by Rob Taylor Jr.
Courier Staff Writer
Church Of God In Christ. Six and a half million members. More than 100 countries.
What are the odds that a person could elevate all the way up to a board of such distinction as the COGIC General Board, which consists of just 12 Bishops, responsible for establishing and executing policies for the membership, as well as sustaining and perpetuating spiritual order within the Church?
But then again, we’re talking about The Right Reverend Loran Edward Mann. The man who was determined to start a church under a tent in 1969 with just 19 members. Today, there are hundreds who call themselves current members of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ, at a can’t-miss, $1.2 million facility on the corner of Larimer Avenue and East Liberty Boulevard in East Liberty.
Bishop Mann, who was loved, revered and admired, died on Sunday, May 2. He was 74.
‘Pittsburgh lost a Lion.’
– Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Just weeks before his passing, Bishop Mann indeed was elected to a four-year term on the COGIC’s General Board. The congratulatory messages for Bishop Mann at the time were innumerable.
Prior to the General Board elections, Bishop Mann had received support and endorsements from many in the COGIC family, including Bishop Felton M. Smith Jr., of Tennessee.
“He is a consummate leader, a man of impeccable lifestyle, he’s a preacher of righteousness, a lover of God’s people,” Bishop Smith said of Bishop Mann during a COGIC virtual event on Feb. 17. “And it’s been my joy to know him these many years and to see his fidelity, his devotion, his loyalty to the church and the people of God…The Lord has prepared him for such a time as this. We need these kind of salient thinking individuals for such a challenging time in which we live. He has my full endorsement.”
The New Pittsburgh Courier learned that Bishop Mann was born in Ocala, Fla., a small city nestled between Tallahassee and Orlando, on Aug. 8, 1946. His family moved to Pittsburgh in 1959, but Bishop Mann recalled in a 2019 interview with Cornerstone Television Network how he was reluctant to move from his hometown, away from so many of his friends.
“I heard the voice of the Lord say that he wanted me in Pittsburgh,” Bishop Mann said in the interview. “I had no idea then, what he had in mind.”
THE FAMILY OF BISHOP MANN—Loran Mann II, First Lady Barbara Mann, Bishop Loran Mann, Tiana Mann, in this photo from 2009.
Bishop Mann attended both Westinghouse High School and the University of Pittsburgh, and later became the first African American newscaster on KDKA Radio, in 1968, around age 22. He spent 10 years at KDKA Radio, and when the opportunity came for him to jump to television full-time, he took the leap to WPXI-TV (Channel 11). It’s there where “Loran Mann” became a household name, reporting any and everywhere at any hour of the day or night, his booming voice commanding attention in every report.
After more than 20 years at WPXI, Bishop Mann retired from TV and made sure his ministry was full-time.
In 1992, Bishop Mann led Pentecostal Temple COGIC into ownership in the broadcasting industry with the acquisition of WGBN-AM (1150), which was the city’s first 24-hour-a-day Gospel music station. In 2006, Bishop Mann became a founding member of the “Rejoice Musical Soulfood Network,” which offers Gospel music programming by satellite to stations across the country.
BISHOP LORAN MANN, right, with Gospel music superstar Donnie McClurkin, in a photo from 2018.
In 2011, Bishop Mann, who holds an honorary doctorate degree from Waynesburg University, was elevated to the Episcopacy and appointed Bishop of the state of Vermont Jurisdiction on June 2. He was consecrated to the office on Nov. 7, 2011, during the 104th International Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ in St. Louis.
In 2009, the Courier covered the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Pentecostal Temple COGIC, which was held at the Churchill Valley Country Club. The members reminisced on the church congregation’s humble beginnings—Bishop Mann was originally the pastor of First Baptist Church in Braddock Hills, but then left the church to start his own Pentecostal church; 19 members from First Baptist joined him. The members eventually settled on a church home at 1675 Laketon Rd. in Wilkinsburg, in 1971. Looking back, the members recalled how that building had “no air conditioning, limited seating and even fewer parking spaces,” the Courier’s report read. “Many members testified that there is no place like home when it comes to Pentecostal Temple.”
Some may remember Bishop Mann’s many outdoor “tent revivals” that he held over the years, as all were welcome to hear God’s message.
News of Bishop Mann’s passing was confirmed by the Bishop’s immediate family via Facebook, on May 2.
Since then, the condolences for Bishop Mann and his family have poured in from all over the country.
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, representing Pa.’s 18th Congressional District, extended his “deepest condolences to the friends and family of Bishop Loran Mann…He will be missed.”
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said: “Pittsburgh lost a Lion. To the family of Bishop Loran Mann, thank you for sharing him with all of us. A gentle giant who shed love onto our city. A man who lived by the rule of compassion. A friend.”
State Rep. Ed Gainey, whose House District includes the area where Pentecostal Temple COGIC resides, said: “CommUnity. Please pray for the family of Bishop Loran Mann. A great man was called home. Rest With God Bishop Mann. We truly love you. Peace.”
Dee Thompson, who worked with Bishop Mann at WPXI, said in a Pittsburgh Black Media Federation news release, May 2, that “Loran was a pioneer in journalism, not only in Pittsburgh’s Black community but also the community at-large; and not only in Pittsburgh, but nationally. In fact, he was one of the first Black journalists in radio and television in Pittsburgh and because of his outstanding work in the church as a pastor and as a Bishop, he was very well-known throughout the country and the world.”
PBMF President Brian Cook said Bishop Mann’s passing “is not only a loss for the church community, but for those who enjoyed his television and radio reports. He was a trusted newsperson and will be missed for his pioneering inspiration and his dedication to community coverage.”
And COGIC Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard simply said: “To know (Bishop Mann) was to love him. His presence will be surely missed by all.”
Bishop Mann is survived by his wife, Barbara; and two children, Loran II and Tiana.
As of Tuesday afternoon, May 4, funeral arrangements had not been publicly announced.