Starting another chapter in a storied life
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Oct 17, 2013
Before a capacity-filled East Street Tabernacle, Bishop Franklin M. Ferguson was installed as the fifth indigenous national overseer of the more than 100-year-old Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) in The Bahamas on Sunday.
As he spoke to the congregation, he told them that he had considered the responsibility that accompanied his role in organizing, implementing and administering the total ministries of COGOP in The Bahamas. And that he was committed to maintaining a servant relationship role as he supervised the national office, staff, programs and ministries.
The newly installed national overseer said he was committed to the church’s biblically mandated mission, and that he pledged to effectively administer the affairs of the church so that the system functions at its optimum level with integrity.
He told church members that he was committed to plurality of leadership and the mentoring of young leadership so that they are available for service when called upon. He also pledged to encourage the membership and leadership of the church to a life of prayer and good stewardship of time, talent and treasure and to lead in these initiatives by his own example. Ferguson also said he was committed to evangelism and mission at home and abroad, understanding that they were key to the mandated challenge of the church?
In his sermon charge to Ferguson, General Presbyter for the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean Islands Bishop Clayton Martin told Franklin that he is to embrace humility and serve others in a way that God is glorified. He said the world, the Caribbean and The Bahamas need men and women who are willing to humble themselves and serve others willingly. He told members of the church that the man they installed as their newest national overseer is a leader of God’s people, a leader of leaders and a servant of God.
“If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good work. The office of a servant leader/overseer is a biblically based function in the church. To fulfill the office of an overseer is an awesome responsibility. There are many overseer leadership challenges that require one’s total commitment of caring for, nurturing, protecting and leading the ministry of an entire nation, region or state,” said Martin.
With a number of religious and civic leaders amongst the congregation, Martin said Ferguson’s installation service served to remind them that as leaders they are reminded to do their best for the glory of God.
Martin also reminded Ferguson’s wife, Minister Rovena Ferguson, that spouses play a significant role alongside their husbands and that he knew she would continue to work alongside her husband for the glory and good of the work and the advancement of the kingdom of God in The Bahamas. He told the couple that as they love, serve and work, that they should be faithful so that in the end, they would hear the master servant say to them that they were good and faithful servants.
Instruments of consecration consisting of two prayer quilts were presented to the national overseer and his wife. The prayer quilts were a collection of individual prayer cloths, fabricated by each church or district in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. They were hand-sewn together to form prayer quilts by two women from Spanish Wells, Eleuthera. The cloths were actual and symbolic prayers of support the members of COGOP offered on behalf of their new national overseer and his family as they begin a new season of leadership ministry.
Ferguson was also presented with a Bible that he was told was the foundation of all of his decisions, and his guide for every path he would take. He was also presented with a gavel, a symbol of his authority as moderator of the business of the church, as well as his certificate from the international offices to transact any and all business for the COGOP within the territory under his jurisdiction.
Ferguson may be the fifth indigenous national overseer, but he is the 11th overseer in the church’s history.
Bahamians who preceeded Ferguson were Bishop Elgarnet Rahming (1999-2013), Bishop Brice Thompson (1974-1999), Bishop Alvin Moss (1934-1974) and Bishop Stanley Ferguson (1924-1934).
Also present for the installation service was COGOP General Presbyter for North America Bishop Sam Clements; Executive Director for Finance at the international offices of the COGOP Bishop Paul Holt; Executive Director of Leadership Development and Training Bishop David Bryan; Head of the Center for Biblical Leadership Bishop Hector Ortiz; Minister Cathy Payne from Global Missions; National Overseer of Trinidad and Tobago Maurice Jones; National Overseer of Jamaica Bishop Vincent Leith; State Overseer of South Carolina Bishop Tim Coalter; State Overseer of Florida Bishop Robert Davis; State Overseer of Tennessee Bishop AC McKinley; Bishop Vincent Christian, who represented Bishop Leroy Greenaway from Mid-Atlantic region, and Bishop Astley White, pastor of the COGOP in the Cayman Islands.
Also present were Pastor Arelene Hall from Boston, Massachusetts; Laish Boyd, Anglican bishop of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands; Reverend Patrick Paul, superintendent of the Assemblies of God in The Bahamas; Bishop Moses Johnson, representing Bishop John Humes, administrative bishop for the Church of God in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands; Bishop Ros Davis, Bahamas Network of Apostolic Churches; Pastor Paul Scavella, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Conference; Rev. Philip Rahming, Pastor of Rehoboth Ministries; General Presbyter Emeritus Bishop Brice H. Thompson; Bahamas Christian Council President Reverend Ranford Patterson and former COGOP National Overseer Bishop Elgarnet Rahming.