Among those who died after reportedly contracting the virus were: First Assistant Presiding Bishop Phillip A. Brooks, a legendary preacher and leader from Detroit who was No. 2 in the denomination and whose death was reported by the Detroit News; Bishop Timothy Scott, a leader for nearly 50 years of the denomination in Mississippi whose death was reported by WREG-Memphis; and two Michigan bishops, Robert E. Smith Sr. and Robert L. Harris, whose deaths were reported by the Los Angeles Sentinel.
News reports across the country cite local health officials saying specific outbreaks that led to the deaths appeared to stem from conferences and funerals held within the denomination, which is also known by its acronym, COGIC. The denomination, which was founded in the late 1800s and has more than 6 million members, holds large meetings with representatives from its 200 jurisdictions — or regions — each year around February or March. The gatherings of clergy, lay leaders and church staff are called Worker’s Meetings.
Among the meetings connected with covid-19 breakouts were the Historical Louisiana First Jurisdiction meeting in Shreveport, La., and the Kansas East Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Ministers and Workers Conference in Kansas City, Kan., both held in mid-March.
“This is a moment of real crisis for them,” said Anthea Butler, a University of Pennsylvania religious studies scholar who wrote a book on the Church of God in Christ. “It will upend the axis of leadership in a way they may need to think about, including how do we put in younger people.”
READ MORE VIA SOURCE: WashingtonPost.com