Posted by: Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals | January 31, 2010

Bishop Norman Wagner of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Has Passed Away

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15

It is with great earthly sorrow but heavenly joy that I announce the passing of Bishop Norman L. Wagner, former Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and Pastor of Calvary Ministries International. Let us keep the Calvary Family in our prayers along with Sister Wagner and children. Let us also keep the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World as a National Body in our prayers as well. Please check back often for details on the Apostolic Celebration of Life Homegoing Services of our dear Bishop.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1Thessalonians 4:16-18

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.

UPDATE 01/31/2010:


A Youngstown church is mourning the passing of their beloved leader.

Bishop Norman Wagner died Saturday night from complications following heart surgery.  On Sunday, members of Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church gathered to grieve the loss of their longtime pastor.

Bishop Wagner had been at the helm of Mount Calvary since the early 1970’s and clearly left a big impression on the lives he touched.

“This is a great loss, not just to this church, but to the world,” said church member Debra Kennedy.

Church members went on to say that Bishop Wagner was a man who practiced what he preached.

“The key to living was to find your purpose and your destiny, and he exemplified that through the life that he lived,” said assistant pastor, Jason Whitehead.

Wagner grew up in Youngstown. He graduated from South High School and attended Youngstown State University. He went on to receive a bachelors and masters degree from Aenon Bible College in Indiana.

In 1971, he returned to his roots and took over the church he went to as a child.

“In a community that had many challenges over the years, Bishop Wagner emphasized education,” added Whitehead, as well as, “advancing yourself and proving yourself as a person.”

Jerome Jones, executive director of Mount Calvary, says because of Bishop Wagner, he went from high school dropout to recent Ph.D graduate.

“So, Bishop Wagner has been a preacher and an inspiration for excellence.  And his investment in our lives and investment in the community is so we can make the world a better place to live in,” said Jones.

In this time of mourning for Mount Calvary, church members insist it’s also a time to rejoice.

“God doesn’t make a mistake, so we will be thanking and glorifying God today,” Kennedy said.

Bishop Wagner was 68 years old.  He is survived by his wife, two daughters and one granddaughter.


  1. Grace & Peace from Our Lord Jesus The Christ!!! To Bishop Wagner Family, I am asking The Father to favor you with his Peace with the passing of your husband, father, grandfather. May the Holy Spirit comfort all of you throught His Love.
    To the remaining Church family at Calvery Ministries. I bid you The Father Peace as well.
    Our Beloved Bishop is now at Rest with the LORD! Be Encourge The HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF, WHO IS THE COMFORTER, COMFORT YOU ALL!!!

  2. To the Wsgner family, It is my prayer that during thime of bereavment that you will find strength in Christ. I thank God for the ministry of Bishop Wagner. Although not in the PAW, I am have been greatly influenced by those great leaders in the Ministry, his is not exception. As a result, the Christian Circles have lossed a grand leader. Again may God keep you in this time of loss.


    Reverend Eric Jadolyn Goode
    Youth Pastor, New Hope Temple Baptist Church

  3. Our hearts go out to you, you will be lifted up in our prayers. Lift up your heads oh ye gates and be ye lifted up….God knows best and he know what he is doing. God will give you peace here in your time of sorrow, because he said that he will never leave you nor forsake you.
    He will be there with you no matter what. God only allowed us to borrow him, but then God saw that his work here on earth had been fulfilled and it was time for him to go home.

  4. “Well done, thy good and faithful servant, well done.” It is unthinkable to speak of my Pastor in terms of the past … my heart is broken and this is a day that I did not want to see come … even though weeping may endure, remain faithful … joy will come. I will always hold you up before the Lord in prayer … I will always keep Pastor’s teachings closest to my heart. The torch has been passed, we will not let it touch the ground; for the Light in this community, in the church, in your home, and our hearts will continue on, as a beacon set on a hill. ~ Sister Rita Wagner, Christian Joy, Camille, and Granddaughter, please receive my sincerest blessings, peace, and love.

    Yours in His Service,
    Patrice R. Brantley

  5. TO First Lady Dr. Rita Helen Wagner, Daughters, and Granddaughter, Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot Heal. We Loved Bishop Norman Wagner,but God loved him best, and took him home for a heavenly rest. It was great Joy in knowing him and fellowshipping with him as our Youth Chairman. He will be greatly Missed. another Warrier gone Home. Rest in Peace my Brother. YOu and your Families and Moount Calvary Pentecostal Church are in my Prayers.
    Humbly Submitted
    Elder Alfred E. Mayo

  6. Bishop Wagner impacted my life in ways that are untold. I will be eternally grateful for his influence. Our prayers are with you.

  7. God truly bless your family and church family doing this very difficult time. Remember God loves you and we do to.

  8. It is with great sadness and a deep sense of loss that we learn of the passing of a great pentecostal icon Bishop Norman L. Wagner.Bishop Wagner came to Jamaica many years ago at my invitation to minister and was indeed a great blessing.We at Greater Grace will cherrish the precious memories of his ministry to us at our headquarters church.The apostolic pentecostal fraternity has lost a man of great sature who has contributed so much in advancing the cause of christ. Our condolences to Dr. Helen Wagner, the family and the church.May his soul rest in peace and light perpteual shine upon him.

    Bishop and Sis C.A. Holdsworth.
    Greater Grace Temple.
    65a Deanery Road. Kingston3

  9. To the Wagner Family & Church Family:

    We are praying for you all in your time of loss, I pray God will just wrap his loving arms around you all and comfort you like only he knows how. My family has heard Bishop speak on many occasions and I’m always in Awe of the way he delivers his messages, he captivates the audience and always spoke with Wisdom and Knowledge.

