Elder Roger Hairston, visionary and former C. L. G. National Minister of Music, got the telephone number of the late Apostle Patricia A. Jones, Pastor of the former McCullough Memorial C. L. G

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Elder Roger Hairston, visionary and former C.L.G. National Minister of Music, got the telephone number of the late Apostle Patricia A. Jones, Pastor of the former McCullough Memorial C.L.G. in Harrisburg, PA from our past Assistant National Minister of Music, Elder Barbara Ward-Farmer and that was the beginning of the first C.L.G. National Music Conference held Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 2, 1989, in Harrisburg, PA. The workshops, rehearsals, and Sunday Morning Service were held at McCullough Memorial Church on Regina Street. A hospitality luncheon was provided for the delegates by McCullough Memorial Church. The services were graciously hosted by Elder Doc Gilmore and the congregation of Mt. Calvary C.O.G.I.C. Our President General, Bishop Jesse J. White, Sr. sanctioned the National Music Conference; while our Vice-President General, Bishop David Drone of Ohio and Bishop Lillian Ward of NJ attended. Although met by a winter storm, the bus from Akron and the large delegations from Camden & New England rode through the storm and packed it out. Also, there were locals, like the Wilson family and from as far as the Gulf Coast! The National Mass Choir ministered original songs in concert with a mini-concert by the National Children’s Choir, directed by Sis. Patricia Wood, Sis. Geronnie Clark, and Missionary Angela Herndon. Some of our pioneer musicians were Min. Bryon Ward, Min. Garry Herndon, Sr., and our introduction to Bro. Anthony McMillan, who has been adopted by the Churches of the Living God as a faithful servant. NMC initial officers: Elder Roger Hairston – National Min. of Music, Elder Barbara Farmer – National Assistant Min. of Music, Apostle Patricia Jones – Spiritual Advisor, Deacon Virgle McGrady, Sr. – Treasurer, Minister Carolyne Sullivan-Historian, Minister A. E. Sullivan, Jr. – Public Relations, Elder Ronald McGee – Hospitality, and Elder Charlotte Alexander - Finance Team.

By the next year, the former McCullough Memorial Church could no longer hold the increase of the National Music Conference. Deaconess Betty Beene of Tupelo, MS chartered bus load(s) from the south. From 1990-1992 all of the workshops and services were held at the Mt. Calvary C.O.G.I.C. Bro Frank Gainey of Philadelphia worked the registration tables faithfully for subsequent years. Some of our early facilitators were Minister Ronald King, Bro. Kevin Pringle, Brother Willis, Elder Jessie White, Evangelist Wendell Miller, Elder Lance Dardan, Bro. Howard Kennedy, Sister Michelle Bradshaw, Bro. Thomas Adams, Minister Rodney Green, Minister Carol Ellerbe, and of course, our very own Elder Hairston, and Elder Farmer.

In March 1993, the 5th annual conference made its’ first move to Columbus, Ohio, where Elder Hairston and his local church, Temple of Faith C.L.G. hosted. It was there, the Lord blessed us to make our first live recording, entitled “He’s Brought Me” written by Elder Hairston at Triedstone Church. Due to the recording project, Thursday evening service was added to the conference. We were blessed to rehearse at Refuge Baptist Church which was shepherded by Elder Hairston’s late father, and enjoyed delicious meals prepared by his mother, the late Mrs. Henrietta Hairston. Bishop Drone, Bishop Hopkins, Bishop L. Ward, Bishop Warren, and Bishop Robins blessed the NMC with gifts of $300 for the first recording.

The next year, 1994, we returned to the birthplace of the National Music Conference at Mt. Calvary, in Harrisburg. For the first time, the workshops and rehearsals were in the hotel. The workshops were: Pastor & Musician Relationship by Elder Jesse White, Copyright Laws & Recording by Elder William Jones, To Be Or Not To Be Gospel with Elder Farmer, Elder Hairston facilitated Choir Decorum, Sound Engineering by Bro. Milt Matthews, Praise & Worship with Sis. Denise Williams, and Praise Dancing was introduced by Sis. Pam Stewart. Special guest, recording artist, Minister Douglas Miller held solo & choir workshops with the C.L.G. Mass Choir and ministered together in the evening service and he also preached.

The 7th annual conference, March 1995, was made unique with many first. The entire convention held all events in the hotel, The Holiday Inn, Harrisburg-East. The N.M.C. mission statement written by Elder William Jones, Jr. was printed for the first time. Evangelist Angela Herndon held the first children’s music classes. Another new tradition initiated by Evangelist Kelvin Ransey, who led powerful prayer & ministry each morning. Additional NMC team members were: Sis. Shelia Tapscott, Secretary, Sis. Frances Lavender, workshop coordinator, Min. Ramona Kinard, Praise/Worship coordinator, Min. Vanessa Thornton, Usher coordinator, and Sis. Rhonda Hill, booklet coordinator. The NMC held Vendor/Exhibitor Area for the first time. The Gospel Talent Showcase originated this same year, and the winner – Min. Garry Herndon, Sr. The Church of the Living God may have made more history, while operating the NMC, the Officers’ Retreat, and the Budgeting & Structure Team simultaneously, in the same location.

