A symposium honoring the late Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr., is scheduled to be held in Springfield, Missouri, September 17-18, 2012. James O. Patterson, Sr. (1912-1989) served as Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States, from 1968 to 1989.
The Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Symposium will celebrate the centenary of Patterson’s birth and also will dedicate the Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection. Patterson’s widow, Mother Mary P. Patterson, deposited Bishop Patterson’s personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in Springfield, Missouri, in the national offices of the Assemblies of God, is the largest Pentecostal archive and research center in the world.
Four Church of God in Christ dignitaries will be participating in the Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Symposium:
•Mother Mary P. Patterson
•Bishop Lemuel Thuston (Kansas East Jurisdiction, COGIC)
•Dr. David Daniels (the foremost COGIC historian)
•Sara Jordan Powell (Gospel music artist and founder of the COGIC Fine Arts Department)
Monday, Sept 17, 2012
Honoring the Centenary of the Birth of Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr.
Speaker: Bishop Lemuel Thuston
Location: Central Bible College chapel, 3000 N. Grant Ave., Springfield, MO 65803
Reception for Mother Mary P. Patterson, David Daniels, and Sara Jordan Powell
Location: Assemblies of God Theological Seminary Great Hall, 1435 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65802
Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012
Dedication of the Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection
Speaker: Dr. David Daniels
Location: Assemblies of God National Office chapel, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802
Mother Mary P. Patterson organized an earlier event, held on July 19 at the Tower Center in Memphis, commemorating the centenary of Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr.’s birth. The event made the front page of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
The Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection is an important part of the expanding collection of African-American Pentecostal treasures at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. These historical materials provide the basis for ongoing research and reflection about our shared Pentecostal heritage and are attracting increasing numbers of students and researchers to Springfield.
The Patterson collection takes its place alongside other significant collections, including the original Azusa Street newspapers and Smith Wigglesworth’s original sermon notes. In the last year, ten major research collections were deposited at the FPHC, including collections assembled by these scholars, church leaders, and institutions: Pentecostal historians Grant Wacker, William W. Menzies, and Steve Durasoff; Hispanic-American Pentecostal pioneer H. C. Ball; German-American Pentecostal pioneer George H. Rueb; Bethany University; and African-American Oneness collector Robert James McGoings, Jr.
The dedication of the Patterson Collection is not just about archiving history. Mother Mary P. Patterson believes it has much broader implications. The 2011 edition of AG Heritage magazine (p. 73) reported the following:
Mother Patterson believes that establishing the Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection at the FPHC is part of a larger divine plan. “My husband worked to build bridges between the Church of God in Christ and other churches. I believe this could be a catalyst for significant bridge-building between our Pentecostal churches. God is bringing things together in a miraculous way.”
Patterson is excited about the broader implications of this archival relationship. She states, “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.”
Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. often quoted Mark 12:37: “And the common people heard Him gladly.” According to Mother Patterson, the symposium in Springfield will provide “an opportunity for the ‘common people’ — not just leaders — from the churches to rub shoulders and to get to know each other.”
The Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Symposium is free and is open to the public. An oral history video interview is also scheduled to be recorded with symposium participants. Gospel music artist Sara Jordan Powell will provide sacred music for the two chapel services. For additional information about the symposium, contact the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or toll free by telephone (877-840-5200).