So why would I call Bishop George D. Mckinney, The Gospel Sophisticate? Being raised COGIC, as my parents adopted St. Stephens as our family’s faith base, St. Stephens was a platform for creatives before there was such a thing.
To put it plainly in my opinion; the greatest San Diego entrepreneurs, choirs, and singers came out of its walls and halls. Yes, it was an institution. Though it was a church congregation, it really seemed like a college campus for spiritual creatives, idealists who may not have known what they wanted to do or be, however, we knew Bishop McKinney expected great things; we knew we had to do something meaningful and futuristic.
Bishop Mckinney was not your average man nor was he your average spiritual leader. As I recall many conversations with him, I knew I was talking to an otherworldly man, a man that brought the most nuanced human dignity to a traditional church experience that was otherwise behind the times.
For the sake of this article, George (which I never addressed him as such) had a knack for being present, as busy as he was (which all the time) Bishop was elegant with his time. Elegant in that he made your time with him like you were the only person that mattered.
I have never met a man that could walk the tightrope of a classic ecclesiastical organization as Bishop McKinney did. On the flip side, he was thrilled to surf on the waves of new age thought and grand visions of the new world. Bishop Mckinney understood the formalities of structure but always insured just enough youthfulness, innocence, and hope onto of his very young following. Young people loved his energy and smooth swag.
I will miss him, not just because he himself won’t be around, but with his beautiful transition, he’s taking his gift of blended sophistication, education, wisdom, knowledge, and his royal African infusion on the American gospel genre with him. A salt that has seasoned our city like no other.
Thank you for leaving it all on the field my friend,
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986