Histoic Reflections - Bishop Mason 
Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, Founder & Chief Apostle (Senior Bishop) Of The Church Of God In Christ, Inc.
The Legacy Of The Leadership
Bishop Charles Harrison Mason was born on September 8, 1866 on
the Prior Farm just north of Memphis, Tennessee, which today is the
town of Bartlett, Tennessee.  Mason's parents, Jerry and Eliza Mason, were former slaves, and devout members of the Missionary Baptist Church.  
They suffered the widespread, devastating poverty affecting
 blacks following the Civil War.  Mason's mother prayed fervently
for her son that he would be dedicated to God.
As a boy Mason prayed with his mother, asking "above all things for
God to give him a religion like the one he had heard about from the old slaves and had seen demonstrated in their lives."
This yearning for the God of his forbears underlies the dynamic of 
his life.  C. H. Mason was converted as a young boy of twelve
in November 1878.
It was also at the age of twelve that a yellow fever epidemic forced 
the Mason family to leave the Memphis area for Plumersville, Arkansas.
This plague claimed Mason's father's life in 1879.  During those
fearful and difficult days the young Mason worked hard with little
chance for schooling.
In 1880, just before his fourteenth birthday, Mason fell ill with chills and fever.  His mother despaired of his life, but in an astounding
turn of events, Mason was miraculously healed on the first
Sunday in September 1880.  He and his mother went to the 
Mt. Olive Baptist Church near Plumersville, Arkansas where the pastor, Mason's half brother, (the Reverend I. S. Nelson), baptised him
in an atmosphere of praise  and thanksgiving.  Mason went
throughout Southern Arkansas as a lay preacher, giving his testimony and
working with souls on the mourner's bench, especially
during the summer camp meetings.
C. H. Mason accepted his ministerial license from the Mt. Gale    Missionary Baptist Church in Preston, Arkansas. 
Despite being licensed and ordained to preach in 1891
at Preston, Arkansas, Mason held back from full time ministry
to marry Alice Saxton, a daughter of his Mother's best friend.
To his great disappointment and distress, Alice bitterly opposed his ministerial plans and divorced him after two years, and later remarried.
Mason fell into such grief and despair that at times Satan tempted him to take his own life.  Mason remained unmarried while Alice was alive.
C. H. Mason read the autobiography of Amanda Smith (a black
 washerwoman who had been greatly used by God), and who began
teaching the "doctrine of santification."  She was brought up as a Methodist (1837 - 1915), rose from poverty and slavery
to become a world famous Methodist Evangelist.  As a matter of fact, 
Amanda Smith became one of the greatest, widely traveled and respected
holiness evangelists of the 19th century.  Her life story, which included how the Lord sanctified her, swept many blacks into the holiness
movement.  And, of course, after reading Amanda Smith's autobiography, Mason  was also greatly influenced, and began believing and studying this doctrine of sanctification, and through the word of God he
experienced sanctification in 1893 and subsequently preached
his first sermon in "Holiness" from II Timothy 2:1-3; "Thou therefore
endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
Following his heart rending divorce, Mason resolved to get an education.
On November 1, 1893 Mason entered the Arkansas Baptist College, but
since he had both hermenutical and cultural suspicions of the 
methods, philosophy, and curriculum set forth by the college, Mason left 
the college in January 1894.
He then returned to the streets and to every pulpit open to him
declaring Christ by the word, example and precept.
Mason met with Charles Price Jones in late 1885, who was the newly
elected pastor of the Mt. Helms Baptist Church at Jackson, Mississippi.
Jones was a graduate of Arkansas Baptist College, and who, like
Mason, came under under the Holiness movement, and in 1894
claimed the experience of sanctification.  Elder C. P. Jones, and his
friends, J. A. Jeter, and Elder W. S. Pleasant subsequently became C. H.
Mason's closest companions in the ministry.  Jointly, these militant
preachers conducted a revival in 1896, in Jackson, Mississippi, which had
far reaching effects on the city.  The anointed manifestations of
the revival, which included the large numbers that were converted,
sanctified, and healed by the power of faith and by the dynamic
teachings of Mason on the doctrine of sanctification caused the
church doors within the Baptist association to be closed to him and
to all those who believed and supported his teachings.
Also in 1896 C. P. Jones sent Elder Mason to preach at the Asia Baptist Church in Natchez, Mississippi.  The entire week that Mason preached, only one soul was saved.  That soul was Charles Pleas, who later became 
the Bishop of Kansas for 55 years.  Bishop Pleas was also known to have
a photographic mind and God also gave him a keen "foresight in prophecy".   
From 1896 - 1899, the holiness conventions, revivals, and periodicals
inspired by Mason and Jones split the Baptists, and in a few cases, the Methodists churches, birthing the development of independent "sanctified" or "holiness" congregations and associations.  The minutes of the General Missionary Baptist Convention accused C. P. Jones, W. S. Pleasant and C. H. Mason of preaching pernicious, heretical doctrines among the "most ignorant classes of our people, leading off individuals and corrupting our churches."  Mt. Helm, the church where C. P. Jones was pastor, said that the minutes had become the hot-bed of corrupt doctrines,
and Mt. Helm leaders had taken steps to uproot this evil.  The minutes were signed by Reverends Scott, Rollins, Wright, Bell, Newman and Thompson.  President of the National Baptist Convention, E. C. Morris, was   forced to deal with this issue in his Presidential address of 1897.               On July 23, 1897, C. P. Jones, C. H. Mason and all of their colleagues and followers were vehemently opposed and were expelled from the Baptist church via the National Convention.

