Bishop James E. McCoy, a Laurinburg native and leader in the A.M.E. Zion Church, died last week.
McCoy was presiding prelate of the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Zion Church.
He died on Nov. 13, 2012 at the age of 68. McCoy was the church’s 94th bishop in succession, elected at the 47th Quadrennial in 2004.
He held positions with the AME Zion Connectional Budget Board, AME Zion Church Episcopal Committee; Chairman, New York Conference Board of Trustees; Chairman, New York Conference Budget Committee; Chairman, New York City District Finance Committee; Member and Chairman, Board of Directors, Harriet Tubman Home, Inc.
“Bishop McCoy was a tremendous churchman,” said Dr. Otis McMillan, who has served McCoy’s family as former pastor of Franklin Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Laurinburg. “He’s been a leader in the church for the last 30 years; he chaired some of the most prestigious committees in our church.”
McCoy served in the Alabama-Florida Episcopal District before being relocated to the Eastern North Carolina District earlier this year.
“He had a tremendously successful ministry,” McMillan said. “He was a very, very strong leader. If there was ever a mighty man in our church, then he would be called a mighty man. He not only held great positions, he had great influence.”
Due to that influence, the A.M.E. Zion Church that McCoy leaves is not the same church he set out to serve, as he spearheaded the church’s practice of dividing the world into 12 episcopal districts.
“For years we sent bishops all over the world - we didn’t have a church divided into episcopal areas,” McMillan said. “It was through his influence that we divided the church into 12 major areas.”
McCoy graduated from Livingstone College in 1966. He received a Master of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary in 1969 and Doctor of Divinity in 1981. His pastorates included First AME Zion Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., East Stonewall AME Zion Church in Charlotte, Price Memorial AME Zion Church in Concord, and Mt. Zion-Roper Grove AME Zion Circuit in Mt. Gilead.
His funeral was Saturday at the Varick Auditorium on the campus of Livingstone College in Salisbury.
He is survived by his wife Shirley McDuffie McCoy and three daughters, as well as his mother and three sisters who reside in Laurinburg.