First Baptism of the Holy Ghost

    "Mason stayed in Los Angeles for five weeks and his visit to the Azusa Street Revival. During his visit, Mason received the baptism of the Holy Ghost; the evidence was believed to be his "speaking in other tongues", in accordance with the biblical account found in Acts 2:4. Upon his return to Jackson, Mississippi, Mason faced opposition with his experience. At the 1907 COGIC Convocation, a separation occurred among Jones and other leaders in the church because of such disagreements."
  • First Head of Denomination

    "Mason called a meeting in Memphis later in the year and reorganized COGIC as a Holiness-Pentecostal body. The early pioneers of this in 1907 were E. R. Driver, J. Bowe, R. R. Booker, R. E. Hart, W. Welsh, A. A. Blackwell, E. M. Blackwell, E. M. Page, R. H. I. Clark, D. J. Young, James Brewer, Daniel Spearman, and J. H. Boone. These elders became the First Pentecostal General Assembly of COGIC. They unanimously chose C.H. Mason as General Overseer and Chief Apostle."
  • Womens Department Formed

    "Women in COGIC have been influential in the leadership and organization of the church since its inception. They are the largest department in the COGIC. Bishop Mason was opposed to the ordination of women to formal ministry, but in 1911 created an autonomous department to promote the ministry of women in the church."
  • Split of the "Assemblies of God"

    "Approximately 300 white ministers, representing a variety of independent churches and networks of churches, including the "Association of Christian Assemblies" of Indiana; and the "Church of God in Christ and in Unity with the Apostolic Faith Movement" from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas; met in Hot Springs, Arkansas. They determined to separate from COGIC and form what would eventually become the Assemblies of God"
  • Legal Right to Name "Church of God in Christ"

    In 1915, after years of court litigation over the name of the organization and use of the name "COGIC" by the two groups; Mason's group was granted the use of the name and Jones's group organized a legally chartered Holiness body called the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.
  • Young People Willing Workers (YPWW) & International Youth Department (IYD) Formed

    "The first youth leader on a national level was Elder M.C. Green. In 1917, the YPWW was officially organized under the leadership of Elder Ozro Thurston Jones, Sr., who in 1928 established the first Youth Congress bringing together youth leaders and workers on a national level."
  • Sunday School Department Formed

    "The first Sunday School Superintendent was Professor L. W. Lee (1908–1916). In 1924, the Sunday School was formally organized under "Father" F. C. Christmas (1916–1944). Elder L. C. Patrick was added to the National Sunday School."
  • Constitution Written

    "Mason authorized the church's constitution, outlining the bylaws, rules, and regulations of the church."
  • First 5 Bishops Consecrated

    "Mason set apart five overseers to the Office of Bishop in the church, the first five bishops of COGIC. Those consecrated were I. S. Stafford (Detroit, Michigan), E. M. Page (Dallas, Texas), W. M. Roberts (Chicago, Illinois), O. T. Jones, Sr. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and R. F. Williams (Cleveland, Ohio)."
  • Mission Department Formed

    "In 1926, upon the recommendation of Mother Lizzie Roberson, Elder C. G. Brown of Kansas City Missouri, was appointed the first Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Home and Foreign Missions Department by Bishop C. H. Mason. The Elders' Council met and organized the first Missions board of the Church of God in Christ. In 1927, the call was made for workers to go to serve the Lord in foreign lands."
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    Special Commission Formed

    "On June 5, 1951, he selected Bishop A. B. McEwen, Bishop J. S. Bailey, and Bishop O. M. Kelly as his assistants. On May 19, 1952, he added Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Also in 1952, Mason revised the constitution to determine the leadership and succession of the church after his death. Three years later on October 12, 1955, he added three more bishops to the hierarchy: Bishop U. E. Miller, Bishop S. M. Crouch, and Bishop O. T. Jones, Sr."
  • Nation Wide Reach

