Memphis hotels ready for 25,000 COGIC members in town for annual convention

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Leaders of the Church of God and Christ said they believe there will be adequate hotel rooms in the Mid-South for the estimated 25,000 people attending their annual convocation.

“We have almost completely filled up our Downtown block and we’ve got hotels as far out as Poplar. So, we do have some rooms available at the Hilton and the Marriot,” said Bishop Keith Kershaw, COGIC’s chief operating officer.

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Bishop Kershaw said in past years COGIC members have stayed in hotels as far as Jackson, Mississippi.

“There’s a lot of truth to that, absolutely. In the days where we had our election of our officers of the organization there would be (a) 60-mile radius that the saints would have to go out and find a hotel room,” he said.

Kevin Kane of Memphis Tourism said eight years ago there were 17,500 hotel rooms in Shelby County. He said that currently there are 19,500.

He said eight years ago there were 2,900 hotel rooms in Downtown Memphis. Currently, he said there are 4,100. Kern said there are 26,000 hotel rooms between Shelby, Desoto and Crittenden Counties.

It is expected the COGIC will pump $30 to $40 million into the Mid-South economy.

“When you come through that door you come in as a stranger, but when you leave you leave as part of Alcenia’s family because I feed your head, your heart. baby I’ve got your stomach as long as I get those two things boo. You don’t have to worry about it,” said Betty Joyce “BJ” Chester-Tomayo of Alcenia’s World Famous Soul Food.

Chester-Tomayo’s restaurant sits just feet away from the Renasant Convention Center where the convocation is being held. She hopes the COGIC will visit her restaurant.