    First Lady Rita; Loss is never welcomed or convenient, I pray God will continue to strengthen you and the girls. We mourn with you all, but I know your loss is Greater. Our Prayers are with you All.

    “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

    With Great Respect & Love,
    Pastor Gerry & Lady Janet Bivins & Bethesda Apostolic Worship Center Church Family.

  10. TO First Lady Dr. Rita Helen Wagner, Daughters, and Granddaughter:

    My prayers are with you. Bishop Wagner was truly an anointed man of God, who will be missed greatly….Always remember when the pain gets to hard to bear, you can always lean on Jesus…

  11. Bishop Wagner became known to me when I was in my early 20’s. For the last 32 years I would look for messages preached by Bishop Wagner. Bishop use to preach every Saturday on BET @ 3pm in the 80’s. It was apart of my schedule in North Carolina to spent Saturday afternoon learning from Bishop Wagner. Bishop was one of my favorite preachers/teachers in the world. He will be surely missed. I have many messages he preached and still don’t feel like I have enough. First Lady Dr. Wagner, we are praying for you and the family as well as the Mount Calvary Church Family.

  12. I greet Lady Wagner and family in the precious Name of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ our soon becoming King. Jesus is with you and He will carry you in HIS arms.God will strenghten you Lady Wagner and family with HIS mighty right hand.I speak strenght to your loins and strenght to your mind. I was blessed to hear Bishop speak in England at WAR with bishop Wayne
    Malucom I give honour to your family. We thank God for all the Levels HE takes us throught and my prayer is that as you go through this time you will be comforted in Jesus Name. At this time no words can help but your family is a big blesssing.May the grace of God abound upon you more and more.

  13. What an awesome, awesome man who has left us! From a teenager, his teachings greatly touched my life. I still remember him teaching on pride and drawing Humpty-Dumpty (“his head got too big”) from when I was 14 years old. I’ve written about him in my ehow articles (under DreamLiving) and I’ve been a more seasoned follower of God because of the foundation Bishop Wagner taught in my early years. Though I only had the opportunity to hear him speak at during conventions, he planted many seeds. The greatest sermon I ever heard him preached was “Endangered Species.” I wish peace and condolences to the family during this time. I hope that the many wonderful memories you have of Bishop Wagner will fill more of your thoughts than the sorrow from the loss. Our joy is in knowing that he lived a life that will bring him in the everlasting presence of our Creator! Grace and Peace always.

  14. On behalf of the Refuge Church of Christ of the Apostolic Faith Incorporated Columbus, Ohio. Apostle Benjamin I. Richardson Sr Elder and Pastor presiding. Praise the Lord dearest brethern in Christ and our condolensces implicit go out to the family of Bishop Wagner and the host of friends and relatives surviving; the Church truiumph in general. When we first heard of the Bishop’s passing miraculously as the Lord would permit us to know through the mouth of a little birdie, (tweet, tweet, tweet). Nevertheless moreover what this message is about; a prompt to the truth of what the Lord has revealed behind the pulpit; the entire Pentacostal Assemblies of the World after the fact that the venerable G.T. Hayewood passed away. A burden sure enough that the Lord has laid to my charge about the life story of the ministry; a spiritual offspring and fruit of the Azuza Street Pentacostal Mission in the early portion of the 20th century. The Fate of the entire organization; how my father was struck in the fist by a man named Tobin without apology. R.F. Tobin upon discovery and eye-witness to his reciept of a check of an undisclosed sum. Please view Acts 8:18-20 TBC.

  15. Bishop Wanger was a servant of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST. The LORD has allowed me to enjoy the gospel will Bishop Wagner. He preached the WORD.
    Well done my good and faithful servant….


  16. I met the honourable Bishop Wagner the first time he visited Jamaica. Being (then) the choir director for the Jamaica Pentecostal Union Fellowship choir, I had the distinct privilege of sharing the same stage with this humble yet anointed man of a great God. His preaching/teaching has impacted my life and ministry and that of many of my peers.
    Though he did not know me personally, I am deeply saddened by his passing. May his soul rest in peace. My prayers are with his wife, children and church family. Rest assured, you will meet again … someday!

  17. Bishop Wagner,

    You have been an inspiriation to many; even those who did not know you personally. You reached hundreds of thousands of people. I thank the Lord Jesus that he gave you to us for the time that he did. May your soul be at peace and may your joy be made full now. We will miss you.

  18. To God be the glory:
    Heaven, the angels and the chariots of God that Bishop knew so well has ushered him in!
    It is tremendous lost to the valley, the world, ministry nationwide .now adjust itself.
    For he was a key that turned many things in the earth. The man himself being a key! God used this man to open many books that would have otherwise never been read!
    He was used in every arena of life!
    Now has become Now!
    What a servant. Now that he has read the book and he gave , and we read it too. Jesus has commanded the servant as he did in Luke 4:20.And he closed the book and gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
    And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

    Our loss is so great who can bear it?
    But he sat down! He closed the book.
    Now all we can do is run and read it!

    God bless !
    Calvary it will be a journey but he made sure that you were equipped for the trip!
    We Loved Him!

    Prophetess Spivey

  19. Great Information. Keep me posted

  20. Thank you for saving that. To God be the glory! We are still feeling the lost, however we know that we are encompassed about with such a great cloud of witnesses we know that Bishop Wagner is still looking at us all run with the word he put in us all!
    Be Blessed!
    be Multiplied!
    Be Increased!
    In Jesus Name!

  21. I got to attend a revival he preached at in West Germany in 1990 or 91. He was so awesome, preached about, Magnifying God. Didnt know that he went home, the home with the Lord.


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