Bishop Walter Emile Bogan, Sr. was the eldest of three sons to the union of the late Mr. William Bogan and Mrs. Norma Bogan-Burrell. Bishop Bogan was saved in 1967 during a “back-to-school” youth revival under the ministry of his beloved sainted grandfather and mentor, the late Superintendent Theodore R. Harris at New Harris Temple Church of God In Christ in Flint, Michigan.
He received his formal training from the Flint Public School System, graduating in 1966 from Flint Northern High School. An avid learner, Bishop Bogan pursued his undergraduate studies at Saints Junior College in Lexington, Mississippi; Moody Bible College in Chicago, Illinois receiving Associate Degrees from both. The Bishop furthered his education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia; The University of Michigan and Mott College both of Flint, Michigan. He committed his life to Jesus Christ, accepting salvation and receiving the precious gift of the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in tongues. While he was away in school at Saints College he acknowledged his call to the Gospel ministry and was later ordained as an Elder.
In August 1970, by the late Bishop Charles J. Johnson, Sr. he was united in Holy matrimony to Dianne M. Johnson and to that union two sons were born: Walter Emile, II and Eric Caiaphas. In 1996 Bishop Bogan gained a daughter in-law, Karleen Senita and later became grandfather to three wonderful grandchildren; Kolby Shantel, Blake Harris and Luke Emile.
In August 1980, upon the death of his grandfather, Superintendent Theodore R. Harris he was appointed Pastor and Chief Servant of Harris Temple Church of God in Christ by Bishop P.A. Brooks. He immediately began expanding the ministries of the church as souls were saved and the membership grew. In 1983, thirty acres of vacant land was purchased to begin the vision given to him by God to build the Lord a house. After much faith, prayer, sacrifice and hard work the church was completed and dedicated on November 22, 1992. The church was renamed Harris Memorial Church of God In Christ in honor of the founders, Superintendent Theodore and Mother Erma I. Harris.
The Lord blessed this servant mightily and the family of God grew. Under his leadership, at least ten churches were planted or supplied pastors. Bishop Bogan had a long and extensive history of service on both the Jurisdictional and National levels of the Church of God in Christ. For example, on the Jurisdictional level Bishop Bogan served as YPWW President, Chairman of Finance, District Superintendent, Administrative and Special Assistant to the Bishop. On the National level, he served as Assistant Chief Adjutant to the late Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr., organizer of the National Children’s Ministry, Vice-President of the International Youth Department, Member of the Executive AIM Committee and member of the Constitution Convention Committee of Women in Ministry. His success in these positions evidenced that the hand of the Lord was upon him, and ultimately brought him to be consecrated to the sacred office of Jurisdictional Prelate of the Great Lakes First Jurisdiction in April of 2000.
Bishop Bogan dedicated his life to God and ministering to God’s people. He was involved in his community through the establishment of the T.R. Harris Resource Center, feeding and clothing thousands of people in the Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw and Detroit areas. He has also helped countless young people through college awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships and personal finances.
In spite of his anointed prayer ministry and dynamic gospel preaching and teaching, Bishop Bogan will probably be remembered most by how he reminded believers everywhere of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “…he that would be the greatest among you, let him be servant of all.” His motto was “GREATNESS IS NOT IN A TITLE, BUT IN A TOWEL”.