The COGIC convocation is coming back to Memphis. Local 24 News’ Brad Broders spoke with Bishop Brandon Porter about the move and what it means for COGIC and Memphis.
The Church of God in Christ is headquartered in Memphis and has more than 6,500,000 members in the US. The Holy convocation was held in Memphis for 101 years before it moved to St. Louis in 2010.
Monday night, members voted to bring the convocation back to Memphis, although not until 2021 through 2023.
This week in Saint Louis, Bishop Brandon Porter served a double duty of sorts.
“We are Bishops and all, but we started high-fiving,” laughed Bishop Porter.
The Memphian not only preached the word. He convinced the Church of God in Christ’s board of directors to return COGIC’s annual convocation to Memphis for the first time since 2009.
“Coming back to Memphis was a bit of a challenge, you’ve got St. Louis people on the floor saying ‘No! Stay in St. Louis!’ and other places as options, but the majority of the people want to come back to Memphis. We want to make sure everything is accommodating,” said Bishop Porter.
And that’s the challenge for Bishop Porter, making sure downtown Memphis’ scheduled nearly 2000 new hotel rooms, including a second convention hotel, are open and ready to go in three years.
“We want the hotels and certainly those on the table to follow through. Many small businesses as you well know, got their start around the season of COGIC’s convention,” said Bishop Porter.
Beyond the tourism benefit, Bishop Porter said the COGIC Convocation’s return offers a historical benefit right here to first time Memphis visitors.
“So many of our young people have not been to Mason Temple, and Mason Temple is pivotal, not only with our religious body but also our civil rights heritage and so on with Dr. King giving his last speech there,” said Bishop Porter.
Aside from Mason Temple – the COGIC convocation will be held primarily at a renovated Cook Convention Center and FedExForum in downtown Memphis.