An female missionary (not to be confused with a regular Christian Missionary who works with Christian Missions) in the Church of God in Christ is any ordained and consecrated women who work with the clergy and with the COGIC's Official Women's Department to not only help spread missions, but be administrative assistants to the male clergymen of the church. Almost every local church and jurisdiction in the COGIC has at least one female missionary.
Origins and How the Position of "Missionary" for Women Evolved Over TimeEdit
The first known ordained female clergy missionaries of the Church of God in Christ were the clergywomen and state supervisors who worked directly with Reverend Bishop Charles H. Mason and the founding bishops of the denomination in the mid 1900's. In the 1970's, when Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. was Presiding Bishop, when the COGIC Official Manual was written, the clergymen and "clergywomen" decided to create different offices for the church in which women missionaries could serve. They included:
- District Missionaries
- Local Missionaries (for local missions and churches)
Duties of MissionariesEdit
According to the COGIC manual, District Missionaries are chosen and appointed by the State Supervisor, subject to the approval of the Jurisdictional Presiding Bishop, the District Superintendent and her Pastor.
Duties of a District MissionaryEdit
The duties of a District Missionary are...
- To act under the supervision of the Jurisdictional Supervisor and Superintendent.
- To assist the Pastor upon his request in organizing hands within the local church
- To teach the women in the churches to be subject and loyal to their Pastors, Bishops and Supervisor.
- To inform and remind the churches in her district at least two times a year of their responsibilities toward the local church, district, state and national work.
- To assist the District Superintendent in collecting the finances for the district, jurisdictional and national work.
- To review the work of each missionary in the District Meetings. At such times, an offering of appreciation shall be given for her labor and service.
- To implement the programs and orders of the State Supervisor.
- To promote all the interest of the church within the district with the cooperation of the District Superintendent and Pastors.
Duties of a Local MissionaryEdit
As for the Local Missionaries their duties are..
- To evangelize the work of the churches as much as lies within her power.
- To travel and conduct revival meetings.
- To carry a gospel of comfort and deliverance to the hospitals, jails, convalescent homes and the like.
- To visit the shut-ins and give physical assistance when there is a need.
- All Missionaries are subject to their Pastors and must be a supporter of their local church before venturing into the gospel field.
Licensing of Missionaries in the ChurchEdit
As far as the Licensing of Missionaries is concerned:
- Must meet qualifications as set by the Church; however, it is a pastor's prerogative to request and receive evangelist license for a missionary of his congregation that he feels is qualified in all aspects.
- No missionary shall be licensed without being recommended by her pastor.
The COGIC Manual has a seemingly strict dress code for when clergywomen missionaries attend church services, whether it be in the Church of God in Christ, or an ecumenical or interdenominational church service, much like how the Roman Catholic Church has its dress code for their nuns. They do not have to always follow the dress code, but now adays, missionaries take it more as recommendations for formality; however there are many COGIC churches in which the Pastors will expel a missionary from the clergy for not following the dress code if he does not approve of the reason for her actions.
Holy Communion ServicesEdit
In most Church of God in Christ churches, when clergywomen missionaries attend Holy Communion services for their local and/or jurisdictional churches, they have to wear white habits, which consist of a long white dress, usually two sizes above the woman's normal dress size (although it does not have to be) and a white mantilla or specially-made zucchetto for women.
Revival Services and other special Christian church servicesEdit
During Revival services, convocation services, and other special ceremonies and services, clergywomen missionaries usually wear a black habit, consisting of a long black dress, (like in the white habit) two sizes above the woman's normal dress size, and a black mantilla or custom zucchetto for women.
At homegoings, or funerals as they are more commonly called, it depends on how the bishops and preachers plan to dress. If the clergymen wear their "Class A" Vestments for the funeral of a bishop or high ranking church officer, the missionaries are usually asked ahead of time to wear their white habits. If the clergymen wear their "Class B" Vestments for the funeral of any other pastor or any other saved Christian who dies, the missionaries are often asked ahead of time to wear their black habits. They are also allowed to wear their white habits at the funeral of another missionary.
Just as clergymen (Bishops and Pastors and other Christian preachers) are allowed to be married to only one wife and may have children and raise a family with their one wife of whomever they fall in love with, missionaries are also allowed to be married to only one husband and have children and raise a family with the one husband of whomever they fall in love with. Many if not most of the Christian female missionaries in the Church of God in Christ are married. They are also allowed to remarry if their spouse dies from natural causes or by any other means of an accident, tragedy, or sickness that results in the death of their spouse, but are usually advised by the denomination to only remarry if they feel God is leading them to do so personally.