The faithful delegates of the Southern New England Diocese hosted the 8th Annual Music Conference, in March 1996, at the Holiday Inn Downtown and First C.L.G. in Hartford, CT, the home of our President General, Bishop Jesse White, Sr. During this conference, the National Mass Choir prepared for the 2nd recording, “Worship the Lord” written by Evangelist Kelvin Ransey, which was held the following August at the National Youth Congress in Harrisburg at the Hilton & Towers. Along with Evangelist Ransey, several other C.L.G. born song writers were showcased on this recording: Elder Courtney Pope, Min. Melody Sherman Tate, the late Pastor Troy Hopkins, and Elder Farmer. The National Children’s Choir sang an original written by Evangelist & Min. Herndon with a violin solo by 12 year old Miss Angela Holland of Mount Calvary COGIC.

In March 1997, the 9th Annual Music Conference convened at Grace Temple C.L.G., Steelton, PA, hosted by Bishop Ivy Hopkins, Executive Administrator. Our Former National Assistant Minister of Music Melody Sherman Allen preached until His train filled the temple. Minister Jamar Jones could no longer play the organ, but was slain in the spirit.

The 10th Annual Music Conference, March 1998, was once again hosted at McCullough Memorial C.L.G., 18th & State Streets, Harrisburg, at the newly purchased edifice were the entire conference was accommodated, “Look where God brought us from”! By this time some changes in administration had taken place, Elder Farmer, National Minister of Music, Rev. Melody Sherman and Sister Betty Beene, National Assistant Minister of Music, Elder Hairston, Music Advisor, Sis. Chi Chi Nabors, Secretary, and Sis. Marcella Knight, Hotel Coordinator. Bro. Larry Farmer, Sr. manned the vending areas selling CLG recordings and operating sound equipment, Sis. Sonya Hairston sold CLG Music Conference sweatshirts and tees. National Musicians: Min. Jamar Jones, the Late, Rev. Troy Hopkins, Bro. Curtis Andrews, and Bro. Darrell Williams. While Min. Garry Herndon, Sr. provided transportation for our out of town guest, Bro. Larry Farmer Jr. made his Music Conference debut as the organist for the National Children’s Choir. Local guest, known as the largest gospel singing family: The Scott White Evangelistic Crusade of Steelton ministered in song. The first Music Award Recognition Prayer Breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Were you there? Mother Bernice Hopkins received a Living Legend Award for her many years of musical service to the Lord. Friday evening, special guest: Evangelist Rita Twiggs of Washington, D.C. preached and preached up a storm – a snow storm.

In March 1999, the 11th NMC convened in Detroit, Michigan, host pastor, Elder Lillian Robinson. Services were held in two locations: Thursday evening – United Temple COGIC, where recording artist Dorinda Clark Cole preached –“Lord, Don’t Take Your Spirit From Me” and the renowned Perfecting Ministries Center, Marvin Winans, pastor. Our National Minister of Music, Elder Farmer recognized the great heritage of one of Detriot’s own – Professor Edward G. Robinson. Guest presenters: Sister Deloris Brown of New Jersey, Sister Renee Washington, Brother Derrick Starks, and Minister Kenny Wells (who has worked with many gospel artist) of Michigan. Elder Benjamin Drone brought the gospel choir from Buchtel High School, Akron, Ohio, who has attended every year thereafter. We always enjoy them and they are a great asset to the NMC. In the summer of that year, the NMC made its’ third recording, during the National Youth Congress held in Chicago, IL, and was produced by Minister Melody Sherman and Bro. Darrell Williams, who wrote the title cut, “Help Me Praise Him”.

Our first trip of southern hospitality, in Tupelo, Mississippi, with Bishop Clarence Parks hosting dual conferences: 12th NMC and the Ministerial Retreat led by our General Overseer, Bishop Jesse White, Sr. Deaconness Betty Beene’s bus planning skills were able to take a break this year. The speaker for the Music Awards Recognition Prayer Breakfast was Min. Shawn Wilson. During the Saturday evening concert, after Bishop Hairston led the CLG Mass Choir in the Hymn, “Oh To Be Kept By Jesus”, we had a Shechinah Glory experience. When God was finished – we departed.

Back to Columbus, Ohio, for the 13th Annual NMC, in March 2001, held at Temple of Faith CLG, Bishop Hairston’s church and visiting once more, Triedstone Baptist Church. After recent elections, Bro. Curtis Andrews serves as our National Assistant Minister of Music. Minister Kresta Reno contributes as the Microsoft publisher souvenir booklet coordinator. Friday evening service guest preacher: Bishop Keith Williams of Columbus. Evangelist Kelvin Ransey was the speaker for the 4th Music Awards Recognition Prayer Breakfast. Min. Carol Ellerbe brought the Woodrow Wilson Alumni Choir, who really blessed us with their skillful singing.

