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Thursday (May 29, 2008) was the Seventh Annual Meeting for the Historical Society of Church of God Movements. We met at the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland, TN. There were 20 individuals present, representing five denominations, four archival repositories, a university, a community historical society, and several local churches. The theme for this year’s meeting was “The Development of Early Church of God Ecclesiology” and focused on the leadership roles of R.G. Spurling, founder, and A.J. Tomlinson, first general overseer.
Reverend Michael Padgett, the Society president and pastor of a Church of God Mountain Assembly congregation in Kentucky, moderated the meeting. Dr. Harold Hunter, (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) and director of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church Archives and Research Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, presented a paper in response to a paper written by Dr. Dale Coulter, (DPhil, Oxford University) and associate professor of historical theology at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Dr. Coulter’s paper, “The Development of Ecclesiology in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN): A Forgotten Contribution?”, was published in Pneuma: Journal for the Society of Pentecostal Studies (29.1, 2007, p. 59-85).
Participants in this year’s annual meeting represented the Church of God (Cleveland), the Church of God of Prophecy, the Church of God Mountain Assembly, Zion Assembly Church of God, and the United Methodist Church. The historian for Cleveland/Bradley County, Tennessee, and Bible professors at Lee University were present as well.
New officers for the Society include Executive Secretary and Treasurer – Marie Spurling Crook (Zion Assembly COG), President – Adrian Varlack, Sr. (COGOP), First Vice President – Jerald Daffe (COG), and Second Vice President – Louis Morgan (COG).
The Society's mission and purpose are "to promote the study, interpretation and interpretation of the history and heritage of Church of God movements in their variety of expressions. It shall also seek to produce, and encourage the production of historical materials (written, audio-visual, Internet), to encourage the preservation of documents, records and photographs related to the movements, and to promote occasions for the movements to remember, appreciate and celebrate their history and heritage."
"Membership in the Historical Society of Church of God Movements is open to all persons who wish to learn more about the history and heritage of the movements, contribute to our historical understanding, or support the work of the Society."
The Society meets each year on the first Thursday after Memorial Day. The location for next year’s meeting will be announced soon.