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The Church Of God In Christ Ventures Out, Beyond Tradition....And Fares Very Well
Victoria Head


November, 6-14, 2013 saw the 106th Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) which averages a whopping 30,000 - 35,000 in attendance each year.  The COGIC's annual Convocation (also affectionately know as Holy Week) was held in St. Louis at the America's Center and is scheduled to keep St. Louis as the home of their Holy Convocation for the next three years.  This massive influx of believers has traditionally met for Holy Week in their home-based city of Memphis, TN.  But scheduling conflicts prompted them to seek out other options and St. Louis was able to accommodate.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake describes this mega-church event as follows…"The Holy Convocation is an annual meeting…held for the past 105 years.  It's an in-gathering of the saints. They come together for biblical instruction, for inspiration, for worship and to share with one another and support the Church of God in Christ."   The Holy Convocation, one of the largest A-A meetings held in the US, is the gathering where the Presiding Bishop delivers his official annual address to church delegates and where delegates are provided the unique opportunity to interact with other delegates from every corner of the globe.

The COGIC is the fourth largest Protestant church in America; and oh how glad St. Louis has been to receive this devoted gathering to the America Center.  At Holy Week, delegates flock to an array of outstanding musical experiences; there is the Annual Health Fair, Job Fair and yearly-awaited Christmas In November, where community members are blessed with free groceries, clothes, appliances, cosmetics, toys, hot lunch, haircuts, and free cell phones with minutes. 

It seems that some of the regular attendees of the annual Holy Convocation's Memphis days have had to make minor adjustments with St. Louis as the new meeting site.  It's noted that they had grown accustomed to the home-felt public welcoming ambience of Memphis, the availability of their favorite after-church eateries, over a hundred years of history reflected with Holy Week in Memphis and stellar assistance and traveler information at Memphis International Airport when flying to and from the event.  However, St. Louis does seem to rank high on the charts with attendees in the areas of Air Travel Costs, Food and meal costs, closer airport proximity, as well as the availability of affordable 4- and 5-star hotels.

Since Holy Week has been held in St. Louis, the largest number of delegates it has brought into the city was over 40,000, which resulted in an economic impact of $40 million to the city's economy.  Even with the average attendance being over 35,000, The America's Center has been able to accommodate COGIC's Holy week essentially under one roof.  Located in downtown St. Louis, the America's Center includes six contiguous exhibit halls, 80 meeting rooms, the 66,000-seat Edward Jones Dome, 1,411-seat Ferrara Theatre, 28,000-sq. ft. ballroom and the St. Louis Executive Conference Center.  COIGIC's delegates, world-wide, are already planning for next year's COGIC Convocation.  However, there is talk that COGIC will negotiate with Memphis for possibly holding the Holy Convocation in their headquarters city again soon.  In the meantime, the upcoming year does show other large COGIC meetings scheduled in Memphis.  You can view a schedule of events for COGIC on their website at - http://www.cogic.org.

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