Los Angeles Times LOS ANGELES Feb. 25, 2003 -- The Rev. E.V. Hill, the pastor of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles who rose from poverty in Texas to become a confidant of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and a power within one of the nation's largest African-American denominations, has died. He was 69.
Hill died late Monday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was admitted Feb. 8 with what an aide described as an aggressive form of pneumonia complicated by other medical conditions.
Hill was the former pastor of the Mount Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Houston.
Taken from Chapter Nine of the book "New Neutralism II:
Exposing The Gray Of Compromise". by John E. Ashbrook
He endorsed the 1984 candidacy of the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the Democratic nomination for the presidency Christian Life for March 1982 indicated that Dr. Hill appeared with Rev. Jackson at a Campus Crusade sponsored conference in Chicago called "Chicago '81." Jesse Jackson may be called "Reverend," but he is by no means reverent. He has no respect for the Bible and has said that "Adam and Eve is a myth," and that, "Now I think Dr. King's letter from a Birmingham jail is just as profound as anything Paul ever wrote." I would think that even the most fervent new evangelical would choke on that. Foundation Magazine for November/December 1986 cites Dr. Hill as listed to speak at the 1987 Inner-City Pastors Conference in Washington, D.C. March 16-19, 1987. Other featured speakers were charismatics Jack Hayford, Larry Lea and Bob Mumford.
Despite these leftist credentials Dr. E.V Hill has been a
speaker at Billy Graham's Amsterdam '83 Conference, Jerry Falwell's
1983 and 1991 "Super Conference," Dallas Seminary,
Moody Bible Institute's "Founder's Week" in 1991 and
"Pastors' Conference" in 1985. He, along with Jerry
Falwell, spoke for the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists
prior to the SBC Convention in Las Vegas in 1989. He spoke for
the 1987 annual fellowship of the Conservative Baptists. In May
of 1991 he was commencement speaker at charismatic Kenneth Hagins
Rhema Center. He is listed as a speaker for Billy Graham's 1992
"School of Evangelism" in Wheaton, Illinois. Brethren,
such things ought not so to be. Any good man can make a mistake
in his associations, but this group of popular speakers in new
evangelicalism seems to make a career of it,
Reverend E.V. Hill- CNP Board of Governors 1982, member 1984-85; Senior Pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts area of Los Angeles; registered Republican and a friend of Jerry Falwell; a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Foundation, long-time associate of Martin Luther King, and also a member of the Religious Roundtable Council of 56. Promise Keeper leader/speaker; Board of reference, Biola University; gave benediction December 3, 1999 at Benny Hinn's 25 year celebration, with the invocation, given by CNP's Pastor Tommy Barnett; Board member of Los Angeles NAACP, which sponsored the Gay Rights march on Washington in 1993; part of Bill Bright's Invitation Committee for Fasting and Prayer conferences. [See: Eject2]; former vice president National Baptist Convention; president and director, The World Christian Training Center; President, STEP Foundation; Honorary Consul General, Republic of Liberia; was/is Board member the Billy Graham Association, the Roundtable, America for Jesus, World Impact, National Institute on Biblical Inerrancy; speaker/endorser for Christian Coalition; COR steering committee since 1986; gave the inaugural prayer for Richard Nixon in January 1973, in the midst of Watergate, and twice headed the Clergy for Reagan committee [PK]; board member of the Paul Crouch's Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)
Rev. Hill's church is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, which is a part of the National Council of Churches. His doctor's degree (or, at least one of them) is from Oral Roberts University in 1985. . The Fundamental Information Service Bulletin for September 15, 1982 quoted the Wheaton College Bulletin for March 1977 as stating that Dr. Hill was on the Billy Graham Association board of directors, the board of the Los Angeles Urban League, the Los Angeles NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He endorsed the 1984 candidacy of the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the Democratic nomination for the presidency Christian Life for March 1982 indicated that Dr. Hill appeared with Rev. Jackson at a Campus Crusade sponsored conference in Chicago called "Chicago '81."...Foundation Magazine for November/December 1986 cites Dr. Hill as listed to speak at the 1987 Inner-City Pastors Conference in Washington, D.C. March 16-19, 1987. Other featured speakers were charismatics Jack Hayford, Larry Lea and Bob Mumford...speaker at Billy Graham's Amsterdam '83 Conference, Jerry Falwell's 1983 and 1991 "Super Conference," Dallas Seminary, Moody Bible Institute's "Founder's Week" in 1991 and "Pastors' Conference" in 1985. He, along with Jerry Falwell, spoke for the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists prior to the SBC Convention in Las Vegas in 1989. He spoke for the 1987 annual fellowship of the Conservative Baptists. In May of 1991 he was commencement speaker at charismatic Kenneth Hagins Rhema Center. He is listed as a speaker for Billy Graham's 1992 "School of Evangelism" in Wheaton, Illinois. [Ashbrook, Chapter Nine, "New Neutralism II]
"...participant at the founding of the STEP Program and Foundation. "Strategies to Eliminate Poverty" (STEP) [Washington, D.C.] was ...formed to alleviate poverty through private sector funding and volunteerism...! 77. According to the Christian Inquirer, Nelson Bunker Hunt "kicked off" the STEP Program in November of 1981, with a $1 million contribution. Those attending the April 1982 meeting in Dallas, besides the previously mentioned Dr. William R. Bright, Murchison, and Hunt, were: Dallas Cowboy Coach Tom Landry, Television evangelists Jim Baker, James Robison and Pat Robertson, Holly Coors, Dallas businesswoman Mary C. Crowley, and the Reverend E.V. Hill - keynote speaker at the meeting and president of STEP. [Miller, p. 4]
Los Ageles Times continued: In the past eight months, Hill had to preach sitting down because of a condition that made his legs weak.
