Bishop Walter Hanchell has worked tirelessly in his efforts to cater to the needs of the marginalized, outcast, homeless, addicted, convicted, poor, hungry and needy – old and young – never tires in his efforts to help people, and has used his own resources, according to Reverend Emily Demeritte, as the gospel community came together on Sunday to stage “Victorious” – an appreciation, tribute and benefit service in honor of Hanchell, which also served as a fundraiser to assist with Hanchell’s medical expenses in the battle of his life surviving stomach and kidney cancer.
Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries International (GCMI) founder and president, underwent surgery to remove stomach and kidney cancer on Thursday, July 1, the day before his 69th birthday, in North Carolina. As he prepared for surgery, the gospel community came together to stage the fundraising event at the Myles E. Munroe Diplomat Center, which, according to Kevin Harris, one of the event organizers, netted approximately $13,000 as of Wednesday, with commitments still pouring in.
The bishop’s family has a goal of $150,000 set to assist with defraying his medical expenses, and have set up a number of outlets in which people can donate – GoFundMe (https://gofundme/80a6ca20) where they have crowdfunded $28,050 since the page was created on May 7. People can also donate through Cash App ($BishopsBattle), Pay Pal (firstname.lastname@example.org), Zelle (email@example.com) or at First Caribbean International Bank (CIBC) in the name of Walter S. Hanchell, Marathon Road Branch Account Number 13020630.
Hanchell was said to have watched the tribute service from his hospital bed, and on Wednesday, his son Tejado Hanchell on social media wrote, “The road to recovery is a long journey, but my dad is taking it one step at a time. We’ve had a few difficult days since his surgeries, but he’s standing strong. Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers and support as we journey to victory. Please don’t stop praying.”
During her address, Demeritte appealed to people to continue praying for Hanchell as he is in the greatest battle of his life and that he needs everyone to help him fight.
“His faith is strong – and even as he is challenged by his physical needs, he is an inspiration to all of us as he continues to lead us, sending his prayers, scriptures and encouraging words as he waits for the complete manifestation of the healing power of our God,” she said.
“The most admirable characteristic of this giant of a man is his deep faith in God. He is a firebrand for God and is uncompromising in his evangelistic fervor. He will go wherever the [Holy] Spirit leads him and has gone into prisons, the high crime areas, the family of islands and everywhere the [Holy] Spirit leads to both assist the needy and win souls for the kingdom. Even in his illness, he continues to express his deep faith in a God who has never failed him,” said Demeritte, who is also the secretary on the Board of Directors at GCMI.
GCMI provides food, shelter and counseling to hundreds of needy people. When space is not available in GCMI shelters, Demeritte said they have been providing accommodations for the homeless in small hotels.
Demeritte spoke to Hanchell having had an encounter with Christ as a member of Golden Gates Assembly, and that on January 29, 1984, of him hearing the invitation given by the church’s Bishop Ross Davis. And of Hanchell being led to Christ by Minister Julian Glover.
“The rest is now history,” Demeritte said.
She recounted receiving a call from Hanchell asking her to join him as he had a vision to begin a ministry to cater to the needs of people, to feed the hungry, and to minister to both the physical and spiritual man – especially to young people and those addicted to drugs.
GCMI came into being 33 years ago, with Hanchell and his wife Elder Minalee Hanchell leading the ministry.
Demeritte said at that time they were members of Golden Gates Ministries, but that in 1996, they were commissioned to start a new church, People’s Assembly, of which Hanchell served as the presiding bishop of the fellowship of churches with branches in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
“Bishop Walter S. Hanchell is an apostle to the nations, a gatekeeper to the city, and a preacher of righteousness. He has a passion for lost souls, and also founded the National Soul Winners Network whose major goal is to establish branches in every nation around the world.”
Bishop Delton Fernander, Bishop Neil C. Ellis, Pastor David Burrows, Pastor Mario Moxey, Pastor Alfred Stewart, Pastor Simeon Outten, Pastor Jonathan McKnight, Reverend Emily Demeritte, Apostle Raymond Wells, Bishop Denczil Rolle and Phillip Smith also delivered tributes during the event, offering prayers, as well as assisted with a financial appeal during the service.
In March, Hanchell traveled to the United States seeking medical help and was diagnosed with cancer.