Religion

Fighting for the bishop

Gospel community comes together to stage appreciation, tribute and benefit service in honor of Walter Hanchell; event also serves as fundraiser to assist with medical expenses

Bishop Walter Hanchell undergoes two surgeries today, one day before his 69th birthday, to remove stomach and kidney cancer, according to the bishop.

The day before his surgery, which takes place in North Carolina, Hanchell thanked people for praying and standing with him, and wrote on a social media post, “My life is in His hands. My faith has conquered my fear.”

As Hanchell prepared for surgery, the gospel community has come together with Hanchell’s family to stage “Victorious” – an appreciation, tribute and benefit service in honor of Hanchell, at the Myles E. Munroe Diplomat Center. The event will also serve to raise funds to assist with Hanchell’s medical expenses.

Confirmed to participate in the event are Christopher Roberts & Friends, Landlord, Edison Sumner & Voices of Praise, Shaniqua Thurston, Bishop Denczil Rolle & Friends, DJ Counsellor, Eboni Gospel, Kenyatta Taylor, Najie Dunn, The Bahamas Liturgical Dance Co, DJ Godson, Sunae Russell, Christian Massive, The Singing Bishop Prophet Lawrence Rolle and Shaback.

A number of religious leaders – 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 – are scheduled to make tributes during the event offering prayers, as well as assist with a financial appeal during the tribute service to go toward Hanchell’s medical expenses.

The Great Commission Ministries founder and president is in what one could say is arguably the greatest battle of his life – stomach and kidney cancer. Hanchell will have to remain in hospital for two weeks, post-surgeries.

It was on June 14, that Hanchell reported that he was “standing strong” despite another major setback, and trusting God for His goodness and faithfulness.

“After my diagnosis of stomach cancer and enduring the crushing side effects of chemotherapy, that literally took all of my strength and almost took me out, I have survived and prevailed by the grace of God. Two weeks ago, my doctors did further tests and discovered a mass on my right kidney, which has been diagnosed as a cancerous tumor. This has totally shocked my family, but did not catch Almighty God by surprise. In four months, I’ve received two diagnoses of cancer. I have absolutely no fear and my trust is in the Lord.”

Requesting prayer and support, Hanchell wrote that no matter what, he was confident that God is with him and will take care of him.

After much prayer, Hanchell said he and his family decided to proceed with the surgeries with unwavering faith.

Knowing that believers have been praying for him for weeks and commanding a miraculous healing, according to the Word of God, Hanchell said he and his family believe in miracles and know that miracles are released when people declare the prayer of faith, and command healing in Jesus’ name.

“If you believe, we request you to please not ask the most high to heal me, but that you thank Him in advance for my miracle,” he wrote. “This is faith. True faith is seeing, believing and praising God before you see your miracle. It is my belief that good will come out of my affliction. Many precious souls will be saved, bodies healed, and lives changed for the glory of God.”

The tribute and benefit service will be free of charge to in-person attendees. “Victorious” will also be live streamed on YouTube and Facebook and broadcast on the Bahamas Christian Network (BCN) station.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. with doors opening at 4 p.m. Due to COVID-19 protocols, seats will be limited, due to social distancing, and masks will be required. People hoping to attend are asked to arrive early to secure a seat. They are also asked to bring a love offering to assist Hanchell with his medical expenses.

Hanchell’s son Tejado Hanchell created a GoFundMe account to which people can make donations toward a $150,000 target needed to defray costly medical treatments. The crowdfunding site had $23,495 raised as of Wednesday, June 30.

People interested in giving will be able to do so during the live event and can continue to make donations to GoFundMe at (https://gofundme/80a6ca20), PayPal (gcmglobal@hotmail.com), Cash app ($BishopsBattle), Zelle (gcmglobal@hotmail.com) and at First Caribbean International Bank (CIBC) in the name of Walter S. Hanchell, Marathon Road Branch Account Number 13020630.

In March, Hanchell traveled to the United States seeking medical help and was shocked when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. But the one thing he said he did not do was question God as to why He allowed him to face such a serious illness.

“I know it didn’t take Him by surprise and realized that He was teaching me a lesson, and I must face this test and win,” said Hanchell in a social media post at the time. “I love the Lord and know that He is with me.”

At the same token, he said his diagnosis made him realize he never really knew what family, friends and loved ones with terminal illnesses such as cancer felt until he was diagnosed.

“I’ve seen them suffer but never realized the extent of their pain. I know now. Today, I have empathy towards the sick, hurting and oppressed,” he said.

Since his diagnosis, Hanchell has had his ups and downs, including having gone for up to three weeks unable to eat and losing weight. But through it all, he has also had times when he was able to leave the house to fellowship with friends and after weeks of walking with a cane, felt well enough to take a stroll without it. On June 19 (Juneteenth), having regained some strength, which was necessary for him to have his surgeries today, he walked a mile.

Hanchell is known for his unselfish and relentless work with the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the underprivileged as well as disaster victims.

In 1987, with his wife Elder Minalee Hanchell, they launched the Great Commission Ministries International in New Providence with a vision and a mission to feed, shelter, employ as well as counsel, and help young people struggling with anti-social behavior as well as substance abuse. To date, Great Commission Ministries at 237 Wulff Road serves as a primary source of relief and provision to countless individuals and families.

Hanchell also serves as the presiding bishop of People’s Assembly Fellowship of Churches, with branches in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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