Cleveland, Tenn.– The Historical Society of the Church of God met on the campus of Lee University on Thursday, May 24 for its 11th annual meeting. This year’s theme was music, with special focus on the development and influence of the Church Hymnal and shaped-note singing. Twenty-nine individuals attended, representing four denominations: Church of God, Church of God of Prophecy, Church of God Mountain Assembly, and the United Methodist Church.
The program began at 9:30 a.m. in the John Nichols Room in the basement of the new Lee University Chapel. Dr. Donald LeRoy, minister of music at West Metro Church of God in Douglasville, Georgia, gave an informative presentation on the Church Hymnal, affectionately known as the “Red-back Hymnal.” This collection of Gospel songs was published first in 1951 and continues to be used in many Church of God and Baptist congregations. Dr. LeRoy also noted early leaders in Church of God music, such as Otis McCoy and Vep Ellis.
Dr. Jim Burns, a Professor of Music at Lee, gave an informative and entertaining presentation on shaped note singing, which was prominent in the Gospel music scene for many years. Pathway Press continues to be one of the world’s largest publishers of shaped note music. Those attending then sang a few songs using the seven shaped-note method.
Following a lunch break at Lee University dining facilities, those attending gathered in the sanctuary of the new Lee University Chapel for a time of worship, where they sang songs from Banner Hymns, the songbook of the Church of God of Prophecy that contains many of the same songs included in the “Red-back Hymnal”. Frank Shroyer led this service with Jenna Allen accompanying at the piano.
Outgoing president is Dr. Jerald Daffe (Church of God). Officers for 2012-13 are Dr. Louis F. Morgan (Church of God), President; Robert George (Bradley County Historical Society), 1st Vice President; Ryan Cary (The Church of God), 2nd Vice President; and Don Brock (Church of God of Prophecy), Executive Secretary and Treasurer.
According to founding president, Dr. David Roebuck, the Historical Society of Church of God Movements began in 2002 in order to provide opportunities for representatives of the various denominations that use the name Church of God to better understand both common and unique aspects of our history and heritage. For more information see http://historicalsocietycgm.blogspot.com/.