Legendary gospel singer and pastor of Toledo, Ohio’s New Bethel Church (COGIC), Dr. Rance Allen (The Rance Allen group), was installed as Bishop on November 7 to oversee 14 Michigan churches in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) denomination at the 6.5 million-member organization’s 104th Holy Convocation in St. Louis, MO. He will succeed the late Bishop Alfred D. Knight, Jr. as the Jurisdictional Prelate of the Michigan Northwestern Harvest Jurisdiction.
“I have literally been working in the church since the age of 5,” Allen told David Yonke of The Toledo Blade newspaper. “Singing and preaching, and now at 62, almost 63 in another week or two, I get elevated to the position of a bishop! I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it, because right now I still can’t believe it.”
Allen is also thrilled that the Rance Allen Group’s latest Top 10 CD “The Live Experience II: Celebrating 40 Years of Music and Ministry” (Tyscot Records), has been nominated for four Stellar Awards (Gospel music’s answer to the Grammy Awards) in the categories of Group Duo of the Year, Traditional Group/Duo of the Year, Traditional Male of the Year and Quartet of the Year.
“When I found that out, I was just elated!” Mr. Allen said. “I couldn’t believe we were nominated in four different categories.” The new radio single, “Holy One,” a praise and worship ballad, is currently making its way up the gospel radio airplay charts.
The Rance Allen Group was born in their grandfather’s Monroe, MI church in the 1960′s. They began recording for Stax Records in 1971 where they made a string of gritty, R&B-flavored gospel and message songs for the Gospel Truth imprint. They toured with the big R&B artists of the day such as Isaac Hayes and Barry White, and literally took the gospel to the world. From there, the group recorded for a variety of labels and scored their first #1 gospel album in 1991 with the “Phenomenon” CD that featured the crossover R&B smash, “Miracle Worker.” Allen closed out the 1990′s performing in a variety of gospel-oriented touring play productions but the group signed with Tyscot Records in 2002 and kicked off a new string of hits such as “Do Your Will,” “Closest Friend,” “For Your Feet,” and the Kirk Franklin duet, “Something About The Name Jesus.”