During tthe the 1970's and the 1980's, the COGIC denomination became
more intentionally ecumenical. The Church of God in Christ took the lead
among Pentecostals as an ecumenical church in dialogue with
non-fundamentalist denominations. Some of our most prominent pastors
and congregations took leadership roles in such ecumenical organizations as
the National Association of Evangelicals, the Congress of Black Churches, the
Pentecostal World Conference, and the North American Congress on the Holy
Spirit and World Evangelism. Many ministers and lay persons
also involved themselves in a host of local ecumenical activities.
Central to this ecumenical thrust was its establishment
of the C. H. Mason Seminary in 1970 as a member of the Interdenomational
Theological Center at Atlanta, Georgia.
For many years Mason Seminary was the only Pentecostal seminary in
the nation fully accredited by the Association of Theology Schools.
As a participant in th ITC, the Church of God in Christ became both an
educational force and an ecumenical leader within the African American
Community. While Saints Academy had long affirmed the late
Bishop Mason's and the denomination's commitment to the educational
process, Mason Seminary represented a major commitment to
graduate school education and to the idea of trained clergy and laity.
The establishment of the C. H. Mason Seminary parralleled the rise of a
generation of theologians beginning with Ozro Thurston Jones, Jr., Leonard Lovett
dean of the C. H. Mason Seminary from 1970 - 1975), Dr. Oliver J. Haney
(dean of the C. H. Mason Seminary since 1975), Bennie Goodwin,
Donald Wheelock, Robert E. Franklin, Dorothy Exume, Dr. Ithiel Clemmons
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