THE STORY OF OUR CHURCH "THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST" is a church of our the Lord Jesus Christ in which the Word of God is preached, ordinances are administered and the doctrine of sanctification or holiness is emphasized as being essential to the salvation of mankind. Our church is commonly known as being Holiness or Pentecostal in nature because of the importance ascribed to the events which occurred on the Day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the Passover or Easter as being necessary for all believers in Christ Jesus to experience. On the Day of Pentecost, the first day of the week, the Lord's Day, Supernatural Manifestations descended from Heaven in marvellous copiousness and power. The gift of the Holy Spirit in the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus Christ to clothe those who would wait in Jerusalem with power from on high, was accompanied by three supernatural extraordinary manifestations: The sudden appearance of the Holy Ghost appealed first to the ear. The disciples heard a "sound" from Heaven which rushed with a mighty force into the house and filled it - even as a storm rushes - but there was no wind. It was the "sound" that filled the house and not a wind, an invisible cause producing audible effects. Next, the eye was arrested by the appearance of tongues as of fire which rested on each of the gathered COMPANY. Finally, there was the impartation of a new strange power to speak in languages they had never learned "as the Spirit gave them utterance." Our Church is also considered to be a member of the great Protestant body though it did not directly evolve from the European or English Reformation, but has its root within the General Association of the Baptist Church. Elder Charles Harrison Mason, who later became the founder and organizer of the Church Of God In Christ, was born September 8, 1866, on the Prior Farm near Memphis, Tennessee. His father and mother, Jerry and Eliza Mason were members of a Missionary baptist Church. Elder Mason was converted in November 1878, during the dark crises of American Slavery, was baptized by his brother, I.S. Nelson, a Baptist Minister who pastored the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church near Plumerville, Arkansas. In 1893, he answered the call to Christian Ministry and was licensed from the Mount Gale M.B. C., in Preston, Arkansas. He then experienced Sanctification through the Word of God, and preached his first sermon in Holiness. On November 1, 1893, Elder Mason matriculated into the Arkansas Baptist College, but withdrew after three months because of his dissatisfaction with the method of teaching and presenting the Bible message. He then went to the streets and to every pulpit that was opened to him declaring Jesus by the word, example, and precept. In the year of the Lord of 1895, Bishop Mason met Elder C.P. Jones of Jackson, Mississippi; Elder J.A. Jeter of Little Rock, Ark.; and Elder W.L. Pleaseant of Hazelhurst, Mississippi, who subsequently became Bishop Mason's closest companion in the Ministry. Jointly these militant Gospel preachers conducted a revival in 1896, in jackson, Mississipi, which had far reaching effects on the city. The theophanic manifestations of the revival resulted in large numbers being converted, sanctified, and healed by the power of faith and dogmatic teachings of Bishop Mason. His presentation of the doctrine of Sanctification caused church doors within the Baptist Association to become closed to him and to all those that believed and supported his teachings. So, in 1897, when these pioneers persistent preachers returned to Jackson, Ms., Bishop Mason was forced to deliver his message from the south entrance of the Courthouse. A Mr. John Lee offered the living room of his home to Bishop Mason to hold church service, and as the number of attendees grew, a Mr. Watson who owned an abandoned gin house gave his consent to let it be used for the continuance of the revival service. This gin house subsequently became the meeting place of THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST. This miracle revival was such a success that someone fired some shots in the midst of the saints some persons were wounded, but none fatal. At the close of this meeting, it was necessary to organize the people for the purpose of establishing a church with a stronger appeal and greater encouragement for all christians and believers, a church that would emphasize the doctrine of entire sanctification through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Elders Mason, Jones, Pleaseant and sixty others stood as charter members. Land was purchased on Gazoo Street and a church was built. The charter members formed a pentecostal body known as the "CHURCH OF GOD". Later, the Church was reorganized during which Elder C.P.Jones was selected as General Overseer. Elder C.H. Mason was appointed Overseer of Tennessee, and Elder J.A. Jeter Overseer of Arkansas. The turning point in Elder Mason's life came in March 1907 when he journeyed to Los Angeles, California to attend a great Pentecostal revival with Elders D.J. Young, and J.A.Jeter. An Elder W.J. Seymour was preaching from Luke 24:49, and Elder Mason became convinced that it was essential for him to have the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. He began to proclaim this experience to others upon returning home to Tennessee as a New Testament doctrine. subsequently, a division ensued within the ranks of Bishop Mason's comtemporaries when the General Overseer, Elder C.P. Jones, and Elder J.A. Jeter, and others regarded the new Holy Ghost experience of speaking in tongues as a delusion. Being unable to resolve their difference in doctrine, the General Assembly convened at Jackson, Mississippi in August of 1907 to discuss this New Testament doctrine. The General Assembly terminated by withdrawing the *right hand* of fellowship from C.H. Mason. Elder Mason then called a conference in Memphis, Tennessee of all ministers who believed in receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost according to the scriptures in Acts 2:1-4. Those who responded were: E.R. Driver, J. Bowe, R.R. Booker, R.E. Hart, W. Welsh, A.A. Blackwell, E.M. Page, R.H.I. Clark, D.J. Young, James Brewer, Daniel Spearman, and J.H. Boone. These men of God organized the first Pentecostal General assembly of the *Church Of God In Christ*. Elder C.H. Mason was unanimously chosen as the general Overseer and Chief Apostle of our denomination. He was given complete authority to establish doctrine, organize auxiliaries and appoint overseer. The name CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST derived from Bishop Mason search of a scriptural name that would distinguish this church from others of similar title. And the Lord revealed it to him while he was walking along a certain street in Little Rock arkansas: I Thessalonians 2:14, "For ye brethren became the followers of the churches of God which are in Christ Jesus..." And all of the brethren unanimously agreed to the name "CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST" Under Bishop Mason's spiritual and apostolic direction, our church has grown from ten congregations in 1907 to the second largest and most progressive pentecostal group in America. The Office of the General Secretary of the Church Of God in Christ in 1973, declared that the membership of the church stood at three million strong. Churches under the parent body in Memphis, Tennessee, are now established throughout the United States, in every continent, and in many of the islands of the sea. Bishop Chandler David Owens, Our Presiding Bishop, and the members of the General Board Of the Church Of God In Christ International, are taking us to an higher level of progress and spiritual maturity with Vision 2000 and Beyond. Due to the demise of Mother Emma Crouch, this page is being updated. Please bear with us. God bless you all!
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