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Hampton Roads Community News

Hampton Roads Community Remembers Virginia Beach Pastor E. Ray Cox Sr., 83

One of Virginia Beach’s longest serving pastors and a highly regarded civic leader, Dr. E. Ray Cox, Sr. has passed at age 83.

Dr. Cox was the founder and Senior Pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church which began with only 35 faithful members and continues to grow today with a congregation of more than 500.

State Sen. Aaron Rouse wrote on Facebook about the late minister, “Dr. Cox served the Virginia Beach community for more than 50 years as the founder and Pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church. A man of integrity, compassion, and kindness, his impact on our community was immeasurable. I’ll always cherish his encouragement and heart of service. My prayers are with First Lady Maxine Cox and the entire Cox family.”

Pastor Gary McCollum, a community activist, said,  “Dr. E. Ray Cox was a giant in our community. His courage and commitment to Christ was without peer. Whether it was politics, civil rights, economic equality or whatever the issue, Pastor Cox always had a Christ centered answer to the problems we face in our daily lives.  He was a true soldier in God’s army and will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Cox was a native of Greenville, North Carolina, and was a long-time resident of the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He and his wife of more than 40 years Maxine Cox, parented two sons Ervin Cox Jr. of Virginia Beach and Ryan Cox (deceased), and six grandchildren, Jamaris, Maxi, Phillip, Mason, Codi, and Logan.

He earned a Doctor of Divinity degree from Virginia University, Lynchburg, Virginia, a Master of Divinity from the Samuel D Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, a master’s degree in Christian Education from the Presbyterian Graduate School of Christian Education Richmond, Virginia.

According to the church’s website, on Saturday, August 22, 1970, the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was duly organized with Dr. Cox as its founder. The organizational meeting was held at Saint Mark A.M.E. Church. Lee A Williams was the moderator of that meeting.

“We had no building of our own for worship and we moved from building to building for our accommodations,” said Pastor Cox in his Biography. “We were blessed to have our groundbreaking on October 29, 1972.”

Dr. Cox continued, “In memory and celebration of our long journey of mission to our own building with Godly pride, humility, and acknowledgment of spiritual dedication we met at our first place of worship the Saint Mark AME Church and walked to our new church at 395 Old Great Neck Rd in Virginia Beach.”

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According to his Bio, Dr. Cox was often found conversing in supermarkets, restaurants, and even banks, about the love of Jesus Christ and his saving grace. Pastor Cox was a visionary and was constantly thinking and working on ways to improve his service to God, not only to our congregation but also to the greater community.

In 2019, Dr. Cox’s  son Ryan Cox, was killed heroically seeking to shed co-workers during a mass shooting at a Virginia Beach City Building. A post office building was named in of his honor.

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