The Stained Glass Representation Of The Photo Is In Reverse Order



So in 1897, when these pioneering, persistent preachers returned to
Jackson, Mississippi, Elder Mason was forced to deliver his first message
from the south entrance of the courthouse.  A Mr. John Lee, who desired to see Mason's ministry continue, provided the living room of his home the next night.  because of the overwhelming number that attended,
a Mr. Watson, the owner of an old abandoned gin house in Lexington, Mississippi, gave his consent to transfer the revival meeting to the gin house located on the bank of a little creek.  This miracle deliverance revival was such a success, that it caused the enemy "Satan" to
come forth, causing someone to shoot five pistol shots and two
double barreled shotgun blasts into the midst of the saints
while they were shouting and praying.  Some persons were wounded, but miraculously, none of the shots were fatal.  At the close of the meeting
it was necessary to organize the people for the purpose of 
establishing a church with a stronger appeal and greater encouragement
for all Christians and believers; a church which would emphasize the doctrine of sanctification.  A meeting was mutually called by C. P Jones,
Elder C. H. Mason, Elder Pleasant and sixty stood as charter members.
Below is a picture of the old gin house reflecting the names of
some of the charter members.  In particular, please notice three familar
 names on the list:  Mr. John Lee, Chas A. Pleas, Sr., and R. H. I. Clark.   


