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The IPHC Remembers Bishop James D. Leggett

The International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) is thankful for the life and ministry of Bishop James D. Leggett, who died Thursday morning, February 8, 2018, at his home. General Superintendent Doug Beacham remembers Bishop Leggett fondly,

“James Leggett led the IPHC into the twenty-first century with great wisdom, personal character, and a vision to reach the world. He was not only our denominational leader, he was an outstanding leader in the global Pentecostal movement and beyond. Through the National Association of Evangelicals, Christian Churches Together and the Global Christian Forum, James Leggett spoke with clarity and grace to the body of Christ across the wide spectrum of Christian thought and expression. Susan and I are grateful for the love and friendship of the entire Leggett family to us and to the world-wide IPHC family.”


Bishop Leggett served the Lord and the IPHC faithfully and with honor. A memorial service for Bishop Leggett is under the direction of Skinner and Smith Funeral Home and will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. at the J. Culbreth Memorial Auditorium in Falcon, North Carolina. The family will greet visitors from 11:30 a.m – 1:45 p.m. and interment will be at the Falcon Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Holmes Bible College, 4901 Old Buncombe Road, Greenville, SC 29617. Out of town guests may secure hotel accommodations at the Hampton Inn or Fairfield Inn in Dunn, North Carolina.

UPDATE: Bishop James Leggett’s Memorial Service will be broadcast via Livestream on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at 2:00 pm EST. An archive of the full service is also available online.



James Daniel Leggett (1939-2018)

Bishop James D. Leggett

Not many people have the distinction of moving from student to teacher to president of their alma mater. But that is precisely the story of James D. Leggett, with much living and leading between.

James Daniel Leggett was born in Williamston, North Carolina, on October 21, 1939. He was one of eight children born to James S. and Hazel W. Leggett. The Leggetts were members of the Bethany Pentecostal Holiness Church in Williamston. James was born again in 1954 in his home church and he knew without a doubt that God had a call on his life.

During James’s high school and college years, he attended Holmes Academy and College of the Bible in Greenville, South Carolina. He continued his education at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he earned a B.A. in history.

As a high school student at Holmes, James met and fell in love with another student, Clara Faye Watts, a pretty girl from Virginia. They dated for five years before exchanging marriage vows on June 25, 1961, in the First PH Church, Norfolk, Virginia. She was 19 and he was 21 at the time.

The newlyweds returned to Greenville and to their alma mater; this time, however, the mission was for James to teach at the school. He spent a year as a member of the Holmes faculty before assuming his first pastorate—Swan Quarter Pentecostal Holiness Church (Pinetown, NC). He pastored two more congregations, Mount Olive (Pembroke, NC), 1964-70, and Culbreth Memorial (Falcon, NC), 1970-1986, before being elected superintendent of the North Carolina Conference.

James had served as conference superintendent for only three years when the delegates at the 1989 General Conference elected him to the General Executive Board as executive director of Evangelism and chairman of the Extension Loan Fund, which grew from $3 million to $12 million under his leadership. In 1993, he was re-elected to head the Department of Evangelism, which had become known as Evangelism USA (EVUSA). He was also chosen as vice chairman of the denomination.

As director of EVUSA, Leggett set an aggressive goal of planting 100 new churches in America in only one year. “In the most remarkable year ever, the church succeeded in planting 110 new churches in the U.S. in 1994.”[i]

Then, in 1997, James D. Leggett was elected as general superintendent and presiding bishop of the IPHC. During those years, 1997-2009, Leggett also served as co-chairman of the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches of North America, chairman of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and as a member of the Global Christian Forum and Christian Churches Together (CCT).

For seven years, Bishop Leggett applied his skill and knowledge as both a wordsmith and theologian to writing Sunday School curriculum for Advocate Press (now LifeSprings Resources). During his tenure as general superintendent, he served as editor of the denominational magazines, IssacharFile, and Experience. He also compiled and edited the book, Preaching to Connect,[ii] an anthology of sermons and practical insights by several well-known pastors and educators.

When Leggett left the office of General Superintendent in 2009, he returned to Greenville, South Carolina, and the school that held so many memories for him and Faye. He accepted the challenge as head of Holmes Bible College. While serving as the school’s sixth president, he revitalized the institution and strengthened its ties with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. He worked diligently to fortify the school’s financial base while overseeing the construction of a lovely new campus, including a new building for the Holmes Memorial Church, which he pastored. By the time he retired in August 2017, the primary campus was debt-free.

James and Faye Leggett have four children: James D., Jr. (Sandra); Joseph Talmadge (Sharon), John (Laurie) and Cindy McKeone (Jim); and 11 grandchildren.

