Reverend Claude Lang“Missionary and Community Leader”

On March 6, 1902, Claude Lang was born to Fredrick and Annabelle Lang in Clark County – Langsdale, Mississippi.  He is a descendant of Smiley and Lou Clog Lang, his grandparents, and great grandfather Clement D. Lang. Claude migrated to the Northwest Indiana/ Chicago area in 1928 and shortly after accepted Christ, baptized, and renewed his spiritual relationship with God.  

Langsdale Plantation – Langsdale, MS
Birthplace of Reverend Claude Lang’s grandfather, Smiley Lang

A committed Christian, in 1929, Claude began to work as an evangelist under the stewardship of Mother Nancy Gamble.  He was later ordained by Bishop William Roberts of Chicago, Illinois.

Claude Lang traveled under the national leadership of General Overseer and Chief Apostle, Bishop Charles H. Mason, founder of the Church of God In Christ (COGIC). As a chauffeur and evangelist, he participated in work that helped to lay the foundation for numerous Pentecostal churches in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.  In his early years of evangelistic work, confronted with discrimination during his travels, he slept in jails and funeral parlors as a haven at night.  He met Hazel Natalie Watson, an accomplished pianist, and secretary from Harvey, Illinois, during his early ministry.  They married in 1932, and together they reared six children while continuing to carry out their evangelistic ministry that included the full participation of the children, who often performed as a gospel music group.

During 80 years of evangelist work, he conducted revivals throughout the Midwest, and hundreds of nonbelievers accepted Christ and Christianity as a way of life. In the 1940s, he was the pastor of churches in Aurora and Chicago, Illinois, and served as Chairman of the North Shore District in Chicago, Illinois, visiting, and supporting startup churches. In his later years, he mentored and provided spiritual guidance to many young ministers in the gospel. He read his Bible every day and spent untold hours praying for the sick, visiting shut-ins, assisting widows, and witnessing to nonbelievers on the job, in the hospital, or whenever he witnessed an opportunity.

He was also a steelworker during the great industrial manufacturing period, an avid hunter, and a zealous gardener, enabling him to provide plenty of healthy meat, fruits, and vegetables for his large family.  His hobbies included custom jewelry making from steel scraps for his family and friends and tinkering with automobiles – never owning a car, he couldn’t repair.  Later in life, Claude became known as “Big Daddy” to his 37 grandchildren, 63 great-grandchildren, 25 great-great-grandchildren, and “Dad Lang” to his church family.

In 2000, at the age of 98, he traveled with his family to the Lang Plantation in Langsdale, Mississippi, after 50 years to visit the plantation mansion and walk the land where his grandfather was born and raised.  At the age of 106, he was proud that he was physically able to go to the polls in November 2008 to cast his vote for Barack Obama, the 44th and first Black President of the United States.

He held his last Revival Meeting at the age of 100 and continued to accept speaking engagements until January 2009, two months before his passing at the age of 107.  The fruit of his evangelist work remains evident today in the lives of ministers and saints through the continued growth of the COGIC.  He was featured in the “Whole Truth COGIC International” news magazine that cited his evangelistic ministry and contributions to the church. Honored by the City of Gary, Indiana on March 19, 2009, as “Elder Claude Lang Day,” as a guest speaker at “The State of the City of East Chicago Annual Address;”  and recipient of numerous letters of recognition from former President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter and William “Bill” Clinton, Indiana Congressional officials, United Steel Workers of America (USWA), and New Addition Outstanding Citizen Award.

Throughout his 107 years, he demonstrated the phenomenal ability to embrace and adapt to the adversities and challenges that accompany longevity, as well as those challenges associated with living life as an African-American male.  He was a pillar of the community….an extraordinary man who possessed a boundless sense of humor and zest for life, and a humble and compassionate man who respected his fellow human. He was also widely known as a man of great wisdom…an “Apostle and Legend” of our time, and a testament that GOD is faithful.  “I have been young now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.” Psalms 37:25.

Reverend Claude Lang passed away at home on March 11, 2009, surrounded by family members.

Favorite verse: Psalm 91:16 “With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation

Hazel Natalie Watson Lang “Gifted Pianist”

Hazel Natalie Watson was born on May 1, 1907, to Ada Ferris Watson and Wilson Watson in Harvey, Illinois, and descendant of her grandfather Taylor Ferris. She grew up on a farm and was the oldest girl of eight boys and four girls.  On the farm surrounded by the beauty of nature and protected by her brothers, she blossomed into a lovely, talented, and amazing Christian woman of many gifts, including playing the piano and penmanship.

She attended McKinley Elementary and Thornton Township High School where she won First Place for Outstanding State Track Competition and received a gold medal.

On June 8, 1932, she married Claude Lang and joined him in his evangelist ministry throughout the Midwest, serving as secretary and pianist.  Their union produced six children who participated in the ministry.

Hazel was the pianist for Faith Temple Church of God in Christ (former Block Avenue COGIC) in East Chicago, Indiana, for thirty-five years, where she played for church services and the church choirs.  Noted for her immeasurable love for children, she served as the Sunshine Band Youth Leader for the local church, COGIC’s Northern Indiana Jurisdiction, and the State for several decades. In addition to her church work, Hazel also worked as a housekeeper for private families to help supplement the family’s finances.  After she developed Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hazel retired as a private housekeeper and church pianist.  Her son, John, and his friend David Blakely succeeded her as the church musicians. She later served as the secretary for the Bessie Owens Senior Citizens Association in East Chicago, Indiana.

Hazel and Claude were married for sixty years until she quietly passed away at home surrounded by family members on August 7, 1992.  During her lifetime, Hazel received numerous accolades and tributes for her musical contributions to the church and “all-embracing” hands-on work with children.  Later in life, Hazel became known as “Mama Dear” to her 37 grandchildren, 63 great-grandchildren, and 25 great-great-grandchildren, and “Mother Lang” to her church family.

To find out more about the Lang Watson Foundation and how to contribute, contact us at