History of the East Region

The Eastern Region of the International Youth Department is comprised of eight states: Delaware, Eastern New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.  The East Regional youth services, first as the Regional Rally, then as the East Coast Inter-Jurisdictional Youth Explosion has touched the lives of youth in each area of our Region.  Our 12th Regional event, during 2010, was one of the greatest we have ever had where we experienced another awesome move of God in our nation’s capital as we played host to our International Youth Department leaders, President Linwood Dillard and Evangelist Joyce Rodgers.  Where will we end up next?  Stay tuned to find out…


Year City Site Host(s)
1998 Philadelphia, PA Holy Temple COGIC Bishop O. T. Jones, Sr.
1999 Washington, DC New Bethel COGIC Bishop Sherman Howard
2000 Newark, NJ Wells Cathedral COGIC Bishop Norman Prescott
2001 Baltimore, MD Carter Memorial COGIC Bishop David Spann
2002 Brooklyn, NY Historic First COGIC Bishop James Gaylord
2004 Dover, DE Bibleway Temple COGIC Bishop L. T. Blackshear
2005 Portsmouth, VA New Commmunity COGIC Bishop Ted Thomas
2006 Baltimore, MD Carter Memorial COGIC Bishop David Spann
2007 Trenton, NJ 1st Jurisdiction Temple Bishop Martin L. Johnson
2008 Philadelphia, PA Mount Airy COGIC Bishop Ernest Morris, Jr.
2009 Norfolk, VA Garden of Prayer COGIC Bishop Levi Willis, Jr.
2010 Washington, DC The Sancturay Bishop Neavelle Coles
2011 Cherry Hill, NJ Crowne Plaza Bishops of New Jersey
2012 Cherry Hill, NJ Crowne Plaza Bishops of New Jersey
2013 Philadelpha, PA Mount Airy COGIC Bishop Ernest Morris, Jr.
2014 Norfolk, VA Garden of Prayer Worship Center Bishop Levi Willis
2015 Hunt Valley, MD Hunt Valley Inn – Wyndham Grand Hotel Bishops of Maryland
2016 Summerset, NJ Double Tree by Hilton Summerset Hotel Bishops of New Jersey
2017 Rye Brook, NY Hilton Westchester Bishops of New York
2018 Portsmouth, VA Renaissance Hotel Bishops of Virginia
2019 Philadelphia, PA Mt. Airy COGIC Bishops Ernest Morris
Our Presidents
  1. Pastor Greg Frison (1997-2000)

  2. Pastor Kevin Knight, Sr. (2000-2005).

  3. Pastor Tyrone Butler (2005-2013).

  4. Pastor Quentin Battle (2013-2017).

  5. Pastor Marc A. Thomas, Sr. (2017-Present).

Our Chairladies
  1. Evangelist Sharon Golden (2001-2005)

  2. Evangelist Kandace Pierce (2005-2013).

  3. Chairlady Renee Adams (2013-Present).

History of Regions

The vibrant presence of youth which depict the energetic exercise of Pentecostal worship connecting the boundaries of the Hudson River with the blue ridge mountains of Virginia owes its initial expression to the testimony of Pastor G. L. Frison, who was granted the appointment of Jurisdictional Youth President in 1996 by the late Bishop O. T. Jones Jr. and subsequently Regional President by the late Bishop Charles Brewer in 1996. The Region was, at the time, served by Evangelist Sharon Golden as Chairlady.

A new day was emerging. Revolutionary ideas were skipping across the horizon. Innovation had landed in the hands of a new geographic metropolis known as “The Eastern Youth Region.” Leadership forcefully blazing the path for young disciples was making its mark in the Church of God in Christ, and from the outset of these newly established regions, the Eastern Region almost immediately began earning its place down front. Clearly, Pastor Frison recollects, during his three-year tenure, “I had the privilege of introducing some of the new initiatives created by President J. Drew Sheard.” These programs include Young Men of Valor, Young Women of Excellence, YES Club and the Ray of Hope. “However,” he continues, “The formation of the first East Region Rally was by far the major accomplishment of my tenure.” Now decades up the road, the very mention of the Eastern Region is met with such descriptives as excellence, spear-heading and leading edge.

