History of CLGI
The Church of the Living God was founded in 1903 by Mother Mary Magdalena Lewis Tate. The ministry given her was one of Holiness, with emphasis on repentance, sanctification, baptism in the Holy Spirit which would result in clean living with one working toward perfection. Mother Tate was a bold preacher who took her message in and through the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois with the message touch people of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
In 1908, Mother Tate formally organized and incorporated the “House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, Pillar and Ground of the Truth” in Greenville, Alabama. The first General Assembly was held June 25-July 5 of the same year. Some walked as many as thirty miles to get there! At this Assembly, Mother Tate was made the Overseer and Chief Leader of the Church, preachers were ordained, and pastors appointed.
The Church of the Living God continued to grow and spread throughout many states, eventually reaching as far north as Ohio. On October 29, 1923, The House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of Truth Without Controversy, was incorporated in Columbus, Ohio under Bishop George F. Giles, Pastor and State Bishop. He retained these positions until his death on April 1, 1958. Following his death, the assistant pastor, Elder H. I. Bosart was appointed Pastor.
In 1962, under the direction of then Assistant Pastor, Rev. Beulah M. White, the church obtained a “white” house at 593 Fairwood Avenue, the corner of Fairwood Avenue and Fulton Streets. On January 26, 1966, the church mortgage was paid off, making it the first building purchased and owned by our organization in Columbus, Ohio. All previous buildings had been rented. That same year, Elder Bosart turned the responsibility of pastor over to Elder Beulah M. White. Her son Rev. Joseph White was appointed Assistant Pastor. A few years later, Elder Beulah M. White slept away to be with the Lord. Elder Joseph White was appointed the Pastor during the State Assembly in 1969.
Under the leadership of Elder Joseph White, the church was renamed “The Pool of Bethesda” Church of the Living God in 1972 and built the first new building in the organization in Columbus, Ohio at the same location (593 Fairwood Avenue). This building was paid for in full within three years. Because the congregation had grown beyond the capacity of the new church, it was necessary to plan for and take action to have a new church built. In June 1977, the church moved into its second new facility it had built at 2600 McCutcheon Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219. Within two years the church outgrew the educational classrooms and increased the size of the facility to almost double its original dimensions.
In 1979, Pastor Joseph White, under the direction of the Lord and with a strong desire to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, began an expansion program into other cities and neighboring states. A number of churches were started in Columbus, Warren, Urbana, Cleveland and Springfield, Ohio as ministers under his leadership and teaching grew out of the Pool of Bethesda Church of the Living God.
In 1980, Pastor White was appointed to State Bishop over what was eventually called the “Great Lakes Diocese.” Additional churches were fellowshipped into the organization. The Holy Spirit led Bishop Joseph White to travel abroad which led to fellowshipping in a churches in Germany and starting additional churches in Holland, The United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Suriname, South America and Africa.
In 1994, the start of a great organization known as “The Church of the Living God International, Inc.” (CLGI) emerged. The church organization which was founded by Bishop Joseph White experienced positive growth from his Christian Education Outlines and support of the International Christian Education, Missions, Men's (Brotherhood), Women’s (Elect Ladies), and Youth and Young Adult Departments. These departments have proven helpful in supporting the spread of the Gospel.
In 1998, CLGI established a Board of Bishops with the Founder and Presiding Bishop, Dr. Joseph White, D. Min. presiding over the First, Southeast, Southwest, South America; Bishop Mary M. Butler the Central States Jurisdiction and North Carolina Pre-Jurisdiction; Bishop Martha L. Edwards the Pacific Northwest Jurisdiction; Bishop William Lee III the European Jurisdiction; Bishop T.L. Lucky the Northeast Jurisdiction and Bishop Charles D. Smith, Gulf Coast Jurisdiction.
The church also has Presiding Elders: Elder Rodney Phillips, the Arkansas Pre-Jurisdiction; Elder Jeffrey Johnson, the North Carolina Pre-Jurisdiction and Elder Philemeen Rickets is the Presiding and Administrative Elder of the South American Jurisdiction
In 2008, the Jurisdictional Bishops became the Board of Directors as stated under the direction of CLGI's law firm, Bricker & Eckler. The Ecclesiastical Structure of CLGI is composed of the Board of Directors, the General Council (Elders and Pastors), General Assembly, Jurisdictional Conferences and Local Churches. CLGI is governed by its Constitution and By-Laws and is registered as a non-profit church organization in the State of Ohio. CLGI is found throughout the United States of America and abroad.