He also suffered from diabetes, his son, the Rev. E.V. Hill II, pastor of Calvary Temple Pentecostal Holiness Church in Los Angeles, said Tuesday.
Known as a preacher whose sermons could thunder with righteousness even as he could listen with a pastor's heart, Hill would have celebrated his 42nd anniversary as pastor of Mount Zion this month.
Bishop Charles E. Blake, pastor of West Angeles Cathedral in Los Angeles and a leader in another predominately black denomination, the Church of God in Christ, called Hill "one of the most significant personalities in the clergy over the past 30 or 40 years."
"He was a great preacher, a tremendous preacher," Blake said, "and a common man's theologian." He said Hill would be remembered in Los Angeles "for his compassion for the poor and his commitment to the community."
Under Hill's leadership, his congregation became a center of political and social activism in Los Angeles that, like the better known First African Methodist Episcopal Church led by the Rev. Cecil M. "Chip" Murray, drew presidents and preachers alike.
On one occasion, evangelist Billy Graham showed up unannounced just so he could hear Hill preach. It was to Hill's church that President George H.W. Bush paid a visit in the days immediately after the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Like other activist black leaders, Hill was an early confidant of civil rights leader King. In the years that followed he fought for government programs to bring housing and economic development to the needy in the community he served. He started a program for the hungry, called the "Lord's Kitchen." His church also built senior citizen housing, started a credit union, and provided clothing for the poor.
Hill also gained a reputation among black preachers as a man of the cloth cut from a different cloth.
For one thing, he was a Republican. He gave the inaugural prayer for Richard M. Nixon's second term and twice led clergy committees for Ronald Reagan's presidency.
"I switched parties. I'm a conservative Republican now. But I'm no longer a Democrat. I left that in Texas," Hill said in an interview a decade ago.
"His philosophy was that you can't put everybody in the same boat. He had to get in a different boat," the Rev. Perry Jones, pastor of Messiah Baptist Church in South Los Angeles, said Tuesday. "But his objectives were the same -- to advance the cause of Christ, primarily, and, second, to advance the cause of his people."
Hill preached on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. His back-to-basics, no-nonsense Christianity holding men accountable for their lives and marriages became a staple at Promise Keepers rallies across the country. Promise Keepers, a predominately white evangelical men's ministry, proclaimed that men should become "promise keepers instead of promise breakers."
Hill was a leader in the National Baptist Convention, the nation's largest grouping of black churches, and in 1998, he defended the denomination's disgraced president, the Rev. Henry Lyons, who was found guilty of racketeering.
When Lyons stepped down, Hill ran unsuccessfully to succeed him as head of the 7.5 million-member Baptist convention. "I come here with not a whole lot of joy when one of my best friends is in jail," Hill told well-wishers as he announced his candidacy.
The Rev. William J. Shaw of Philadelphia, who defeated Lyons and seven other candidates to become national president, said Tuesday that Hill could be a defining presence in denominational affairs.
"There was no major issue that the convention faced in which he was not a party. He was always a strong voice, strong opinions -- not always agreed with -- but he helped shape the discussions and debates."
Edward Victor Hill, born in Texas on Nov. 11, 1933, grew up in poverty in a log cabin. He once said one of his proudest moments was when he won a ribbon for the grand champion hog at the 1947 Texas State Fair. He was the first black child to receive the same price for his hog as a white boy, $3 a pound.
His mother prayed for him to graduate from high school at a time when blacks usually didn't get past the 10th grade, he told a prayer breakfast in Austin in 1999. He said his mother bought him a bus ticket to Prairie View A&M University. He stood in the registration line with $1.83 in his pocket. He had a four-year scholarship.
At 21, Hill became pastor of the Mount Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Houston. While there, he was one of seven black pastors in various Southern cities who joined King in forming the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was to become central to the civil rights struggle. Hill nominated King as president of the conference.
Hill came to Los Angeles in 1961 to become the pastor of Mount Zion. With about 2,000 active members, Mount Zion is still a fairly large congregation, but it is not one of the Baptist denomination's mega-churches, Shaw said.
In 1972, Hill was elected as the youngest president of the California State Baptist Convention. He also served as co-chairman of the Baptist World Alliance, and was an associate professor of evangelism for The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In 1971, Hill was one of eight black clergymen whom Graham brought to the White House to speak privately with Nixon.
Hill is survived by his second wife, La Dean, whom he married
in 1992 after his first wife, Jane Edna Hill, died in 1987. Besides
his son, Hill is also survived by a daughter, Norva Rose Kennard,
a Boston attorney; three grandsons, and a stepson, Lawrence Anthony
Donald of Orlando, Fla.