Bishop Carlton D. Pearson Passes Away at 70
It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Bishop Carlton D’Metrius Pearson, a beloved and influential preacher whose profound message of unconditional love and acceptance by God resonated across America and around the globe. Bishop Pearson peacefully departed on the night of November 19, 2023, at the age of 70, after bravely confronting a brief recurrence of cancer, which he had previously overcome two decades ago. He spent his final moments surrounded by his loving family.
In 1971, Carlton embarked on his journey to Tulsa as a student at Oral Roberts University, where he received an invitation from Oral Roberts himself to join the World Action Singers on nationally televised specials. By 1975, he became an associate evangelist with the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. In 1977, Carlton founded his own ministry, Higher Dimensions, Inc., and later established the Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center in 1981, which blossomed into a vibrant, multi-ethnic congregation of over 5,000 members.
Launching the national television program "Everything’s Gonna Be All Right" in the mid-1980s, Carlton extended his outreach to a global audience, making him one of the few African American preachers with a nationwide television ministry at the time. The annual AZUSA Conference, initiated in 1988, evolved into an international movement, uniting believers from diverse backgrounds. This gathering drew tens of thousands annually to Tulsa, benefitting the local economy and sparking satellite conferences across the United States and even in Durban, South Africa.
Carlton's musical contributions, particularly the "Live at AZUSA" albums, garnered nominations and three Stellar Awards. In 1996, he was recognized as a bishop in the Lord's church at AZUSA, later becoming the Presiding Bishop of the AZUSA Interdenominational Fellowship of Christian Churches and Ministries.
Throughout his career, Bishop Pearson offered counsel to numerous U.S. and international leaders, showcasing his intelligence, charm, humor, and kindness. However, a theological shift in his beliefs, known as "The Gospel of Inclusion," led to a controversial departure from traditional doctrines. This shift was depicted in the Netflix film "Come Sunday," starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, LaKeith Stanfield, and Martin Sheen.
While the shift caused some in the Christian community to label him a "heretic" and led to the closure of churches and a decline in his congregation, Bishop Pearson's message of unconditional love found resonance beyond traditional religious boundaries. His legacy is one of love, healing, and restoration, impacting the lives of thousands who were drawn to his message of grace and mercy.
The Pearson family expresses gratitude for the outpouring of prayers and support, requesting privacy during this challenging time. Details about memorial services are forthcoming.
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Gallery Credit: Mary K