Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) Bishop Charles H. Brewer, Jr. Has Died At 76

Posted on January 30, 2018

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Obnoxious Media regrets to inform you that a giant of a man has fallen.  Bishop Charles Brewer has gone from labor to reward.  Words cannot express what Bishop Brewer meant to me.  During one of my darkest hours he stoop with me and supported me in spite of the difficulty facing me.

At 32 he became bishop and continued his fathers legacy.  Accomplished in the community and church Bishop Brewer’s accolades are many.

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Bishop Charles Henry Brewer Jr. didn’t just lead his flock at the New Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ, he gave the members his heart and soul.

Brewer, who held positions in city government before becoming a leading religious figure in New Haven and beyond, died Thursday. He was 76.

Brewer, whose father was also a bishop and whose son assisted him as pastor at the Dixwell Avenue church, was born July 5, 1942, in Springfield, Massachusetts, but spent most of his life in New Haven. He led the First Jurisdiction of Connecticut Diocese, Church of God in Christ, and also pastored Wilson Memorial COGIC in Stamford and New Bethel COGIC in Waterbury.

“He was a very loving man, a family man,” said his son, Pastor Charles H. Brewer III. “He was a man that loved God and loved people. He was a man who went above and beyond to make sure people were provided for.

“Years ago, I remember, in the early ’80s he bought a member of our congregation a vehicle so she could get back and forth. She was a single mother of five.”

The younger Brewer said his father also helped people with mortgage and rent payments, groceries, and helped put younger members of the congregation through college.

Brewer said his father was still preaching from his wheelchair two weeks before his death. “He let nothing keep him from serving God and his people,” Brewer said. “The Bible tells us to be faithful unto death, and I can truly say he honored that Scripture.”

A graduate of James Hillhouse High School who earned degrees from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, and Southern Connecticut State University, Bishop Brewer began his career as New Haven’s human resources administrator and then served as tax collector, treasurer and on the New Haven Housing Authority. He also served as board chairman of Community Progress Inc., at the time the nation’s largest anti-poverty agency, according to his obituary, as chairman of the board of Yerwood Community Center in Stamford, president of the New Haven Clergy Association and as a member of the Congress of Black Churches.

He followed his father as pastor of New Trinity Temple in 1971 and was ordained a bishop in 1976 at 34. “He was the youngest [bishop] in the Church of God in Christ, a 5 million-strong denomination that is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee,” said Pastor Roger Wilkins of Maranatha Life Changing Ministries, who grew up in Brewer’s church.

“He was a great man and I call him my father in the gospel, meaning I grew up under his tutelage as a child,” said Wilkins, who is president of the Greater New Haven Clergy Association, and who started attending New Trinity Temple at age 9.

“I learned everything that I know in the sense of my ministry training” from Brewer, Wilkins said. “He was a … big-hearted, big man. The thing that made him great was his love of people, his love for the church. He did not know a stranger. When you met him you definitely became his friend. He showed love to everyone he met.”

“He’s had a great impact upon this city,” said the Rev. Boise Kimber, pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church and a friend of Brewer’s for 35 years. “He’s been an exceptional leader in his denomination.”

Kimber called Brewer “just a genuine, loving, affectionate person. Everybody in this city knows him. Everybody had great compassion for him. He helped a lot of people in this city and he committed his life to this city and the people of this city and the state of Connecticut.

“He’s my guy,” Kimber said. “We will miss him. He was a legend in his own time.”

Mayor Toni Harp commented in an email, “Bishop Brewer was a product of New Haven to make the city proud; for decades he was a leader in civic circles, and his ministry extended statewide. His life and service provided a positive role model for young leaders he mentored — his passing ends a notable life well-lived, indeed.”

Besides his son, Brewer leaves six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Viewing hours will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the New Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ, 285 Dixwell Ave. A local and jurisdictional service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday and a national celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, both at the church.

The McClam Funeral Home, 95 Dixwell Ave., is in charge of arrangements.