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Bishop Charles Blake (right) with the late Congressman John Lewis. (Facebook/Church of God in Christ)

Church of God In Christ (COGIC) leader Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. will not seek another term as presiding bishop and chief apostle at the next election.

"I have made the decision to not seek reelection as a member of the general board or as presiding bishop," he said to members of the denomination in a video news release. "I have requested that the general board grant me emeritus status at the time of the next election." Blake will continue as senior pastor of the West Angeles Church in Los Angeles, California. His decision does not affect his pastoring.

He reminded COGIC members of the highlights of the past 13 years:

—Completion of the first comprehensive financial audit of church records in more than 100 years.

—Renovation of most of the buildings on the headquarters campus, including the Lee Administration Building, the Mason Home, the main sanctuary and lower level of Mason Temple, the LH Ford Administration building and the Leila Mason Hall.

—Restoration of many of the denomination's downtown Memphis properties.

—Major renovations and upgrades to the Lexington facilities, including the addition of land parcels.

—Acquisition of additional properties around the headquarters campus.

—Development of 77 apartment homes near the Mason campus, now known as Mason Homes on 4th.

—The successful move of the Holy Convocation to the 502,000 square foot America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri, from 2010 through 2019, with space for every aspect of the ministry.

"I have had many great responsibilities over my lifetime, but the two that have always been forefront of my mind are my family and pastoring the West Angeles Church," Blake said. "God has blessed West Angeles to enter into the next stage of the Family Life Center building project, a $25 million addition that will attach to the West Angeles Cathedral. West Angeles is soon to break ground on this project."

Blake will continue to serve as the presiding bishop and chief apostle until his successor is elected by the General Assembly of the church. The date for this election is still being determined.

"Please understand the depth of my gratitude for every opportunity that God has afforded me in serving you. I pray that I have pleased Him in all that I have attempted for the advancement of the Church of God in Christ and ultimately, for His kingdom. I remain committed to the success of our church and have pledged my support and assistance in a smooth transition so that the work of the Lord will seamlessly continue," he said.

Blake has been a member of COGIC his entire life and is in his 64th year of preaching, 51st year of pastoring West Angeles Church, 35th year as COGIC bishop, 32nd year as a member of the general board and 13th year as presiding bishop and chief apostle. He celebrated his 80th birthday this year, is the husband of Lady Mae Lawrence Blake, the father of three adult children and the grandfather of 10.


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