Michigan-born gospel music legend and world-renowned artist Bishop Rance Allen has passed away at the age of 71.
The announcement came from the Church of God In Christ, Inc. in a release, Saturday, October 31.
Often referred to as “The Father of Contemporary Gospel Music,” he was known for his wide vocal range and powerful singing voice. He served as Prelate of the Michigan Northwest Harvest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.
Bishop Rance Allen. I’m tired of grieving in 2020. Rest on sir. ???? pic.twitter.com/qzrqSUNXCo— Just An Organist (@JMChandler_) October 31, 2020
He was one of 12 children born in 1948 in Monroe, Michigan. According to his biography, at the age of five Allen began his preaching ministry and was preaching throughout Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania by age nine. At age 12, he was licensed to preach and has since continued ministering throughout the United States and abroad.
He is best known as the lead vocalist in the namesake Rance Allen Group, which has its origins dating back to the 1970s. The group was formed by Allen and his brothers.
Detroit Praise Network’s Randi Myles had the pleasure of knowing Bishop Allen and described him as “a beautiful, humble spirit. A true powerhouse at the podium and on stage.”
Allen was the recipient of five Grammy Awards, once performed for President Barack Obama and even recorded a song with Snoop Dogg called “Blessed Me Again” as part of the rapper’s 2018 gospel album Bible of Love. Allen told the Toledo Blade in 2008 that he thought someone was playing a joke on him when the rapper first reached out to him.
Watch the video below:
Allen said of performing with Snoop Dogg, “I’ve always believed that while I want the world to have Jesus. I’ve got to give them a little something that would prick their interest.” Allen also spoke of his belief that the Snoop Dogg collaboration would lead to his work being exposed to a larger audience. Allen said, “When Snoop says, ‘Hey fellas, Jesus saves,’ he’s going to shake their worlds.”
Allen moved to Toledo, Ohio, in 1985 and was the pastor of New Bethel Church of God, according to the bio on the singer’s official website. In December 1970, Allen married evangelist Ellen Marie Groves. His official profile says that the couple had no children that “they share their love and support to many God-children.”
Allen’s death was confirmed in a statement from Bishop Robert G. Rudolph of the Church of God Is Christ in Memphis, Tennessee. The statement did not reveal Allen’s cause of death. The statement goes on to say that due to COVID restrictions, a private memorial service will be held for the singer.
As we mourn the loss Bishop Allen, we ask for your continued prayers for his family as they continue to grieve.