|Bishop Ernest Newman dead at age 80|
By United Methodist News Service
Aug. 29, 2008
United Methodist Bishop Ernest W. Newman, the church's first African
American elected bishop in the southeastern United States, has died at
Bishop Ernest W. Newman
Newman died Aug. 28 in Atlanta, where he lived.
He served as bishop over the church's Nashville (Tenn.) Area from 1984 until his retirement in 1992.
"Bishop Ernest W. Newman was our bishop—the first African-American
elected from Southeast Jurisdiction," said Pamela Crosby, executive
director of Black Methodists for Church Renewal.
"He was educated in the historically black colleges and upheld the history and initiatives of the black church."
"He was a very dedicated worker and dedicated to the church. He was a
fair person," said the Rev. Louis Johnson, who served as a district
superintendent on Newman's cabinet in the late 1980s.
Crosby noted that Newman was a strong supporter of the black church
and the Black College Fund, and that his brother, Omega Newman, was one
of the founders of Black Methodists for Church Renewal.
"Our caucus lifts up the great work of this man who served with
distinction in the episcopacy and whose family remains at the heart of
Methodism," she said.
In 1984, Newman was elected to the episcopacy from the church's
Florida Annual (regional) Conference, where he was a district
superintendent. There, he also had been the conference's first black
pastor of a large all-white congregation.
Born in Kingstree, S.C., Newman received his bachelor of arts degree
from Claflin College in Orangeburg, S.C., and his master of divinity
from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta.
"Our caucus lifts up the great work of this
man who served with distinction in the episcopacy and whose family
remains at the heart of Methodism." –Pamela Crosby
He was ordained deacon in 1946 and, after transferring to the Florida
Conference in 1953, was ordained an elder in the Methodist Church.
Newman served Florida churches in Ocala, Jacksonville and Plantation.
He was superintendent of the Melbourne District from 1972 to 1977 and
the Deland District from 1983 until his episcopal election in 1984.
Between those appointments, he was pastor of the 2,000-member Plantation
United Methodist Church
He was on the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race from
1976 to 1984 and served eight years as secretary of the Southeastern
Jurisdiction Court of Appeals. He served on the boards of trustees of
many United Methodist-related schools of higher education.
He leaves his wife, Thelma; two children, Kathy Newman McCoy and
Ernest Newman Jr.; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sept. 2 at Warren
United Methodist Church in Atlanta. Burial will follow at Westview
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in Newman's name to Claflin University.
News media contact: Marta Aldrich, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council of Bishops