Bishop Clements, who previously served as general presbyter of North America, is the sixth general overseer to serve the church since it was organized in 1903 by Bishop A.J. Tomlinson.
During an international presbytery meeting earlier in the week at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, more than a hundred international overseers prayerfully considered several candidates whose names had been submitted throughout the previous year.
During the opening session of the church’s biennial International Assembly on Wednesday morning, Clements was presented to the larger church body and affirmed by those in attendance.
“My heart is overwhelmed,” he told the Assembly on Wednesday morning. “I am deeply honored to be chosen to lead this church in this hour.”
In April 2013, the position of general overseer, which is considered to be the “leader of leaders” among the international presbytery, was vacated and the oversight of the denomination was held by seven general presbyters until the international meeting convened.
The seven presbyters include Bishops David Browder (Asia and Oceania), Sam Clements (North America), Clayton Endecott (the C.I.S., Europe and the Middle East), Benjamin Feliz (Central America, Mexico and Spanish-speaking Caribbean), Clayton Martin (Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean Isles), Stephen Masilela (Africa) and Gabriel Vidal (South America).
Bishop Clements, who resides in Cleveland with his wife Linda, will deliver his first sermon as general overseer on Sunday morning.
On Wednesday morning, when he was affirmed, he offered his initial thoughts.
“It is God’s year to act. We will return to the power that was given in the book of Acts. Get ready. It’s going to happen in this Assembly. No one is going to be able to stop the move of God. Nothing going on in this world has caught Him by surprise. He is the beginning and the end and He will be victorious when everything else fades away.”
In addition to issues of church leadership and policy, the International Assembly includes nightly worship services as well as workshops and special activities targeted to children, teenagers, mission workers, pastors and members.
Special guests for the event include Dr. Mark Williams, general overseer of the Church of God; Dr. David Ferguson, executive director of the Great Commandment network; Dr. Alvin Padilla, dean of Hispanic studies at Gordon Conwell University; recording artists Seth and Nirva Ready; Tony Sutherland, worship leader at Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga.; and leaders from the Multiplication Network.
The Assembly is being broadcast to viewers through a high definition webcast at cogop.org/assembly.
In a rare event, this year the city of Orlando is hosting the international assemblies of both the Church of God of Prophecy and the Church of God. Both assemblies are taking place this week. Both denominations are headquartered in Cleveland.