Gospel music legend Bishop Rance Lee Allen made his transition to glory on October 31, 2020, at the age of 71. Initial reports indicate that Bishop Allen was recovering from a medical procedure at Heartland ProMedica in Sylvania, Ohio when he passed away at 3 a.m.
Bishop Allen was born in Monroe, Michigan, where he also began his pastoral career. At the time of his passing, Bishop Allen was living in Ohio and had been senior pastor of New Bethel Church of God In Christ in Toledo, OH for 35 years. His many and varied accomplishments include founding the gospel powerhouse Rance Allen Group in 1969. The group was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998, and in 2012, the group won two Stellar Awards for Quartet of the Year and Traditional Group/Duo of the Year. The Rance Allen Group was also nominated for several Grammy Awards and performed for former President Barack Obama at a White House Celebration of Gospel Music. In 2011, Bishop Allen was elevated to the office of Jurisdictional Prelate of the Michigan Northwestern Harvest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in Detroit.
“Bishop Allen was a world-renowned gospel artist and affectionately known as the ‘Father of Contemporary Gospel Music,'” wrote Bishop Robert G. Rudolph Jr., Adjutant General of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. in an official Church of God In Christ, Inc. press release issued on October 31, 2020 (see below for full release). The release went on to say that, “Bishop Allen’s unique vocal ministry was an indispensable sound within the Church of God in Christ and Christendom. His gift transcended boundaries of musical genre as he remained a sought-after personality called to perform on global venues.”
Although a staple of gospel quartet music for many years, The Rance Allen Group reached a whole new generation of gospel music lovers when it teamed up with Men of Standard (with Background vocals by The Family) on Kirk Franklin’s fifth studio album, “The Nu Nation Project” in 1998. “Something About the Name Jesus” has gone on to become one of The Rance Allen Group’s signature songs.
Bishop Allen and Evangelist Ellen Marie Groves were married in December 1970, and would have celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Allen’s family will hold a private memorial service, with a Jurisdictional Memorial Service to follow some time in the future once social distancing restrictions are lifted.
Bishop Rance Lee Allen leaves behind a legacy of ministry, servanthood, and iconic gospel music. DetroitGospel.com joins with all those who knew and loved Bishop Allen in praying for comfort and peace over his family, church family, and jurisdictional family during this time of great loss.
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