Beloved Prelate Robert J. Ward Succumbs

Bishop Ward

Bishop Robert James Ward, December 6, 1929-October 8, 2018.

Prelate, Eastern Missouri First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction

The Church of God In Christ has lost a beloved leader and a mighty man of God. Bishop Robert James Ward, the prelate of the Eastern Missouri First Jurisdiction and longtime pastor of the historic Kennerly Temple, was called home to be with the Lord on September 30, 2018. A legend in the St. Louis community, Bishop Ward was known as a father figure to many COGIC pastors and was an influential leader within the COGIC denomination at large. “He was a dear friend,” said Presiding Bishop and COGIC Chief Apostle Charles Edward Blake Sr, who delivered the eulogy at the 2-day homegoing service. “He will forever hold a special place in the hearts of millions of members of the Church of God in Christ throughout the United States and around the world.”

Bishop Ward’s wisdom and influence were much sought-after; promoting him through the ranks of the denomination to one of the most respected members of the faith community. He played a pivotal role in the relocation of the annual COGIC Holy Convocation to St. Louis, after assembling at the historic COGIC headquarters in Memphis for more than a century.


His church home, Kennerly Temple, is known as one of the mother churches of The Church of God In Christ. Founded in the late 1890’s, the historic church was frequented by COGIC Founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. Appointed as its senior pastor by Bishop M. H. Norman, Bishop Ward had served in the role since September of 1965. He hosted a popular radio program from the church which featured his fiery, anointed sermons.

Bishop Ward is survived by his beloved wife, Mother Dorothy Ward; 1 daughter, Mrs. Marilyn Ford, her husband, Gary Ford, and 2 grandchildren, Kishka Kamari McClain and Gary L. Ford Jr. Bishop Robert James Ward was 88 years old.

Read more about Bishop Robert James Ward, HERE, and HERE, in the St. Louis American.

Featured photo: Nathan Dumlao for Unsplash.