    "By the time of Bishop Mason's death in 1961, COGIC had spread to every state in the United States and to many foreign countries. It had a membership of more than 400,000, who supported more than 4,000 churches."
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    Bishop O. T. Jones Sr. Era

    Second Senior Bishop
    "Described as a "Dark Period" in the history of the Church of God in Christ, because there was polarization and conflict in leadership following the death of the founder."
  • Second Head of Denomination

    "In accordance with the 1952 church constitution, control of the church reverted to the Board of Bishops. However, the General Assembly vested authority in the executive board composed of the seven bishops selected by Bishop Mason before his death. The COGIC constitution at the time did not identify a clear successor or the authority of the executive board after Mason's death. A. B. McEwen was elected chairman of the executive board, and O.T. Jones Sr. was elected Senior Bishop"
  • The Constitutional Convention Written

    "The court ordered the church to convene a constitutional convention in February 1968. The constitutional convention drafted and approved a new constitution dissolved both the office of the Senior Bishop and the executive board; it also established the General Assembly, as the supreme authority over the church to decide matters of faith and practice. The new constitution created the office of the presiding bishop and a general board of twelve bishops and defined their responsibilities."
  • First General Board

    Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. – presiding bishop
    Bishop J. S. Bailey – first assistant presiding bishop
    Bishop S. M. Crouch – second assistant presiding bishop
    Bishop W. N. Wells
    Bishop L. H. Ford
    Bishop O. M. Kelly
    Bishop C. E. Bennett
    Bishop J. A. Blake
    Bishop J. W. White
    Bishop D. L. Williams
    Bishop F. D. Washington
    Bishop J. D. Husband
  • Period: to

    Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Era

    First elected Presiding Bishop (elected six times)
    He is all the youngest Presiding Bishop to date (age: 56)
  • Split of "Church of God in Christ, International"

    "Several bishops disagreed with the new organizational structure; they severed ties with COGIC to start their own organizations. The most notable rift occurred in 1969, when fourteen bishops met in Evanston, Illinois, to form the Church of God in Christ, International. They disagreed in having an electoral process to select the presiding bishop."
  • Dr. Mattie Moss Clark Elected President of Music Department

    "COGIC became a staple of gospel music under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. (1972–1994). She revolutionized and reorganized the music ministry to become a leading department in the church. She developed the role of the State Minister of Music and traveled the world conducting seminars and workshops perfecting the quality of choir music, their performance, appearance and demeanor, and the COGIC sound."
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    Dr. Mattie Moss Clark Era (Music)

    Longest Serving President of Music Department
  • New Constitution & Official Manual completed

    "Patterson established protocols of worship, policy and practices. A new constitution and official manual of the church were completed in 1973. COGIC became a major force in the collective Black Church and worldwide Pentecostal movement."
  • COGIC Institutions Established

    "Bishop Patterson Sr. established the Charles Harrison Mason Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia; the C. H. Mason System of Bible Colleges; the J. O. Patterson, Sr. Fine Arts Department; and the Historical Museum and Fine Arts Center. He organized the Charles Harrison Mason Foundation and the Presiding Bishop's Benefit Fund, which provides scholarships to members' children. He expanded the COGIC Bookstore and COGIC Publishing House."
  • Diamond Jubilee & Congress of National Black Churches

    "Patterson led COGIC in its Diamond Jubilee, in a celebration of the International Holy Convocation. He established the World Fellowship of Black Pentecostal Churches and gained COGIC membership in the Congress of National Black Churches."
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    Bishop L. H. Ford Era

    Second elected Presiding Bishop (elected twice)
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    Bishop C. D. Owens, Sr. Era

    Third elected Presiding Bishop (elected once)
  • World Wide Reach

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    Bishop G. E. Patterson Era

    Fourth elected Presiding Bishop (elected twice)
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    Bishop C. E. Blake, Sr. Era

    Fifth elected Presiding Bishop (elected three times)
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    Bishop J. D. Sheard, Sr. Era

    Sixth elected Presiding Bishop (elected once)