Please join Bishop Charles E. Blake, Lady Mae and the entire West Angeles family in wishing Bishop C.H. Mason a Happy Birthday Day. An outstanding preacher and the founder of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the largest African-American Pentecostal denomination of the twentieth century, Bishop C. H. Mason ordained both black and white clergy in the early 1900s, when few did so.
Mason preached his first official sermon, on holiness, in 1894 in Preston. While most Baptist groups, along with many other Christian denominations, emphasize the forgiveness of sins as a central teaching, holiness preaching places a much higher regard on living a life fully committed to God’s commands. This difference in doctrine caused Mason’s congregations to reject his ministry and remove him from the Baptist pulpit in 1897.
The removal did not deter Mason for he understand what was in store and had a plan for God’s people. He kept preaching holiness in various places, including an abandoned cotton gin in Lexington, Mississippi which later became the birthplace of the Church of God in Christ. The name, which Mason said had been given to him by God as Mason walked down a street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was drawn from 1 Thessalonians 2:14. Mason’s many preaching brought him into contact with other preachers who relied heavily on sanctification, such as Charles Price Jones, John E. Jeter, and W. S. Pleasant. These men collaborated in organizing the new denomination; Jones as the general overseer, Mason over Tennessee, and Jeter over Arkansas.
Hearing of the Azusa Street Revival in California, Mason felt called to go to Los Angeles; he considered himself to have received Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit in March 1907. Returning to Tennessee, he began preaching the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This theology of free and exuberant worship was not well-received and his associations with Price, Jeter, and Pleasant were soon over. Mason called for like-minded men to join with him in organizing the first Pentecostal General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ. Twelve men responded, and, when the meeting was over, Mason had been named the General Overseer and Chief Apostle of the denomination with the authority to formulate doctrine, set up the organization, and assign responsibility. He went on to win a court battle to reclaim the name of “Church of God in Christ.”
Let us pay homage to a great visionary leader, the founding father of COGIC and 1st in succession as the Chief Apostle, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.
Sunrise: September 8, 1862 Sunset: November 17, 1961