Our History

The foundation for the formation of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction was laid in 1907, when Senior Bishop C. H. Mason sent Elder Chandler C. Frederick to Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, the First Church of God in Christ was established in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The church was formally organized in 1924 and its original building was a converted stable at 2502 Centre Avenue. Though few in number, the membership was on fire for the Lord. They held revivals, tent meetings (for example, on Tannehill Street), evangelized on the coal fields and spread the good news about Jesus Christ and His redemptive power. As a result of the tireless work of those early pioneers, many souls came to Christ. . This church grew to have over four-hundred members during the World War I era.
Another significant event which impacted the work was the establishment of the first holiness church in Steelton, Pennsylvania in the home of Mother Lena Hurst. The late Elder J. W. Simon became the leader of this work, which was later named Emmanuel Church of God in Christ. By the year of 1925, the Church of God in Christ in Pennsylvania had grown to eleven churches.
In 1925, Bishop C.H. Mason sent Elder O.T. Jones from Arkansas to take charge in of a small group of Holiness believers in Philadelphia, and to assist the work in the state. Elder Jones had previously been the Assistant State Overseer in Oklahoma under the late Overseer E.M. Page. He arrived by train on Wednesday, April 22, 1925 to attend the Holy Convocation at the Steelton church. Upon his arrival, he learned that Overseer Frederick had been critically injured after being hit by a mail truck. Frederick died on the same day that Elder Jones arrived, but not before giving his final bedsideHoly Temple COGIC request. He asked Elder Jones to carry on the work in Philadelphia, as well as the entire state of Pennsylvania. Bishop Mason honored the request by appointing Elder Jones as pastor of the Church of God in Christ congregation in Philadelphia (now Holy Temple, the State Headquarters), and Overseer of  Pennsylvania.
In 1933, Overseer Jones, along with four other men, became the first and original five Overseers consecrated by Bishop C.H. Mason to the office of Bishop. Although five men were consecrated, Bishop Jones was the first to have hands laid on him by Bishop Mason. Under the work of Bishop Jones, Sr., the Church of God in Christ of Pennsylvania grew.
The Church of God in Christ of Pennsylvania remained as one jurisdiction until 1949, when it was divided into two jurisdictions. These jurisdictions would be known as Eastern Pennsylvania Jurisdiction and Western Pennsylvania Jurisdiction. Bishop O.T. Jones, Sr., then became the Jurisdictional Bishop of Eastern Pennsylvania and Elder G.E. Vaughn was appointed as the Jurisdictional Bishop of Western Pennsylvania on December 12, 1949, at the 42nd International Holy Convocation in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1962, Bishop O.T. Jones, Sr. succeeded Senior Bishop C.H. Mason, after his home-going, becoming the second Senior Bishop of the Church of God in Christ. At no times did he give up any of his offices. His administration as Senior Bishop was initially smooth and progressive. Although there were conflicts later in his term, Bishop Jones served, as he always did, with the spirit of holiness and excellence. In 1964, the Eastern Pennsylvania Jurisdiction, under the leadership of Senior Bishop Jones, became known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Jurisdiction. Alternately, in 1964, a group of churches under the leadership of Elder D.A. Burton became recognized as the Eastern Pennsylvania Fellowship. The Eastern Pennsylvania Fellowship then became the Eastern Pennsylvania Jurisdiction in September of 1966, with Elder Burton becoming the Jurisdictional Bishop
On Saturday, September 23, 1972, our beloved Senior Bishop Jones passed away after a long life of servitude. But God did not leave the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania without a leader. In 1973, Rev. Dr. O.T. Jones, Jr. was consecrated as the Jurisdictional Bishop. Like his father before him, Bishop Jones Jr. served with the spirit of holiness and excellence. The jurisdiction grew in number and in influence. In 1980, he was elected to the General Board of the Church of God in Christ. And in 1997, Bishop Jones was appointed to the office of Second Assistant Presiding Bishop, serving under Presiding Bishop Chandler D. Owens.
Bishop Reuben T. Jones Sr., having previously been a member of the jurisdiction, returned to the Church of God in Christ and was appointed as the Jurisdictional Prelate of the Southeastern Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the mid 1970’s. Upon merging with the Commonwealth in the 1980’s, he remained faithful until his homegoing in 1990.
Upon Bishop O.T. Jones Jr’s. retirement in 2001, God selected a new leader for the Commonwealth. Superintendent Benjamin J. Ravenel, Sr., who was the First Administrative Assistant to Bishop Jones Jr., was consecrated by Bishop G.E. Patterson as the Jurisdictional Prelate. Bishop Ravenel had previously served as the Chairman of the Board of Elders for many years. He had also served as the District Superintendent of Altoona District and as Chairman of the Board of Superintendents. Under Bishop Ravenel, the Jurisdiction continued in the work of the Lord. After a prolonged illness, Bishop Ravenel peacefully passed away on April 20, 2018.
Auxiliary Bishop Guy L. Glimp was appointed as the Jurisdictional Prelate of the Jurisdiction in August 2018 by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake. Bishop Glimp had previously served as the Third Administrative Assistant to Bishop Ravenel.
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