“Time is filled with swift transition…”
Bishop Rudolph B. Lewis transitioned from this life on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. He was an ordained minister and the Senior Pastor of New Light Full Gospel Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Born September 23, 1942, in Loris, South Carolina, Rudolph was the ninth child of the late William S. and Ruth B. Lewis. His future in the ministry was inevitable in that six of his parent’s ten children became ministers. He graduated from Finklea High School and attended Howard University; it was there he received his call into the ministry. In May 1995, he received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree and in March 2000, an Honorary Doctor of Law from Richmond Seminary and College.
For two years Elder Lewis served as National Youth President of the First United Churches of Jesus Christ before establishing the First United Church of Jesus Christ in Portsmouth, Virginia. During the fourteen years that he pastoredFirst United in Portsmouth, he was also the President of the Interdenominational Minister’s Forum. He was later a member of the Tidewater Metro Baptist Minister’s Conference of Norfolk, and a member of the Special Day Finance Committee of Virginia Seminary and College, Lynchburg, Virginia.
In 1979, Elder Lewis became Pastor of New Light Baptist Church. His purpose there was to lead and guide God’s people by teaching and discipleship. The direction that he was leading the church was to change a generation by developing ministries dedicated to outreach that sought to propel people toward Jesus Christ and the uplifting of His kingdom. As a visionary, Pastor Lewis has led the New Light Baptist Church family and the surrounding community to be blessed through ever increasing ministries and an expanded multimillion-dollar facility.
In 1994, Reverend Lewis and New Light Baptist Church became affiliated with the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. In November 1998 the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship ordained him Bishop. He was then appointed Bishop over the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Covenant Partners. Bishop Lewis’ first book, Godly Principles and Grace, was released in May 1996. His personal ministry, “This is the Day” Ministries’ first crusade was held in Johannesburg, Africa in February 2006. Bishop Lewis has preached in Israel, in thirteen African countries, at the Lott Carey Convention and the National Baptist Convention. His great mentorship produced countless pastors, ministers, and leaders throughout the world.
Bishop Lewis was predeceased by his parents William Stanley and Ruth Jackson Lewis his sisters, Freddie Flossie Lewis Lee and Annie Ruth Lewis Williams; and his brothers, Reverend William Stanley Lewis, Reverend James Edward Lewis, and Reverend Clarence Rudgle Lewis; his father in law, Elder Willie Lee Arnold; his mother in law, Missionary Virginia Copeland Arnold; a brother in law, Willie Arnold, Sr.; and a sister in law, Mary Elizabeth Stevens Arnold.
Bishop Lewis has left to cherish his memory, his devoted wife of 54 years, Maurine Arnold Lewis; the fruit of their marriage, four children, Minister April Lewis Gray of Virginia Beach,Virginia, Pastor Rudolph B. Lewis, Jr. of Harlem, New York, Pastor Estrelda Yvette Lewis of Virginia Beach,Virginia, and Vicki Nichole Lewis of Virginia Beach, Virginia; a very special brother in law and friend, Elder Samuel E. Arnold of Virginia Beach, Virginia; four grandchildren, CheLa Shanee’ Epps (Darreo) of Norfolk, Virginia, Cameka Monee’ Gray of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Michael Edward Gray, Jr. of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Jermane Beckett, Jr. of Virginia Beach, Virginia; eight great grandchildren, Jamel, Serenity, Zyiere, Nihl, Londyn, Silas, Vincenzio, and Maliyah; three Goddaughters, Mrs. Traci Price Birckhead (Kirk) of Bowie, Maryland, Ashly Stokes of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Maurine Lokossou of Bronx, New York; a sister; Helen Lewis Williams of Capitol Heights, Maryland., three brothers, Bishop John Morgan Lewis (Ernestine) of Waldorf, Maryland, Reverend Robert David Lewis (Lita) of Washington, D.C., and Charles Cleveland Lewis of Anderson, South Carolina; four sisters in law, Lula Bell Lewis of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Benzena Lewis of Laurel, Maryland, Elizabeth Lewis of Anderson, South Carolina, and Beverly Evans of Anderson, South Carolina; a brother in law, Elder Harold Lloyd Arnold (Dorothy) of Danville, Virginia; and three sisters in law, Marjorie Arnold Hobbs (Elder Freddie) of Atlanta, Georgia, Norma Lee Shields of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Pearl Arnold Jackson of Portsmouth, Virginia; a host of nieces, nephews, and friends; and the sons and daughters of New Light Full Gospel Baptist Church.