The Church of God in Christ has announced the death of Bishop James L. Whitehead Jr. on March 8, 2023, at age 81. At the time of his death, he was prelate of the Michigan Southwest Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the church.
Saints City COGIC in Romulus, Michigan, shared the announcement of his death on Facebook, referring to him as a "Gospel Giant," "Mr. Hospitality" and the "Prince of Preachers:"
Whitehead served COGIC in various capacities through the years, including as the state dean of Sunday schools (1964-1984) and first administrative assistant to Bishop Earl Wright (1985-2015). On the national level, he served as editor-in-chief of the "Whole Truth Paper," the official organ of COGIC. From 1965-1970, he was community relations director and coordinator of Interfaith Night in COGIC's International Youth Congress. Attendance at the night grew in attendance from an average of 200 to 2,000. In 2005, he was given the honor of delivering the quadrennial sermon for the inauguration of Bishop Gilbert E. Patterson, the General Board and the installation of national church officials.
Whitehead also served as doctrinal reviewer for COGIC publishing, president of the O.T. Jones Memorial Training Institute and longtime pastor of both Whitehead Memorial COGIC, Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Saints City COGIC, Romulus, Michigan, congregations.
The local church and jurisdictional memorial service was held on March 15, 2023, at 6 p.m. at Burning Bush International Ministries COGIC, Westland, Michigan. COGIC also held a National Homegoing Celebration on March 16, 2023, at 10 a.m. at the Greater Immanuel Institutional COGIC, Detroit, Michigan. Watch the National Homegoing Celebration at this link, and watch Presiding Bishop Emeritus Charles Blake's tribute to Whitehead here.
Whitehead leaves behind his wife, Evangelist Mollie Whitehead, also a COGIC leader, three grown children and multiple grandchildren.
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