COGIC SEAL Founder

Ozro Thurston Jones Sr. (March 26, 1891- September 23, 1972) was a Pentecostal - Holiness denomination leader and minister, who was the second Senior Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. from (1962-1968), succeeding Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, who was the founder. The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) is the world's largest Pentecostal denomination and fourth largest denomination in the United States. Ozro Jones was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the son of Baptist parents, Merion and Mary Jones. As a young man, in 1912, he experienced and confessed salvation and "spirit baptism" or "infilling" as a second work of grace. He answered a call to the ministry under the guidance of Elder Justus Bowe, a COGIC pioneer. Soon afterwards, he, his older sister and a brother developed into an evangelistic team in North Arkansas and the surrounding states. Over the next few years 18 congregations were established as a direct result of their evangelistic endeavors. In 1914 Jones organized the youth department of the Church of God in Christ and served as its first president. Two years later he founded and edited the Y.P.W.W. Quarterly Topics, an education-oriented journal. In 1920 he was appointed assistant to the state overseer in Oklahoma.

In 1925, Jones' career took a decisive turn when he became pastor of a small congregation of Pentecostal believers in Philadelphia. He moved to Philadelphia where he would reside for the rest of his life. The congregation grew into the historic Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. In 1926 he became the state overseer for Pennsylvania. Not forgetting his work with the youth of the church, in 1928 he founded the International Youth Congress of the Church of God in Christ.

In 1933 Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, the founder of the Church of God in Christ, selected Jones as one of the five men to be consecrated as the denomination's first "founding" bishops. He was later selected to serve on the executive commission created by Mason to assist him during his last years in office. Following Mason's death in November 1961, the commission then headed by Bishop A.B. McEwen, administered the affairs of the church for one year. Then in late 1962, the board of bishops moved to nominate a new senior bishop. They chose Jones and placed his name before the church's general assembly, which approved the motion. Jones retained authorship of the Y.P.W.W. Topics and he remained Jurisdictional Bishop of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Elder O.T. Jones Jr. became the active pastor of Holy Temple Church in Philadelphia in order that Senior Bishop Jones could devote full time to his new position of Senior Bishop of the Church of God in Christ. At no time did Bishop Jones Sr. give up any of his offices.

Events moved smoothly for the first few years of Jones' tenure, but opposition began to appear in 1965. Voices rose demanding regular elections for the office of a presiding bishop. The situation threatened to split the denomination, and a number of lawsuits answered with counter-lawsuits were filed. The courts finally ordered an election, and in 1968 a constitutional convention held its first session on January 30, 1968. The convention established clear guidelines for the election of church leaders, and later that year the elections were held. Eventually, James Oglethorpe Patterson was elected presiding bishop. This effectively removed Bishop O.T. Jones Sr. from office. He remained Jurisdictional Bishop in Pennsylvania until he passed September 23, 1972. He was 81.

 

 

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