Church Locations & Pastors



 Bishop Emeritus James and Mother Jessie McKnight

Bishop James E. McKnight is a life-long resident of Gainesville, Florida. He has been married to Mother Jessie M. McKnight over 59 years. They have three sons: James, Jr., John and Jonathan; one daughter, Janice; eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Bishop McKnight was born into the Church of God by Faith and became a full-pledged member in June 1953.

Bishop McKnight graduated from Lincoln High School in Gainesville, Florida on May 28, 1948. He also attended Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, where he received his Barber Certificate in 1951. He opened McKnight’s Barber Shop in 1953, which he owned and operated for over 35 years until he retired in 1989. Bishop McKnight joined the U.S. Army and received special training as a Sergeant in the Intelligence Division while serving in the Korean War from 1951 – 1953. In the summer of 1956, he attended Leadership Training at a seminary school in Meridian, Mississippi. Bishop McKnight received training and became an ordained minister of the Church of God By Faith in 1957. He taught minister's training class in Ocala, Florida the following year. In November 1999, Bishop McKnight received an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Inter-Faith Theological Institute and Seminary of Tampa, Florida.

Pastoral Assignments:
Bishop McKnight was appointed a deacon in January of 1957 for one month under the leadership of his father and pastor, Elder H. A. McKnight, Sr. He then served as Assistant Pastor at Hopewell Church of God by Faith from February 1957 – June 1957. He was then appointed Pastor at Raleigh Church of God by Faith in June 1957. He was appointed Pastor of Gainesville and Hawthorne Church of God by Faith in 1961. Bishop McKnight was appointed Pastor of Gainesville No. 1 and Gainesville No. 2 in 1963. In 1969, he was sent back to Raleigh Church of God by Faith and was Pastor at Gainesville and Raleigh Church of God by faith from 1969 -1980. He has faithfully served as pastor of Gainesville Church of God by Faith for 52 years.

Church of God by Faith Assignments/Positions:
On December 25, 1960, Bishop McKnight was appointed Executive Secretary of the Church of God By Faith, Inc. and held that position until 1984. He was appointed Assistant Bishop of the Church of God by Faith in August 1970, and held both the position of Executive Secretary and Assistant Bishop until 1984. Bishop McKnight was appointed Presiding Bishop of the Church of God by Faith, Inc. in 1984, and currently holds this position. He has been a member of the Supreme Council for over 50 years.

Community Service:
Under his leadership at Gainesville Church of God by Faith, a new edifice was built in 1973, and renovated and expanded in 1990. Bishop McKnight is very involved in the community and has served as a Board Member of the Eastside Clinic and development projects and the Black on Black Crime Task Force for many years. He was instrumental in providing shelter to the residents of the former Kennedy Homes Apartment Building, who were displaced by fire. He received an award as a distinguished leader in the Gainesville Community in March of 2007. Bishop McKnight is highly respected and well known as a "praying man" throughout the Gainesville community and the National Church of God By Faith.