Our History

  Our History  

The first two headquarter locations of the COGBF, Inc. were established on the Gainesville District. In 1919 the Headquarters was in Palatka, Florida. In 1922 a General Assembly was held in Alachua, Florida and the four Leading Elders drafted the Charter of the COGBF, Inc. The General Assembly continued to convene in Alachua, Florida until December 1941, when it was moved to Ocala, Florida. Much of the early expansion of the COGBF on the Gainesville District was credited to Elder Nathaniel Scippio. It is important to note that the Scippio family home was in Alachua, FL long before they moved to the Lake Alfred area. Elder Scippio built the following churches on the Gainesville District: Alachua (1919), High Springs (1927), Hawthorne (1928), Raleigh (1928), and Williston (1930).

Some of the other early churches on the District included: Bronson, Gainesville, Newnan’s Lake and the Palatka COGBF. Ruling Elder Griffin Kemp, was the first Superintendent. He also served as moderator of the National Church. Serving after Elder Kemp was Ruling Elder Ezra Thomas Taylor who was the Pastor of High Springs. He also served on the Advisory Board of the first Assembly Meeting in Sumter, South Carolina. Following him were: Elder Donaldson Henry, Elder Charles A. McKnight, Elder Walter Camps, and Elder James Williams, Jr. Elder Williams served faithfully with great distinction since his appointment in December 1969 until December 2014. Elder Willie J. McKnight, Sr., was appointed Superintendent in December 2014.
The District continued to expand as our forefathers and many women of God went from town to town preaching the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Other churches were established in Archer, Branford, East Palatka, Fairbanks, Hopewell, Interlachen, Jerusalem, Keystone Heights and Newberry.

The church at Jerusalem in the Monteocha community was founded in 1950 and the Keystone church was founded in the 1960s. The East Palatka church was inspired by Mother Harrington in the late 1960s and the Lake Butler Mission by the Late Mother Sara Jane Holmes in 1954, it was dedicated in 1988. The Starke COGBF was founded in 1987 by Bishop James E. McKnight, Jr.  The Lake City Mission was established in 1997 by Elder Jackie Reynolds; the Tallahassee Mission in 2008 by Elder Napolean Jean; and the Live Oak Mission in 2015 by Elder Aaron Turner.

In 1989, the Florida districts were re-organized and five churches: East Palatka, Hawthorne, Keystone Heights, Interlachen, and Palatka were reassigned to the newly formed Palatka District under the leadership of the Late Elder Nazarene R. Burney, District Elder.

As of December 2023, there are 16 churches on the Gainesville District and the work of the Lord continues. The following were reconfirmed as Gainesville District Pastors:

Elder Duane E. Gainey (Jerusalem, Gainesville, FL)
District Superintendent
Elder Timoty Henderson (Foundation Chapel, Alachua, FL)
Elder Archer Hampton (New Life, Archer, FL)
Elder Alvin Robinson (Bronson, FL)
Elder Jeremiah Lee (Fairbanks, FL)
Elder Dr. Erta C. Livingston, Jr. (Gainesville, FL)
Elder Derrick Gainey (High Springs, FL)

Elder Walter Patrick (Hopewell, Providence, FL)
Elder Duane E. Gainey (Jerusalem, Gainesville, FL)
Elder Otis Howard (Lake Butler, FL)
Elder Duane E. Gainey (Lake City, FL)
Elder Garien Armstrong (New Beginnings, Gainesville, FL)
Elder Steve Miller (Jones Temple, Newberry, FL)
Elder Jonathan Reed (Faith Chapel, Raleigh, FL)

Elder James E. McKnight, Jr. (Starke, FL) Presiding Bishop
Elder Avery McKnight (PowerHouse, Tallahassee, FL)
Elder Steve Miller (Destiny, Williston, FL)


Elder Willie J. McKnight, Sr. (Gainesville District Superintendent)
Elder Joseph Dix (Gainesville District Pastor)
Page Updated:  August 2023