In a sacred and grand Episcopal Consecration Service held Friday, July 10, in Jacksonville, Florida, Marvin Sapp was elevated to Bishop within the Global United Fellowship (GUF) under the leadership of Presiding Prelate, His Grace, Bishop Neil C. Ellis.
The service was held on the final day of GUF’s second annual National Gathering. More than 20 members of Sapp’s family, including his mother, as well as 40 members of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, traveled to Jacksonville and joined thousands of GUF delegates and attendees in witnessing the event.
During a rousing homily rich with guidance and encouragement, Sapp, along with four other Bishops Designate, was told that “contradictory to any elevation you have received, this is the crowning moment of your ministry…it is the apex of hierarchical ascension in the Christian church.” The homily was delivered by GUF’s Global Leader of Pastors, Bishop Leonard Smith, who exhorted the Bishops Designate to “never become untouchable.”
The consecration service was led by Chief Celebrant Bishop Neil C. Ellis along with Co-Consecrators Bishop J. Delano Ellis, II; Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr. and Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer. The Act of Episcopal Consecration included the Rite of Apostolic Succession, led by Bishop J. Delano Ellis, II, and The Prayer of Consecration, led by Bishop Neil Ellis. Bishop J. Delano Ellis explained that apostolic succession and episcopacy are symbolic of Jesus passing the mantle of leadership of His church to the new Bishops, who have a primary fidelity to Christ.
After a Prayer of Guidance led by Co-Consecrator Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, GUF’s Vice Presiding Bishop-At-Large, Sapp was vested according to the Order of Bishops and presented with insignias including the cross, the stole and the ring.
Marvin Sapp was nominated as an episcopal candidate in July, 2014, during the first national gathering of Global United Fellowship. In March, 2015, he became Bishop Designate after a three-day catechism held earlier in the year. At 9 a.m. Friday morning, a pre-consecration service was held that included testimonials from members of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, testimonials from Sapp’s family and a final election into the College of Bishops.
“I am humbled that Bishop Neil C. Ellis saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” says the newly appointed Bishop Marvin L. Sapp.
Bishop Neil C. Ellis says: “When looking for provincial leaders, we were looking for strong leadership abilities and someone who could command authority and respect. As I looked among our membership, I saw him as someone more than a gifted and talented psalmist and singer. He has done well with his church, which exemplifies extraordinary leadership. As a single parent it is clear that he has done a tremendous job raising his children, and this showed me that he is a man of integrity and character. He is getting a lot of support from the pastors, so I believe we were correct in our decision.”
According to Bishop Neil C. Ellis, Bishop Marvin L. Sapp is responsible for: 1) overseeing the work of a little over 70 GUF churches in his district, 2) ensuring that all of these churches are properly informed within Global, 3) making certain that all of the churches are walking in alignment with the goals and tenets of Global and 4) giving leadership to a program of events and activities that will solidify a united force of the churches in his province. “Everything that he does is to unite, equip and strengthen those churches.”
“I have tremendous confidence in his ability to get the job done…and I have greater plans for the use of his gifts and talents,” continues Bishop Neil C. Ellis. “I see the world getting a different perspective of who he is…right now they see him as a singer and a singer who pastors. I want the world to see him as a strong apostolic leader who sings.”