The next four years were spent on the Atlantic Coast, hosted by Pennsylvania - Bishop Ivy Hopkins and New Jersey - Bishop Lillian Ward. Workshops and sessions were held in the Historic District, Downtown Philadelphia hotels with the extracurricular activities of shopping and eating. Services were in Camden, NJ, at Faith Tabernacle CLG where our National Minister of Music, Elder Barbara Farmer is the pastor and Antioch Baptist Church, Rev. John O. Parker, pastor. Several administration changes occurred during this time. Bishop Clarence Parks serves as the Auxiliary Bishop of the NMC, Sis. Sonya Hairston became treasurer, Min. Larry Herndon, NMC Children’s Director, Elder Kelvin Ransey, Spiritual Advisor. Bro. Larry Farmer Jr., Bro. Keith Simpson, and Bro. George Parks are National Musicians, with Honorary Musicians: Min. Jamar Jones, Min. Damon, Bro. Antoine, Bro Quadris, and Bro. Anthony McMillan serving also as our sound engineer. Providing equipment logistics are Sis. Sabrina & Bro. Larry Farmer. Our Praise Dance instructor has been Bro. Brandon Davis & Sis. Margaret Estelle, National Praise Team Leader. For two years we feasted from the ministry of Rev. Steven Ford, music producer and musician, who gave a profound initial sermon, in March 2002 – Who would have known that it was his first sermon? In 2003, Elder Farmer presented memorial awards on behalf of the late Bro. James McKnight and the late Apostle Patricia Jones, former Spiritual Advisor. Elder Benjamin Drone’s seeds continued to blossom, in the same year, another bus joined the Akron caravan with students from Firestone High School. They have made the NMC a tradition too.

In 2004, during the National Youth Congress in Detroit, MI, the NMC made its 4th recording. We must release this work and spread it! The choir was formed from our sons and daughters, the next generation of CLG musicians, soloist, and singers, who have grown-up, from the children & young adult choirs, and now represent the Churches of the Living God Mass Choir. They made us proud as they glorified God in song. We drugged them. Yes, we drugged them to the National Music conference, we drugged them to the National Youth Congress, we drugged them from city to city and state to state, all day Sunday, and during the week. We drugged them. Aren’t you glad you drugged them? Now, our young people’s achievements are reflective of 16 years of perseverance through a seed God planted in Bishop Roger Hairston and Elder Barbara Ward Farmer.

In 2006, the NMC was brought back to Harrisburg and Mt. Calvary COGIC. The Bishops also held a Minister’s Retreat at the Crowne Plaza downtown. Last year the 19th NMC was held in the Philadelphia/Camden area.

CLG Proud: Min. Melody Tate is recording artist. Sis. Kristy Richardson, who also sang solo with The Mississippi Mass Choir, now sings back-up with Ce Ce Winans. Min. Kevin Wilson works for world renowned recording artist, Fred Hammond. Min. Darrell Williams has recorded with his group. Sis. Benita Farmer has become a recording artist. Min. Jamar Jones is the music director for Bishop T.D. Jakes at the Potter’s House.

2008! Twenty Years, you are here in Greensboro. You are a part of history! Thank-you one and all from the NMC to: the Bishops, Pastors, Guests, and Members of the Churches of the Living God. We, the Churches of the Living God, thank God for our Music Leaders who have acted on their visions from God and have allowed us to be a part of it. Only God knows how the next twenty years will unfold; and as Elder Farmer so eloquently penned, her song: If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us!

Rev. Angela Sullivan-Herndon,


Elder Carolyne (McGrady) Sullivan,

NMC Historian

Diocese Ministers of Music,

The NMC Salutes You

For All Your Years of Dedication!

(Names provided from NMC program booklets from 1990 -2001)

Sis. Ida Jean Wimbley

Bro. Gregory Gates

Elder Roger Hairston

Min. Tommy Fisher

Bro. Michael Ransey

In Memory of: Ingrid Raper Rodgers

Sis. Betty Beene

Bro. Marvine Warren

Bro. Perry Mays

Evangelist Courtney Pope

Sis. Chanel Pope

Evangelist Barbara Farmer

Evangelist Wendell Miller

Min. Ronald King

Min. Rodney Green

Sis. Renee Maddox

Sis. Sheila Clark

Bro. Shawn Wilson

Sis. Chi Chi Mapson

Bro. Walter May

Bro. Jay Clemmons

Sis. Velma Hill

Sis. Mabel Williams

Bro. Jerry Drone

Elder Benjamin Drone

Min. A.E. Sullivan, Jr.

Sis. Ramona Kinard

Elder Jesse White, Jr.

Bro. Dennis Nash

Bro. Douglas Major

Sis. Bertha McSwain

Rev. George Hadley

Bro. J.C. Beene

Sis. Cheryl Jones

Sis. Linda Tribbey

In Memory of: Pastor Troy Hopkins

Sis. Melody Sherman

Rev. James McLain, Jr.

Evangelist Lorraine White

Min. Byron Ward

Sis. Carol Ellerbe

Evangelist Sandra Manuel

In Memory of: Deacon James Knight

Elder Michael Roberts

Sis. Faith Jackson

Sis. Wylene Woods

Min. Tracy Baker

Min. Jamar Jones

Bro. Curtis Andrews

Elder Pat Smith

Bro. Ron Lindsey

Min. Kerric Sparrow

Sis. Benita Farmer


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