Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15
It is with great earthly sorrow but heavenly joy that I announce the passing of Bishop Norman L. Wagner, former Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and Pastor of Calvary Ministries International. Let us keep the Calvary Family in our prayers along with Sister Wagner and children. Let us also keep the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World as a National Body in our prayers as well. Please check back often for details on the Apostolic Celebration of Life Homegoing Services of our dear Bishop.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1Thessalonians 4:16-18
YOUNGSTOWN — Bishop Norman L. Wagner, longtime pastor of Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church on Oak Hill Avenue and past leader of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, died Saturday. He was 68.
The Youngstown native graduated from South High School and Youngstown State University before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology from Aenon Bible College in Columbus and Indiana Bible College in Indianapolis. He was installed as pastor of Mount Calvary in June 1971 and went on to author several books and establish a senior citizens complex, Calvary Christian Academy, and a television and gospel choir ministry, which brought him national recognition.
When Calvary Christian Academy closed in 2001, Wagner led the opening of a charter school, Legacy Academy for Leaders and Arts that year and still served as chairman of that school.
He was a guest at the White House on several occasions, including a 1982 luncheon at which President Ronald Reagan recognized 100 “Outstanding Black Clergymen in America.”
In 1976, The Vindicator named him one of the 10 most progressive pastors in the city.
He leaves his wife, Dr. Rita Helen; two daughters and a granddaughter.
Mayor Jay Williams, who attends Mount Calvary, said Bishop Wagner was charismatic, committed and a man of intelligence and integrity. He was committed in his service to God and serving others, and you couldn’t know him without coming away with a desire to serve others, the mayor said.
Wagner was known across this country and the world, yet he was a humble man committed to his ministry and his mission to serve, Williams said. His loss “is indeed incalculable” to his church and the community, Williams said. He added that he and his wife, Sonja, who also attends Mount Calvary, are “eternally thankful for the indelible impact that Bishop Wagner had on our lives. We will seek to honor his family and his legacy through our work serving others.”
Jason Whitehead, the mayor’s chief of staff and an assistant pastor at Mount Calvary, described Wagner as a “visionary” and “an exceptional religious leader of his time.”
Wagner was bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World’s 13th Episcopal district, which is the state of Texas, Whitehead said. As a national evangelist, he was much sought after as a preacher and teacher in Pentecostal apostolic circles, he said.
He had also served as a bishop in Europe for Assemblies, with his diocese being the European Council of Nations, Whitehead said.
His death is “a tremendous loss to the ministry,” Whitehead said, noting that impact will reach far into the community as well. Wagner was perhaps one of the best known ministers of any color in this area, he said.
Wagner’s service as pastor to his church would have reached 39 years in March. He grew up in Mount Calvary, Whitehead said, explaining that his mother had been a charter member of the church.
A Youngstown church is mourning the passing of their beloved leader.
Bishop Norman Wagner died Saturday night from complications following heart surgery. On Sunday, members of Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church gathered to grieve the loss of their longtime pastor.
Bishop Wagner had been at the helm of Mount Calvary since the early 1970′s and clearly left a big impression on the lives he touched.
“This is a great loss, not just to this church, but to the world,” said church member Debra Kennedy.
Church members went on to say that Bishop Wagner was a man who practiced what he preached.
“The key to living was to find your purpose and your destiny, and he exemplified that through the life that he lived,” said assistant pastor, Jason Whitehead.
Wagner grew up in Youngstown. He graduated from South High School and attended Youngstown State University. He went on to receive a bachelors and masters degree from Aenon Bible College in Indiana.
In 1971, he returned to his roots and took over the church he went to as a child.
“In a community that had many challenges over the years, Bishop Wagner emphasized education,” added Whitehead, as well as, “advancing yourself and proving yourself as a person.”
Jerome Jones, executive director of Mount Calvary, says because of Bishop Wagner, he went from high school dropout to recent Ph.D graduate.
“So, Bishop Wagner has been a preacher and an inspiration for excellence. And his investment in our lives and investment in the community is so we can make the world a better place to live in,” said Jones.
In this time of mourning for Mount Calvary, church members insist it’s also a time to rejoice.
“God doesn’t make a mistake, so we will be thanking and glorifying God today,” Kennedy said.
Bishop Wagner was 68 years old. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and one granddaughter.