The beloved pastor – a Congressional Gold Medal honoree – is credited with bringing the historic Greater Harvest Church of God in Christ into modern-day ministry in more than four decades of leadership. (Image courtesy of Patricia Rogers)

Expressions of sympathy filled social media sites as news of Bishop Lee Ward’s death spread Tuesday evening.

The beloved pastor – a Congressional Gold Medal honoree – is credited with bringing the historic Greater Harvest Church of God in Christ into modern-day ministry in more than four decades of leadership.

According to public relations professional Patricia Rogers, the 97-year-old emeritus sustained a serious head injury in a fall at home. He later died from that injury.

“He was a great man of God, another fallen soldier,” said Bishop David Hall, pastor of Temple COGIC. “He was a tremendous pastor whose service was valuable to the Kingdom of God.”

Bishop Lee Ward (Photo: Patricia Rogers)

In 1896, South Fort Pickering COGIC was established as the first church of the new denomination. It was started by the founder, Elder Charles Harrison Mason. Bishop Ward became pastor of the iconic congregation in 1972.

According the church’s website, Bishop Ward reportedly changed the name to Greater Harvest “after so many souls came to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.”

Among the first 200 African-American Marines to serve at Montfort Point, an early camp for Marines in North Carolina, Bishop Ward received the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.

Bishop Ward was the sixth pastor in Greater Harvest’s 120-year existence. His son, Elder Renardo Ward, succeeded him as pastor.

Facebook posts were registered from myriad parts of the country. Some examples:

  • “…Heaven has gained another general. Rest in peace, sir.” – Antonio Marcus Lawson
  • “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.” – Jeromie Holmes
  • “Praying for the family.” – T.J. Hayes Jr.

Final arrangements are pending.