Tag Archives: Church of God in Christ

Charles Price Jones/Anita Bingham Jefferson Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

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Charles Price Jones

By Darrin J. Rodgers

Charles Price Jones (1865-1949) was a prominent African American church leader, composer, educator, theologian, and poet. He founded the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., an African American Holiness denomination that shares a common history with the Church of God in Christ. He composed over 1,000 songs, many of which continue to be sung in churches across the denominational and racial divides. The songs for which Price is possibly best known are “Deeper, Deeper” and “Come Unto Me.”

Jones was licensed to preach as a Baptist minister in 1885. Jones was concerned that many Christians of his day seemed unconcerned with spiritual disciplines and godly living. He identified with the Holiness movement, seeking to bring spiritual renewal to black Baptist churches. He served as a pastor and an evangelist throughout the South. He also served as editor of the Baptist Vanguard newspaper, published by Arkansas Baptist College.

In 1895, Jones became pastor of the prominent Mt. Helm Missionary Baptist Church, which was the oldest African American church in Jackson, Mississippi. In the same year, Jones befriended another young Baptist minister, Charles Harrison Mason. A growing Holiness movement coalesced as Mason and like-minded ministerial colleagues joined Jones in a quest for holy living.

The emergence of the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1909) resulted in a split within the Holiness association led by Jones. While Jones and Mason both acknowledged that the gift of speaking in tongues had not ceased, they differed on whether it was the evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Mason accepted the Pentecostal view of evidentiary tongues, while Jones did not. The led to the 1907 organization of the Pentecostal group, over which Mason was selected as overseer. Both groups went by the name Church of God in Christ. After several years of legal battles over the use of the name, Mason’s group won the right to call itself Church of God in Christ. Those who followed Jones incorporated in 1920 as Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.

During the first half of the twentieth century, Jones was a well-known figure in African American Holiness and Pentecostal circles. However, in recent decades Jones and his remarkable achievements have faded from the memory of many Christians. This may be partly due to the relative growth of the two groups. The Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. reported 12,960 members in 139 churches in the United States in 2012. The Church of God in Christ, however, in 1991 reported 5,499,875 members in 15,300 churches (these statistics apparently include worldwide members and churches).

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Dr. Anita Bingham Jefferson

Dr. Anita Bingham Jefferson, Christian educator and women’s leader in the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., has sought to educate new generations about Jones and his legacy by preserving and promoting his writings and life story. Over the past forty years, she has gathered historical materials. Since 1981, she has written or published seventeen books about Jones and the history of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.  Several of Jefferson’s books about Charles Price Jones are still in print and are available on amazon.com.

Jefferson has deposited copies of her books, as well as some of her research materials, at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). These materials shed important light on Jones and the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., as well as more broadly on African American hymnody and the African American Holiness movement.

Pentecostal historians will find the collection indispensable in their efforts to better understand Charles Harrison Mason and the origins of the Church of God in Christ, which cannot be understood apart from the history of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.

Interestingly, the denominations led by Jones and Mason identify differing origin stories. The Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. originated in 1897. In 1896, after an extended period of prayer, Jones felt impressed by God to call for a Holiness convention. The convention was held the following year, in June 1897, at Mt. Helm Missionary Baptist Church.

The Church of God in Christ has identified two dates as its origin: 1897 and 1907. Two significant events relating to Mason occurred in 1897: he established a congregation in Lexington, Mississippi, and he received a revelation that the church should be named “Church of God in Christ.” The 1907 date refers to the Church of God in Christ’s organization as a Pentecostal denomination under Mason’s leadership.

Following the 1907 separation, the two groups grew and formed new churches across the United States. The Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. established its headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Church of God in Christ established its headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.

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One of Dr. Jefferson’s books about C. P. Jones

Dr. Anita B. Jefferson deposited the collection at the FPHC with encouragement from Mother Mary P. Patterson, widow of J. O. Patterson, Sr., who served as Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop (1968-1989). Patterson, through her company, the Pentecostal Heritage Connection, has spent over 12 years raising awareness of the Charles Harrison Mason’s formative ministry years in Mississippi. She organized tour groups of Lexington, she built relationships with community leaders, church leaders, and academics, and she spearheaded the placement of two official State Historical Markers in Lexington. Patterson deposited her husband’s papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in 2012.

