The Man, The Minister & The Mission
An ardent husband, father, papa, brother, son, uncle, godfather, nephew, cousin, and friend, Bishop Roderick A. Coffee, I, MAPT, was born January 30, 1957, to the late Dorothy Brown and Joshaway Marshall.Affectionately known as Ricky, he was adoptedand lovingly raised by Lee N. Coffee, Sr.; “He saved my life,” Bishop Coffee said of his dad, Lee. Family was Bishop’s heartbeat. He never declined an opportunity to have everyone assembled together. Bishop met his beautiful wife at the young age of 5, but even then,he knew she was the one. They spent their adolescent and teenage years together, but as they graduated from Harvey High School in 1975, he asked her to be his “good thing.” They were wed in 1976 and are the proud parents of 4 spectacular children;Dante, Roderick II (Terra), Maurice I (Edlexus), JaLissa (Alyssa), and his bonus chil-dren; Denisha Salter, Kevin Ingram, Chenea Walker, and LaCresha “Mae” Douglas. He was fully invested in his children and would travel to the end of the earth to ensure their safety and happiness. While his children were his pride and joy, his heart belonged to Kaleb, Joshua, Jalea,Taye, Roderick III, Maurice II, Ava, Malakai, Jada, Morgan, Zion, Jonathan, and great-grandson, Amaad. Papa made it known that he fought each and every day to continue to enjoy their sporting events, recitals, academic achievements, and simplylaughing with them. He LOVED being Papa.
In 1973, Ricky’s world was changed forever with the loss of his mother who died of a sudden illness. While he spent several years running from his destiny, in 1977, he surrendered his life to God and on September 21, 1986, he accepted his ministry call and preached his trial sermon. Under the watchful eye of his late pastor and mentor,Vincent R. Miller, Coffee became the Youth Minister at New Hope Baptist Church. He was faithful to the ministry until God called him as Senior Pastor to Union Congregational (now Union Community) Church on November 7, 1993. While serving UCC, the church grew from 3 people that first Sunday to over 300 members. OnOctober 19, 2019, Coffee received the honor of his elevation to the Office of Bishop. Dedicated to lifelong learning, Bishop Coffee earned a Diploma of Theology Degree in Black Church Studies from the McCreary Center, and subsequently received his Master of Arts in Practical Theology from Ashland Theological Seminary. In 2003, he founded R. A. Coffee Ministries, a non-profit organization created to develop and distribute Ob books, videos, and other materials for the purpose of Christian education.
An advocate for justice, Bishop Coffee has been an active servant leader in theLake County Community for many decades. His previous community dedication includes completion of the Leadership Lake County program, active co-chair of the Jack Britt Football Stadium Building Project, amember of the City of Painesville Youth Council, a volunteer of the LakeCounty Community Development Corporation, volunteer Chaplain forLake Hospital Systems, a Chaplain for the Lake County Ecumenical Shelter,Chaplain at the Lake County Jail, Diversity Trainer at LubrizolCorporation, volunteer for Habitat for Humanity of Lake County, co-organizer of Black History Awareness forHarvey High School and Hobart Middle School, guest speaker of theAshtabula County Boy Scouts of America, founding member of the Harvey Academic Boosters, and board member of Coach’s Corner, a home for at-risk African American boys.Additionally, Coffee was President of Painesville Ministers Association andelected to and served two terms as President of the Lake County Branchof the NAACP. He was a founding member of “Begin the Conversation for Race,” an organization dedicatedto addressing the inequities of the criminal justice system in Lake County. His service to the community is indispensable and his devotion will be profoundly missed.
Bishop Coffee will truly be missed. He left an indelible mark on every individual that he came in contact with. There will never be another Bishop Coffee but those he poured into will carry on his legacy.