Bishop Wilburn Wyatt Hamilton, an enduring spiritual and community activist in the San Francisco area, passed away on Sept. 16, at the age of 88.
Hamilton served in the Church of God in Christ denomination as general board member emeritus and prelate emeritus of the California Northwest Jurisdiction under the leadership of Bishop Nathaniel Antonio Bullock. He also served 33 years as the pastor of Greater Victory Temple Church of God in Christ in Seaside, CA, where his life celebration was held on Sept. 25.
“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, in the Monterey Herald Newspaper. “The biggest lesson learned from him is to love the people of God and to serve them with dignity.”
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Hamilton was born Jan. 28, 1931, to Bishop Eugene and Bessie Lee Hamilton. As a youngster, his family relocated to San Francisco and his father later became the founding bishop of the COGIC California Northwest Jurisdiction.
Bishop W.W. Hamilton marked many accomplishments during his life. He was the founding pastor Hamilton Memorial COGIC in San Francisco and received a succession of state and national appointments in the Church of God in Christ. As pastor of Greater Victory Temple, he led the congregation in building a new edifice and constructing senior and family housing.
In 1987, he was consecrated as bishop and prelate of the California Northwest Jurisdiction. He had 106 churches under his jurisdiction with Greater Victory Temple serving as the Mother Church, where he continued as pastor.
Also, he served 10 years as executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. In this capacity, he oversaw a multitude of projects including a $2.5 billion urban revitalization program.
Bishop Hamilton earned an Associates degree from San Francisco City College, a Bachelor’s degree from Simpson College, MBA from Golden Gate University and Doctor of Divinity, also from Simpson College.