Posted on April 22, 2015


Bishop William Lee Bonnerbeloved pastor of the renowned Greater Refuge Temple Church (GRT) in Harlem and Chief Apostle of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ (COOLJC)made his transition from labor to greatreward on Good Friday, April 3rd; it was announced by churchofficials. He was 93 years old.


Bishop Bonner, affectionately known to millions around the world as “Pastor Bonner,” leaves a rich legacy that is unparalleled. Heralded as a spiritual giant by his contemporaries, Pastor Bonner was known for his ministry of preaching the true, unadulterated Gospel of Our of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Pastor Bonner was sent to become the pastor of the now 2,500 member GRT after the death of its founder, Bishop Robert Clarence Lawson, in 1961. Upon arriving and seeing the need, he immediately set about the remodeling of the “Mother Church” and headquarters of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Refuge Temple. Yet, Pastor Bonner proved that he was more than a preacher—and literally undertook the Herculean effort of serving in the role of general contractor in order to renovate the edifice that is now known as Greater Refuge Temple today. This ultra-modern edifice has changed the face of Harlem’s historic “7th Avenue” and is undisputedly one of the most modern structures in the community. In addition to GRT, his passion for souls—and youth in particular—led him to create a multi-million dollar youth center known as the R.C. Lawson Building, also located in Harlem. His desire and vision to build and create establishments that would benefit the Kingdom and people of God continued well into his later years.


For over fifty years, many across the country and even in foreign lands have testified of the great miracles of healing, deliverance and breakthrough under his powerful preaching and teaching. Millions also experienced his evangelistic ministry via “The Hour of Truth” broadcast–which aired on nationallysyndicated television outlets such as BET and The Word Network—as well as radio stations across the country and via livestream. Over the decades, Pastor Bonner has simultaneously pastored churches in New York, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Washington, D.C.; Jackson, Mississippi; and Columbia, South Carolina. Considered one of the greatest ministers of all times, Pastor Bonner was the spiritual overseer of more than 700 churches worldwide on three continents.


Pastor Bonner was preceded in death by his wife, the late Mother Ethel Mae Bonner, and daughter, the late Ethel Mae Bonner Archer. He is survived by his son, William Lee Bonner, Jr., his grandchildren, a host of nieces and nephews and beloved family, friends and co-laborers worldwide.


1 PM-6 PM:

Pastor Bonner will lie in state at Greater Refuge Temple (2081 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Blvd, N.Y., N.Y. 10027)

6 PM:

“Pastoral Celebration of Life”—hosted by the pastors and congregations of Pastor Bonner’s churches in N.Y., Columbia, S.C., Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Miss.)—held at Greater Refuge Temple (2081 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Blvd, N.Y., N.Y. 10027)



“International Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ Homegoing Celebration”held at United Palace House of Inspiration (4140 Broadway at 175th Street, N.Y., N.Y. 10033) Viewing held at 4 PM-6 PM.

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