“The time for assembly is God’s time,” said Superintendent John Smith during the welcome service for The Church of God in Christ’s (COGIC) 112th annual Holy Convocation. “It is not time to go to a beauty salon. It is not time to go play golf. It is not time to watch a basketball game. This is God’s time.”
In its tenth consecutive year in St. Louis, COGIC’s annual spiritual gathering is bringing thousands of people to downtown St. Louis for praise and worship at America’s Center. More than 30,000 faithful are assembling for biblical instruction, training, and spiritual inspiration.
“The Church of God in Christ is one of the oldest Pentecostal denominations in the country and our annual Holy Convocation is the largest, singular Christian conference that inspires and encourages hundreds of thousands of believers across the globe,” said Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., presiding bishop of COGIC worldwide.
The worship service broadcasts to 12,000 local congregations across the nation and 105 countries globally. COGIC is comprised of more than six million members around the world.
During Holy Convocation, convention members spend a substantial amount of time in the community as servant leaders, service providers and patrons.
St. Louis has benefited from hosting COGIC’s Holy Convocation as the convention has generated a sizable economic footprint in the area. In a statement from COGIC’s spokesperson, since 2010 the impact to the St. Louis regional economy is expected to exceed $143 million with this year’s convention.
“When you consider the impact on the restaurants, local mom-and-pop shops, the hotel industry, and all the other businesses and commerce it takes to accommodate tens of thousands of people coming to a city, it’s amazing what happens,” said Bishop Frank A. White, COGIC financial secretary.
As the week-long devotional gathering proceeds, COGIC is hosting several urban project initiatives called COGIC Cares.
For 10 years convention attendees have participated in a community cleanup to beautify St. Louis’ 4th Ward. COGIC Cares expands the church’s community involvement program by providing much-needed support to underserved families during convocation. In the decade of the convention’s St. Louis presence, over 15,000 people have been assisted during the Holy Convocation Christmas in November at the Williams Temple COGIC.
Legal assistance is also provided during Holy Convocation. Known as “Law Day,” COGIC Lawyers are donating their time to assist anyone in need of support. In a statement from COGIC’s spokesperson, topics to discuss range from “wills, trusts, church law, business topics, mortgage alternatives, foreclosure, and more.”
Each community initiative will take place during the seven-day conference. However, the focus of Holy Convocation remains on prayer, praise, and worship.
“We want everyone who can attend our speaker events to join us,” said Bishop White. “No matter what denomination or religious background, the community is welcomed to worship with us at convocation.”
An all-night prayer commenced Holy Convocation followed by a morning praise service where Superintendent John Smith preached a powerful message of the purpose of convocation. Speakers such as Bishop S. E. Iglehart, Evangelist Joyce Rodgers, and Pastor John Hannah will lead services up to Sunday’s official day of convocation.
“COGIC is pleased to return our annual, spiritual gathering, known as the ‘Holy Convocation’ to the City of St. Louis,” Presiding Bishop Blake said. “Our partnership and commitment to the city has grown and blossomed over the last decade.”
Services are free and open to the public.
For more information on The Church of God in Christ’s 112th Holy Convocation, visit www.cogic.org/hc2019.