First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of W. PA.

Bishop James Miles Foster was born July 8, 1930 in Ansley, AL to the late Lula Mae and Lewis Foster.  He attended elementary school in Ansley and furthered his education in Luverne, AL. He served in the 24thInfantry Division of the U.S. Army.  In 1959, he accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.  During this time, God gave him a great miracle and healing from a severe ulcer condition while simultaneously baptizing him in the Holy Ghost and fire.

As a young man, he actively participated in various church-based ministries, including holding responsibilities on the usher board and junior church.  Bishop Foster did not immediately acknowledge his call to the ministry, but always knew for certain that God’s hand was upon his life. He had a passion for prayer, consecration, fasting and total commitment to holiness as a way of life.  In his early years as a young man, he felt God had directed him to move from Alabama to Southwestern Pennsylvania.  He has resided in Clairton, PA for many years.

He served in various capacities at Gethsemane Church of God in Christ in Clairton, PA, prior to finally acknowledging his call to the ministry.  He preached his initial message in 1962, nearly three years after being saved and filled with the Holy Ghost.  While at Gethsemane, he was recommended by then Pastor Ithiel Clemmons to serve as Assistant Pastor under Superintendent Alexander McLean.

His Pastors, Superintendent Alexander McLean and the late Bishop Ithiel Clemmons, helped guide his early years in ministry as his personal friends, mentors, and pastors. His Pastor, the late Bishop Ithiel Clemmons, became a General Board Member before his passing.  Bishop Foster was later ordained and appointed Pastor of Trinity Church of God in Christ in McKeesport, PA by the late Bishop Gordon E. Vaughn.  He served as Assistant Pastor under two devout men, the late Elder James Brown and the late Elder T. W. Hines through each of their lengthy illnesses and death.

He is a visionary, leader, organizer, builder of a preacher’s pastor, and a man of great devotion and quiet strength.  He has a reputation of being a man of great integrity and character.  He has endured great trials, suffering, and testing, and yet he is seasoned and enriched by his personal devotion, his prayerful spirit, and his fasting and waiting on the Lord.   Bishop Foster has celebrated 41 years as the Pastor of Trinity COGIC.  The local church that he serves has long been known as a “preacher’s factory” for the many ministers and elders birthed under his pastorate.

The Spiritual Life Bible Training Institute in McKeesport was established under his ministry. The “Recovery in Christ” substance abuse program was founded through his leadership.  Bigmomma’s Soup Kitchen and the Community Outreach Choir was also founded under his leadership.  He has served on the Jurisdiction Ordination Board, Assistant Chairman of the Pastor’s and Elder’s Council as well as serving as District Superintendent for eleven years under the leadership of the late Bishop G.E. Vaughn and Bishop Samuel L. Green, General Board Member.  Bishop Foster was consecrated to the Sacred Office of Bishop and installed as Jurisdictional Prelate of the First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Western Pennsylvania on March 28, 1998, by the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ.  He has served as Bishop for 20 years.

Unto his union of more than 50 years with the late Pauline Jones Foster came three daughters, the late Aurelia Napper Alexander, Linda Foster, and Elizabeth Foster, and one son, the late Paul Foster.  Bishop Foster is married to Evangelist Martha Butler Foster.  Under their leadership are numerous ministers, elders, pastors, auxiliaries, and educational classes to empower one to become what God wants one to become.

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