by James Thalman
Special to the Davis Clipper
KAYSVILLE—The membership of the Church of God in Christ might well be the smallest congregation on the Wasatch Front, but it also may be the most joyful.
The seven “Saints” who meet at 9 a.m. for Sunday School then gather at 11 a.m. for group worship to celebrate both their love of God and their Savior Jesus Christ in word and song. Almost half of the service is in song – not hymns but in modern African-American Gospel music.
The spirit is sincere and the music caroms around the small chapel at 94 East Center St. The bell tower atop the building is empty, but history and harmony rings out across every Sunday morning.
“The bell had to be sold to make ends meet,” Pastor George Green said. “Of course I have dreams of getting an actual bell. Although that would be nice, the Holy Ghost and love for the Church and for each other will continue to ring in our hearts.”
The building, which is on the state Historical Site registry, has been standing since shortly after the great migration west of pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley. The stocky, solid structure was first a public school, then a Presbyterian Church and is now a house of worship that is one of 12,000 COGIC churches worldwide.
The National Council of Churches ranks COGIC as the fifth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with more than 6.5 million members. More than 25,000 congregations are included on COGIC’s rolls and meetings are held in 83 countries.
Pastor Green, who said he was called as a preacher eight years ago, points out that the church is a member of the Protestant body “but ascribes to the event that occurred on the Day of Pentecost – the 50th day after the Passover, or Easter.”
COGIC has its own doctrines specific to its Pentecostal traditions that will be shared with the general public on March 25 at 3:30 p.m. at the Kaysville chapel.
“One and all of every walk and faith in life is welcome to attend and will be warmly accepted into the celebration of the church’s founding in 1907,” he said.
“We love to praise the lord here,” Pastor Green said. “We like to sing and dance and be inspired by music. When visitors come, we ask you to join in, and do whatever you feel except to tear the place down,” he said with a laugh. “Some folks might think we worship in a different way, but those who come with an open heart find meetings not as strange as they imagined they might be.”
COGIC leaders are not shy about speaking out on current events. The Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr., decried the mass shooting last month in Parkland, Fla., as a sign of the rapid moral decay of modern society.
Pastor Green, 67, looks at the bigger picture, noting that the country in general has all but lost the message Christ brought into the world.
“If the President and the Congress would return to those teachings and live them instead of claiming to,” he said, “we wouldn’t have the lying and cheating and thugging that’s going on now.”