Brief Historical Sketch of the
United Churches of God in Christ, Inc.
The United Churches of God in Christ, Inc. is a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in which the word of God is preached, the ordinances instituted by Christ are administered and the doctrine of sanctification is emphasized as being essential to the salvation of mankind.
Our Great Church is commonly known as being:
1. Holiness in nature because we believe that born-again believers should seek to receive the Baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to conversion.
2. Pentecostal in practice because of the importance we ascribe to the events which occurred on the Day of Pentecost as being necessary for all Christian believers to experience.
3. Protestant in polity, though we did not directly evolve from the European/English Reformation, but have our origin within the Church of God in Christ, Inc. (headquartered in Memphis, TN).
Bishop Marshall Carter, who later became the founder and organizer of the United Churches of God in Christ, Inc., was given the name “Junior Carter”at his birth. He was born August 17, 1920, in Lilburn (Gwinnett County), Georgia, to the late Mr. Marshall Carter and Mrs. Lemma Carter. In his early life, he worked on his father’s farm. Later he became a trained mechanic, a Mason, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps (World War II), he retired from Rheem Manufacturing Company, where he was the secretary of the AFL-CIO and he also retired from General Motors Corporation. His name was changed to “Marshall” (like his father), upon joining the Marines.
His life was forever changed while working at a place called, “Briarcliff Laundry”. There he met the woman that he referred to as his “other self”, the late Mother Lillie Fanning Carter. They were joined in Holy Matrimony on November 9, 1940. To this union, four children were born: (1) the late Patricia Carter Logan, (2) Dr. Larry Carter, (3) Dr. Myra Carter Warner and (4) Jayetta Carter McFarlin.
Bishop Carter came into holiness in 1952 at the Jones Avenue Church of God in Christ, under the leadership of the late Bishop George Briley. He served faithfully as an Ordained Deacon, the Sunday School Superintendent and the Guitarist. He accepted his call into the ministry in 1956. The then“Minister & Sister Carter” established and organized the Lynwood Park Church of God in Christ on January 15, 1959 and he was ordained as an Elder in March, 1959. In 1974, Bishop Briley (who had become the Prelate of the Northwestern Georgia Jurisdiction COGIC) appointed Elder Carter as the Superintendent of the Lynwood Park District. After the untimely passing of Bishop Briley in 1976, Superintendent Carter was appointed by COGIC’s Presiding Bishop, the late Bishop James O. Patterson, Sr., as his liaison for the Northwestern Georgia Jurisdiction. In 1979, Bishop J. O. Patterson decided to dissolve the Northwestern Georgia Jurisdiction and the pastors of the jurisdiction were given an ultimatum to unite with one of the other jurisdictions in the State of Georgia. Superintendent Carter, joined by a great majority of the pastors from the dissolved jurisdiction, organized the Church of God in Christ Incorporated of Georgia as an Independent Fellowship that would “report to” and remain under the authority of the Church of God in Christ, Inc., headquartered in Memphis, TN. It was hoped that Bishop Patterson would “recognize” the Independent Fellowship and allow them to once again become a jurisdiction. By the end of 1979, it became apparent that the Fellowship was not going to be recognized by the Memphis Body. In addition to that, pastors from other states desired to join Superintendent Carter’s organization. Through much prayer, God led him to break “ties” with the Memphis Body and to establish a Reformation that would bring “unity” to the Body of Christ. In obedience to God, the Church of God in Christ Incorporated of Georgia was dissolved and the United Churches of God in Christ, Inc. was formed. On January 1, 1980, Superintendent Marshall Carter was elevated to the Bishopric and was formally affirmed and installed as the first Chief Apostle & Presiding Bishop of the United Churches of God in Christ, Inc.
Bishop Carter served faithfully until Sunday, June 22, 2003, when he made his triumphant entrance into his heavenly home, at the age of 83. Upon the death of our founder, Bishop Aill Mannie of Albany, Georgia, became the second Chief Apostle & Presiding Bishop of our Great Church. During the 23rd Annual Holy Convocation of the United Churches of God in Christ (July, 2003), the General Assembly of the United Churches of God in Christ, Inc. decided that the Office of the Presiding Bishop would become an elected office, broken up into four year terms. The General Assembly voted and decided that the election would follow the same schedule as the Presidential Election in the USA. The General Assembly set the first quadrennial election to be held during the Annual Call Meeting in February, 2004. In that election, Bishop Spencer Lackey, Sr. of Decatur, Georgia became the third Chief Apostle & Presiding Bishop of the Church. In January, 2009, the General Assembly allowed Bishop Aaron B. Lackey, Sr. to hold the office of Chief Apostle & Presiding Bishop for a thirteen (13) month interim period. On February 27, 2010, UCOGIC’s General Assembly elected and ratified Bishop Aaron B. Lackey, Sr. as its fourth Chief Apostle & Presiding Bishop.
Under Bishop A. B. Lackey’s spiritual and apostolic direction, the United Churches of God in Christ, Inc. has experienced tremendous growth and expansion. Churches under the parent body (headquartered in Fairburn, GA) are now established throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Republic of South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia and Burkina Faso.
The United Churches of God in Christ, Inc., are “Exemplifying Holiness, with a Standard of Excellence!”