Today begins the dawn of a new era in the Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world. Bishop J. Drew Sheard was chosen to lead the church following the election of its General Board. Bishop Sheard succeeds Bishop Charles E. Blake of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles and is the church’s sixth Presiding Bishop and eighth leader in succession. The church didn’t arrive at this juncture without difficulty. The initial election scheduled for Tuesday February 23rd faltered when a number of delegates were unable to cast their votes. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake swiftly intervened as conjecture and the denigration of the election swirled on the web.
After general board members made their case and presented their records of civic and ecclesiastical service for the consideration of their COGIC constituency, it was time for the quadrennial election. When the general board election faltered, a new date was chosen by Presiding Bishop Charles Blake and Chairman of the General Assembly, Bishop L. F. Thuston, conjunctively.
The pandemic altered the quadrennial election regularly held during the church’s annual convocation, so the church made plans to vote in February. Once that plan fell through, the church continued searching for peaceable solutions commensurate to the integrity of the church and its procedures. That day was today and there is now new leadership at the helm of the Church of God in Christ. Punctuating the unprecedented nature of this election, the church mourns the loss of Bishop George McKinney who passed today as delegates cast their votes for the General Board. Today also marks the 14th anniversary of the passing of Bishop G. E. Patterson, another great general of the faith remembered for many things including an ecumenical impact for believers in many faith traditions.
The deaths of four General Board members combined with the retirements and elevation to emeritus of the Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and General Board member Bishop George McKinney, the Church of God In Christ rested on the precipice of great transition. For many congregants, the future of the church rests on this election and their vote will seek to secure a future they can believe in. For his part, Bishop Sheard is ready to continue the work he has done in and around Detroit and within the church in various roles of service. The Presiding Bishop is elected as the culmination of the vote for the COGIC General Board. The Bishop receiving the most votes is then elevated to Presiding Bishop of the church of roughly eight million members around the world.
Bishop J. Drew Sheard is the Senior Pastor of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of Church of God In Christ (COGIC) in Detroit, Michigan and is also the – Prelate of Michigan North Central Jurisdiction; Chairman of the Michigan & Canadian Council of Bishops and General Board Member of the International Churches of God In Christ since 2012.
Bishop Sheard Speaks
“There is a need for secure leadership to even move the church forward and to embrace those who are potential leaders and not be threatened by potential leaders. We need to embrace them and nurture them so that we can make sure that our church remains in good hands. We’ll continue our economic developments in Memphis and hopefully we’ll be able to do things that are economically by region because there are some things that are germane to certain regions of our country that our church can be involved in that will not compromise our standard of holiness.
I’m not afraid to sit down with different generations and seek what it is that they need as far as ministry is concerned because ministry as a whole isn’t ministry unless you’re meeting the needs of people. I demonstrated that when I was the youth president of the Church of God in Christ. I made changes so that we were doing ministry as far as helping those in the youth department. I did that as the chairman of AIM (Auxiliaries in Ministry), we became sensitive to what different generations needed as far as ministry and we formed ministries to help in those areas. We will hear the millennial, we will do what is necessary, but we won’t push our seniors off the cliff because, the church should encompass all generations.”Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard
Today begins a new era in the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, under the leadership of Chief Apostle, J. Drew Sheard.