The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) has suffered heavy losses as at least 12, and up to 30, of the Pentecostal denomination’s bishops and leaders have died from COVID-19.
The Washington Post reports that bishops who have allegedly died of the coronavirus include First Assistant Presiding Bishop Phillip A. Brooks, senior pastor of New St. Paul Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Detroit and Bishop Timothy Scott, who served the denomination in Mississippi for 50 years and was leader of the Northern Mississippi Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.
Also among those who died are Bishop Robert E. Smith Sr., Bishop Robert L. Harris, Bishop Timothy T. Scott and Bishop Phillip A. Brook as well as Superintendents John D. Beverly, Paul E. Hester Sr., Kevelin B. Jones, Myron E. Lett and Leon R. McPherson Sr., reports the Los Angeles Sentinel.
On March 26, WREG reported that Bishop Scott may have unwittingly exposed 300 people to the coronavirus by attending a funeral. A week after the March 14 funeral, Scott and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19.
The Church of God in Christ, headquartered in Mason Temple in Memphis, is considered the largest black Christian denomination in the United States, with members amounting to an estimated 6.5 million.
Some of COGIC’s leadership meetings, which are typically held in February and March, are believed to be connected to some of the COVID-19 cases. After the Historic Louisiana First Jurisdiction in Shreveport, Louisiana, in March, several leaders who attended tested positive for the coronavirus. The denomination encouraged everyone who attended to be tested by their health care provider.
Another March conference at Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ in Kansas City, Kansas, reportedly led to dozens of infections and at least five deaths.
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SOURCE: Charisma News, Jenny Rose Spaudo