Thomas L. Hoyt Jr., 72, senior bishop

Thomas L. Hoyt Jr.

Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr. was the senior bishop and 48th bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

He died on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 at the Specialty Hospital of Washington-Hadley, District of Columbia, following a brief illness. He was 72.

The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, under the leadership of Hoyt, and the College of Bishops is a 143-year-old historically African American Christian denomination with more than 800,000 members across the United States. The church has missions in Haiti, Jamaica, Ghana, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan/Egypt, Kenya Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa.

Hoyt was the presiding prelate of the Seventh Episcopal District of the Carolina Region and the New York-Washington Region which includes churches in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. Prior to that time and following his election to the Episcopacy, he was assigned to the Fourth Episcopal District encompassing the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.

He was born March 14, 1941 to the late Rev. Thomas Lanier Hoyt Sr. and Ida Wells Hoyt in Fayette, Ala.

He came to the Episcopal office as a preacher, and distinguished scholar in theological education.

His extensive academic training included obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Lane College, Jackson, Tenn.; a master of divinity degree from Phillips School of Theology, Interdenominational Theology Center, Atlanta, Ga.; a master of sacred theology degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York and the PhD degree from Duke University, Durham, N.C. Hoyt was also awarded the doctor of divinity degree from Trinity College, Rust College, Lane College and the Interdenominational Theological Center.

His ministry included pastorates of several CME churches in North Carolina and New York, along with more than 25 years as professor of New Testament studies. Hoyt has served as assistant professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga., the School Of Religion at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and professor of New Testament and director of the Black Ministries Certificate Program at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn.

He has written more than 35 articles for professional journals and publications and has shared in group projects that resulted in published books including the influential “Stony the Road We Trod: An African American Biblical Interpretation,” edited by Cain Hope Felder.

Numerous awards and honors were bestowed on Hoyt, including an audience with Pope John Paul II as a member of the delegation from the National Council of Churches, a delegate to the World Council of Churches in Porto, Alegre, Brazil in 1987 and the CME Representative at the World Council of Churches meeting on Faith and Order in Santiago, Spain.

He served as president of the National Council of Churches from 2004-2005. Hoyt was awarded the Consortium Ecumenism Award from the Washington Theological Consortium at the Howard University School of Divinity in 2011. He was a lifetime member of the NAACP and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Hoyt is survived by his wife of 49 years, Ocie Harriet (nee Oden); children, Doria of Shreveport, La., and Thomas III of Atlanta, Ga.; grandchild, Ayanna; sister, Evelena Rucker of Atlanta, Ga; brothers-in law, Courtland Van Oden of California, and Aaron Favors of Washington, D.C.; sister-in-law, Emile Oden Corzo of Texas; aunt, Ida Moore Of Birmingham, Ala.; special niece, Annie Doris Hall, Birmingham, Ala., special nephews, Ned Hardin of Atlanta, Ga.; and Councilman Steven Hoyt of Birmingham, Ala. and other relatives and friends.

Services were held Nov. 6 at the Crampton Auditorium at Howard University. A memorial service was held Nov. 11 at the West Side CME Church in Atlanta, Ga. Burial was in West View Cemetery in Atlanta.

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