(Photo: The Church of God in Christ)

The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) announced Saturday that Bishop J. Drew Sheard has been elected the new presiding bishop of the denomination.

“I am humbled and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve this extraordinary organization, the Church of God in Christ, as its new leader and Presiding Bishop,” Sheard said in an official statement. “To be elected to serve as the Presiding Bishop for the Church in which I was born, raised, and have learned and served all my life, is a dream and desire that can only be fulfilled by God’s loving grace and kindness.

Sheard is the senior pastor of Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC located in Sheard’s hometown of Detroit. His wife, Karen Clark Sheard, is a member of the legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters. Her mother, the late Mattie Moss Clark was the longest-serving International Minister of Music for the denomination. Sheard is also the father of gospel singer Kierra Sheard Kelly and music producer J. Drew Sheard, Jr.

After some technical issues early on in the voting process, the General Assembly, the legislative body of the denomination, elected Sheard and he will serve as the leader of the worldwide organization.

COGIC was established in 1907 by its first bishop, Charles H. Mason. With 6.5 million members, it is the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S. The church was formally led by Bishop Charles E Blake Sr. In 2020, Blake announced that he would no longer be running the church.

“I have made the decision to not seek re-election as a member of the General Board or as Presiding Bishop. I have requested that the General Board grant me emeritus status at the time of the next election,” Blake stated in another press release.

On Saturday, Sheard shared a thank you post to his Instagram.

“Thank you all for the outpouring support, prayers and faith in what I believe God has called me to do! We couldn’t have done this without the teamwork!”

Eleven new bishops have been called to serve as the Board of Directors for the church as well: Bishop Jerry W. Macklin, Bishop Sedgwick Daniels, Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten, Sr., Bishop Brandon B. Porter, Bishop Darrel L. Hines, Sr., Bishop Prince E. Bryant, Bishop David A. Hall, Sr., Bishop Loran E. Mann, Bishop Malcolm Coby, and Bishop Charles H. McClelland.

The Installation for the Presiding Bishop, General Board members, and General Officers will be held at a later date.

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