Yes, all eyes were on The East! The momentum was gaining speed and building traction across the nation. The Eastern Youth Region was not only on the map, but on the move! Images of young people enthusiastically devoting their lives to the Lord were sweeping across the nation, steamrolling past all the odds of peer pressure, teenage delinquency and Church drop-outs–The Eastern Region was fashioning itself into a model flourishing with influence for young people who were ambitious about serving the Lord! They were fresh young minds, survivors of adolescence, cut from their own cloth, recognized in the academic halls of the nation’s finest universities–from every imaginable boundary and background, equipped to make a difference.

In fact, it was “only two years after the Lord saved me from the streets” – in 1978, Bishop Kevin Knight reflects upon his being appointed YPWW President at Heavenly Temple COGIC. Later, the same year, he was appointed Youth President of Hudson-Northeast District Youth Department by his father, the late Bishop John L Knight. Eventually, in 1995, he accepted the appointment of President of the New Jersey Third Jurisdictional YPWW Department by Bishop Norman Prescott and in 2005, at the recommendation of President Michael Hill, became one of the Vice Presidents of the International Youth Department, by Bishop Gilbert E Patterson, serving in part concurrently as East Coast Regional Youth Director from 2001-2006.

At the conclusion of the 2005 Explosion, Elder Tyrone Butler received the appointment from President Hill to the office of Regional Director. Under Elder Butler’s Regional Presidency, the profile of the Region’s staff multiplied, significantly undergirded by Elder Butler’s usual prayerful insight and administrative ingenuity. Plainly stated, no staff position was left unfulfilled. At the heart of the matter, not one single desire of any youth to find a place to work was unfulfilled. For anyone keeping score, God’s glory was the ultimate target!

The emergence into the Millennium’s first decade was approached with the meticulous selection and placement of an impeccable, rousing, highly motivated delegation of polished, capable youth leaders, brilliantly in synch with the cutting edge visionary influence of our Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

By this time, the buzz that resonated across the cheers of praise at AIM Rallies was easily identified by the household acronyms, collaborating ME (Missions and Evangelism) and MY (Music and Youth). Once again, at front and center, like an undefeated All Star Team, was the Eastern Youth Region.

Yet the pages of the Eastern Region’s “Class Yearbook” were never found blank when it came to up and coming leaders! By the arrival of Spring 2013, AIM President Ben Stephens perceived the promise and potential of Pastor Quentin Battles, appointing him Regional President and honored his selection of Evangelist Renee Adams as Chairlady. President Battles’s leadership gave rise to forums for unplugged youth expression including Teen Summit/REAL TALK, The Bishop’s Brunch, Fresh Fire, The RECHARGE Concert, Pep Rally and Praise Fest. The Eastern Youth Region is delighted to recognize that Evangelist Adams yet serves the Region as Chairlady.

Groomed for success, grateful for our rich foundation and consistently growing–actually, bursting at the seams with crisp new ideas – today, the Eastern Youth Region thrives under the innovative forward-thinking Regional Presidency of Bishop Marc A. Thomas, Sr. Shattered by the untimely transitioning of Evangelist Kandace Pierce, (Regional Chairlady, 2008 – 2013), President Thomas watchfully encourages our young people – and with the genuine regard of a spiritual big brother – embraces their heartbeat and directs every activity, every rally, every rehearsal, every program, every gathering, each and every single young mind towards our ultimate hope which is eternally in Christ Jesus. The seat of his Presidency, positioned near the region’s furthest point

South, Bishop Thomas is humbled to lead a winning team comprised of winning players:

  • New York: Elder Jamel L. Stewart, IYD East Region VP
  • New Jersey: Superintendent Gilbert White, IYD East Region Senior VP
  • Pennsylvania: Elder Will Hatcher, IYD East Region VP
  • Chairlady Evangelist Renee Adams
  • Assistant Chairlady Toni May Jervey
  • Assistant Chairlady Cheryl Jackson
  • Assistant Chairlady Paulette Fowlkes

Sustained, strengthened and supported by such a united force of workers, needless to say, without fluttering, all eyes are still on The East!

Historically unique to the growth and expansion of our denomination, the Church of God in Christ continues to visibly recognize and celebrate the fact that the life of the Church will forever thrive because it is self-reproduced in its successive generations of young people who genuinely love the Grand Ole Church of God in Christ. As per usual, out front is the Eastern Region. They’re consistently singled out because they consistently stand out.

Still, no truer words have been echoed than those of President Battles who rightly insists, “The East Region is not just a Region, we are family.