Rev. Elizabeth McCoy
Rev. Elizabeth McCoy pursues life with an energy that is unsurpassed. After graduating from Person High School in 1971, she obtained an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Piedmont Community College and worked for many years with the Roxboro Police Department as the secretary to the Chief of Police. She later returned to school and received a Bachelor’s Degree from Averett University in Danville, Va. in 1996 while also working full-time in insurance. In 2006 she completed a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from North Carolina Central University, which led to a 12-year career as a counselor at Joe Toler-Oak Hill Elementary School in Oxford, N.C. In 2011, while still working fulltime, she was called into ministry and has since served as an associate minister Lawson Chapel Baptist Church. Never one to settle, she earned a diploma from Northern Piedmont Bible Institute in 2018 and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Divinity from Cedars of Lebanon Bible College and Theological Seminary. Her story symbolizes Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Q) What was your upbringing like in Person County?
A) I’m a lifelong resident of Person County. I’m from a family of 12 children so we had a lot of fun. I was involved in Girl Scouts and I participated in everything that my parents could financially support. I was very active.
Q) What was your career path and what are your proudest achievements?
A) I retired from the Granville County school system where I was an elementary school counselor. I loved working with kids because in today’s time our little children face so much adversity before they even leave home in the mornings. It was a passion of mine to get to know the students and their needs, and whatever their needs were, whether it was clothing or tutoring, I sought to help them with it. I’ve even had to call parents to let them know what their child is going through and how their lifestyle is impacting their children’s ability to learn. I really loved helping the kids get on the right track as much as possible. There were some kids who would come to school with no socks on, no underwear on. So, they were really going through things emotionally and physically. And that’s why I was passionate about helping them. I would contact churches and other organizations and businesses, and they would donate a turkey at Thanksgiving, and we would collect food to give to some of the kids’ families so that they could have a Thanksgiving dinner. And at Christmas we did the same thing.
Q) What organizations or community endeavors do you participate in?
A) My passion is preaching. I love to preach the word. At my church I have served in a lot of different capacities over the years. Currently I am an associate minister. I am also the church clerk. And prior to becoming a minister I was a trustee, I was a finance committee member, and I ushered for more than 50 years.
I’m heavily involved in the Person County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. I also serve as treasurer for the Cedars of Lebanon Bible College. I’m active in the East Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Association where I am second vice president of the women’s auxiliary. I have also served on the advisory committee, I’ve served as the Founder’s Day chairperson, and I’ve served on the state board of the Women’s Home and Foreign Missionary Convention of North Carolina.
I like participating anywhere I can for the religious organizations that I am involved with. I make time for it all. With my studies I might be up until 2 or 3 a.m. but I make time for the things I’m involved with because I don’t like signing up for anything if I’m not going to participate in it.
I have also been a member of Delta Sigma Theta for 24 years where I have served as chaplain, recording secretary and vice president.
Q) Why is it important that women be recognized for their foundational work in our community and our nation?
A) For years, even back in biblical days, women were seen as being insignificant and they had no voice. But now, through God’s grace, women are so empowered and encouraged and they make strides in all the different career paths. I’m so joyful to see how many women are in the United States Congress now and to see all the different roles women are playing. So it’s very important that women be recognized for the contributions they make.
And if you look at the Church, it appears that God is calling more women to preach than he is men. But for some reason churches are not giving women the opportunity to be pastors. Nowadays churches are starting to let women be deacons—for the longest time they wouldn’t even do that.
Q) What do you envision for the future of Person County?
A) I hope and pray for more entertainment for our young people, like a recreational center with a swimming pool. I think that will give our young people more to do and maybe that will lessen the drug use and help them do better in school. I would like to make our schools the best that they can be with a diverse group of teachers. Sometimes kids go all the way through high school and never have a Black teacher. And I would like to see more of our young people go to school to be teachers and more of our college graduates come back here to teach. We really need that.
Q) What is your advice for girls and young women who look to you as motivation?
A) Never give up. Keep striving for whatever it is you would like to do or be no matter what. Pursue education, go to church, read the Bible, and put God first.