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Potts, James Manning

by Grady L. E. Carroll, Sr., 1994

14 July 1895–31 Jan. 1973

James Manning Potts, clergyman and author, was born at Como, the son of Reginald and Annie Christian Moore Potts. From Randolph-Macon College in Virginia he received a B.A. degree in 1917 and an M.A. degree in 1920; the college also awarded him an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1935. After earning bachelor (1924) and master (1925) of theology degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, he pursued additional study at the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago. In 1961 the Ewha Woman's University in Seoul, Korea, awarded him the Litt.D. degree.

After teaching high school courses in Richmond, Va., and service as a Fellow in apologetics and Christian ethics at the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1925, he was ordained to the ministry in the Methodist church in 1927. Between that year and 1944 he served churches in Richmond, Petersburg, and Roanoke, Va. From 1935 to 1940 he was district superintendent of the Richmond District, and from 1944 to 1948 he was associate director and publications editor of the Crusade for Christ. During the period 1948–56 he was editor of The Upper Room Pulpit and in the years 1948–67 of the Upper Room Radio and Television Parish. He was a delegate to many church conferences between 1938 and 1964 and was a member of the Uniting Conference of the three units of the Methodist Episcopal church. He also attended international and world conferences of the Methodist church.

Potts held memberships in the International Methodist Historical Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the Southeastern Jurisdictional Historical Society, the World Methodist Council, and the Wesley Historical Society of London. He also was a member of church agencies on evangelism, broadcasting, film, and evangelism missions overseas.

He was the author of articles on the early history of Virginia Methodism and on devotional literature. He was co-author of Love Abounds: A Profile of Harry Denman, A Modern Disciple (1965) and editor of Prayers of the Early Church, Prayers of the Middle Ages, Listening to the Saints, Letters of Francis Asbury, Selections from the Letters of John Wesley, Selections from the Letters of Francis Asbury, Selections from the Journal of John Woolman, and the author of Grace Sufficient (1964). In April 1966 at the bicentennial celebration of American Methodism in Baltimore, he delivered an address on Methodist Bishop William Taylor, world missionary. From 1967 to 1970 he served as executive director of the Lake Junaluska Assembly, Lake Junaluska, N.C., where he was instrumental in establishing The Interpreter's House and the International Prayer Fellowship with headquarters on the Assembly grounds.

On 23 Dec. 1920 Potts married Agnes Wilson Wright and they became the parents of Annie Wilson, Reginald Harrell, James Manning, Joseph Christian, Katharine Coleman, and Agnes Withers. After spending his retirement years in Crystal River, Fla., he died in Tampa and was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Richmond.


Emory S. Bucke, ed., History of American Methodism, vol. 3 (1964).

Elmer T. Clark, Forever Beginning, 1766–1966 (1967) and Arthur James Moore: World Evangelist (1960).

North Carolina Christian Advocate, 14 May 1970.

Randolph-Macon College Alumni Records (Ashland, Va.).

Who's Who in America (1971).

Who's Who in the South and Southwest (1969).

Additional Resources:

Randolph-Macon College; Randolph-Macon System of Colleges and Academies. Catalogue of Randolph Macon College for the collegiate year .. [Ashland, Va.: The College]. 1833. (accessed July 14, 2014).

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