The early history of the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) is now easier to access than ever! The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center recently completed digitization of the COGOP’s flagship periodical, the White Wing Messenger, from 1923 to 1954. These years (consisting of 765 issues) are now accessible on the Consortium of Pentecostal Archives website.
The COGOP is a significant classical Pentecostal denomination with over one million members in over 130 countries worldwide. Established in 1903 and with headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee, the COGOP shares a common history with another classical Pentecostal denomination, the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). In recent years, the COGOP has been forging closer relationships with its sister Pentecostal fellowships.
The digitization of the White Wing Messenger was itself a cooperative effort across the denominational divides. The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (the archives of the Assemblies of God) completed the digitization of the project. The idea for the project originated with Tim Carter, Director of the Arise Shine Pentecostal Historical Center. Carter suggested to Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Director Darrin Rodgers that the White Wing Messenger needed to be digitized. The Arise Shine Pentecostal Historical Center is the archives of the [Ephesus] Church of God, a small denomination which has its roots in the COGOP. Rodgers approached Dr. David Roebuck, Director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center (the archives of the Church of God [Cleveland, TN]), and asked him if he could make contact with the appropriate person within the COGOP to secure permission. Roebuck contacted Paul Holt, who serves as Executive Director of Finance and Administration for the COGOP, who agreed to allow the magazine to be digitized. Through Roebuck’s encouragement, the COGOP became a member of the Consortium of Pentecostal Archives (CPA), a cooperative effort of Pentecostal archives, denominations, and publishing houses. Other CPA members include the denominational archives of the Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland, TN), the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. The digitized issues of the White Wing Messenger are now accessible and text-searchable on the CPA website.
The years of the White Wing Messenger that have been digitized (1923-1954) are important because of the rarity of those issues and their importance to the formation of the COGOP. During these early years, the White Wing Messengerwas published in a large newspaper format and very few copies survived. Starting in 1955, the magazine changed to a magazine format, and the denomination began selling annual bound volumes of the magazine. Bound volumes of these later years are located in various libraries and archives and are accessible to researchers. However, the years 1923 to 1954 were not very accessible to researchers.
Paul Holt expressed gratitude for the assistance in preserving and promoting the COGOP’s heritage. He stated, “we are deeply appreciative to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for their willingness to digitize this historic material. We are also pleased to join hands with our friends in the Pentecostal movement to celebrate our rich heritage while also moving forward to touch the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.” Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Digital Archivist William Molenaar supervised the digitization project and was assisted by Archives Specialists Michelle Rahmoeller and Caleb Whitlow.