Herenton: GOGIC move "not a death blow" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Herenton: GOGIC move "not a death blow"

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton had a mixed reaction Wednesday to the Church of God in Christ's Tuesday decision to move it's 2010 convocation from Memphis to St. Louis.

"I was born in Memphis," Herenton said. "This is COGIC's Jerusalem, if you will.  Their roots are here.  Bishop Mason founded COGIC here in Memphis."

Herenton called Church of God in Christ part of the Memphis fabric, after church leadership announced they're moving the annual Holy Convocation to St. Louis starting 2010.

"I guess I've always concluded that after the death of Presiding Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson, I felt that new leadership would move this convention to another location," Herenton said.

G.E. Patterson was a Memphis native, but the new presiding bishop, Charles Edward Blake, Senior, is from Los Angeles.

"Every year we were always faced with threats of the possibility of COGIC moving, and I guess the leadership just finally made a decision," Herenton said.

The big complaint among COGIC saints: hotel price gouging.

"We have provided the most favorable hotel rates to this group," Herenton said. "More favorable, I believe, than any other convention.  I don't know what else we could do."

And for those worried about the 35 million dollar annual loss to the city's income:

"It's not a death blow to Memphis," the Mayor said. "This is a great city and we're going to thrive whether COGIC ever returns."

Herenton said COGIC has to do what COGIC has to do.

"There's no other city in America that can serve COGIC the way the City of Memphis has served them over the years.  They made a decision.  I wish them well," Herenton said.

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