Bishop McCoy's Life Celebrated

On a bright sunny but crisp day in Salisbury, North Carolina, the life of Bishop James Elbert McCoy was celebrated. Every seat from the floor to the balcony was filled in the Varick Auditorium on the campus of Livingstone College where this Celebration of Life took place.

Bishop Dennis V. Proctor, President of the Board of Bishops of the A.M.E. Zion Church presided over a service program that brought to light the many tributes to this mighty man of God. After the scriptures, prayers and hymns on the program were completed, Tributes the Hood Theological Seminary and the Connectional Budget Board of the church were made. After musical selections from the North Carolina Conference Choir, The Reverend Dr. Kathy T McFadden and The Reverend Dr. G. Ray Coleman brought Tributes as Bishop and Mrs. McCoy’s pastor and long time friend and pastor in the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District respectively.

Bishop Roy A. Holmes, Presiding Prelate of the North Eastern Episcopal District brought a Tribute from the Board of Bishops and then came a Tribute from “The Three Chocolate Chips”, the affectionate name given Bishop McCoy’s three daughters. They provided wonderfully poignant reflections of Bishop McCoy’s interaction with them. One said he would give us “mad” money when we went out on dates. They spoke of being associated with young men who treated them like he treated their mother. It was a wonderful insight into the tender side of this powerful prelate as he dispensed with his duties as a father.

The program moved on to the Eulogy section where Bishop George E. Battle, Senior Bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church, took center stage. After a few acknowledgements and recognitions, Bishop Battle laid out his message on Philippians 1:21; “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” and entitled the message, Living Life Without Regret. Bishop Battle weave a stirring and powerful message as he tracked Paul’s time in a Roman prison suffering with pain yet joyful to the recent sufferings of Bishop McCoy and his joy. He noted that life presents us all with an interesting challenge. He provided the attendees with conversational pieces he had with Bishop McCoy recently that made him know of this joy he had. Then, he asked in repetitive queries, how do I know it? Because he had Christ in him. He marveled at how Bishop McCoy had found joy in the midst of his suffering. As Bishop Battle made his way to his conclusion, he noted the last conversations he had with Bishop McCoy and other family members. His most impactful one was noting that at one point Bishop McCoy needed assistance to lift his arm up. But, when he got it up, he wave it as to be requesting, “Come on chariot, I am ready to go!” In his last conversation with Bishop McCoy on Monday, he told him to “take care of the church”. Even in his last moments, he said, his mind was the church. Then, the query, what did he gain?

Celebration Program:

Click here to download the Celebration of the Life of Bishop James E McCoy Program.

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