Brief History of COGIC - Indiana
The first mission of the Church of God in Christ was established in the
Indiana in the year of 1919 by Elder. B. J. Watkins in the city of Evansville,
Indiana. Early in 1920 Elder Bartley Thompson of St. Louis, Missouri came to the
city of Gary, Indiana, and finding a few saints, opened a mission at 1728 Adams
Street. This mission remained open until June of the same year, but was closed
because of financial difficulties. As God would have it. in the same month C. E.
Bennett, a licensed minister, came to the city. Minister Bennett, seeing the
need for a mission supplied money that allowed Elder George Gipson to rent a
small place for a mission at 1716 Madison Street. Elder Thompson moved away from
Gary, and Minister Bennett became the leader of the mission. In December 1920,
State Overseer W. M. Roberts of Chicago, Illinois, asked Minister Bennett to
assume the pastorate of the mission in Gary until further notice.
the following six years, missions were opened in South Bend, Michigan City, East
Chicago, Indiana Harbor, Fort Wayne, Elkhart, Indianapolis, and Terre
The churches and missions in Indiana were identified with the
state work in Illinois until 1927. In 1927 Indiana was permitted to hold its
first State Convocation in Gary, Indiana from July 27th to August 5th. Saints
Home Church at 509 East 20th Avenue was the Host Church and the Elder C.E.
Bennett was the Host Pastor.
Indiana State work was headed by the late
Bishop Wm. Roberts as Overseer and Mother Nancy Gamble as Supervisor of Women.
The first State Convocation had only 11 pastors to support the state work,
namely Elder C. E. Bennett and Elder T. H. Coffee of Gary, Elder L. J. Hall, and
Elder Robert Miller of East Chicago, Elder E. A. McNeely of Michigan City, Elder
E. A. Loveless and Elder R. A. Nelson of South Bend, Elder E. Renicks of
Elkhart, Elder J. H. Boone of Fort Wayne, Elder G. H. Boyce of Indianapolis, and
Eld. L. W. Burnice of Terre Haute.The first Convocation was graced with the
presence of Senior Bishop C. H.
Mason and General Supervisor of Women Mother Lizzie Roberson.
Second Convocation held in Ft. Wayne was presided over by the new State Overseer
Elder C. E. Bennett, who was appointed during the National Convocation in
Memphis, Tennessee December 14, 1927. (Evansville and Newburgh, on the southern
end of Indiana, worked with the state of Kentucky until 1928 when Elder C. E.
Bennett became State Overseer.)
The State Convocation in Indiana created
new inspiration and increased interest in the church work.
Beginning with eleven small churches and missions, by 1948 the number had grown to forty-eight churches. Shortly thereafter the state was divided into northern and southern portions. Sixteen churches were placed under Overseer Homer Worth and thirty-two churches were left with Overseer Bennett. The number soon grew to 90 churches and missions under Bishop C. E. Bennett.
Indiana was divided into two jurisdictions. Bishop Oscar Freeman, Prelate of the Second Jurisdiction of Indiana, further enhanced the growth and development of the Churches of God in Christ in the state. On June 27, 1972 the Lord called Bishop Bennett home to rest from
In December of 1972, Eld. William O. Blakely, Sr., pastor of
Faith Temple COGIC was chosen to be Bishop of the First Jurisdiction of Indiana.
He had faithfully and loyaly served Bishop Bennett and now was chosen to seceed
him. Under Bishop Blakely's spiritual guidance the First Jurisdiction of Indiana
grew to over 120 churches. Bishop Blakely was a spiritual and humble leader and
retired in 1988.
On September 14, 1988, Elder Milton L. Hall, Sr., pastor
of Grace Memorial COGIC, Kokomo, Indiana was elevated to the Bishopric of the
First Jurisdiction of Indiana. Indiana was once more divided by the Senior
Bishop, at that time, Bishop J.O. Patterson and the General Board. The First
Jurisdiction of Indiana in 1999 had over 80 churches and with sites placed on
the millenium is set for further growth.
Read about the history of the
COGIC from Official COGIC Site
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Page developed October 9,1999.