COGIC: big church, big business

April 10, 2007

The Spring issue of Memphis Business Quarterly contains an article on the Church of God in Christ, a denomination headquartered in Memphis with a worldwide membership estimated at 6.5 million. Visitors often go to see the historic Mason Temple, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his last, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, but few know of the extent of the denomination.

According to the article, “Aside from its television and radio programs broadcast from their downtown Memphis headquarters, COGIC has a scattering of real estate holdings in Memphis worth an estimated eight figures. It operates a publishing house, runs a local bookstore that sells everything from COGIC sweatshirts to pencils to hats, and produces worldwide TV broadcasts, all within Memphis city limits. It opened a college here in 2001, and its logo graces a MasterCard debit card. COGIC’s annual meeting, also held in Memphis, brings close to 60,000 visitors, and requires them to rent the FedExForum and the Cook Convention Center – all while filling their own overflowing 5,000-seat Temple of Deliverance – for the convocation ceremony.”

The longtime leader of COGIC, Bishop G.E. Patterson, died on March 20, 2007.

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Mason Temple