Church of God officials, members, and friends are mourning the passing of Dr Charles W Conn, who was promoted to glory last night!
A prolific author, tremendous preacher, able administrator, and doting father/grandfather/great-grand father, Brother Conn was a genuine "original." I first became aware of this "giant" of a man when I was a teenager, and someone gave me a copy of Like A Mighty Army, his seminal volume on the history of the Church of God. Years later, I would have the opportunity to tell him personally how much I appreciated his views on early Pentecostal history. I remember Dr Conn and his Edna coming to the Pentecostal World Conference in Oslo, Norway in 1992. What a treat it was to see them.
Known as an able pastor, and better yet, as the father of twelve children, Brother Conn, brought his many gifts and abilities to bear on the Church of God, and Lee College (now University) in particular. From 1970-1982, he was the very able president of this fine institute (of which I am a staunchly proud alum). He served the Church of God as state overseer, headquarters official, General Overseer, Pastor, College President, and prolific historian and author. I have several of his books in my personal library. I often re-read "The Anatomy of Evil" and the "Rudder and the Rock" when I need to be informed and encouraged.
His son, Dr Charles Paul Conn, (the current president of Lee University) is one of my heroes. When I last visited Cleveland TN, I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Dr Paul, and his wife Darlia. I will always remember his words, "Well Phil, the 'Brother Conn' that you knew and loved isn't with us anymore...he's in his own little world right now." Alluding to his father's bout with Alzheimer's I could see the pain and sorrow in my good friend over the condition of his father.
The Scriptures tell us that the "death of a saint of God" is precious in the sight of the Lord. While this will be a very painful (though expected) loss for the Conn family, in time it will become a very precious gift to them.
Dr Charles was preceded in death by his wonderful wife Edna, and some of their children.