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Bishop Norman Wagner, Pentecostal leader, dies

Published: Sun, January 31, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

He was described as a visionary and was committed to service.


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.


1bigmamma4383(16 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

awww my prayers is with his family

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2mofaith(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

My heart is still bleeding. Although, I live in Alabama now, I will always be connected to the Calvary family. I first came to the Lord under the teachings of Bishop Wagner. He will definitely be missed. My prayers are with the family!!!

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3Wise08(2 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I am sorry for such a great loss. My condolences go out to his family. Bishop Wagner was such a great influence with a genuine love for God. A powerful inspiration to me... He will be missed and never forgotten. His words and teachings will remain in the hearts of many...

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4brntbarbour(18 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

My heart goes out to the first family, Sis. Rita and daughters. Needless to say, we are all hurting bad- but none may know the hurt you feel. The legacy Bishop left here can never be challenged, but will endure through time. I can only think God must be getting ready to do a great work in the heavens in order to call home His top general.

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5ytown3(19 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

holdinweight your friend probably was a piece of crap drug dealer. I can tell that just based upon the type of person you are. No body who isn't a piece of crap would call someone like you friend. Get a life.

Maybe if you or your low life friends had a pastor or a church he would not have had to do a "favor". With the type of lifestyle you probably live, You will be dead soon too...I am sure.

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6ApostleDenise(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

My sincere condolences and prayers to the Wagner and Mount Calavary Family. I met Bishop Wagner when I was just starting out in ministry. I thank God for the Word He spoke to me to encourage me to stand strong and hold on to see the Salvation of the Lord. He was a true General for our time. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. R.I.P Bishop, your labor was not in vain.

Apostle Denise Chase

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7Wise08(2 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Holdinweight--- Bishop Wagner needs no defending. His life spoke for itself. He is greatly respected and loved. However, I am sorry for your loss it always hurts when someone close to us is taken, no matter the circumstance.
Bitterness and resentment do the most damage to the person who carries it.
I will lift you in prayer cuz what you carry is truly heavy. I will lift you in prayer because Jesus loves you!!!

In memory...

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8woolyd(579 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Holdinweight: What was your friends name? And incidently isnt your name a street tem for drugs? Im not judgemental and hell I dont even know Bishop Wagner but I just want to check on your friend and your credibility.

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9harvelbrown(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

My first contact with Bishop Wagner came in 1997 when he was guest speaker at the Jamaica Pentecostal Union (JPU) Youth Arm. He was a dynamic, deep, and gifted preacher, who had his audiences spell bound as he diceted the undiluted word of God. He certainly will be sadly missed in the Apostolic arena, and I want to give my condolence to his wife, children and the Mt calvary church family... May God grant you the necessary serenity!!!1

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10littles77(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Bishop Wager was a true man of God. He was an example for the masses. Everyone may not have agreed with him but you REALLY should be careful about putting your mouths on an instrument of God's Glory. It is not wise. I pray for the comfort of his wife, children, granddaughter, family and the Mt. Calvary family as well. My grandmother attended and passed in 2002. She loved the Church and the Bishop and was an example of his teachings far beyond the Church walls. Prayer...not gossip is what is needed.

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11ytown3(19 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

wineywoman----your name says it all. You probably don't have a man...or a life. You seem to be one who deals in gossip and untruths. You will have your day. Until then, SHUT YOUR LIPS!

You are just common Youngstown trash and the type of person who gives everyone else in this city a bad name. We are tired of negative people like you. Please leave town when you get your next welfare check.

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12apae(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

The two neanderthals that made such insip and rude comments must understand that "You REAP, what you sow". they are sowing hatred, and slander, so every believer reading this blog site should ask the Lord to forgive them, for they know not what they do. That's not "Wagner", that's the"Word", so if they read this comment REPEANT, for GOD will judge the words of your mouth and the issues of your heart. If not you may want to begin preparing your family for your departure. The bible says, "Touch not my annointed, and do my prophet no harm." If you believe in the man or not, at least respect his office, so that God has no cause to judge you. How spineless, you must be to berate a man after he dies, and to do so with a psudo-name. If you were not raised with Christian dignity, at least allow yourselves to appear human, and show human dignity and honor the deceased with respect. I feel sorry for you people, your mother's have failed you greatly in some way.

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