Words from Eric Curry - Today was bittersweet. I'm happy for the Giants and the fans, but today one of my mentors and fathers died. Bishop Barnett K. Thorougood passed today. He was preaching a sermon and the subject was "get right with God because you don't know when your time is up" A few minutes after he preached the sermon, he looked into the face of Ms Pierre (Timbalands mother) , he said to her "pray" then he collapsed and died a few feet from her.

Bishop Thorougood married my wife and I. I was 21 she was 19. We married in his office because we couldn't afford a traditional wedding. Whats amazing about this man was the fact that out of that church came my wife and I, Timbaland, Pharell Williams, and even the great Teddy Riley joined the church when he first moved to Virginia Beach because Bishop had a reputation for being humble, had the heart of a servant and never ever did anything for money or fame. Many other great people came out of that church but I'm writing too much already. If it wasn't for Bishop the world would have never heard of Timbaland, Magoo, Missy Elliot, The Neptunes, Hannon Lane and others.

It was Bishop who kept families together. He would sometimes call a fast at the church and people like Ms. Pierre (Tim's and Sebastians mom) Mother Williams (Pharell's grandmother) and others who were the prayer warriors of the church. I remember when Blackstreet was approached by by Suge Knight and he literally stole a song from them and used the sample in a Tupac song. Teddy and the others were scared to death. No one in the industry would cross Suge. TR told Bishop about the situation. Bishop called a prayer meeting and he and the prayer warriors of the church prayed and fasted over the situation. A few days later Suge was locked up for other charges and Blackstreet was free to work without a threat of violence. I know some would call that coincidence, but to those of us who knew this man , these type coincidences would occur routinely after he prayed!!! If you saw the special on Timbaland a few weeks ago, Tim thought so much of Bishop he included him in the special. Tim spoke about how he would spend 40-50k to fly private jets to get home just to go to church and leave right back out. Why? We all knew this was a real man of God, not some hustler pretending to be a preacher.

In fact I remember the day that a prophecy came forth and said that God was going to raise up multimillionaires from within that little church in Virginia Beach. The bible says you will know a true prophet of God if what he says comes true (Dueteronomy 18:22). The entire world is now witness to the great gifts that have come from that church. In fact Pharell has even Prince William on his speed dial. Only God could raise up great people from such humble beginnings. Physicians, lawyers, entertainers, educators, poets, business leaders, politicians, all have risen from that little church in Virginia Beach VA.

My wife and I care for thousands now via our medical practice. Some have gone on to become great of their own accord. All this from this preacher who as a day job was a butler for a Jewish family while he built his ministry. Yes during the day when the church was young he was a butler and a cook. When he left that job you could find him either at the church teaching us or at some families home praying or encouraging them to stay together. It was Bishop that taught me that it was ok to love God and be successful, yet he did so without a sense of lasciviousness ( lust). He taught me to love God first, then family and love even your enemies as hard as that is to do and let God fight your battles. He would say "its tight, but its right!!!"

See he was the first preacher I met that wasn't about money. "Never ever serve mammon (money) Eric ." You can only have One God in your life. Make sure its the One True God!!!" Here he had a membership of who's who in the world and he NEVER publicized it. He didn't go on tv and try to sell prayer cloths or oil from Israel to scam people out of their money. He could have legitimately said "come to my church. My members are Timbaland, Pharell, Teddy Riley and Dr So and So an dattorney So and so. HE NEVER DID THAT!!! NEVER!!!!! He never asked for anything. Not a dime. He wasn't interested in building some great tv ministry. He was only interested in saving souls. Even as the church grew and Pharell and Tim and Teddy were making millions and giving huge sums to the church, Bishop never even took a dime. The money went to the poor. The men of the church would have to buy him a new car because he would drive a car until the wheels fell off!!! He never even knew what the church was taking in at times. He was too focused on helping others. He was one of the few preachers I had any respect for. I remember being a broke college kid. One day I went to the church with 2 dollars in my pocket. I was hungrier than an African kid during a drought. Bishop saw this, told me to get in his car and took me to lunch. We had pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans. That was probably the best meal I'd had that week. That was Bishop Thorougood.

I remember getting in the church van and filling it with food to take to feed the poor. We would knock on a door and just hand over a few bags of groceries. The way people's faces lit up when they realized that perfect strangers cared about them was a gift unto itself. We never preached at them. We simply showed love. Bishop taught us that. In fact today, many, many many careers in the music game were started by people like Tim, Pharell, TR and others and the world has no clue that at times they didn't make a dime off some of these artists and producers because they gave from the heart like Bishop taught us to do. Some of the same people who we helped would turn around and write nasty articles about Tim, Pharell, Missy and others and sometimes they would quietly cry and never even defend themselves. Because we were taught to love our enemies and to pray for those who despitefully use us!!!

I could write a book about the people this man has helped mold or the lives he touched. Pray for the Thorougood family, The Mosley family, The Williams family and the entire New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ family. A true man of God died today...and the world was not worthy of such a lovely soul......

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