Bishop Jesse J. White, Sr.
In the Church of the Living God, Bishops were elected by the general delegation of registered delegates at the General Assembly, which is held in October of each year. In 1986, however, after prayerful consecration and consideration, the General Board of Bishops brought forth a new ruling to the General Church Body, stating that the Presiding Bishop shall henceforth be elected from among the members of the General Board of Bishops by a majority vote of that Board. Thus, there would be a quadrennial election for the office of the Presiding President General and an election of a First and Second Presiding Vice President of the church.
Also during the 1986 General Assembly, the Constitution/Credentials Committee of the Church was organized and given responsibility for the written work of a revision of the Church of the Living God Constitution and Church Discipline. Bishop Jesse White, Sr. served as the Chairperson for that committee and at that Assembly, a ruling was made to change the tenure of General Church Officers from annual elections to quadrennial elections, effective October 1988. During the same year, Bishop Jesse J. White, Sr. was elected President General of the Church of the Living God.
Bishop J.J. White became known as the "Visionary Bishop". He was a President General with a great vision for the upbuilding of the church. Under his administration, a new Constitution was drafted and approved in the 1987 General Assembly. Greater stress was put on the faithful study of the Word of God. A Ministerial Retreat was organized for the purpose of uniting the Bishops and the clergy. This retreat brought about an opportunity for much interaction among the clergy and help to motivate the preparation, presentation, and implementation of the Word of God within the local churches.
In March 2008, Bishop J.J. White relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina with his wife, Mother Mae White. During the same year, Bishop White expressed the numerous responsibilities as President General became too heavy of a load, along with the recuperation of Mother White from her illness and the decreasing of his physical strength.
In order for the church to move forward, Bishop White felt this was the time to make a transition. During the National Foreign Mission Convention of 2008, Bishop White expressed a desire to relinquish some of his responsibilities. The Board of Bishops voiced their concerns and accepted his desire to resign. Each Bishop felt that is was in the best interest of Bishop J.J. White; both physically and mentally.
Bishop Jesse J. White is now the new Senior Adviser on the Executive Board of Bishops.