Bishop Charles Harrison Mason
Founder, Church of God In Christ
The Late Reverend Dr. J.H. Norris, Sr. (1943 - 2006), Former Pastor
Reverend Dr. Lincoln W. Norris
Presiding Pastor, Greater Faith Temple
General Presiding Prelate, Church of God In Christ
The Symbol of the Church Of God In Christ is an outgrowth of the Presiding Bishop’s Coat of Arms which has become quite familiar to the Church. The design of the Official Seal of the Church was created in 1973 and adopted in the General Assembly in 1981 (April Session).
The obvious GARNERED WHEAT in the center of the seal represents all of the people of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. The ROPE of wheat which holds the shaft together represents the Founding Father of the Church, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, who, at the call of the Lord, banded us together as a Brotherhood of Churches in the First Pentecostal General Assembly of the Church, in 1907.
The date in the seal has a two-fold purpose; Firstly, to tell us that Bishop Mason received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in March 1907; and, Secondly, to tell us that it was because of this outpouring that Bishop Mason was compelled to call us together in November of 1907, to organize the Church Of God In Christ.
The RAIN in the background represents the Latter Rain or the End-time Revivals which brought about the emergence of our Church along with other Pentecostal Holiness Bodies in the same era. The rain also serves as a challenge to the Church to keep Christ in the center of our worship and service, so that He may continue to use the Church Of God In Christ as one of the vehicles of Pentecostal Revival before the return of the Lord.
The legacy of Greater Faith (then Hill of Faith Temple) started in 1885 under the leadership of our founder of our church, the late Bishop Louis D. Oswald, DD (1860-1947) in New Orleans, LA. The church stood as a fore-front for many ministers starting their fortune as pastors here. The legacy grew when Pastor Oswald pastored Hill of Faith from 1885 until his death in 1947.
The church then was pastored by Bishop Charles D. Patterson. Patterson moved the church to Savannah, GA, which he stayed as Pastor from 1947 until his passing in 1960, from which he was born in 1893 in Lincoln, NE. The church then took its move to Detroit when young pastor, the late Reverend Dr. John Heurt (JH)Norris, Sr. took leadership and the church then moved after its fire to a new building in Detroit, MI. Pastor Norris, Sr. pastored GFT with the new expertise of God from 1960 until his passing on January 15, 2006. Later on in the new millennium, GFT duly-installed our now pastor, the Reverend Dr. Lincoln W. Norris, shortly after his death. Now we received our prolong-pastor, and we are gratefully"moving up by faith"!
THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST is a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in which the word of God is preached, ordinances are administered and the doctrine of sanctification or holiness is emphasized, as being essential to the salvation of mankind.
Our Church is commonly known as being Holiness or Pentecostal in nature because of the importance ascribed to the events which occurred on the Day of Pentecost, the 50th day after the Passover, or Easter as being necessary for all believers in Christ Jesus to experience.
On the Day of Pentecost, the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, Supernatural Manifestations descended in marvelous copiousness and power. The gift of the spirit in the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to clothe those who would wait in Jerusalem with power from on high, was accompanied by three supernatural extraordinary manifestations.
The sudden appearance of the Holy Ghost appealed first to the ear. The disciples heard a “sound” from heaven which rushed with a mighty force into the house and filled it–even as a storm rushes–but there was no wind. It was the sound that filled the house and not a wind, an invisible cause producing audible effects.
Next, the eye was arrested by the appearance of tongues of fire which rested on each of the gathered COMPANY. Finally, there was the impartation of a new strange power to speak in languages they had never learned “as the Spirit gave them Utterance.”
Our Church is also considered to be a member of the great Protestant body though it did not directly evolve from the European or English Reformation but had its origin within the General Association to the Baptist Church.
Elder Charles Harrison Mason, who later became the founder and organizer of the Church of God in Christ, was born September 8,1866, on the Prior Farm near Memphis, Tennessee. His father and mother, Jerry and Eliza Mason, were members of a Missionary Baptist Church, having been converted during the dark crises of American Slavery. He died on November 18, 1961.