Pastor Gordon A. Humphrey of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago dropped dead in the pulpit after singing the well-loved song, Happy by Pharrell Williams. Paramedics were called as church members that are in the medical field tried to revive their 60-year-old pastor. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.
Pastor Humphrey had three churches under his wing at his time of death; two in California and one in Chicago. Humphrey’s mentee, Pastor Greg Hunter, said his pastor died doing what he loved. This is where the church is putting the emphasis surrounding his untimely passing. He enjoyed preaching and singing and always gave his all when doing so. Hunter added:
He brought all people together. For years he walked the streets and met with drug addicts and gangbangers that had been enemies and made them begin to love.
All of the churches Humphrey pastored are devastated – Stockton, Oakland and Chicago. Posts from everywhere have flooded the church’s Facebook page. One person wrote, “Bless you Reverend Humphrey. Rest from your labor, your name is on the Christian Jubilee preaching and singing man of God.” Another person who loved his ministry wrote, “Rest in Heaven Pastor Humphrey, Jr. You were an awesome man of God with traditional preaching and singing gospel music with the ability to reach the modern world.”
Pastor of Inspirational Baptist Church in Ohio, Bishop Victor S. Couzens, described Humphrey as a jovial preacher who had a passion for the community. His message had a very urban appeal to it, according to Couzens, he was someone who could easily be related to. The Bishop believes that people should take caution and remember that pastors need to take better care of their bodies. Humphrey’s cause of death has been deemed a heart attack, but not confirmed. Couzens stated:
Humphrey’s death teaches people, especially those of us whose bodies endure a lot of strenuous activity; preaching is very taxing, we have to be more conscientious about making sure that we are cognizant of our health. It’s so important that we take the best possible care of ourselves physically as we can.
Couzens said he does not know whether his friend felt anything strange in his body that day but wanted to point out how important it is that people listen to their bodies. It is mandatory to get rest and equally crucial that pastors’ congregations support the need for their leaders to get appropriate rest, be in good health and that both parties invest in the leader’s health. Realizing that a number of preachers have died in the pulpit within the last few years should remind everyone how important it is to take care of these bodies.
Bishop Gordon A. Humphrey Jr. died in a happy frame of mind on this past Sunday. On Friday the pastor’s remains laid in state at the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for those who loved him to stop by and pay their respects. His body was scheduled to be at the 11:00 service on Sunday morning at Shiloh with a wake and musical to follow at 6 pm at the House of Hope Church. The memorial service for Humphrey will take place at the House of Hope Church located at 752 East 114th Street in Chicago, Illinois on this coming Monday Morning.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)