(RNS) The Church of God in Christ has re-elected Presiding Bishop Charles Blake to serve a second four-year term as head of the nation’s largest Pentecostal denomination.
COGIC delegates meeting in St. Louis for the church’s 105th Holy Convocation re-elected Blake on Thursday (Nov. 15).
The Memphis, Tenn.-based church claims 6.5 million members and is the fifth-largest Christian denomination in the U.S., according to the 2012 Yearbook of Canadian and American Churches.
“I am humbled and delighted to be chosen to continue to lead one of the greatest churches in the world,” Blake said in a statement. “The Church of God in Christ is a beacon of hope and love.”
COGIC delegates also elected several other officers, including Bishop Joel H. Lyles, Jr. as general secretary.
Blake, 72, is the pastor of the 24,000-member West Angeles Church Of God In Christ in Los Angeles and is a third-generation COGIC member. He was first appointed to the post in 2007 after the death of Presiding Bishop Gilbert E. Patterson and was elected to his first full four-year term in 2008.
Blake is a spiritual confidant of President Obama and served on the White House’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. While a self-described Democrat, he has taken issue with Obama’s party on abortion.
“Those of us who support the Democratic Party despite our disagreement on this issue support it because the Democratic Party articulates and pursues more of the positions that are relevant to the lives and circumstances of our people, the people of America in general and the people of the world,” he said in 2008.
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