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At one time ankle length dresses and pill box hats was standard for women in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). Even jewelry and make up we’re kept to a minimum.
But times have changed.
Sporting shoulder-length hair and red specs, evangelist Joyce Rodgers told the saints to turn to an Old Testsment passage during the church’s midday service in Baltimore Wednesday afternoon and lit the place on fire.
More than 30,000 people are delegates to the Church of God in Christ Auxilary in Ministries convention which brings together the major departments of a church that has more than 10 million members.
Rodgers, in addition to being a nationally known evangelist, is chair of the youth department for the church, where, Rodgers said, women have come a long way.
These women are not just game changers. They are game makers.
Later that evening in Baltimore, evangelist Rita Womack preached the prime time sermon inside the Baltimore conventional center as Bishop Charles Blake and the general board of the largest black Pentecostal body in the world looked on.
Rodgers, who is chair of the youth department for the church said “Hillary Clinton cracked the glass ceiling” when she ran against President Obama in politics and in terms of preaching in their church, women have “shattered it.”
The music and youth departments are the largest auxiliaries of the Church of God in Christ and that was obvious because it seemed like everybody in the convention center could play a bass, drums or Hammond organ.
But in addition to classes, concerts and preaching since Sunday there was also a beauty pageant, step show and free nightly concerts that were broadcast on AIM TV and the Internet.
Leading everything was Superintendent Linwood Dillard, a mature 30-year-old preacher picked by Blake, the charismatic but no-nonsense leader of COGIC who pastors the West Angeles Church of God.