The Late Most Reverend Presiding Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson (September 22, 1939-March 20, 2007) was an American Pentecostal-Holiness, Charismatic minister who served as the international Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ from November 1999 until his death on March 20, 2007. Bishop Patterson was the second youngest person to ever be elected Presiding Bishop of COGIC at the age 60 in 2000, second to Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. who was 56 when he was elected Presiding Bishop in 1968.
Patterson was born to Bishop William Archie 'W. A.' (1898–1991) and Mary Louise Williams Patterson (1901–1981) in the parsonage next door to the Church of God in Christ in Humboldt, Tennessee and is the youngest of six children. He confessed Christ as his Savior at 11 years old at Holy Temple COGIC in Memphis, Tennessee. Shortly after, the family moved to Detroit. He answered his call to ministry in 1956 while he was only 16 years old at the church his father pastored.
G.E. Patterson was married to Evangelist Louise Dowdy Patterson for 40 years until his death in 2007. They had no children together.
Ministry in the COGICEdit
Bishop J. S. Bailey ordained him in 1958 as an elder in the Church of God in Christ. In 1962, Patterson became co-pastor with his father at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis. Patterson continued his pastorate in 1975 as the founder and pastor of Temple of Deliverance, the Cathedral of the Bountiful Blessings near downtown.
Patterson founded the rapidly growing Bountiful Blessings Ministries (BBM) which is viewed internationally on The Word Network weekly, as well as on local TV stations throughout the nation. Bountiful Blessings Ministries has a mailing list of over 100,000 active donors from outside the Memphis viewing audience. Evangelist Louise D. Patterson, Bishop Patterson's widow, is now the Chairperson and CEO of Bountiful Blessings Ministries. Today, Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ is one of the nation's fastest growing congregations with over 18,000 on its membership roll. In 2000, Calhoun street where Bountiful Blessing is located was renamed G. E. Patterson Ave., in honor of the Bishop.
Presiding Bishop of the COGIC (2000-2007)Edit
Bishop Patterson served on the General Board under the leadership of his uncle, Presiding Bishop James O. Patterson, Sr. for many years from the 1980s to the 2000s. In 1990, Bishop G. E. Patterson, after the death of JO Patterson and the appointment of Bishop L.H. Ford to the office of Presiding Bishop, Bishop Patterson was elevated to Second Assistant Presiding Bishop of the COGIC. After Bishop Ford's death in 1995, Bishop Patterson was elevated to the office of First Assistant Presiding Bishop under the leadership of Bishop Chandler Owens. After Bishop Owens left office in November of 1999, the COGIC voted for Bishop GE Patterson to become the international Presiding Bishop of the church denomination, After officially being installed in the office in April of 2000, Bishop Patterson immediately began working on spreading COGIC Christian missions all around the world to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Under his leadership, the COGIC reached out to over 2 million people in various other countries all around the globe. He was re-elected to the office of Presiding Bishop in 2004.
Although Bishop Patterson had been singing with the Temple of Deliverance COGIC choir and performing Gospel concerts with his choir for many years from 1982 to the 2000s, he did not become a famous Gospel singer on the international stage until after he became the Presiding Bishop of the COGIC in 2000. From 2001 to 2006, Bishop Patterson and his choir made several Gospel Music CDs that topped the charts. Bishop Patterson also sang with famous Gospel recording artists such as Bishop Rance Allen, Bishop Paul S. Morton, the Clark Sisters, Kierra Kiki Sheard, Shirley Caesar, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Dottie Peoples, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, and many more.
Declining Health and DeathEdit
Bishop Patterson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005, and after announcing it to the COGIC in 2006 during one of the Holy Convocations, he began to teach his assistant in the ministry, Bishop Charles Blake, who was First Assistant Presiding Bishop at the time, how to be a good leader so that he could succeed him as Presiding Bishop. As his condition got worse, Bishop Patterson was forced to retire from the ministry in December of 2006. He preached what would be his final sermon at the Holy Trinity COGIC in Muskegon, Michigan in early January of 2007. He finally died on Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. succeeded him as Presiding Bishop after he was elected to finish his unexpired term for the rest of 2007 and was officially elected to the office in 2008.
Bishop G.E. Patterson's national homegoing celebration was divided up into three services. A memorial service was held at the old building of the Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ on March 29, 2007. The Bishop Frank Anthone White, son of the General Board Member Bishop Frank Otha White, preached the eulogy for the first memorial service. The eulogy at the jurisdictional service was delivered by Jerry Loran Maynard, Prelate of Tennessee Fourth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, on March 30, 2007 at the newer cathedral of TOD. The final eulogy at the national/international service was delivered by Bishop Charles E. Blake on March 31, 2007. All the major leaders from COGIC and major leaders of other African American Christian denominations made their contributions to this three day celebration, including his first cousin, Lincoln Norris and many others of his family. In addition to Bishop Blake, three addresses of comfort and well wishes were delivered to COGIC by: The Honorable Alphonso Jackson, Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Official Representative of President George W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America and Presiding Bishop James D. Leggett, General Superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church and Chairman of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, who had the following to say at this momentous occasion, " A warrior who has touched the lives of all of us so profoundly, a "GIANT" in our lifetime has gone home". Bishop Patterson was buried at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Shelby County, Tennessee on April 1, 2007.