The Charles Price Jones/Anita Bingham Jefferson Collection takes its place alongside other significant African-American Pentecostal collections deposited at the FPHC in recent years, including:

  • Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection (Patterson served as Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, 1968-1989)
  • Mother Lizzie Robinson/Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection (Robinson was the founder of the Church of God in Christ Women’s Department)
  • James L. Tyson Collection (Tyson is the historian of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, which is the largest African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination)
  • Alexander C. Stewart Collection (Stewart is the historian of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc., the second largest African American Oneness Pentecostal denomination)
  • Robert James McGoings, Jr. Collection (McGoings was a prominent African-American Oneness Pentecostal from Baltimore, Maryland)

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Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

 

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Andrae Crouch: The COGIC Minister Who Bridged the Racial Gap in Gospel Music

Andree Crouch

David Mainse (right) welcomes guest Andrae Crouch (left) to the Assemblies of God television program, Turning Point, in 1977.

This Week in AG History — May 22, 1977

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 24 May 2018

Andrae Edward Crouch (1942-2015) was a gospel singer, composer, music producer, and pastor of New Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in Los Angeles. As an 11-year-old preacher’s son, Crouch’s father asked him, “Andrae, if the Lord gives you the gift of music, will you use it?” Young Andrae replied, “Yeah, Daddy. I’ll play for the Lord.”

That week Crouch’s mother bought him a cardboard keyboard to learn some fingering techniques. According to a 1977 interview published in the Pentecostal Evangel, two weeks later his father called him to the church piano and said, “If you’re going to play, then play!” The song the church was singing was What A Friend We Have in Jesus and Andrae begin to hit different notes until he found one that sounded right. He remembered, “In our churches they sing in any key, you know, and just take off without a songbook. And there was, oh, it was just really a touch of God, and I knew that He had a plan for my life.”

Andrae and his twin sister, Sandra, spent their childhood singing in their father’s church and in community choirs, including one led by gospel musician, James Cleveland. When they were 14 years old, Andrae and Sandra were invited to Cleveland’s home for a barbeque. Andrae recalled looking up to Cleveland and thinking, I wish I could write a song. Watching the adults pour the large vat of barbeque sauce over the ribs, it reminded Andrae of the blood of Jesus and he begin to sing, “The blood that Jesus shed for me way back on Calvary, the blood that gives me strength from day to day, it will never lose its power.” Sandra wrote the words down but Andrae wasn’t happy with it and threw it in the trash. Sandra said, “Andrae, that was a good song!” She dug it out of the trash can, and kept it.

In 1965, Crouch was attending the annual COGIC conference when the speaker asked, “Is there anyone here that wants to be used of God?” Crouch responded to the altar call and after the service several young men came up to him and said, “Hey, we’ve heard you play at your dad’s church. Would you come over and play for us at Teen Challenge?” Upon learning that Teen Challenge was a rehabilitation center for drug addicts, Crouch tried to put them off by saying, “Maybe I’ll come over sometime.” They responded with, “Come by tonight.” Andrae went with them but had no desire to work with them. Yet on the way home he kept hearing an addict’s choir singing in his head. After a long prayer session, Crouch felt God telling him to sell the car he loved, quit his job, and go to Teen Challenge to start a traveling choir of former drug addicts.

Alongside his work with the choir at Teen Challenge and at his father’s church, Crouch starting singing locally with a group of friends who called themselves “The Disciples.” In 1969, Ralph Carmichael, a Pentecostal record producer, heard them and invited them to a session to record an album, Take the Message Everywhere. Thirteen years after Sandra pulled Andrae’s first attempt at songwriting out of the trash can, listeners heard on the airwaves the song, The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.

Crouch soon left Teen Challenge and began traveling full time in music ministry, including an early engagement with a traveling evangelist who took him on a world tour just a few short years after his first album, giving a wide audience to the musician and songwriter whose popularity was burgeoning. By 1973, Crouch had recorded a live album at Carnegie Hall and in 1975 appeared with Billy Graham at a televised crusade in New Mexico.

The impact of Andrae Crouch’s influence on contemporary Christian music in the 1970s and forward is impossible to quantify. For the first time, mainstream Christian radio stations were playing music performed by a black man for white audiences on a large scale. Crouch’s concerts drew both black and white audiences at a time when most concerts were segregated whether by intention or not.

