By Bob Allen
The founding pastor of one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina died Aug. 29 in an accidental shooting while cleaning a pistol.
Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte, a predominantly African-American multi-site congregation affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, is planning a “homegoing” ceremony at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 5 for Bishop Phillip Davis.
Davis, 62, was found dead in his home after the gun he was cleaning accidentally fired, striking him in the chest. According to media reports, he had plans to go to a firing range with his adult son later in the day.
The shooting occurred in the middle of a weeklong founder’s celebration at the church marking 36 years under Davis’ leadership, 42 years of marriage to his wife, Cynthia, and the pastor’s 63rd birthday on Aug. 30.
Instead worshippers were greeted by an usher holding out a box of tissue, while photos of Davis flashed on big screens in the sanctuary as members hugged and wept.
Prayer services in his honor were scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday at the main campus of Nations Ford Community Church, where his body will lie in state from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. A memorial service will follow from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
On Saturday visitation moves to Charlotte’s Calvary Church at 5801 Pineville-Matthews Rd. at 10 a.m., followed by a home-going celebration at 11.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Male Leadership Academy of Charlotte, a K-5 Christian school for boys that Davis founded after starting Nations Ford Community Church in 1988. In addition to his church and community work, Davis was known for his vocal support of an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage that was approved by voters in 2012 but later found unconstitutional in federal court.