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Bishop Owens was educated in the Birming-

ham public school system. Although he was unable to afford to formally attend college, Bishop Owens would spend hours upon hours at the library, reading dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauruses and books on various subjects. He built a large vocabulary that he would use with great ease. After completing high school, Bishop Owens moved to Detroit, Michigan. He served under Bishop J.S. Bailey who later appointed him as the pastor of the Wells Cathedral COGIC in Newark, New Jersey. He became the Prelate of the Third Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction. When he was elected to the General Board, he was the youngest man ever to be seated on the highest board of the church. Later, in 1992, he became the Prelate of the Central Georgia Jurisdiction.

Prior to becoming the fifth leader of our Church, Bishop Owens was known as an evangelist and president of the Youth Department. He also served as the Chairman of the Commission for the Constitution.

After the death of Bishop Louis Henry Ford, Bishop Owens served as the Interim Presiding Bishop and was elected to one term as the Presiding Bishop in 1996. His era became known as Vision 2000 and Beyond. He purposed to position COGIC as a leader in the 21st Century with a progressive, comprehensive plan. He was known as leading with a strong hand and helped COGIC gain control of its financial future. Bishop Owens led COGIC into new territories with the installation of several churches in Seoul, Korea. Bishop Owens was the first leader of COGIC to be challenged for the leadership of the church on two occasions. He was unseated by Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson in the November 2000 election but continued to serve as a member of the General Board, on which he served for more than 35 years. Bishop Owens passed on March 6, 2011 at the age of 79. He was laid to rest at the Hollywood Cemetery in Union, New Jersey.

Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson (2000-

2007) The Gospel Preacher, The Televangelist, The Humanitarian

Born into a very well known COGIC family

on September 22, 1939, Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson spent his early days in Memphis and Detroit. His


parents, Bishop William A. and Mary Louise Patterson, reared the Patterson children to be lovers of God and His people. As was the case with Bishop Chandler David Owens, Bishop Patterson served under Bishop J.S. Bailey and was ordained by him in 1958. In

1962, Bishop Patterson became Co-Pastor with his father at Holy Temple COGIC in Memphis. In 1975, Bishop Patterson founded the

Temple of Deliverance, Cathedral of Bountiful Blessings in downtown Memphis. Bishop Patterson and the Temple of Deliverance experienced tremen- dous growth from their early days. Bishop Patterson also founded the Bountiful Blessings Ministries, featuring both radio and television services. Bishop Patterson was a man of compassion

and concern for people. He was a member of the strategy team that invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis to support the striking sanitation workers. This rally was held on April 3, 1968 at Mason Temple the night before Dr. King was assassinated. Temple of Deliverance opened its doors daily to serve free hot meals. The buildings on the campus of the Temple of Deliverance serve as a testament of the tremendous work of Bishop Patterson. Throughout his ministerial career, Bishop Patterson organized seven churches across the country.Bishop Patterson originally entered the race for Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle in 1996 and lost in the final vote by one. On November 14, 2000, Bishop Patterson was elected as the Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle unseating Bishop Chandler David Owens. This was the first time that a sitting Presiding Bishop had been unseated. Bishop Patterson quickly began to reignite the

presence of COGIC as the flagship Pentecostal church in the United States and bridged denominational barriers and was a catalyst for non-COGIC churches to partner in ecumenical pursuits. He would travel the breadth and length of the country preaching to thou- sands of faithful followers with a simple message: Be healed, Be Delivered, Be Set Free!

COGIC Charities was established by Bishop Patterson in 2002 to serve as the philanthropic arm of the church. COGIC Charities has awarded many scholarships to deserving college students since its

inception. In addition, millions of dollars have been given to assist with the physical and financial needs of people impacted by natural disasters. In 2005, Bishop Patterson announced that he was battling prostate cancer and led a courageous and public battle against the disease. He died at age 67 on March 20, 2007 and was laid to rest at Memo- rial Park Cemetery in Memphis.

Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. (2007-Present) The Global Representative, The Businessman, The Seventh in Succession

After serving as the First Assistant Presiding Bishop and First Vice President for six years, Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. became the seventh leader in succession of the Church of God In Christ. He was elected twice in one year. In November 2007, he was elected to serve the remainder

of Bishop Patterson’s term and in November 2008, he was elected with more than 80 percent of votes to serve a four year term as Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle.

Bishop Blake was born August 5, 1940 in

Little Rock, Arkansas to the union of Bishop J.A. and Mother Lula Champion Blake. The Blake Family relocated to San Diego, California where Bishop J.A. Blake became a pastor. Bishop Blake was very active in his father’s church, serving in many capacities. Bishop Blake was licensed in 1959 and ordained in 1962. He conducted many revivals across the country during his early years in the ministry and by 1965, had received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree to enhance the ministry for which God was preparing him. Bishop Blake became Pastor of the 50

member West Angeles COGIC in Los Angeles in 1968. The church was founded by Bishop C.E. Church in 1943. West Angeles now has more than 25,000 members and 80 ministries that serve the congregation and community. The $60 million dollar, 5,000-seat West Angeles Cathedral was dedicated in 2001.

In 1985, Bishop Blake became the Juris- dictional Prelate of California Southern First and in INSPIRATION TODAY 39

2009, he relinquished the leadership to Bishop Joe L. Ealy in order to devote more time to the office of Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle. He continues to serve as Senior Pastor of West Angeles, CEO of Save Africa’s Children and COGIC Charities. Since its inception, Save Africa’s Children has assisted more than 200,000 children on the continent of Africa who have become orphans because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. There are now more than 61,000 church groups and faith-based organizations supporting the ministries of Save Africa’s Children.

Bishop Blake is known for having a global

ministry. Under his leadership, the church is becoming a greater global ministry, primarily in Africa and Latin America. At the same time, he considers the core of the denomination, located in the inner cities, unveiling an aggressive program known as Urban Initiatives to address the plight of America’s urban centers.

Bishop Blake is an astute business man and

is known as a man of character, integrity and wisdom. In 2010, he led the Church of God in Christ in another giant historical step where after 102 years in Memphis for the annual Holy Convocation, the 103rd Convocation was moved to the city of St. Louis and held under one roof. More than 40,000 delegates were able to meet in the America’s Center and the Edward Jones Dome bringing over $35 mil- lion to the regional economy. The Convocations for 2011 and 2012 will also be held in St. Louis. With a progressive vision and tremendous commitment to the life and work of the Church of God In Christ, Bishop Blake is posed to lead COGIC further into the 21st Century with a renewed focus of concentrating on God’s Church, God’s People and God’s Agenda. Fashioning our beloved Pre- siding Bishop’s eloquent sentiments: “I see THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST in the future, and WE look much better than we do right now!” To God be the Glory!

David-George Newsome is a resident of Muskegon, Michigan and a member of Grace For The Nations COGIC in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Admin. Asst. Tarence E. Lauchie, Pastor). He also serves as the Assistant Jurisdictional Secretary of the Michigan Southwest Third Jurisdiction (Bishop Samuel Duncan, Jr., Prelate).

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