Today Crouch’s songs, such as Bless the Lord, O My Soul; My Tribute (To God Be the Glory); and Through It All can be found in most contemporary hymnals. Few musicians can say they had both the respect of evangelist Billy Graham and the respect of pop-icon Michael Jackson, whose public memorial service included Crouch’s choir singing his song, Soon and Very Soon.

When he died in 2015, he had won eight Grammy awards and had an Oscar nomination for his music on the movie, The Color Purple. Despite the fame and fortune, Andrae Crouch remained in the COGIC ministry and, along with his sister, Sandra, served as co-pastor of the church his father founded in Los Angeles. Broadly speaking, Andrae Crouch was one of the most widely influential Pentecostal ministers of the 20th century.

Read more about David Mainse’s interview with Andrae Crouch for Turning Point TV program on page 20 of the May 22, 1977, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
• “Just Waiting,” by Carolyn G. Tennant
• “Tooling Up for the Unfinished Task,” by Thomas F. Zimmerman
• “The Ex-Smuggler,” by Rachel Petersen, missionary to the Dominican Republic
And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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The Evolution of Holiness in the Church of God in Christ: Summit to be Held at Mason Temple, September 8, 2016

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Bishop Charles H. Mason was incarcerated in 1918 in the jail cell in the Holmes County Courthouse, Lexington, Mississippi. He was falsely accused of treason by those opposed to his Holiness message. The jail cell is now a pilgrimage site, open to the public and decorated with hand-painted murals depicting his incarceration.

The Church of God in Christ originated in 1897 in Lexington, Mississippi, among African-American Baptists who had been influenced by the Holiness movement. Over the years, these origins in Lexington and in the Holiness movement have become obscured. Today, the Church of God in Christ is at a crossroads. Will the church founded by Bishop Charles Harrison Mason retain and build upon its heritage of holiness, or will it evolve and become something different?

These questions about the history and future of the Church of God in Christ will be considered at the Holiness Evolution Summit, a first-of-its-kind event to be held at Mason Temple in Memphis on September 8, 2016 (the 152nd anniversary of Mason’s birth).

Mother Mary P. Patterson, organizer of the Holiness Evolution Summit, has spent the past 10 years raising awareness of Lexington’s role in Church of God in Christ history. Through her company, the Pentecostal Heritage Connection, she has organized tour groups of Lexington, and she has built relationships with community leaders, church leaders, and academics. Her efforts culminated on October 16, 2015, with the unveiling of an official State Historical Marker on the grounds of the Holmes County Courthouse in Lexington, honoring the founding of the Church of God in Christ.

The fact that Mason had been imprisoned 97 years earlier in a jail cell in the Holmes County Courthouse basement underscores the significant societal shifts that have occurred. Mason had been persecuted on account of his race and religion, but he is now honored. Indeed, African-Americans have made much progress in American society over the past 100 years. But much work remains to be done.

Now Patterson is bringing this conversation about Church of God in Christ history to Memphis. According to Patterson, the Holiness Evolution Summit aims to uncover forgotten aspects of Church of God in Christ origins, and to also provoke discussion about the implications of this heritage. For instance: What does holiness look like in the 21st century? Would Bishop Mason have anything to say about current challenges in society and church? And what does Lexington teach about religious liberty?

Participants include black and white scholars and church leaders from Church of God in Christ and Assemblies of God backgrounds. The four speakers at the 2015 dedication of the State Historical Marker will also be featured at the Holiness Evolution Summit:

The Holiness Evolution Summit will include formal presentations and ample time for audience participation with questions and answers. Bishop Craig S. Baymon (pastor of Holy Temple Cathedral of Deliverance COGIC, Memphis, Tennessee) will deliver the invocation. Mother Julia Scott Ward (the wife of Bishop Lee Ward, retired pastor of Greater Harvest COGIC, Memphis, Tennessee) will offer the scripture reading. Moderating the event will be Darrin Rodgers, director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, Springfield, Missouri.

The public is invited to attend the Holiness Evolution Summit, which will occur on September 8, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in the U.E. Miller Conference Room of Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, 930 Mason Street, Memphis, Tennessee. Seating is limited. Registration is $40 and includes lunch. Registration may be purchased online or at the door. For additional information, contact the Pentecostal Heritage Connection at (901) 398-7716.

 

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AG Educator Helps Dedicate Mississippi Historical Marker Where COGIC Bishop Mason Was Jailed in 1918

Bishop Mason was incarcerated in 1918 in the jail cell in the Holmes County Courthouse. He was falsely accused of treason by those opposed to his Holiness message. The jail cell is now a pilgrimage site, open to the public and decorated with hand-painted murals depicting his incarceration.

