Bishop James McNeal Jr. is known nationwide as “The Godfather of Fellowship.” Born in the small town of Cecil, Georgia, he completed his education in the public school system and matriculated in several institutions of higher learning, holding an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree from the Evangelical School of Philadelphia.
Teaching and preaching became his first order of business as God called him into the ministry. Just two years after being saved he was made Superintendent of the Sunday School Department. With confirmation of his calling from the mouth of his pastor, Elder Robert McBay he was elevated on April 17, 1971 as minister, surpassing the office of Deacon. He fulfilled the position of Elder and Pastor in 1972 and five years later Elder James McNeal Jr. was consecrated to the office of Bishop and later installed as the General Overseer of the Church of New Hope and Faith Incorporated.
Bishop McNeal has served as the General Overseer for seven churches, which extended from Philadelphia Pennsylvania to Caguas Puerto Rico. He is currently serving as the Overseer of the Churches of New Hope and Faith with locations in Valdosta Georgia, two churches in Houston Texas, and three churches in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Bishop McNeal has rendered 45 years of dedicated and faithful service of Pastoral Leadership at the Headquarters Church of New Hope and Faith in Philadelphia. Since the founding of NCFC, the growth of the organization now covers over 23 states and 126 cities including Jamaica, West Africa and Great Britain. Bishop McNeal has licensed over 175 religious leaders including the consecration of 32 Bishops and Overseers, Prophets, Apostles, Pastors, Evangelists, Ministers and an Archbishop during his ministry. Bishop McNeal’s involvement in the business community includes the Assistant Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Pal Center, the Coordinator for the National Coalition of Involved People and a member of the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Food Bank. Bishop McNeal gives untiring service, in the religious and business community, as the prophecy is fulfilled, “through Bishop McNeal, millions will be fed,” (Mother Ruby Parsons, Compton California June 11, 1983).
Bishop McNeal has received more than 100 awards during his tenure as NCFC Founder and Chairman; some to include, The Liberty Bell Replica from Philadelphia’s First African American Mayor, the NCFC Spirit of Excellence Award in Chicago Illinois, induction into the Hall of Fame of the Evelyn Graves Drama Association, and induction into his Jr. High School Alma Mata “Wall of Fame.” He was honored in a community ceremony attended by religious, community and elected officials dedicating a prestigious 30 foot mural in his honor. Bishop McNeal has also received numerous Proclamations and Citations from the Senate of Pennsylvania, the Governor of Pennsylvania, City Council of Philadelphia, and the former Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter. He has received letters from four of America’s Presidents, Jimmy Carter, William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush and the first African American president, Barak H. Obama.
Bishop McNeal has been honored recently with two autobiographies entitled “The Bishop McNeal Story”, “A Man of Vision” (2016) and “The Bishop McNeal Story”, Volume 2 (2017). authored by Bernard K. Jakksen a proven New Hope and Faith historian.
Bishop McNeal has been married to Elder Betty McNeal since 1961 and on August 12, 2019 they will celebrate 58 years of marriage without a break! They have three adult children, Elder Virgil, Sister Kim, Brother Jamie, one grandson and his wife, Ministers James and Roshalle McNeal III, and two great grandchildren (twins), James IV and Jani.