Posted by: Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals | November 3, 2007

Homegoing of Bishop Phillip Coleman, Sr. of Greater Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Faith Church

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By Dr. Janice K. Neal-Vincent
Contributing Writer

The voice of one of Jackson’s most influential men of the cloth lured thousands of people inside the sanctuary of Greater Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Faith Church on Saturday, October 13, 2007. The celebration commenced at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m. Three large screens showed Bishop Phillip Coleman, Sr., founder and pastor of Greater Bethlehem Temple, talking about his life and encounters with the Lord. Those present learned that in 1954 Elder (then) Coleman moved his family back to Jackson and started in 1955 the first apostolic church in the Metro Jackson Area. With five members the church began in Coleman’s parents’ home.  In 1955 Coleman purchased three lots on Lynch Street in subdivision No. 2 and structured a church that had a seating capacity of 150. Over time the congregation grew to more than 800 members, and in 1970 moved to the present facility at 1505 Robinson Street. In 1997 an honorary doctorate in theology from the Pentecostal Bible College, Tuskegee, Alabama, was bestowed upon Coleman. The combined Greater Bethlehem Temple Church Mass choir and the Southeastern District Council choir moved well-wishers to their feet with loved tunes. Among the songs were “Jesus I Love You;” Will You be Ready When Jesus Comes?” “Lord I Will Lift Mine Eyes to the Hills;” “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired;” and “Going Up Yonder.” Amidst the songs were thunderous hand clapping and foot stomping from members of the dais to onlookers in the aisles. Additionally, Coleman’s homegoing celebration produced numerous accolades from his family, congregation, city officials, and pentecostal leadership. His devoted spouse and first lady, Sarah L. McNeil Coleman, explained that it was difficult for her to adjust to him not being around, but “Bishop left with dignity. The smile [he left with] is still on his face.” With humor she added, “I’m going to live as long as I can and I’ll die when I can’t handle it.” Married into the family, Ramona Jones, commented in an interview that she and her husband, Lonzell (Coleman’s nephew) were concerned that a physician thought that their oldest daughter, Monica LaJoy (now 21) would never walk when she was three-years-old. “Bishop Coleman prayed and instructed us to go to the doctor. He said the doctor would not find anything because Monica was healed. When we went to the doctor, he didn’t find a problem. Monica is actively engaged and has her own dance ministry for the Lord.” A member of Greater Bethlehem Temple since 1988, Glenda Webster (49) mentioned that Coleman and his family took her in their home and treated her like she was one of them. She reflected, “Bishop Coleman was a man who loved God and people. He opened himself up to help anyone in need, despite race, color, or creed.” Webster continued, “He taught us [the congregation] what we needed directly from the Holy Bible…Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates don’t measure up. He made himself available to us…” Among officials in attendance were Mayor Frank Melton, City Councilman Marshand Crisler of Ward 6; Hinds County District Attornry Elect Robert Shuler Smith, Chief of Police Shirlene Anderson; Hinds County Coroner Sharon G. Stewart, Hinds County Supervisor Peggy Hobson-Calhoun, former City Councilman Robert Williams; former Congressman and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy; and gubernatorial candidate John Arthur Eaves. Among the bishopric were Lewis Stallworth, Sr. of Stockton, California; Charles Ellis, III of Detroit, Michigan; Michael E. Ford, Sr. of Louisville, Kentucky; John T. Leslie, Jr. of Washington, D. C.; J. E. Moore of Joliet, Illinois; and Alfred Singleton, Presiding Bishop of Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith (P.C.A.F.) from Lansing, Michigan. In his eulogy Singleton focused on I Corinthians 15:58 and Matthew 28 for walking the narrow path. He reminded the congregation that the church of Corinth had problems. But like Paul, ministers “should preach according to Scriptures.” “Death,” he noted, “shall be done away with. No more dying, no more trouble, no more cancer, no more diabetes, no more heart trouble. Thank God for Jesus. Death will be destroyed and the sins of it.” Singleton charged all in attendance to be baptized like Coleman, in the name of Jesus: “There’s blood in that pool, and when you go down in the body of Jesus, you get up with a change in mind, until you’re filled with the Holy Ghost.” In keeping with Singleton’s stance, Minister J. C. Johnson, Jr. asserted that the vision God gave Coleman extended far beyond Greater Bethlehem Temple: “It is for the people of God everywhere, all over this country and world.” This vision, as recalled by a grandson of Coleman’s, was expressed in Coleman’s own words to those who were with him during his last days: “If you’ve got God, keep Him. If you don’t have Him, get Him.”


Responses

  1. I had the great honor of serving under Bishop Coleman for four years before transitioning my life into the military. I have never met a more unique leader. Regardless of your past, he would proclaim, “God sent you here to me.” He was a master spiritual surgeon. Regardless of the sin, he would gladly put on his spiritual gloves and delicately slice away at the root of it with the Word of God with master precision. I’m am so glad I have sat with him, ate with him, and served with him. I still miss him.

  2. Bishop Coleman was a true man of God,a pastor like no other.He truly loved God and everyone; especially the people of God. He is greatly missed. I thank the Lord every day for having him as my pastor. He was such a great leader. He really lived the life that he preached about and he led by example. I have not met anyone like him. THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. THIS LETTER BELONGS TO YOU WHO CAN UNDERSTAND MY FEELING.
    Dearest one,
    It is not my intention to disturb your bussy shedules with my big problem that has falling on me, my name is Nancy Edward, am 29 years old today,i lost my father on 2d of july this 2010..

    My father lost his control on 2d july after Ghana our country lost there football match in the world cup, my father died before the next morning, so far so good, my father own a pharmacy here in Abidjan,after his death, i dicovered that there is gold worth of $16.2 million accoding to the reciept inside in his briefe case in his inner room, then i have to hide it before the relation will have information.

    Dear man of God,i hide it because i know that the family is not realy for me why because i have been told that i was adopted into the family when my father was getting old.
    all i have to do now is to find a way to help myself.
    I want you to send me your information so that i can send this Gold to you then come down to your country and forther my education, as for the money, all i want is just to be fine and you will take caer of me as your Daughter.
    Am expecting your urgent reply.

    Best Regards

    Nancy Edward.

    • Nancy,

      May your arrest be expedited for placing such a deceitful request on this page. We in America are familiar with your Satanic con games. May our government hunt you down like the dog you are.

      You should be ashamed of yourself!

  4. As we approach the 4th anniversary of the Home going of my beloved pastor, Bishop Phillip Coleman, Sr., I appreciated the 20 years the Lord allowed me to serve him in the ministry. Bishop deposit so much into my life. I miss him so much but the words, the values and the love he instilled in me. Bishop live on through us!


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