Archived Story

Church of God to honor late pastor

Published 3:48pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Greenville Church of God will be celebrating its homecoming on Sunday, and for at least one guest speaker, the term couldn’t be more appropriate.

The church will be honoring its former pastor, the late Rev. James B. Bowers, who was pastor of Greenville Church of God from 1960 until 1970, the longest pastorate of his ministry.

His son, Dr. James P. Bowers, is scheduled to speak for Sunday’s service, nearly 21 years after his father’s passing.

Pastor Felton Stewart said that it was a matter of pure coincidence, as well as the work of one dedicated church member, that made this year’s homecoming celebration possible.

“Mrs. Virginia Robinson made contact — she was a little girl when James B. Bowers pastored here,” Stewart said. “She made contact with some of the family, and I suggested then that we could get him to speak for our homecoming.  She did all of the legwork on this.”

The fact that Bowers made an impact on Robinson during his tenure at Greenville Church of God despite her young age is no surprise.

Bowers also served as principal of Honoraville Junior High School, which Stewart said lent him a certain amount of spirit when dealing with the young and elderly alike.

“He was a great leader of the church, and he really did good while he was here,” Stewart said. “He had a great influence on the people.”

He similarly had a great effect on the church itself.

It was during his decade-long service that the Greenville Church of God experienced a great deal of growth, including a bricking and remodeling of the exterior, the acquisition of a parsonage and the addition of an educational wing and a fellowship hall.

And while Bower is often revered for the long-lasting impression he made on the church and his community, his son is similarly poised to do the same.

James P. Bowers is the oldest of Bowers’ sons, and serves as vice president for development and professor of formation, leadership and historical theology at William Seymour College in Bowie, Md.

He also served as vice president for academics and associate professor of Christian Formation and pastoral leadership at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tenn., from 2002-2012.

He has also published a number of books, including “You Can Have What You Say,” “Portrait and Prospect: Church of God Pastors Face the 21st Century” and “What Women Want: Pentecostal Woman Ministers Speak for Themselves.”

Sunday’s service will begin at 10:30 a.m.

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