Bishop Mason was incarcerated in 1918 in the jail cell in the Holmes County Courthouse. He was falsely accused of treason by those opposed to his Holiness message. The jail cell is now a pilgrimage site, open to the public and decorated with hand-painted murals depicting his incarceration.

Dr. Byron Klaus, retired president of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (1999-2015), was a keynote speaker at the dedication of a State Historical Marker honoring the birthplace of the Church of God in Christ. The event, held in Lexington, Mississippi, on October 16, 2015, evidenced the deepening relationship between the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ.

While the Church of God in Christ is the largest predominantly black Pentecostal denomination in the United States, its roots are often overlooked. Few people noticed when Charles H. Mason founded a small Holiness church in 1897 in Lexington. Rejected by his fellow African-American Baptists on account of his Holiness teachings, he represented a marginalized religious group within a marginalized race. But his teachings caught fire among both African-Americans and whites, and his followers soon stretched far beyond the small Mississippi town. When Mason identified with the Pentecostal revival in 1907, he parted ways with ministry colleague Charles P. Jones and reorganized his followers as the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). Immediately, the COGIC became one of the largest and most-respected fellowships in the fledgling Pentecostal movement.

Lexington’s role in COGIC history has been largely overshadowed by Memphis, home of COGIC international headquarters. Seeing this inequity, Mother Mary P. Patterson (widow of former Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr.) launched a grassroots campaign to encourage COGIC members to rediscover their Lexington roots. Since 2006, Patterson has organized tours of the historic sites through her company, The Pentecostal Heritage Connection, and she built relationships with Lexington officials, church leaders, and historians.

Patterson’s efforts culminated on October 16, 2015, when a State Historical Marker honoring the COGIC’s birthplace was dedicated at the south entrance of the Holmes County Courthouse in Lexington. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History approved the marker, and the Church of God in Christ Board of Bishops, chaired by Bishop John H. Sheard, sponsored and paid for the recognition. David Daniels, chairman of the COGIC Commission on Education, supported the project with historical documentation.

The dedication ceremony, organized by Patterson, featured three keynote speakers: Byron Klaus; Superintendent William Deans, pastor of St. Paul Church of God in Christ, Lexington (the first COGIC congregation); and Dr. Percy Washington, pastor of Sweet Canaan Church of God in Christ, Lexington (the second COGIC congregation). Each speaker provided historical insight into Lexington’s significance in COGIC history.

Two buses of ministers and members from the COGIC’s Tennessee 5th Jurisdiction, located in Memphis, traveled to Lexington, where they supported their bishop, Jerry W. Taylor, who unveiled the marker on behalf of the Board of Bishops. Over 80 young people from Taylor’s jurisdiction attended. Local government officials were in full force, each offering their heartfelt prayers and committing the city to provide hospitality for pilgrims. Speakers frequently drew parallels between Scripture and COGIC history. “If Memphis is the Church of God in Christ’s Jerusalem,” stated Patterson, “then Lexington is its Nazareth.”

Byron Klaus noted that the marker’s location is “is a poignant reminder that following Jesus is not an easy path.” The Holmes County Courthouse, he explained, intersected with COGIC history several times. In 1897 Mason began preaching on the courthouse steps, and then moved services to private homes and an abandoned gin house. While in Lexington, he founded St. Paul Church of God in Christ, the world’s first COGIC congregation. Later, in 1918, Mason was incarcerated in the jail cell in the basement of the courthouse on trumped-up charges that he opposed American involvement in World War I. Other church leaders who opposed the Holiness message tried to sabotage Mason’s ministry by falsely accusing him of treason. The jail cell that once held Mason is now a pilgrimage site, open to the public and decorated with hand-painted murals depicting his incarceration.

Lexington was also home to Saints Industrial and Literary School, established in 1918 by Sister Pinkie Duncan and Professor James Courts to train African-American children. Under Dr. Arenia Mallory, president of the school from 1926 to 1983, the school became known as Saint’s Academy and was a prominent K-12 school in the community. Dr. Mallory was a leading advocate for civil rights and the poor in Holmes County. The school closed in 2006.

