My Tribute To Bishop James Kelley At Home-Going Celebration

An integral part of Bishop James Kelley’s remarkable legacy was his passion for Tupelo Children’s Mansion.

Just like Jesus, Bro. Kelley loved the little children and suffered them to come unto him, taking them up in his arms and blessing them. His pure religion motivated him to become an advocate for the fatherless, orphaned, abandoned, abused and neglected.

Bro. Kelley loved the Mansion and served as a member of our TCM Board of Directors for many years, until his passing. Although he was not able to come to Tupelo in recent years due to his declining health, he was beloved by all who served on the board and held in the highest esteem as an honorary member.

He played a leading role in seeing the ministry develop and grow, until today we have a beautiful 40-acre campus with 26 buildings and a flourishing ministry that has impacted the lives of over 3,000 children.

If it had not been for him, and a few others like him in those earlier years—core members of the TCM board—the Mansion would not be what it is today, and most probably wouldn’t be in existence.

The Bishop was just one of those iconic representatives, an Ambassador for the cause. He and his church hosted the TCM tour group on several occasions, always showing his support and doing what he could to be a blessing!

His influence touched the lives of hundreds of young children who today are serving the Lord faithfully and leading productive lives. A good number of whom have answered the call to ministry as pastors, evangelists, missionaries and preacher’s wives.

I recently received a note from a former resident which read, “A seed was planted in me at the Mansion that grew me into being what I am today—a Youth Leader & Sunday School Teacher.”

So, just as Christ put his arms around the children, Bro. Kelley embraced this ministry.. He absolutely loved it! I realize that he had a broad vision for the Kingdom-work at large, but the Mansion was very dear to his heart, and he left a portion of it in Tupelo, Mississippi.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, and the untold numbers of precious lives, and a host of families that have been impacted by Bishop Kelley…it is my distinct honor to pay tribute to this outstanding patriarch who walked before us.

To you, our dear Sis. Kelley, and to this precious family…please know that I join with others who are praying for you today and in the days that follow.

I understand how greatly he will be missed. But I can assure you that he is in a much better place, and we wouldn’t want to bring Him back if we could.

After my dear 93-year old father passed away a few months ago, my daughter sent me a Christmas ornament that had these words inscribed on it…

I love you all dearly
Now don’t shed a tear
I’m spending Christmas
With Jesus this year.

Of course, we’re sad today, but we know the Bishop is very happy! He’s with the Lord!

And for those of who know Him…we’re nearing that wonderful celestial shore…and it won’t be long until we are reunited together with him in the presence of our Savior.

And so, to this elder Christian statesman and legendary leader, we say, “So long, Bishop, until we meet again.”

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