Oregon Northwest Jurisdiction

Our History

The genesis of Jurisdiction#2 of the Church of God in Christ in Portland, Oregon began in the mid nineteen twenties and early thirties. The ethnicity of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) was predominantly African American and was no different in the Northwest region for those that joined the COGIC. During World War II era (1941-1945), African Americans from many southern states found gainful employment working in the shipyards. Their labor helped to build military ships that were utilized to defend our country. They received more financial compensation working in the shipyards in the North in lieu of the wages they received in the South. During the migration from South to North, there were many preachers that came to take advantage of employment; they had no intentions of establishing churches or ministries. They planned to earn decent wages in the North and return to their families in the South. However, many African Americans who relocated to Portland, Oregon from the South and found employment in the railroads and shipyards remianed in Oregon continuing to support their families and gain financial stability.

 The McSwain family was one among many originating African American families that relocated to the Pacific Northwes and were members of the Church of God in Christ in the state of Oklahoma. When they moved to Oregon, they remained faithful to the teaching of holiness, prayer, fasting, preaching, teaching, fellowship and conducting the business pertaining to the church, despite the lack of preachers or missionaries to instruct them. The McSwain birthed four sons and three daughters that were all instrumental in ministry and were very talented musicians. They were often featured on a local radio station in Vancouver, Washington and well known for their gospel singing. Pastor Bill McSwain, a son of the McSwain family, was a pastor who held church services in downtown Vancouver on First Street. Pastor Bill McSwain worked with Overseer W.L. McKinney as the first State YPWW President in Jurisdiction #1. Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, founder of the Church of God in Christ, appointed Elder W.L. McKinney overseer of the state of Oregon Church of God in Christ on July 17, 1944. Bishop McKinney served as Bishop for the entire state of Oregon for over eighteen years.

Bishop Joseph Cephas Foster:  Founder, Jurisdiction#2

Bishop J.C. Foster was born to the late Jerry and Ellen Foster on July 25th, 1905 in Eldorado, Arkansas. He began preaching in 1929 and was ordained as elder in the C.O.G.I.C by the late Bishop Hightide of Little Rock, Arkansas in 1939 and built his first church in the town of DeQueen, Arkansas. He and his wife Mother Bertha Foster moved to Portland, Oregon in 1943 and were members of Fifth and Flanders C.O.G.I.C. Bishop Foster became pastor of the Vernonia C.O.G.I.C. in Vernonia, Oregon and in 1948, he and Mother Foster mortgaged their home to purchase the St. Paul C.O.G.I.C. building located on N. Borthwick in Portland, Oregon. Bishop Foster was appointed Jurisdictional Bishop of Jurisdiction #2 in 1962, by the late Bishop A.B. McEwen and selected Mother Lossie Mae Crear to be Supervisor of Women in Jurisdiction #2. Bishop J.C. Foster paved the way for those succeeding generations and held the distinction of being the First Jurisdictional Prelate of the Second Jurisdiction in the State of Oregon.

Bishop J.C. Foster was a barber by trade and his profession placed him in constant contact with community leaders. He won many souls through his friendly smile, generous nature, and charismatic personality. He received a Masters Degree in teaching from the Charles Harrison Mason System of Bible Colleges and a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Trinity Hall College and Seminary. Bishop Foster was a well-known individual throughout the city of Portland. He was active in a wide range of organizations: founding member of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, founding member of Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, and member of the Albina Rotary Club. He received the Christenson’s Brothers Award, London, England 1976, The Chamber of Commerce Convention Sales Award, 1989 and the Albina Ministerial Alliance Pioneer Award, 1991. Under his leadership, he achieved many great accomplishments. The final chapter in the book of life for Bishop Joseph Cephas Foster was completed on October 19, 1997.

Bishop Wilbert Gail Hardy, Sr. Second in Succession

Bishop W.G. Hardy, Sr. was born to the late Elder D.J. & Msn. Ester Hardy on July 25th 1928 in Enid, Oklahoma. Bishop Hardy was saved at the age of 16 and at the tender age of 17, he accepted the Master’s call and began an evangelistic ministry that had great impact on many individuals.  He served faithfully in the Southern California Jurisdiction under the late Bishop Samuel Crouch.

