COGIC move still not finalized - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

COGIC move still not finalized

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

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Will they stay or will they go?  The move of COGIC's Convocation from Memphis to Saint Louis in 2010 is still not a 'done deal.'

Memphis' oldest and largest convention recently announced that St. Louis offered to host the COGIC Holy Convocation next year.  But three weeks later, a COGIC spokesperson, local hotels and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau confirm nothing's on paper.

"The door obviously is always open for the Church of God in Christ," said Kevin Kane, president of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

According to Kane, with the Memphis Cook Convention Center dropping in national rankings, it'll be a huge challenge to fill the void, but not impossible.

For now, all arrows are pointed at St. Louis.  COGIC will only say its General Assembly voted to "move the 2010 Holy Convocation to another major city."

A vote - but no contract.  COGIC doesn't show up in St. Louis convention events, and there have been no talks past 2010.

"That same week in 2011 and 2012 are not available in St. Louis," Kane said.

A skywalk connects the Cook Convention Center with the Marriott Hotel.  Monday, the Marriott's general manager said because COGIC has not officially severed ties with the hotel, he did not wish to comment, to make sure he didn't compromise their relationship. 

But he did confirm he has a contract with COGIC until 2012.

COGIC's convention visitors account for three percent of the Marriott's annual income, and the short notice has given the hotel little time to fill a big hole.

"We can't hold out hope indefinitely saying, 'Well, they haven't signed a contract even though they have tentatively voted to take the convocation to St. Louis in 2010,'" Kane said.

Kane added there's already interest in Holy Convocation week, but not from a group of COGIC's size.

Kane said Holy Convocation attendance was down 20 percent last year, and while COGIC could face cancellation fees here in Memphis, the saints have a massive membership base that can raise big funds fast.

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