The bishop of a Chattanooga church has died one day apart from his wife and longtime fellow church worker, and they will be remembered in a joint funeral service on Monday at 11 a.m.
Prior to that, Bishop James M. Scott, Sr., 87, and Mother Virginia Scott, 83, both will lie in state on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. at the church where they long labored together - Holy Temple Church of God in Christ on Bliss Avenue.
Mother Scott died Sunday and Bishop Scott passed away the next day.
He was born in Pickens County, Mississippi on November 29, 1933 to the union of the Elder Matthew and Melissa Reed Scott. The sixth of 10 children, he was saved at a very young age.
At the age of 14, he lost his father and pastor, but shortly after, he was called into the ministry. A born leader, his life was exemplary for others even in his youth, it was stated.
As a young adult, he remained at home with his mother and younger siblings in an effort to assist her with the family farm. This decision did not allow him to go to college, but he was able to train the younger siblings to safely operate the necessary farm equipment. He would work his mother’s land and then work his land.
In 1954, he married his beautiful bride, Virginia Washington. They met when she was 15 and were married two years later.
Shortly after marrying, "God led the young couple to Chattanooga in 1956 where they joined Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. This move was clearly ordained by God, and in 1957, he was appointed pastor of the Holy Temple Church by Bishop Audley King. He worked 10 years for Preserving Wood for $40 a week, but was able to take care of his family, the church and even build his first home. He told his children, 'Your money will do whatever you tell it to do.' Eventually he was able to get his GED and become a contractor. Meanwhile, God also blessed this union, and added four children…the late Elder James, Jr., Zenobia Norman, Elder Mark Scott and Lotneice Hinton, along with seven grandchildren and four great- grandchildren.
"Bishop Scott has remained committed to God, and served his family, his church and his leaders faithfully. He has held various positions in the jurisdiction including President of the State Sunday School Department, Chairman of the Ordination Board, Member of the Finance Committee and District Superintendent. And in 1996, God elevated him to Bishop of the Tennessee Eastern Second Jurisdiction.
"As a gifted leader, Bishop Scott knows how to reach and serve the youth, the elderly and all of those in between. He was a great teacher for young men, often telling them how to be effective husbands and fathers. He used his gifts to shepherd God’s people and his talent and vision to edify the church. He has been credited with the construction and renovation of countless churches throughout the eastern part of Tennessee where he has left his footprints. He was also responsible for the former and most recent construction of The New Holy Temple Cathedral COGIC at 2311 Bliss Ave. It is a beautiful edifice that also functions as the State Temple.
"A kind-hearted and generous person, his leadership style allowed all people an opportunity to blossom. His commitment to Christ and deep love for God’s people has thus sustained him as pastor of The New Holy Temple Cathedral Church of God in Christ for nearly 64 years. And it is there where he leaves his legacy through the many lives he touched, leaders he groomed and the family he enriched."
Mother Virginia Scott, was born Virginia Washington to the union of Elder Frank and Zenobia Washington in Teoc, Mississippi. She was the second oldest of 10 children. "She was saved at an early and filled with the Holy Spirit at the tender age of 10. Even from her youth, she was a witness for her family, friends and classmates. She often told of being teased for being saved, but later those that teased her would watch her and later accept Christ. Being the eldest daughter, she was often needed to help take care of her younger siblings. She often talked about helping her mom and the nurse midwife with the delivery of her younger siblings."
A short time after she was married, "the Lord led this young couple to Chattanooga, Tennessee. She and Bishop joined Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in 1956 under the leadership of Elder Pinkard. The following year in June of 1957 and at the young age of 19, she became a First Lady after God elevated her husband to the position of Pastor.
"Mother Scott began working in the church in her youth, where she could often be found singing, working with the youth, teaching Sunday School, selling dinners and even playing her drum for the outreach street ministry. She has worn many hats in the local church, district and even state where she held several positions over the years. When her husband was away, she picked up many of the saints for church and carried them home as well, sometimes not getting home until after midnight with four children in tow! A great example in the home, she taught her children the scriptures and often made them sing gospel songs while she hit a tune on the piano. She served her husband with joy, raised her children with purpose and loved on all of God’s children. When asked for advice on how to be an effective Pastor’s Wife, she would always say, 'Just love all of the people the same.'
"Outside of the home, she worked and took care of Carl and Nancy Fischer. Since the couple had no children, they were very dependent on her and she was the trustworthy and gentle spirit they needed. She remained with them for nearly 19 years until both passed away.
"Over the years, Mother Scott was the sweet and steady fragrance at Holy Temple. She remained faithful to God, her family and the church. She always had a kind word and often reached out to the saints via phone when they needed encouraging. Her signature song was and remains 'Will You Reach Me A Hand of Kindness!' "
The funeral service will be at the church with Elder Mark Scott as the eulogist. Burial will be in Hamilton Memorial Gardens. Arrangements are by Taylor Funeral Home of Chattanooga, Inc.