On Sunday, July 11, 2010, Walter Hawkins, a Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, legendary composer and Bishop from Oakland, made his transition to heaven after battling Pancreatic Cancer. He was 61. Born in Oakland, Hawkins studied for his divinity degree at the University of California, Berkeley. At the time of his death, Hawkins was planning a new “Love Alive” CD concert recording for this fall. Besides his brother Walter, Hawkins is survived by two children, two grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.
I have no words that can adequately express to you how grateful I am to God for Bishop Walter Hawkins; truly a wonderful child of God who filled my life with anointed lyrics and music delivered to us directly from the portals of heaven. He leaves a legacy of music behind that is unquestionably legendary but what is even greater is the legacy that he leaves behind in terms of how ministry in the Black Church should be conducted. Walter pioneered something few will discuss or view as a great accomplishment and that was his obedience to the Great Commission, “Go into ALL the world and preach the gospel to ALL creation.” (Mark 16:15, NASB)
So many churches in our community for years have closed their doors to same-gender- loving people and dubbed them “queer, unholy, the essence of evil, and most definitely hell-bound.” As recent as a few months ago, one of our most beloved Gospel singers even called same-gender-loving people vampires, (while in the midst of a Holy Convocation) who prey upon our children with the intent to satanically sabotage their spiritual journey and shipwreck their faith by luring them into an ungodly lifestyle that will most certainly damn their souls. But Walter did the unthinkable! In an era when everything and everyone was opposed to equal rights for same-gender-loving people, he dared to open “Love Center Ministries,” a place that welcomed people of all faiths, denominations, ethnicities, and yes folks, even people of different sexual orientations. He taught them the unadulterated Gospel, taught them to truly love one another, harnessed their talents and skills and showed them how to use their dynamic God-endowed gifts to bring tremendous glory to God!
This wasn’t an easy task, I know this because I, too, am in ministry and a Bishop, but he forged ahead in spite of criticism from haters and naysayers. Now here is what is so ironic, the Black Church is just beginning to wake up from their self-induced homophobic-coma and put in place many of the types of ministries that Bishop Hawkins pioneered years ago.
Yes, I will miss his wonderful music and beautiful smile, but I believe the Word of God that not only promises life eternal but assures us that one day the dead in Christ shall rise at the trumpet blast of the Archangel and all the saints (redeemed heterosexual and same-gender-loving) who are with the Savior now shall stand in the clouds while their mortal corruptible bodies are resurrected from this planet Earth, then changed to be like His immortal incorruptible body. And in a twinkling of an eye, Bishop Hawkins and all believers who have believed on the Christ shall be clothed in an incorruptible body — in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye! (1 Corinthians 15:52)
Then we who are still alive on planet Earth and have not made our transition shall be caught up to meet them in the air (our bodies also changed [I Thessalonians 4:13-18]) and then all the saints, I repeat, all the saints will praise the Lord with thunderous shouts of praise as they gaze into the Savior’s eyes and realize that death was indeed swallowed up in victory when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary. (1 Corinthians 15:54)
Bishop Terry Angel Mason, Global Author
Fountain of Life Word Center
A Letter from Heaven
Just the other day, I heard a sound at the door,
and to my surprise, through the mail slot a letter fell to the floor.
When I glanced at the envelope, it appeared slightly strange.
So I picked it up from the floor, and on it, was your name. I was stunned because I knew you had gone to Heaven only days before.
So how could you be writing me to tell me something more?
But clearly, the letter was addressed to me from you, so I ran to the door, but the mailman had gone.
And there I stood in the doorway, somewhat bewildered and alone.
But when I came to myself, I tore open the letter, and these were the words I read: “Beloved, do not worry because I am not really dead!
Jesus has rescued me from sin and death just like He said.
Eternity is so awesome my Beloved; something mere words could never describe! And the love we shared is still with me; it lives on deep within my soul, and there is no emptiness inside.
I know how much you loved me and how deeply you care.
But if you really love me, then trust me now and don’t despair.
For if I was truly dead, you would have reason to mourn.
But the day I entered Heaven, it was as though I were reborn!
Don’t regret the fact that you couldn’t say all the things
to me that you now want to say,
Because I know how much you loved me, and I hear them in my heart each day!
You see, love is the language that transcends time and endless space,
And love will be the reason I will again see your face.
One day, I’ll stand with Jesus in the clouds with all the saints. And then he’ll RAPTURE and TRANSFORM my body, never again to be weary, sick, or even faint.
I know this sounds so hard to believe, and today, you cannot fathom it or fully understand.
But THE WORD of GOD never lies, and you must go on because for you, God has a marvelous plan!
If you love me, live for me today and tomorrow. Don’t, because you think me dead, waste any time in sorrow.
For soon, your weeping shall suddenly flee away in the light of truth and victory, when He (Jesus) comes on that Glorious day.
I love you!!! And nothing can ever destroy our love. Know that when you miss me most, I’ll be looking down from Heaven above. Sing for me! Laugh for me until you see me again, and know the love we shared has bound us together more closely than friends. Soon, time will give way to the Master’s will,
And together, you and I shall stand on His Holy Hill.
Never again to be apart. No more tears, sorrow, or even pain.
Forever to rejoice and live in Jesus’ Wonderful Name!
by Bishop Terry Angel Mason