Citing COVID-19, COGIC cancels Holy Convocation scheduled for St. Louis

Greater Commission congregation meets in person for first time in weeks

By Updated: June 01, 2020 10:23 AM CT | Published: May 30, 2020 3:05 PM CT

The Church of God In Christ will not hold its 113th Holy Convocation this fall due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual convocation was scheduled for Nov. 2-11 in St.  Louis, its final year there before returning to Memphis in 2021.

“There are still too many questions as to how this type of densely populated church gathering can be accomplished and assuring the safety of all convention attendees, first and foremost,” Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake said in a video statement Saturday.


Congregations gather again, and it’s a little different


“We now know, more than ever, that every time we are blessed together in person, it is a blessing,” he said. “We must use our collective wisdom for the tremendous effort that would be required to hold our convocation in as safe a manner as possible during these critical times.

“For this reason, the General Board, the general officers and I have decided to cancel the 2020 Holy Convocation,” Blake said, noting it was only the second time in the denomination’s history that its mass convocation had been canceled.

Blake also said most churches will not meet in person until July.

Greater Community Temple COGIC had its first limited in-person service on Sunday, according to Bishop Brandon Porter, its founder.

“We don’t believe things will be back to normal,” he said about the fall convocation. “You can’t calculate how many people would come, how many wouldn’t come.

“And then, St. Louis, at one point was talking about turning that arena (The America’s Center) into a hospital or morgue or something,” Porter said.

“Based on that, the presiding bishop, the general board that I serve on and the other officials of the church, we came together to discuss the matter in totality. That’s what our resolve was. It is better to go ahead and put it off until next year. And next year, of course, we’ll be in Memphis. It will be as big as ever because we missed a whole year.

“It’s going to be quite interesting what is going to happen in Memphis next year,” he said.

COGIC was founded in 1897 in Arkansas. It is the fourth-largest Protestant denomination in the nation. It has 10,000 churches in 112 countries.

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COGIC Bishop Brandon Porter cancellation Holy Convocation Church of God in Christ Greater Community Temple COGIC Bishop Charles E. Blake

Jane Roberts

Longtime journalist Jane Roberts is a Minnesotan by birth and a Memphian by choice. She's lived and reported in the city more than two decades. She covers healthcare and higher education for The Daily Memphian.


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