CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST
New York Eastern Third Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction
“FROM THE HISTORIC SCROLLS OF THE THIRD”
“And they went forth and preached everywhere,
the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.” - Mark 16:20
Miles away from the early Pentecostal prairie frontier, cleverly overlooking the all-night tarrying services of wayfaring strangers whose pioneering footprints plowed the sawdust trails of those who would be baptized into the awakening flame of the Holy Ghost along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, emerged the pilgrimage of settlers commissioned by the voice of our Founding Father Bishop Charles Harrison Mason to carry the flame of holiness into the unrevived northeastern territory of Eastern New York.
While the early distinct sound of the Church of God in Christ was resonating across the land, receiving souls into the body, as early as 1920, Overseer Metcalf, and later in 1926, Overseer Bryant, steered the ship that brought Eastern New York into the Pentecostal revolution. They would subsequently proclaim their teaching on “Sanctification, Holiness, Baptism in the Holy Ghost and the Speaking in Other Tongues” under the complete state oversight of Bishop Otha Miema Kelly, State Bishop of Eastern New York from 1931-1983. At his side, Mother Maydie Payton, State Mother.
The quintessential “Prince of Preachers”–The Bishop F. D. Washington–would succeed Bishop Kelly’s earthy departure and become the Jurisdictional Bishop of Eastern New York, with the famed Washington Temple, Brooklyn, New York as State Headquarters. As the providential hand of God would so orchestrate, it was at Washington Temple, in July 1988, after mourning the homegoing of the late Second Assistant Presiding Bishop F. D. Washington, that an August body convened and rejoiced over the establishment of the Third Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, to be led by Dr. Frank White, Superintendent of the South Center District. This epic era officially commenced November 1988, at Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee, as Dr. Frank White appeared before the General Board and was consecrated Jurisdictional Prelate by the late Presiding Bishop James Oglethorpe Patterson Sr., distinguishing Bishop White as the very last prelate upon whom he would enact apostolic impartation.
History was on the horizon, for a new jurisdiction was on the rise in Eastern New York! From its inception, the newly-formed jurisdiction would enjoy the fellowship of its diocesan brotherhood: The First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction under the prelacy of Bishop Ithiel Clemmons, the Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction under the prelacy of Bishop Clarence Louis Sexton and the Fourth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, under the prelacy of Bishop David Willard Grayson.
A born leader-a true churchman–and a devoted servant of the people, Bishop White immediately announced his vision for the jurisdiction as a confluent stream of ministries efficiently flowing from the resources of evangelism, education and financial empowerment. These unchartered waters would be navigated by the original members of his Executive Board: Dr. Walter C. Willie, Jr., appointed as Jurisdictional Executive Secretary; Superintendent Roy L. Pennon, Dr. James Hallman, Elder A. L. Holly, Dr. Leroy Burns, Dr. Robert Norris, Superintendent Haward Webb, Superintendent James Williams, Superintendent Joseph Usry, Superintendent Hosea Bankston, Dr. Milton Rochford, Dr. Carl Mims and Dr. Dodenhuff Green.
In fact, it was at Christ Temple Church of God in Christ, Founded by Dr. Green and Mother Evelyn Green, that Bishop White’s heart was moved by the fervent prayer life of Mother Green who was overheard leading the saints in the outcry of intercession. Mother Green was appointed the first Supervisor of Women and hosted her first Women’s Convention in April 1989 at the All Saints-King’s Memorial Temple Church of God in Christ, Hempstead, NY. Bishop White’s unprecedented, innovative style illuminated the map of New York–and beyond–by cultivating a jurisdictional protocol which would become a model which is yet implemented until this day! Bishop White’s cosmopolitan touch reached across the breadth of Long Island and well into the five boroughs.
Consequently, the Greater Second Baptist Church of Freeport, Union Baptist Church of Hempstead, The Christian Victory Center, The Best Western Hotel of Hempstead, and the Melville Hilton would all host the first full decade of Official Day Services of the jurisdiction, until the Lord answered the prayers of Bishop White, directing him to break ground, construct and consecrate the towering landmark, $4.5M Zion Cathedral Church of God in Christ.
All the while, the jurisdiction was expanding into the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls territories. Within this same frame of time, the Jurisdictional “Shekinah” Choir under the deanship of Elder Frank Anthone White, released its premiere “LIVE” recording, “For This, We Have Jesus” and its second “LIVE” recording, “Havin’ Church!” By 1998, the student enrollment of the O. M. Kelly Religious Training Institute achieved a record overflow with six fully-staffed satellites in Amityille, Bayshore, Brentwood, Brooklyn, California, East End and the All Saints Chaplaincy Academy in Hempstead, NY. Between 1988-1997, under the presidency of Dr. Juliet L. White and Dr. Milton E. Rochford, Minister of Education, the Institute graduated over 2,500 students, currently active in the disciplines of field evangelism, domestic missions, pastoral practicum and institutional chaplaincy.
Forever reaching out and making a difference, by 2007, the Jurisdictional Department of Women, Supervised by Mother Evelyn Green, surpasses its goal by awarding more than $20,000 in scholarships to high achieving college students. The very next year, the National Church favored our Bishop in being elected to serve the highest governing body in the Church of God in Christ, the General Board. This election was marked by the double-honor of the Church’s election of our own Dr. Frank Anthone White to the Office of Financial Secretary, succeeding Bishop White’s 17 years of service to the National Church in this capacity.
Following a distinguished second full term of service, ascending to the appointment of Assistant Secretary of the General Board, Bishop White placed down his war gear beside the incoming tides of the ocean, laid his mantle upon our Jurisdictional Chief of Staff, Bishop Frank Anthone White, achieved the ultimate blessing of eternal rest from his labor, and was crowned with the testimony of being absent in the body and present with the Lord. From January 29-31, 2017, Bishop White’s life was celebrated in full Pentecostal splendor, replete with royal honors, salutes and civic distinctions from dignitaries, heads of state and ecclesiastical leaders from across the entire nation.
Nevertheless, by God’s grace, the anointing of transition was upon us. On April 4, 2017–at 2:22 PM, at our World Headquarters, Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee, the recommendation of Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. and the General Board was ratified by the General Assembly, officially confirming the appointment of Bishop Frank Anthone White as Jurisdictional Prelate of the Third Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Eastern New York, Church of God in Christ, Inc.
Today, the Third Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction continues to thrive under the Prelacy of Bishop Frank Anthone White, whose leadership depicts the loving continuation of the legacy of Bishop Frank Otha White. The inaugural year of his Prelacy was served by the Supervisorship of the late sainted Dr. Edna P. Foster-Lewis, appointed in 2012 by General Supervisor, Mother Willie Mae Rivers. Through it all, this unbroken journey, we are yet strengthened by the things which remain: Sanctification, Holiness and Baptism in the Holy Ghost–an anointed Music Department, an Annual Men’s Conference, a Church Growth & Empowerment Centered Monthly Leadership Conference, a glorious, Spirit-filled Women’s Convention, a flourishing Bible Institute, and a uniquely conceived, high-powered Fall IMPACT Conference–all of this experienced in the spotlight of our late Bishop’s own classic exaltation, “A Great God Deserves Great Praise and Great Worship.”
“Carry On Children”
-Bishop Frank Otha White