Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary
Initial plans for Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary began in 1965 when Senior Bishop Ozro Thurston Jones, Sr., convened a planning committee to explore the possibility of the Church of God in Christ organizing a seminary and becoming an affiliate of the Interdenominational Theological Center. He also invited Dr. Harry V. Richardson, president of ITC, to Memphis, Tennessee, to meet with that special committee. At this meeting, the idea was discussed and tabled until the Church could resolve some of its political problems.
In the fall of 1968, the General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ approved a new Constitution which resolved the Church’s political crises and elected a new administration. This administration, headed by Presiding Bishop James Oglethorpe Patterson, Sr., and a presidium called the General Board, made the seminary idea one of its priorities. Bishop Patterson convened another planning committee led by Bishop D. A. Burton, general secretary of the Church, and Bishop R. L. H. Winbush, president of the Publishing Board. This committee finalized plans for organizing the Seminary and its entrance into the Interdenominational Theological Center.
In April 1970, the General Assembly authorized the Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary, named in honor of the founder of the Church, to become a constituent seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center. Bishop Charles E. Blake was elected the first chairman of the Board of Trustees, while Dr. Leonard Lovett was chosen as dean. The Seminary officially opened in the fall of 1970. Dr. Oliver J. Haney, Jr., served as dean of the Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary from 1974 until his retirement in June 2004. Elder Arthur F. Mosley served as the interim President-Dean until Dr. Harold Bennett was selected to lead the seminary in 2005.
Harold Bennett, Ph.D., President-Dean