Bishop Marshall Meadors dies at 90 years old

COB file photo

Bishop Marshall Meadors

 Bishop Marshall (Jack) Meadors, a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, passed away Thursday evening, May 25, 2023, in Anderson, S.C., surrounded by his loving family. 

Council of Bishops President Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton issued a statement mourning the death of Bishop Meadors.

“As we the bishops of the church mourn our colleague, we are grateful to God for allowing Bishop Meadors to serve with us. We are especially grateful for his advocacy and quest for justice. Through his work on the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the General Board of Church and Society and the University Senate, he advocated and pushed for tolerance and understanding in diversity,” Bishop Bickerton said, adding: In his other work for justice, Bishop Meadors chaired the Council of Bishops’ Initiative on Children and Poverty, working with various organization to make sure God’s children did not live in scarcity and without the basic needs of life. We will surely miss our friend and this giant of justice.”

Bishop Meadors was born in Kingstree, SC, January 1, 1933, son of Sarah Lucius and Marshall L. (Jack) Meadors. He was reared in Florence. He was a graduate of Wofford College (Phi Beta Kappa), and Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He received honorary degrees from Wofford, Columbia, Rust, Millsaps, and Rocky Mountain Colleges.

He was ordained elder of The United Methodist Church, August 16, 1958. He served Union Church, Stockbridge, GA; the McBee Charge; Trinity, North Myrtle Beach; Berea Friendship, Greenville; First Church, Marion; St. John's, Anderson; the Columbia District; and Buncombe Street, Greenville.

In 1992, he was elected bishop and assigned to the Mississippi area. He retired in 2000. In retirement he served as Bishop-in-Residence at Candler School of Theology, Emory University; he chaired the Independent Panel for the Review of Child Abuse in Mission Settings of the General Board of Global Ministries; he was a trustee of Wofford College and trustee emeritus of Emory.

His civic involvement included membership on the Anderson County District 5 School Board, a position for which he was twice elected in general elections. Governor Richard Riley appointed him to the Joint Legislative Committee on Aging and then to the SC Commission on Aging, which he chaired for five years. Gov. Riley awarded him "The Order of the Palmetto."

He was president of the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference, an organization of religious leaders who worked to promote tolerance and understanding in diversity.  He was a director of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, a director of the General Board of Church and Society, a member of the University Senate, and a trustee of Emory University.
He chaired the Council of Bishop's Initiative on Children and Poverty, 1995-2000.

In 1999 he was a member of the delegation to Belgrade, led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, that secured the release of three American prisoners of war during the NATO bombing. He and his wife Hannah then led a delegation to Macedonia to visit refugee camps, and to visit Kosovo to assess the war damage in Pristina and the outlying villages. He was twice arrested for non-violent acts of civil disobedience; once for protesting the Iraq war; again for demanding more humane immigration deportation policies, especially for children.

He was married to Hannah Campbell who predeceased him.
He is survived by four children: Jane M. Cromley (George) of Pawleys Island, Marshall, III, (Jennifer) of Anderson, James (Anne) of Charleston, and John (Tricia) of Columbia; a sister, Sarah M. (Sissie) Stokes, a niece, Sarah L. (Sallie) Stokes of Murrells Inlet; ten grandchildren: Hannah Cromley, Mary C. Tibbetts (Robert), Parker Cromley, Weatherly, James, Jr., and Jack Meadors, Blakely, Maggie, John, Jr. (Salley), and Perry Meadors; and eight great-grandchildren: Marshall, Henry, Vivianne, Benjamin, James, III, Hayes, Wilder, and Gus.

A memorial service will be held at St. John's United Methodist, Anderson, S.C., on June 9, 2023. The family will greet friends in the Family Activity Center building at 12:30 pm. The service will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. A graveside service will be held June 10, 2023, 3:00 pm, at Mount Hope Cemetery, Florence, S.C.

Memorials may be made to the Meadors Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Wofford College, 429 N Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303-3663 or the Meadors Endowment Fund for Children at The South Carolina United Methodist Foundation, P.O. Box 5087, Columbia, SC 29250.

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