Mason, a bridge builder, was ahead of his time. He worked with both blacks and whites, striving to overcome the color barriers of his day. Klaus recounted that Mason gave his blessing in 1914 to the formation of the Assemblies of God. “I am forever grateful for that blessing from a father in the faith,” Klaus told the crowd.

Patterson believes that God is bringing the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ into closer relationship. She demonstrated her commitment to this in 2011, when she deposited her husband’s personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national office, is the world’s largest Pentecostal archives. Patterson stated, “I am entrusting the Assemblies of God to help preserve and promote my husband’s materials. I want to send a signal that our two churches can and should cooperate in areas like education and historical archives.”

The heritage of the Church of God in Christ has much to teach the broader church. Its Lexington roots remind believers that great things often germinate from small beginnings, that the way of holiness is often marked by suffering, and that Pentecostalism emerged at the turn of the 20th century with an interracial impulse. These lessons come to life in Lexington, Mississippi.

Originally published 23 October 2015 on PE News

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org

State Historical Marker dedicated on the south lawn of the Holmes County Courthouse, October 16, 2015.

State Historical Marker dedicated on the south lawn of the Holmes County Courthouse, October 16, 2015.

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Pictured (L-R): Darrin Rodgers, director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center; Mother Mary P. Patterson; Byron Klaus, former president of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary

About 125 people attended the dedication.

About 125 people attended the dedication.

Lexington

St. Paul Church of God in Christ, the oldest COGIC congregation in the world, was founded in Lexington in 1897.

St. Paul Church of God in Christ, the oldest COGIC congregation in the world, was founded in Lexington in 1897.

Bishop Mason began preaching in 1897 on these steps on the south end of the Holmes County Courthouse.

Bishop Mason began preaching in 1897 on these steps on the south end of the Holmes County Courthouse.

Dr. Byron Klaus, standing in the original pulpit in St. Paul Church of God in Christ, Lexington, MS. Bishop Mason preached from this pulpit.

Dr. Byron Klaus, standing in the original pulpit in St. Paul Church of God in Christ, Lexington, MS. Bishop Mason preached from this pulpit.

Bishop Mason was incarcerated in 1918 in the jail cell in the Holmes County Courthouse. He was falsely accused of treason by those opposed to his Holiness message. The jail cell is now a pilgrimage site, open to the public and decorated with hand-painted murals depicting his incarceration.

Bishop Mason was incarcerated in 1918 in the jail cell in the Holmes County Courthouse. He was falsely accused of treason by those opposed to his Holiness message. The jail cell is now a pilgrimage site, open to the public and decorated with hand-painted murals depicting his incarceration.

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State Historical Marker to be Dedicated October 16, 2015, in Lexington, MS, Honoring COGIC Birthplace

Holmes_County_CourthouseThe Church of God in Christ Board of Bishops, chaired by Bishop John H. Sheard, has sponsored the placement of a state historical marker in Lexington, Mississippi, the city where Charles H. Mason founded the Church of God in Christ in 1897.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History approved the marker, which will be unveiled and dedicated on Friday, October 16, 2015, at 1 pm at the south end of the Holmes County Courthouse, 200 Court Square, Lexington, Mississippi. A dedication program includes several speakers of national importance, and state and local government officials will be present. The public is invited to the dedication.

The Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States, is now headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. However, the church’s roots in Lexington, 150 miles south of Memphis, have often been overlooked. The Pentecostal Heritage Connection, led by Mary P. Patterson, assembled the dedication program. “If Memphis is the Church of God in Christ’s Jerusalem,” states Patterson, “then Lexington is its Nazareth.” Patterson, the widow of former Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr., is particularly interested in helping young people to learn more about their heritage. She has organized tours of Church of God in Christ historic sites in Lexington since 2006.

Lexington has played a prominent role in Church of God in Christ history. Bishop Charles H. Mason (1864-1961) began his ministry in 1893 in Preston, Arkansas. Shunned by the African-American Baptist community in Jackson during the 1890s due to his teachings on holiness, Mason brought his revival to Lexington in 1897. He began preaching on the steps of the Holmes County Courthouse and later moved to private homes and an abandoned gin house. During his time in Lexington, Mason established St. Paul Church of God in Christ, which became known as the “mother church” of the Church of God in Christ denomination.