James Leggett said his life motto was to “realize God’s full potential.” He based that goal on Philippians 1:6: “[I am] confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in [me] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (KJV).

In a sense, James Leggett’s adult life led him full circle—student, teacher, preacher, pastor, writer, presiding bishop, college president—and always ministering and leading with a positive outlook toward the future. The thousands who have heard him preach will no doubt recall his declaring, “The best is yet to come!”

By Shirley G. Spencer

The International Pentecostal Holiness Church has received additional tributes to Bishop Leggett from the following individuals:

Rev. Donavan Ng

Dr. Arto Hämäläinen

Rev. Carlos L. Malavé

Rev. D. Mohan

Bishop Gordon McDonald

Prince Guneratnam

Leith Anderson

Jeff Farmer

Dr. William M. Wilson


[i] Vinson Synan, Old Time Power, LifeSprings Resources, Franklin Springs, Georgia, ©1998, p. 304.

[ii] LifeSprings Resources, Franklin Springs, Georgia, ©2005.

8 Responses

  1. Phyllis A Price

    So sorry to hear of his death. He was a good Christian man and loved God very much. Always had a smile for you! May he rest in peace. May the good Lord bless and help his family heal during this time of sorrow. But, also be blessed to know that Bishop Leggett lived a life of God and is now sitting at his right hand!!

  2. Rev. Cheryl Lambert

    A wonderful legacy that will NEVER end. He has spent his life touching others lives. That impact will never die!!!! Prayers for the family!

  3. Brian and Denise Edmondson

    What an amazing man, someone allowing God to use him at his full potential. A lesson we all could learn from. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Leggett family. We love you all.


    Praise God, It is been always that a good person who once lived a lives touching lives , Though he passed on, his deeds won’t be forgotten especially for those who were touched by him whilst alive. May be this carries the meaning “their works will follow them” , how does this mean? when ever we recall what he used to fair with others, ……may his soul rest in eternal peace.
    pastor K Charles.

  5. Past. MG Mahlobo ( The AFM President)

    Accept our deepest condolences and sympathies from me, my spouse and the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (AFM) on the passing on of Bishop James Leggett. As part of the Pentecostal Churches we stand in solidarity with his bereaved family and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) on their loss of one of the gallant soldiers of Christ. The AFM had a privilege of being welcomed by Bishop Leggett in one of our visits to the Pentecostal Churches in North America in the latter part of the last century. We were warmly welcomed at the Headquarters of IPHC. May his fond memories assuage the pain of your loss and strengthen you all. May his soul Rest In Peace.

  6. Elwood Long

    Greetings, Bishop Beacham, I am thankful to our eterrnal God of all grace and mercy who has thus far allowed me the awesome opportunity to “travel the road” of ministerial service with a multitude of great men and women of The Faith! I am honored to have been born in a home of “The Faith”, reared in the Body of Christ, The Church that our gracious Lord Jesus Christ lived and died for on the cross for our salvation and was resurrected that we may enjoy His everlasting peace and joy!!!!! I am indescribably appreciative for all His marvelous provision in every way He provides for His Church!!
    I don’t really know why I felt inspired to pen this to you at this moment; however I felt was inspired to do so. I praise our Lord for giving the IPHC anointed Leadership from the youngest to the eldest leaders of this marvelous denomination in which we serve. He has blessed me in so many ways through my years of ministerial activity with my first revival meeting; preaching in February, 1959 at the Black Creek Church near my birthplace, Wilson, NC, (“Mission Worker” License of the NC Conference). TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR ALL HE HAS DONE, IS DOING AND WILL DO IN THE FUTURE!!!
    I humbly thank our Lord for allowing me to be mentored by a host of Biblically sound Sunday School teachers, pastors, evangelists, higher education professors, Local Conference and General Church Leaders in the IPHC and many others….I have the honor to have served under the leadership of Bishops Joseph A. Synan, J. Floyd Williams, Leon Stewart, Bernard E. Underwood, James D. Leggett, Ronald Carpenter (whom I “taught” in Sunday School when I was a teenager) and you, Sir, Doug Beacham! I am blessed indeed by all these precious men in uncountable ways. I thank you for your service in the Kingdom of God in so may ways!!!!! Sorry, I have been a bit “wordy”; however I humbly sensed what I believe to be the anointing of the Holy Spirit Who prompted me to send this note to you!!!!! God bless you and Mrs. Susan in every way!!!

  7. Miguel Mayorga

    Un hermoso y grato recuerdo, especialmente por su compromiso con las almas. Desde Chile, alguien que tuvo la bendición de estrechar su mano.

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