The Right Reverend J. Drew Sheard has been elected presiding bishop and chief apostle of the Church of God in Christ, Inc., the nation’s largest Pentecostal denomination of more than six million members.
The announcement was made on March 20, following the Quadrennial Election, which was held virtually.
Sheard replaces the Right Reverend Charles E. Blake, Sr., pastor of West Angeles COGIC in Los Angeles, who served 13 years as the chief apostle and presiding bishop.
Last October, Blake stated that he would not seek another term and had requested to receive emeritus status.
At the time, he expressed “gratitude for every opportunity that God has afforded me in serving you,” and vowed to support “a smooth transition so that the work of the Lord will seamlessly continue.”
He also revealed his intention to remain as pastor of West Angeles and focus on the construction of the Family Life Center building project, which he described as “a 25-million-dollar addition that will attach to the West Angeles Cathedral.” A lifelong COGIC member, Blake has served 35 years as a bishop and 32 years on the denomination’s General Board, which is its legislative body.
Sheard has also been affiliated with the COGIC denomination for his entire life. The pastor of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit, Michigan, he is the presiding prelate of the Michigan North Central Jurisdiction and has been a member of the General Board since 2012. Sheard is married to Karen Clark-Sheard, a member of The Clark Sisters, and is the father of Kierra and J. Drew II.
“To be elected to serve as the presiding bishop for the Church in which I was born, raised, and have learned and served all my life, is a dream and desire that can only be fulfilled by God’s loving grace and guidance. The opportunity to serve such an extraordinary organization at our highest recognized level of priesthood is beyond humbling,” said Sheard in a statement.
“I am so grateful for the unparalleled support of my loving wife, Karen, who has served diligently alongside me in ministry, and for my children. I could never adequately honor or appreciate my parents for demonstrating holiness by sheer example. With complete excitement and joy, I look forward to serving the Lord’s people,” he added.
A native of Detroit, Sheard is the son of Bishop and Mrs. John Henry Sheard. He earned both his Bachelor of Science degree in Education and his Master of Education degree in Mathematics at Wayne State University.
In addition to Sheard, 11 bishops were elected to the General Board including the Right Reverend Jerry W. Macklin, the founding pastor of Glad Tidings COGIC in Hayward, California. Macklin, who also established COGIC’s NorCal Metropolitan Jurisdiction, has served on the General Board since 2004.
Blake appointed Macklin as second assistant presiding bishop, a position he has held for the past 12 years. Sheard has elevated Macklin to first assistant presiding bishop and selected the Right Reverend Lawrence M. Wooten, Sr. of Missouri to serve as second assistant presiding bishop.
Also elected to the General Board are Bishop Sedgwick Daniels, Bishop Darrel L. Hines, Sr. and Bishop Charles H. McClelland, all of Wisconsin; Bishop Brandon B. Porter and Bishop David A. Hall, Sr., both of Tennessee; Bishop Michael E. Hill, Sr. of Michigan, Bishop Prince E. Bryant, Sr. of Texas, Bishop Loran E. Mann of Delaware, and Bishop Malcolm Coby of Oklahoma. The installation for the presiding bishop, General Board and General Officers will be held at a later date.
During Blake’s tenure as presiding bishop, he attracted a favorable spotlight on Los Angeles and the city’s faith community. He was also responsible for many successes as the denomination’s CEO. Blake’s accomplishments included: