Shockwaves of grief swept through the 6,000 plus member congregation of Christian Chapel Temple of Faith CME Church (CCTOF) as news spread of the sudden death Sunday, July 15 of their longtime Pastor Rev. Dr. Jerome E. McNeil, Jr., who was 63 years old, had just completed his sermon at the 10:45 a.m. worship service and was greeting several church members seated in the back of the sanctuary when he fell ill.
Once word of his passing was shared on our website, readers shared comments like those of Paula:
“Each and every Sunday that I walked through the doors at Christian Chapel, I knew that I would leave with a positive message.
Thank you!!! Pastor McNeil. You will be missed.”
In full time ministry for 34 years, McNeil served as the Pastor of CCTOF for 21 years. Under his leadership, over 80 ministries were established and it was one of the largest churches in the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) denomination.
Those who worked closely with McNeil in ministry fondly recalled how he often shared words of inspiration. “I’m often reminded of something McNeil said to me, ‘God’s Will will never take us anywhere that his grace will not keep us,’” states Rev. Norris Curry, CCTOF Associate Pastor and a longtime close friend of McNeil’s.
He was known nationally as an evangelist, pastor, teacher, and preacher and had recently been inducted into the inaugural edition of the Who’s Who in Black Dallas. According to Dr. Dan Fitten, Pastor of St. Matthews CME Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, McNeil’s many honors and awards never changed his focus on preaching the uncompromising gospel of Jesus Christ and being a mentor to others. “Dr. McNeil was my prayer partner, confidant, brother and closest friend for over 22 years. Above all, he was my personal pastor and presence that will be hard to replace,” reflects Fitten.
Rev. William Spearman, one of many dozens of McNeil’s sons in the ministry adds, “Dr. McNeil epitomized the passion, purpose and power of who and what God’s man should be.”
Dr. McNeil was a nationally recognized evangelist, counselor, teacher, workshop facilitator, speaker and author, who emphasized a biblical response to the current issues facing modern families and communities through his teaching and preaching ministries. Also a community activist, Dr. McNeil was one of the founding members of Dallas’ African American Pastors Coalition and Denominational Prayer Coordinator for the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. His passion was prayer and equipping others for ministry.
Being a man of integrity is what CCTOF Senior Associate Pastor Rev. Vanessa Ingram says she will remember McNeil for. “He modeled integrity in everything he did. He walked worthy of his calling.”
Longtime CCTOF member Arlicia Wince-Rickman echoed Ingram’s sentiments. “Pastor Jerome E. McNeil, Jr. was an “Incredible Servant of God.” From the onset of my arrival at CCTOF, he navigated my Christian walk with his strong belief in Prayer. He is/was my Spiritual Leader, Preacher, Teacher and Friend who had an amazing gift to take any subject matter relate it to scripture and make it relevant! I am forever grateful for his teachings and the legacy he has etched in my heart forever. I love him and miss him dearly!”
His death is deeply mourned by his wife of 39 years, Billye, two daughters, Charla and Vanita (Michael) and two granddaughters, Kyra and Melodee, extended family, friends, church family, ministerial colleagues, along with countless sons and daughters in the ministry.
The Celebration of Life Services for McNeil are listed below:
Wednesday, July 18 at 7 p.m. Reflection and Prayer
Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m. Praise Celebration Featuring CCTOF Music Ministry
Friday, July 20 at 3 p.m. – close Public Viewing *
Saturday, July 21
9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Public Viewing
11 a.m. Celebration of Life
*Black and Clark Funeral Home, 2517 East Illinois Avenue in Dallas, TX 75216
All events take place at Christian Chapel Temple of Faith CME Church, 14120 Noel in Dallas, unless otherwise noted.