Land was soon purchased on Gazo Street from Mrs. John Ashcraft, upon which a little edifice was built 60 X 40.  These charter members
formed a Pentecostal body known as the "Church of God".
Later, the church was reorganized, and Elder C. P. Jones was chosen as the General Overseer; Elder C. H Mason was appointed as Overseer of Tennessee, and J. A. Jeter was the Overseer of Arkansas.
The church established in 1897 was called the St. Paul Church of God.
With the onset of the Pentecostal Movement many churches evolved possessing the name:  "Church of God",and, of course, Mason wanted
something different from the rest in order to distinquish his Holiness
body from others.  He therefore fervently prayed to God to give him
a name for his Pentecostal church, and God honored his request.
Bishop Mason, while walking south on Gaines street towards the
intersection with 8th street in Little Rock, Arkansas, received the
revelation of the name "Church of God in Christ (COGIC)" - drawn
from the scriptures in II Thess. 2:14; I Thess. 1:1; Galations 1:22;
This informaton was taken from The Book:  "Bishop C. H. Mason and the roots of the Church of God in Christ - Centennial Edition."  But there are 
 other sources which give the same scriptures in reverse:  I Thess 2:14; and II Thess 1:1.  These scriptures are speaking the same sentiments confirming the Church of God in Christ as a name.
During this revelation God made a covenant with Bishop C. H. Mason: 
God told Mason that if he gave his church the name "Church of God
in Christ", there would never be an auditorium large enough to
to accomodate all of the saints; this prophecy has come to fruition
at all of COGIC'S National Meetings across the nations down through the years. 
Thus, in 1897 a major denomination was born.  Bishop Mason changed the name of his church to St. Paul Church of God in Christ to distinguish
it from "The Church of God copy cats.  From the seventeenth century through the nineteenth century, most blacks
had encountered Christianity under the auspices of Baptist and Methodist churches. 
Mason and Jones, however, emphatically changed the religious
landscape in black community as well as broadened the black 
religious experience.  Through the dynamic preaching of Mason
and the prolific writings and hymnology Jones, Sanctified or Holiness
churches sprang up throughout the South and Southwest.
In 1900, Mason established a Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee, and by 1904 he had established 4 churches:
St. Paul in Lexington, Mississippi, Saints Home and Dyson Street
in memphis, Tennessee, and a COGIC in Conway, Arkansas.
In 1905, Bishop Mason had learned of the death of his ex-wife, Alice,
and having remained unmarried since their divorce in 1893, Mason 
felt free to marry Lelia Washington, who attended his church.  Together
Lelia and Mason had 7 children, and Lelia helped him establish
the early COGIC church.
Lelia and Mason were married 31 years.
She died in 1936.
{Below :  Lelia Mason
Bishop Mason's 2nd Wife}
Below is the Family of Bishop Mason.
Lelia is the 2nd female from the left; Bishop Mason is seen in the center of the second row surrounded by his seven children and Mother -n Law. 
In the latter part of 1906, Elder C. H. Mason, Elder Jeter, and Elder D. J. Young were appointed as a committee by General Overseer C. P. Jones to investigate the reports of the Pentecostal revival in Los Angeles,
California conducted by the itenerate preacher William J. Seymour.In the early part of 1907, C. H. Mason, J. A. Jeter, and D. J. Young traveled to the
Azuza street revival in Los Angeles, California under the ministry
                                                    of  W. J. Seymour                                                  (referred to as "The Father of 20th Century Pentecostalism").  
They had profound encounters with God and received the baptism
                         of the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues in                           accordance with Acts 2:1-4.
Above from left to right is D. J. Young, who was a very dear friend of Elder C. H. Mason, and Elder J. A. Jeter, but it appears to me that
J. A. Jeter was merely a close associate within the church ministry
to Elder Mason.  I say this because it had been clarified in many
resources that Elder J. A. Jeter had received the baptism 
of the Holy Ghost at the Azuza street revival, but I find it very difficult
to believe since it was revealed that Elder Jeter, along with
other contemporaries of Elder Mason, felt that the New Testament
doctrine concerning the baptism of the Holy Ghost (specifically
the "Speaking in Tongues") was merely a delusion!  I feel that
if Jeter had actually received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, 
there wouldn't have been any doubting concerning this matter.
Also, it was later revealed that Jeter remained with the doubting C. P.
Jones faction during the split that later evolved between C. P. Jones
and C. H. Mason.
      Below:  William Seymour  "The Father Of 20th          Century Pentecostalsm" 
Bishop Charles Harrison Mason

   1866 - 1962


 Below is an Oil Painting Of The Above

Photo And A Caricature in Stained Glass  
Which Is Located In The Front Balcony 
Section Of Mason Temple In Memphis, TN

William Seymour was preaching from Luke 24:49

"And Behold, I Send The Promise Of My Father Upon You;

But Tarry Ye In The City Of Jerusalem Until Ye Be Indued With

The Power From On High" 

The personally transforming spiritual experiences of the three committe

members who were sent to the Azuza street revival, occurring in March and April of 1907, precipitated a crucial upheaval in the Church of God

in Christ (the association previously formed between C. P. Jones,

C. H. Mason, J. A. Jeter, and W. S. Pleasant). 

Below:  This is a photo of the Azuza street mission where

C. H. Mason and his contemporaries received the Holy Ghost.

This is the Building that God chose to send his blessing to the

people of the United States of America.

It was once a Methodist Church, then a horse stable.




We encourage you to click on the book below in order to surf to the top
of this Navigational Page.  We implore you to Surf to The Mason COGIC Page
to understand the challenges that Bishop Mason had to undergo
in order to give birth to the Church of God in Christ 
and to shower the Glory of God and to transfer his legacy of 
Faith, Grace and Anointing to This Grand Ole' COGIC
The pictures below were taken from the library of Bishop Christopher C. Owens.
All of these pictures depict personalities that Bishop Mason would encounter,
for the most part, later on in his life after the birthing of the
Church of God in Christ.
This will give you a forshadowing of people he partnered with
when he broke away from C. P. Jones, the details of which are given in detail on the
Navigation Page entitled Mason's COGIC found on this web site.
Please later surf to this page!
Bishop Christopher C. Owens was a great musician.  Considering the
good news that Bishop C. H.  Mason was capable of gleaning 
from the letter below, which was written under the anointing of the Holy Ghost by 
Elder W. G. Johnson, this event called for an intense celebration as depicted in the
picture below showing Bishop Owens serenading Mother Owens at the piano.
Keep scrolling downward!
Bishop Charles Harrison Mason
The Photo Above Was Personally Autographed
By The Chief Apostle To My Father 
Bishop Christopher C. Owens.
Bishop Owens Always Cherished The Exhortation Expressed
On The Above Photo By Bishop C. H. Mason:  
"May The Favor And Will Of God And Jesus Christ Be With You Always" 