In 1949, Bishop Hardy enlisted in the United States Army as a combat chaplain in the Korean War and was honorably discharged, receiving the Three-Bronze Star award. In that same year, he married the beautiful Anorvia Louise Campbell and to this union was born five children. Shortly after the birth of their children, Bishop and Mother Hardy relocated to Portland, Oregon and in 1956, they founded the Mt. Sinai C.O.G.I.C. and initially served in Jurisdiction #1 under the late Bishop W.L. McKinney. Bishop Hardy was very active in the work of the Juridiction serving as the State Y.P.W.W. President.

Bishop Hardy was instrumental in assisting Bishop Foster in the establishment Jurisdiction#2 serving as the First Administrative Assistant and District Superintendent of the Mt. Moriah District. In November of 1997 during  the Holy Convocation in Memphis, Tennessee, the Honorable Presiding Bishop Chandler D. Owens consecrated Bishop W.G. Hardy, Sr. as the Jurisdictional Prelate of Oregon Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the C.O.G.I.C. Soon after becoming Prelate of the Oregon Second Jurisdiction, Bishop W.G. Hardy, Sr. changed the name from Jurisdiction#2 to Oregon Northwest Jurisdiction.

Bishop Hardy was affectionately known as the “Little King” and was well known throughout the world for his International Evangelistic crusades in tents and auditoriums. Through his ministry, many souls were saved, blessed, and healed. Bishop Hardy was very successful in broadcast media ministries within the community. He was also well known for the closing salutations at the end of each broadcast day for KATU, Channel 2 and later for his own television show, “Hallejujah Sunday” on the same broadcast network. “Hallelujah Sunday” received the National Rim for TV Religious Programming. Bishop Hardy was an accomplished musician and taught his sons to play the organ, piano, and guitar. His legacy contiues today through the lives of his children and grandchildren.

In 2003, on his birthday July 25th, he received an official Day of Appreciation from the honorable Vera Katz, Mayor of the City of Portland and Governor of the State of Oregon Ted Kulongoski. Bishop W.G. Hardy, Sr. had a unique anointing, and pioneering ability that lead others to their musical and the ministry destiny. More than ten churches in Oregon were either founded by or existed because of Bishop W.G. Hardy, Sr., he had an uncanny ability to dream and visualize God’s work.

1st Supervisor of Women: Mother Lossie Mae Crear: 1963-1972

Mother Crear was selected as the first Supervisor of Women in Oregon Jurisdiction #2 under the leadership of Bishop J.C Foster. Mother Crear was responsible for the inception of the Women’s Convention as well as many boards and auxiliaries during her tenure. Mother Crear was known as a very sophisticated, poised, and spiritual woman of God.

2nd Supervisor of Woman: Mother Mary Louie: 1973-1992

Mother Louie reigned as Supervisor of Women for over 19 years and was an enormous inspiration to many in the jurisdiction. Mother Louis ssisted greatly in the spiritual development of women under her leadership and guidance. Her reputation was very quiet but stern, yet she loved you with an everlasting love. Mother Louie was the first cousin of Bishop J.C Foster. During her administration, she played a very instrumental role in the strategic planning of the International Women’s Convention held in Portland, Oregon in 1989 which brought to our Jurisdiction the presence of the fourth National General Supervisor of Women Dr. Mattie McGlothen.

3rd Supervisor of Women: Mother Elizabeth Pearl Jackson: 1994-2003

Mother Elizabeth Jackson was selected as the third State Supervisor of Women for Oregon Jurisdiction #2/ Oregon Northwest Jurisdiction. Mother had the unique gift of motivating women to work and utilized her spiritual expertise to encourage women to develop their spiritual gifts and talents to work together to accomplish great things. During her tenure she hosted our National Supervisor Mother Willie Mae Rivers, she established the Jackson Drill Team, luncheons, banquets, salad bars, and Fourth Sunday Women’s Service to name a few of her accomplishments. The women’s department grew rapidly through her leadership and direction. Her love for work, wisdom, and insight brought the State Women’s Department to higher dimensions. She was truly an inspiration, a true leader of her day.