On Aug. 19, 1886, a group of believers gathered in Monroe County to establish what would eventually become the Church of God. Last week during Tennessee Church of God camp meeting, several commemorations took place including an evening devoted to recognizing past state leaders and retired ministers, a souvenir program and a large exhibit in the lobby of the North Cleveland Church of God displaying historic items related to the founding of the Church of God in Tennessee.
On June 23, State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland representing the 24th Legislative District, made the presentations on behalf of the governor and speaker. Brooks is coordinator of public relations and conference management for the Church of God International Offices. Accepting for the state was Administrative Bishop Dr. Don Walker.
“It was an honor to bring the state resolutions from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Speaker Beth Harwell back home to honor our denomination’s 125th anniversary,” Brooks said. “Since the Church of God was founded in Monroe County, Tennessee, we felt it fitting to ask the governor and speaker of the House to send special congratulations to the church.”
A certificate of appreciation from the governor’s office read, “By virtue of the authority vested in me, I hereby confer upon Church of God 125th Anniversary this certificate of appreciation and in recognition of outstanding service in the best interest and in highest traditions of the state of Tennessee. Given under my hand and the seal of the state of Tennessee in Nashville, the 22nd Day of June, 2011. Bill Haslam, Governor of Tennessee.”
A formal resolution was drawn by the House of Representatives and read as follows:
“Whereas, it is appropriate that the members of this General Assembly should recognize those venerable religious institutions and their congregations that, through their unflagging capacity for love, dedication of spirit, and faith in God, enrich the lives of people in their communities and;
“Whereas, on Aug. 19, 2011, the distinguished members of the Church of God will celebrate 125 years of faithfully fulfilling the Great Commission; and
“Whereas, throughout the illustrious history of the Church of God, the members have obediently followed the Great Commission, recognizing this sacred command as the lifeline of the church, the flow of supernatural manifestations, and the enriching and transforming fruit of the Holy Spirit; and
“Whereas, the Church of God was founded by the Rev. R.G. Spurling on Aug. 19, 1886, in the company of a group of humble and faithful pilgrims at the Barney Creek Meeting House in Monroe County, Tennessee; and
“Whereas, the nine original members of the Christian Union, which officially became the Church of God as recorded on Aug. 19, 1886, included Adeline Lauftus, Margaret Lauftus, John Plemons, Jr., John Plemons, Sr., Melinda Plemons, Polly Plemons, Barbara Spurling, Richard Spurling and R.G. Spurling; and
“Whereas, this historical occasion provides an opportunity for the entire Church of God family to reflect upon the past, rejoice and realize the potential of the present, and renew its commitment and vision for the future; and
“Whereas, the Church of God rejoices in its Pentecostal heritage, in the anointed men and women who sacrificed and served to shape its Biblical values, and in the flow of divine grace and spiritual gifts that transformed the Church of God into a worldwide evangelistic force; and
“Whereas, the Church of God comes together in a spirit of celebration to renew its commitment to worship God in spirit and in truth, to fulfill the missional mandate of the Great Commission, and to reflect a spirit of trust in every aspect of ministry; and
“Whereas, the evangelistic efforts of the Church of God has led to the growth of a denomination that now reaches 6,950,553 members and 34,302 churches in 181 countries around the world; and
“Whereas, the Church of God is truly one of the great religious institutions and catalysts for positive spiritual change in our state and nation, and the millions of members in this exceptional congregation should be appropriately honored for their exemplary service to the Body of Christ, their local communities, and the world at large; now, therefore,
“I, Beth Harwell, speaker of the House of Representatives of the 107th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, at the request of and in conjunction with Rep. Kevin Brooks, do hereby proclaim that we honor and commend the Church of God in the occasion of its 125th anniversary, extending to this exceptional denomination our best wishes for much continued success in performing God’s work.”
A special link on the 125th anniversary has been posted on the Church of God website. Visit www.churchofgod.org and click on the graphic.