Mason faced opposition in Lexington, coming from those who disapproved of his holiness preaching and his pacifism and interracialism. He was incarcerated in the Holmes County Courthouse in 1918 for allegedly preaching against World War I, despite having sold bonds to help the war effort. The jail cell which housed Mason has been preserved and is open to the public. Hundreds of people each year visit the jail cell, which is decorated with colorful murals depicting Mason’s incarceration.

Lexington was also home to Saints Industrial and Literary School, established to train African American children by Sister Pinkie Duncan and Professor James Courts in 1918. Under Dr. Arenia Mallory, president of the school from 1926 to 1983, the school became known as Saint’s Academy and was a prominent K-12 school in the community. Dr. Mallory was a leading advocate for civil rights and the poor in Holmes County. The school closed in 2006.

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Important COGIC Collection: Nearly 500 Early Photographs Now Online at iFPHC.org

FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers with Rev. Elijah L. Hill, displaying the collection.

FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers with Rev. Elijah L. Hill, displaying the collection.

An important collection of almost 500 historic photographs relating to the Church of God in Christ is now accessible for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website. The photographs (circa 1899-1960s), from the Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection, portray men and women who pioneered the African-American Pentecostal denomination.

The photographs were collected by Mother Lizzie Robinson (1860-1945) and her daughter, Ida F. Baker. Robinson organized the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) Women’s Department in 1911 and was the most prominent female COGIC leader until her death. As head of women’s auxiliaries, she founded the Prayer and Bible Band and the Sewing Circle. She also helped to lay the foundation for the creation of the Missions Department (originally known as the Home and Foreign Missions Band).

Mother Lizzie Robinson

Mother Lizzie Robinson

Elijah L. Hill, the COGIC minister and historian who deposited Robinson’s personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), described the photographs as “a rare glimpse into the faces of those who suffered and yet overcame the world.” In his biography of Robinson, Women Come Alive, Hill detailed how Robinson encouraged COGIC women to become self-determining, before the broader society recognized women’s suffrage and civil rights for African-Americans.

FPHC director Darrin Rodgers praised Hill for building bridges. According to Rodgers, “Elder Hill rescued these photographs from destruction decades ago. He has joined hands with the Heritage Center, and together we are working to preserve and promote these treasures that bring to life the heritage of African-American Pentecostals.”

The Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection consists of, in addition to the photographs, approximately 100 publications and Hill’s research files on Robinson. The collection was dedicated in a special service on October 4, 2013, in the William J. Seymour Chapel at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri.

The online collection will be unveiled at the biennial General Council of the Assemblies of God, slated for August 2-8, 2015, in Orlando, Florida. Elijah L. Hill will join Darrin Rodgers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center booth at General Council, where they will interact with expected crowds in excess of 20,000 people.

Click here to view thumbnail images of the photographs. Click on the title next to each thumbnail image to see larger images.

Click here to watch the dedication service of the Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection.

Click here to watch a panel discussion featuring Elijah Hill, COGIC historian Glenda Goodson, Darrin Rodgers, and Assemblies of God missions historian Barbara Cavaness Parks. Panelists dialogued about Robinson and the legacy of women in the COGIC and the Assemblies of God.

Rev. Elijah L. Hill is assembling biographies of Church of God in Christ leaders pictured in the photographs. To submit biographies, go to Hill’s website: www.cogicmuseum.org.

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, located in the Assemblies of God National Office in Springfield, Missouri, is the largest Pentecostal archive and research center in the world. The FPHC collects historically significant materials from across the denominational, ethnic, linguistic, and national divides within the broader Pentecostal and charismatic movements. For additional information, explore the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website.

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Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org

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Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection Deposited at FPHC

ImageThe Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) has an exciting announcement regarding a new Church of God in Christ (COGIC) collection! Rev. Elijah L. Hill, a COGIC minister, author, historian, and cultural anthropologist, deposited his collection of COGIC historical materials at the FPHC on March 6, 2013. The collection includes the papers of COGIC Women’s Department founder Mother Lizzie Robinson and her daughter Ida F. Baker, as well as other publications collected by Hill. The Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection includes 522 original photographs (circa 1899-1960s), approximately 100 publications, and Hill’s research files on Robinson. The collection is tentatively slated to be dedicated in Springfield, Missouri, in the fall of 2013. The FPHC, the largest Pentecostal archive and research center in the world, collects historically significant materials from across the denominational, ethnic, linguistic, and national divides within the broader Pentecostal and charismatic movements. For more information about the FPHC, go to: http://www.iFPHC.org

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