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Bishop Rance Allen, one of gospel music’s biggest heavyweights with a powerful voice and unmistakable look, has passed away.

The news was confirmed by the Church of God In Christ.

“God, who is omnipotent and omniscient, has summoned His Servant, Bishop Rance Lee Allen to eternal rest,” the statement read. “Bishop Allen’s unique vocal ministry was an indispensable sound within the Church Of God In Christ and Christendom. His gift transcended the boundaries of music genre as he remained a sought after personality called to perform on global venues.”

Allen, who was elevated to the title of Bishop in the Church of God in Christ for the Michigan Northwestern Harvest Jurisdiction, was born in Monroe Michigan in 1948. In 1969, he was joined by his brothers Thomas and Steve to form The Rance Allen Group. Formed in their grandfather’s church in Michigan, the trio recorded a string of gritty, R&B-tined gospel and message songs, eventually touring the world and working with the likes of Isaac Hayes and Barry White. They signed with the legendary Stax Records, recording hits such as “Ain’t No Need of Crying,” “I Belong To You,” and “Just My Imagination.”

In 1991, the Group earned their first No. 1 gospel album with Phenomenom and performed with peers of the faith such as the First Lady of Gospel Shirley Caesar, The Clark Sisters, Marvin Winans, Bebe and Cece Winans, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett and Donnie McClurkin. In 2008, they were honored in a BMI Trailblazers of Gospel ceremony in 2008 and in 2009, received the Bobby Jones Legend Award at the Stellar Awards.

Affectionately referred to as the “Father of Contemporary Gospel Music,” Allen delivered the ministry as well as gospel staples such as “He’s A Miracle Worker” and “Something About The Name Jesus.”

In 2011, he was nominated and approved by the General Board of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) to succeed the late Bishop Alfred D. Knight, Jr. as the Jurisdictional Prelate of the Michigan Northwestern Harvest Jurisdiction. He continued to preach at his church in Toledo, Ohio until his passing.

“I’m looking at the advantage, the beneficial side of this whole issue,” Allen said in June regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. “Every time something happens like this, that seems to be negative in every way, I open my eyes with great expectation to see what God is going to do to be beneficial to his people.”

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Rance Allen, ‘The Father Of Contemporary Gospel Music’ Passes Away  was originally published on