What Major Role Did The Holy Ghost Play 

In The Formation Of The Church Of God In Christ?

After receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost at the Azuza Street
Revival in the spring of 1907, before returning to Memphis, Tennessee,
Bishop C. H. Mason visited Portsmouth, Virginia
where some 6,000 persons in Norfolk, Virginia areas were converted
with many receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Bishop Mason returned to the municipalities of Memphis and Jackson
preaching the New Testament doctrine to which many of the brethren
were averse.  Mason was eager to share his additional experience
with his brethren, but both he and his Pentecostal message were rejected.
It was also during this period that Bishop Mason noticed that God
was teaching and giving him new songs, and he would encounter
lengthy periods of uttering an unknown language--utterances of
speaking in tongues.  He prayed to God to allow him to be capable of
interpreting those utterances,  for he didn't understand the operation
of the Spirit, and he wanted to be capable of edifying the Saints.
Bishop Mason said:  "The Lord stood me up one day, and I began to
speak in tongues and interpret the same.  He soon gave me all kinds of
It was common place for the Saints, including my parents (Bishop C.
and Evangelist Elvie J. Owens), to witness Bishop Mason 
speaking and singing in tongues during the services and finally
interpreting God's messages to the Saints.  Bishop Mason said that:  "the Holy Ghost
then began displaying all kinds of drawings and spiritual writings that were
understood without any thought of my mind."  After Bishop Mason
began using the Spiritual gifts in public ministry, he drew large audiences of
blacks and whites, whereupon he preached hundreds, and at times
ten thousand, gathered to hear and receive ministry in outdoor
camp meetings.
The Spirit through Mason saved, sanctified and baptized thousands
of souls of all colors and races. Hundreds had been healed by the laying on
of hands and praying to God to rebuke the enemy.  Some of the miracles
which God performed by healing in obediences to James 5:16 through
prayer by Bishop Mason were as follows:  Tumors have been removed from
the bodies of women who had been suffering for years; an elder who had
hemorages of the lungs (the physicians had said that it was impossible for him
to live, and that he was a horrible sight to behold), was healed through prayer--
God rebuked the bleeding and he began preaching the gospel.
Later in 1914 (after the Church of God in Christ had been officially
organized, under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, 
elder W. G. Johnson
wrote in an unknown handwriting.  It was through the vision of Bishop Mason
that the handwriting was interpreted:  God was telling W.G. Johnson to
move to Detroit, Michigan (Johnson's Call To Michigan) to begin a ministry;
Johnson and his wife followed the Lord's leading, and arrived in
Michigan from Memphis, TN on March 26,1914 and began the first Church
of God in Christ in the State of Michigan, which after many years, ultimately
gave rise to the Historic First Jurisdiction of Michigan, whose current Prelate as of
2010 was Bishop P. A. Brooks.  Bishop P. A. Brooks celebrated 31 years as
Prelate of the Historic First Jurisdiction of Michigan in 2011.

Below:  A Showing Of The Letter Written

Under The Anointing Of The Holy Ghost By

W. G. Johnson Which Was Interpreted

By Bishop C. H. Mason In 1914

This Is Awesome Stuff!
Currently, there are many Jurisdictions in the State of Michigan
with hundreds of churches, confirming the fact that Bishop
 Mason's interpretation of W. G. Johnson's anointed letter was
also anointed and manifested great blessings to this Grand Ole'
Church of God in Christ!!  Below, Bishop P. A. Brooks is
receiving an award from the Religious Workers Guild, Inc.
by Bishop Christopher C. Owens.
Click On Bishop C. C. Owens Below To Surf To 
The Top Of This Page Or To Mason's COGIC Navigational Page!