Family and friends remember the lasting legacy of COGIC Evangelist Louise Patterson

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:35 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Church of God in Christ (COGIC) members gathered Thursday night to remember the woman who once helped lead the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S.

Louise Patterson, the widow of COGIC’s late presiding Bishop GE Patterson, passed away on Nov. 20.

She was honored as “a beacon of light” and a “lovely lady” who lifted up everyone she met.

Patterson was the First Lady of COGIC from 2000 to 2007. From the clothes to the class to the love of God she brought to the church and its members, her legacy is lasting.

Inside Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ on Thursday, it was a memorial service fit for the former First Lady of COGIC, a woman who touched so many lives in Memphis and beyond.

“I grew up watching the broadcasts in my grandmother’s living room in Eastern North Carolina,” said Braxton Shelley.

Shelley is an associate professor of music at Yale Divinity School. She spoke with Sister Patterson at length while writing a new book about her husband, former COGIC Presiding Bishop GE Patterson, who passed in 2007.

Shelley called Patterson elegant and eloquent.

“Just the sense of whenever she would show up at a convocation or at a sanctuary,” said Shelley. “The way that she had a magnetic force about her, drawing people to her, to the obvious gift and grace of God present in her. In recent years, I looked forward to seeing her open every broadcast every Sunday.”

Evangelist Mrs. Louise D. Patterson
Evangelist Mrs. Louise D. Patterson(The Carter Malone Group)

After her husband’s death, Patterson became president of the couple’s Bountiful Blessings Ministry.

“She never met a stranger. She always made people feel warm and welcome,” said Bobby White, who worked closely with Sister Patterson as vice president of the ministry. “And the way that she greeted you and the way that she loved on you, everybody felt like they were special to her, and they really were.”

Attendees honored her by wearing yellow roses, Patterson’s favorite. They shared memories of the love she shared for them and for God, and of the style she brought to the church.

“When she walked down the aisle, every head turned,” said Deacon Ervin Thomas. “Everyone who knew sister Lou knew she was a lady of excellence.”

“She was a beacon of light,” said Pastor Bill Adkins of Greater Imani Church. “And it wasn’t the gleam and sparkle of her outfits. It was her soul that shined so brightly.”

Sister Patterson and the Bishop had no children of their own, but ask anyone who knew her and they’ll tell you she was a mother and role model to them.

“You know, we’re gonna miss her presence,” said White, “but we are committed to continuing the work that she felt so passionately about.”

“I look forward to seeing what happens next,” said Shelley, “and continuing to remember her legacy which cannot be overstated.”

Louise Patterson was 84 years old.

Her National Homegoing Celebration is Friday morning at 10 a.m. at Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ.

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