Celebration of Life Services for Bishop Louis Hunter, Sr.
Bishop Louis Hunter Sr. was born on February 21, 1945 in Landis, North Carolina, the son of Voyda Lee and Willie Mae Brawley Hunter. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Robert Lee Hunter, his sister Roxie Mae Hunter and his first wife, of l7 years, Delorice Ann Black Hunter. Bishop Hunter served in the Vietnam War with the 101st Airborne. He was decorated and honorably discharged in 1967.
Bishop Hunter received his early spiritual foundation at Bethpage Presbyterian Church in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Bishop Hunter was ordained as an Elder of the AME Zion Church in 1976, received a Bachelor of Theology degree from Hood Theological Seminary, a Master’s of Arts degree from Howard University-School of Communications in Theory and Rhetoric and a Master’s of Divinity degree from Hood Seminary. Bishop Hunter was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Clinton Junior College in 1995 and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from his Alma Mater, Hood Theological Seminary for Meritorious Services in 2005.
Bishop Hunter served as a Pastor in the AME Zion Church for 28 years. He was truly a gifted, anointed, and dedicated Pastor. His faith and worship inspired others for a deeper relationship with God. His witness for Jesus Christ was impactful and his ability to be empathetic brought thousands of souls to Jesus Christ. He truly was a prayer warrior and known as a “Preacher’s Preacher.” Bishop Hunter truly enjoyed preaching and teaching the word of God. He would always share his insights and would witness on the awesomeness of God. The hallmark of his pastoral ministry was “productivity and growth in the spirit of excellence.”
Bishop Hunter served as Pastor of Shaw Temple AME Zion Church from 1992-2004, where the Prelate was the prime mover in engineering the congregation’s procession from south-west Atlanta, to the massive structure in Smyrna, GA. The $2.5 million-dollar structure sits on a 7.5 - acre site, with 30 classrooms, a chapel, fitness center, computerized learning center and a charity general store serving the local communities of distressed families. The Bishop’s innovative, creative and thoughtful leadership of the church resulted in an increase of more than 1,400 new members. Through his vision and dedication to the ministry and serving people, he created a holistic ministry that served the needs of all people, young and old. His success served as a blueprint on evangelism and innovative ministry to other ministries throughout the denomination. Over 20 new ministries and a Children’s Learning Center were created under his dynamic leadership. Bishop Hunter was elected to the Episcopacy while serving as the Pastor of this powerful and life changing ministry.
Known as a skilled “turnaround specialist,” Bishop Hunter also Pastored at Goler Memorial AME Zion Church, Winston-Salem, NC, Big Wesley AME Zion Church, Philadelphia, PA, where his teaching and witness on tithing increased the finances that allowed for the church to pay off significant debt. Additionally, he Pastored at Lomax Church AME Zion Church, Arlington, VA, where the membership quadrupled due to his outreach and partnerships throughout the community. While at Lomax, he demonstrated great visionary leadership in the area of diversity and appointed the first female Preacher’s Stewart at Lomax. Furthermore, in the earlier years of his pastorate, he pastored St. Mark AME Zion Church in Dallas, TX, and Greater Moore’s AME Zion Chapel, Lincolnton, NC. Bishop W.M. Smith gave him his first appointment at Liberty AME Zion Church, Coolemee, NC. In addition to his pastoral appointments, Bishop Hunter served simultaneously as Presiding Elder of the Atlanta district, from 1994 through 2000, the combined Atlanta-Summerville District during the years 1992 to 1994 and the Dallas District from 1978 through 1981.
Bishop Hunter was elevated to the episcopacy by the 47th Quadrennial Session of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church General Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina and was consecrated on August 3, 2004 as the 93rd prelate in the line of succession, after serving in the traveling ministry since 1975. This was no surprise because Bishop Hunter was an innovative and creative leader with clear plans toward using God as his compass for dealing with the everyday stresses and tumultuous twists that have entered our lives. He was indeed a man of great faith and inspiration, who was always driven to do even greater work. Bishop Hunter has seen God bless his service at many levels- as pastor of seven separate congregations: as a successful Presiding Elder and early on - while serving his country in the conflict of war in Vietnam. When asked about his contributions and accomplishments, he would often quip “my time is in thine hands and I will it to be so.”
