The Church of God in Christ Inc. has a longstanding commitment to education. The process of structuring All Saints Bible College began in July, 2001, by the directives of Presiding Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson and the General Board of the Church of God in Christ. The school's formation was the result of three Church of God in Christ Tennessee Jurisdictions agreeing to merge their schools with the C. H. Mason Bible College of Memphis and by following the principles of the Church of God in Christ's national educational initiative.
C. H. Mason Bible College was one component of the educational vision introduced to the Church of God in Christ by the late Presiding Bishop James Oglethorpe Patterson, Sr. which included the establishment of C. H. Mason Theological Seminary in 1971, a constituent school in the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, and the Charles Harrison Mason System of Bible Colleges. While the theological seminary was the property and responsibility of the national church, the system of Bible colleges was established by individual jurisdictions. The Bible colleges offered the jurisdictions a unified curriculum for the training of laypersons and credential holders. Dr. A. J. Hines of Houston, TX and a team of supporters were assigned the task of developing this system of Bible colleges. Dr. Hines organized a pilot school in Houston. Other schools modeled after the Houston project were developed in various cities around the nation. They eventually grew to nearly 40 schools in the United States.
Beginning in 1973, the Church of God in Christ established schools in the C. H. Mason System of Bible Colleges in Memphis at the Tennessee Headquarters, Tennessee 4th and Tennessee 5th Jurisdictions. In 1998, the three-Jurisdictional Bible schools merged and Bishops G. E. Patterson, J. O. Patterson Jr., and Samuel L. Lowe, representing their respective Jurisdictions, served as Co-Presidents of the school. Elder Benjamin L. Smith was appointed the first Dean (President) and was later succeeded by Dr. Perry C. Little. In December of 2000, Bishop G. E. Patterson and the Church of God in Christ General Board appointed Dr. Alonzo Johnson and assigned him the task of merging the C. H. Mason Bible College of Memphis with the newly proposed All Saints Bible College and of steering the early days of the college. Bishop Patterson was named Chancellor and Dr. Johnson served as the first President of the college. After the merger, C. H. Mason Bible College held its final graduation ceremony on July 28th, 2001.
In October of 2003, Bishop G. E. Patterson appointed Dr. Perry C. Little, the All Saints Bible College Dean of Student Affairs and instructor, to serve as the second President. After the passing of Bishop Patterson in March 2007, Bishop Charles E. Blake became the college's second chancellor and in November 2007, the Bishop G. E. Patterson Memorial Library was dedicated. In 2011, Dr. Granville Scruggs was appointed to serve as the third President by the Board of Directors and by Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. January 2016, Mr. V. LaFayette Robertson became the fourth President of All Saints College. With the sudden demise of Mr. Robertson in September 2016, Dr. Joseph Fisher took up the reins as the fifth and current President of the college.
All Saints Bible College is located on the grounds of the Headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. at 930 Mason Street, on the fringe of downtown Memphis. Historic Mason Temple was built in 1940. Both the temple and the street are named for Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, the founder of the Church of God in Christ. Mason Temple, with a seating capacity of approximately 5,000, has hosted many outstanding persons. For many years it was the largest black-owned church auditorium in the United States. On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his final speech, “I've Been to the Mountain Top,” from its pulpit. President William Jefferson Clinton, on November 13, 1993, at the 86th Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ, gave his most significant address on race relations and moral values from its pulpit.
Built on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, the city of Memphis is noted as a primary medical, educational, cultural, communication, distribution, and transportation center in the Mid-South. It is home to Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion, and The Stax Museum of American Soul Music. According to the 2014 U.S. census, Memphis has a population of 656,861 persons. The area is populated with schools, museums, a zoo, parks, performing arts centers, sports facilities, shops, malls, movie theatres, apartments, and stately homes. A sample of annual events includes: the Southern Heritage Football Classic, the Liberty Bowl Classic, Africa in April, Memphis in May International Festival, the Federal Express/St. Jude Golf Classic, the Great River Carnival, Indian Pow-Wow and the National Business Meeting of the Church of God in Christ every April.
Downtown Memphis is experiencing a period of growth and revitalization, an urban renaissance that has transformed this vibrant city center into the residential, business, and entertainment center of the Mid-South. The Main Street trolley and city bus service provide easy access to government and corporate offices, grand hotels, and fine restaurants. Other features of the city include the Mississippi River Museum and Riverwalk, parks on the Mississippi River's shoreline, the Bass Pro Shops, AutoZone Baseball Park, world famous Beale Street, the Orpheum Theatre, the National Civil Rights Museum, Cook Convention Center, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, FedEx Forum, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, the Uptown housing development and other historic sites, buildings and churches.
All Saints Bible College is accessible by both public and private transportation from any part of the city. Major airlines such as Northwestern/KLM, American, and Delta serve the city's airport.
All Saints Bible College is located in the Louis Henry Ford Building, the Mason Temple Annex. This building is named after Presiding Bishop Louis Henry Ford who assumed the post after the death of Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. He was elected Presiding Bishop in April 1990 and served until his death in 1995.
The Bishop G. E. Patterson Memorial Library is housed on the second level of the Historic Mason Temple. There are over 40,000 volumes in the library. The collection is composed of biblical studies, education, art, business, history, science, music, math, social sciences, and psychology et.al. The book collection is being electronically catalogued. When completed, the library will be able to provide online public access to its catalog.
Currently, the Bishop G. E. Patterson Memorial Library has in place a written agreement with Mid-South Christian College. This allows our students access to its library, which includes its database and online resources as well as the usage of the Memphis Public Library System and The University of Memphis, all within the immediate vicinity of the All Saints Bible College campus.
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