Bishop Cornelius Bowser
Cornelius Bowser, a native San Diegan, grew up in the heart of San Diego and was exposed to gang activity at an early age. By the time he reached his teens he begun to sell drugs and gang bang. Cornelius Bowser’s expertise on gangs comes from being a member of the West Coast Crips in which he joined in the early 1970's. The West Coast Crips were the first Crips and the most violent notorious black gang in the County of San Diego.
His life took a dramatic turn on December 5, 1984 when he decided to turn his life over to Christ. He accepted the call to ministry in 1987, and at the same time accepted the challenge to change the lives of young people who were caught up in a culture of the streets just as he was. He worked diligently in his church (Greater Apostolic Faith Temple) as a Junior/Senior High School Sunday School Teacher; he held the office of Vice President of the Youth Department, Assistant Director of the Men's Ministry, and later the Director of the Men's Ministry. He was also the Director and Gang Counselor of “Let Us Make Man” Outreach Services; a gang and drug prevention and intervention program he founded in 1992-1995, and started the Youth Lock In Retreat in the City of San Diego.
Cornelius Bowser is the founding pastor of Charity Apostolic Church (1995). In 1999 he was elevated to the office of Bishop and served as the Diocesan Bishop of California in the Jesus Christ Apostolic Churches and Christ Apostolic Temple Incorporated Fellowship.He took his elevation serious and led the charge in building a local fellowship in San Diego and a state council. He was also the international representative for the young people that included churches in India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Cornelius Bowser was appointed as a commissioner to the City of San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention (2012). He is one of the founding members of the Community Assistance Support Team (C.A.S.T.) which has helped reduce gang violence in the City of San Diego. Equipped with methods to prevent retaliatory violence, C.A.S.T especially engages, empowers and educates residents who experience violence. Their innovative approach to confronting community fears of violence has set them apart, enabling residents to be a vibrant part of their community.
Since 2012, Bishop has been the program director of Shaphat Outreach which is an outreach ministry of Charity Apostolic Church. Shaphat Outreach mission is to intervene in the life of our youth and adults who are actively involved in a gang/gun violence, in order to help them make self-change through cognitive behavior therapy, wrap around services, and educational classes. Shaphat is pronounced Shaw-fat. This is a Hebrew word taken from Ps 82:3. It is the word “defend” which means, delivering from injustice and oppression.
Cornelius Bowser is a gang expert witness for state and federal courts. He is certified as a drug prevention specialist, trained in the fields of suicide prevention, family and marriage counseling, anger management, gang prevention and intervention. He has also been trained to provide initial help to those experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis and substance use disorders. His expertise also extends to the training of new police cadets in community engagement. By employing the techniques of de-escalation support, conflict resolution, retaliation prevention, in-hospital spiritual care, in-home support and advocacy, Cornelius Bowser has brought quality community service to many individuals and families impacted by violence.