Upon election, Bishop Hunter was assigned to the Southwestern Delta Episcopal District where he served for his first quadrennium. Accustomed to stepping into crisis-type situations, the Bishop was thrust into an expanded leadership role, as interim Prelate for the Tennessee and Indiana conferences - after the untimely death of Bishop Milton Williams in 2005.
In 2008 he became the Presiding Bishop of the Mid-Atlantic I Episcopal District, where he administered effectively and efficiently to the glory of God. He was instrumental in bringing relief to the area of Guyana and Barbados.
Thrown into the massive after effects of Hurricane Katrina, only months after being assigned the Southwestern Delta, Bishop Hunter wrestled vigorously with the idea of rebuilding the New Orleans flagship operation – while skillfully working ecumenically to revive congregations throughout the devastated region. Described as a man of high integrity, who was a straight shooter, the savvy and well-dressed experienced administrator consistently applied his ingenuity, phenomenal experience and creativity in solving a wide range of problems. His leadership helped to rebuild churches that were devastated and helped hundreds of congregants that suffered.
Bishop Hunter served as Chair of the following Boards as an episcopate: American Bible Society, Compilation, Church Extension and Home Missions, Publication, Temperance and Law Enforcement, and the Commission on Chaplains. Further, Bishop Hunter served on the World Methodist Council and World Council of Churches. He retired after twelve years as an active Bishop on July 21, 2016 in Greensboro, North Carolina, the same city he was elevated.
Bishop Hunter loved God and his beloved AME Zion Church. He was a witness not only to the many members he served over decades but was an even greater witness to the ones whom he loved dearly, his family. He shared in this partnership of ministry with the love of his life, Missionary Supervisor Ingrid Hunter. As a couple, they joyously served Zion across the nation, and several countries, in all phases of leadership positions. They were the epitome of a godly couple always serving God and loving each other and their three sons. All who were around Bishop Hunter saw the love that he shared for Louis, Jr., Rodney, and Kenya, also known as “the boys” was evident. They were not only father and sons, but they were friends and “the boys” looked up to their father as their hero. Bishop Hunter took great pride in raising such tremendous, successful, and God-fearing men. He bragged on all three of his boys, and was proud of all of their individual accomplishments. His three sons were the joy of his life along with his beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The Final Rest
Bishop Hunter peacefully entered his eternal rest on early Wednesday morning, November 4, 2020. Those left to celebrate his life and cherish his memory are his beloved wife of 35 years, Ingrid Flack Hunter, his three sons, Louis Hunter, Jr., of North Carolina, Rodney Hunter, (Linda) of Washington, DC, Kenya Hunter, (Johncie) of Indiana; his grandchildren: Tamieka, Jasmine, Janae, Jaylin, Jordan , Kendall, Tyler; his great-grandchildren, Malik, Madson, and Marlee Zoe his siblings: Lovell Hunter Gibson of Kannapolis, NC Vernice Hunter of Kannapolis, NC and Gaynelle Hunter Propst (Bobby) of Salisbury, NC; a beloved sister- in- law Roberta Flack of New York; and a host of nieces, nephews, godchildren, 26 sons and daughters in the ministry and many beloved relatives and friends.
To God Be the Glory!
Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation to all of you who are here for us in our time of bereavement. Thanks for your kind words, thoughtful expressions of sympathy, deeds of helpfulness, flowers, messages, prayers, meals and other acts of kindness during the death of our beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother, Bishop Louis Hunter, Sr. Whatever you did to console our hearts, we sincerely thank you.
We especially thank Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Sr., Missionary Supervisor Iris M. Battle and the Board of Bishops for showing sincere compassion, love and generosity during this most difficult time. We are eternally grateful for your thoughtfulness.