Praising the late Bishop Walter Hawkins as an American icon who touched many hearts with his gospel music, Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) released a statement mourning Hawkins’ recent death.
“Bishop Hawkins will be remembered as one of the most beloved figures in contemporary gospel music and he will be greatly missed,” Lee said. “I wish to express my sincere condolences to Bishop Hawkins’ brother, Walter, his children and his grandchildren. May Bishop Hawkins’ family find comfort in their deep and abiding faith during this time of loss.”
Hawkins, 61, was a Grammy-winning gospel singer who died of pancreatic cancer Sunday at his home in the San Joaquin Valley community of Ripon. With the Edwin Hawkins singers, Hawkins recorded “Oh Happy Day” in 1967.
Hawkins left the group in 1973 and founded the Love Center Church in Oakland, which spurred successful gospel songs and albums. His famous recording of “The Lord’s Prayer” garnered him nine Grammy nominations in 1980 and his 1990 album, “Love Alive II” spent 34 weeks at the top of the Billboard gospel album sales charts. In 1993, “Love Alive IV” also hit the top spot on the chart.
Lee’s statement noted, “Bishop Hawkins’ ministry in Oakland enriched and touched the lives of many residents throughout the 9th Congressional District.
“Personally, Bishop Hawkins was a close friend. One of the great joys came when Bishop Hawkins accepted my invitation a few years ago to perform at the prayer breakfast during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. We all sat transfixed as Bishop Hawkins moved us by performing old gospel classics. It is a memory that I will forever cherish.”
A musical tribute will be held on Tuesday, July 20th at 7:30 pm and the funeral will be on Wednesday, July 21st at 11:00 am. Everyone is requested to wear “Cream” for the Wednesday morning service at Love Center Ministries.