Wharton hopes GOGIC convocation will stay in Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton hopes GOGIC convocation will stay in Memphis

UPDATE:

COGIC officials voted Tuesday night to leave Memphis for their 2010 convocation. 

Officials said the 2010 convocation would be held in St. Louis.

You can read more here.


By Kontji Anthony - bio | email  and by Ben Watson - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Leaders of the Church of God in Christ are meeting in Memphis tonight to talk about the church's future and debate the possibility of moving their national convocation out of Memphis.

While it isn't the first time the question of moving the convocation has come up, officials called this year's debate on the issue more passionate than it's been in a long time.

COGIC has held its convention in Memphis for decades.  Memphis is the world headquarters for COGIC, and it's 6 million members worldwide.

Outside Tuesday's meeting at the world headquarters, members expressed mixed feelings about moving the convocation.  Some wanted to move because they claim that many Memphis hotels raise their prices when the convocation is held every November.

Proponents of the move say the city of Memphis should do more to show its appreciation for the millions of tourist dollars COGIC spends here every year.

However, others want to keep the convocation here because the event has been held in Memphis for more than 100 years.

"We definitely need to stay here in Memphis, because this is where our roots are," said COGIC member Kevin Addison of St. Louis.  "This convocation will not be the same if we move anywhere else."

"Because of the way that they treat us, I would rather for us to move it so we can get some fair  treatment, so maybe the next time they bring it here they will do us right," said Pastor John Fluker of Chicago.

Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton said he couldn't imagine the Bluff City without the purple and gold.

"I view the COGIC Convention being just as much of Memphis as is the river, the Pink Palace," Wharton said Tuesday.

COGIC is a 6.5 million-member international denomination.

"What would Memphis be without the COGIC Convention?  The Mecca, if you will," Wharton said.

Memphis is considered the Mecca for COGIC because it's home to COGIC world headquarters.  Memphis Native G.E. Patterson was the presiding bishop of COGIC and a minister for almost 50 years before his passing in 2007.

Wharton said if the convention leaves, it will be a blow to Memphis and Shelby County.

"The spiritual uplift we get from the mere presence of the saints here, not to mention the economic loss," Wharton said.

During a typical year, the COGIC Convention draws up to 50,000 people, and brings about $30 million to the city of Memphis.

"I just hope it does not happen," Wharton said.

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