Bishop Wilbur Wyatt Hamilton of the Greater Victory Temple Church of God In Christ in Seaside, died Monday at 88, culminating a life of spiritual leadership and public service.
“The impact that he had on younger preachers and pastors, that he poured into their lives, will be the most important legacy Bishop Hamilton leaves behind,” said Ronald Britt, current pastor of the Greater Victory Temple Church in Seaside. “The biggest lesson learned from him is to love the people of God and to serve them with dignity.”
The life of Bishop Hamilton will be celebrated in two services at the Greater Victory Temple Church of God In Christ in Seaside next week.
Bishop W. W. Hamilton was born in San Antonio Texas on Jan. 28, 1931, to Bishop Eugene Edward Hamilton and Bessie Lee Hamilton. The family moved to San Francisco when he was about 8, where the elder Hamilton would be the founding Bishop of the California Northwest Jurisdiction of the Church of God In Christ.
In 1980, as a young pastor, he traveled to Victory Temple in Seaside which his brother-in-law, Bishop Rudolph Martin led until his death. Hamilton preached a message of “The Comforter Has Come” and would later be appointed by Bishop Patterson to lead Victory Temple, helping the grieving church to heal. At that time Victory Temple occupied a bright green church on Fremont Street. Ground had already been broken at the top of a hill at Broadway Avenue and Yosemite Street for a new church and Bishop Hamilton used his urban planning experience, worked with the Seaside city government, and saw Bishop Martin’s vision realized with the opening of the Greater Victory Temple Church of God In Christ at 1620 Broadway Ave.
In 1987, Bishop Hamilton became the jurisdictional prelate of California Northwest which his father had founded in 1957. The pastor became a bishop and in 1990 he was elected General Secretary of the Church of God In Christ serving in that role for ten years. In 2000, Bishop W. W. Hamilton was elected to the General Board of the Church of God In Christ and served as Secretary to the Board until he was emeritized in 2012.
Pastor Britt said he was chosen to take the mantle by Bishop Hamilton to lead the Greater Victory Temple Church in Seaside having been under his guidance for about 33 years.
The Greater Victory Temple Church now serves as the Mother Church to the 106 churches, located from Weed in the north to Bakersfield in the south, that Bishop Hamilton presided over, representing about 3,000 congregants of which about 200 are at Greater Victory. The Church of God In Christ serves over 6.5 million people worldwide.
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Source: Monterey Herald