On Thursday morning I arrived in Memphis, TN for the Church of God in Christ's (COGIC) 100th Holy Convocation. Since I knew very little about the city outside of that it was in the South, home to Graceland (no, I didn't take a tour) and headquarters for multiple Pentecostal denominations including COGIC, Memphis was larger and much more modernized than I anticipated.
Memphis has been larger than Fresno's current populations since about 1960 with over 650,000 within the the city and approx 850,000 in the greater area. The downtown area, like Fresno had suffered but now is in a boom with the recently constructed FedEx Forum, home of theNBA's Memphis Grizzles. The City has completed over $158M of private resident and mixed-use projects as part of a $3.1B development plan ($1.7B in progress). Adjacent to the Mississippi River, the urban center has several convention venues, a lively music scene, and plenty of good eats. To learn more about Downtown Memphis, go to downtownmemphis.com.
Saints from 61 countries came to participate in the celebration of one the oldest and largest Pentecostal organizations in the world. I attended the Thursday night 'Missions: International Day' that included representation of over 150 delegates from across the globe with music and singing in multiple languages. Even the COGIC anthem, 'Yes Lord' included renditions in Spanish, French and Japanese that were sung by approximately 17,000 at the service. All services at the FedEx Forum were broadcasted live via the internet (www.cogic.org). Missionaries from South Africa, Pakistan, and India were recognized for the service to the Church and people.