Hughes, 87, passed away on April 4 at a hospital in Cleveland, Tennessee. In addition to serving as general overseer on three different occasions, he was also president of Lee University twice and served a two-year term as president of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary. He also made a significant impact on the evangelical world as he led several high-profile Pentecostal organizations over the years.
The service was officiated by four ministers, including Ray. H. Hughes, Jr., who spoke on behalf of the family. Other ministers included North Cleveland pastor Mitch Maloney, who was Hughes’ pastor for the past 17 years, Mark Williams, second assistant general overseer who spoke warmly of the man he mentored and General Overseer Raymond Culpepper.
“All of my heroes have been preachers,” Williams told the audience which filled the North Cleveland Church. Williams told the story of how he was called to the ministry under Hughes while Williams was a student at Lee College. Williams then called for all who had been impacted in ministry by the life of Hughes. Dozens stood to their feet.
“Today is a day of incredible historical significance,” Culpepper stated in his opening remarks. “Dr. Ray Hughes was, and is, a statesman….may God give us more people like Ray Hughes who will not flinch in their presentation of the gospel.” Culpepper pointed upward as he stated, “we cannot let him (Hughes) down and we cannot let Him (God) down.”
Special music was provided by the North Cleveland Crusader Choir, directed by Delton Alford, with a solo by Jerry Rice. The service ended with an audio portion of one of Hughes’ most moving sermons on Heaven. Attendees also received a bound biography on the life of Hughes, written by his grandson Ray H. Hughes III. The service was carried on live Web stream over the North Cleveland Church of God Web site, www.nccog.org.
A graveside service was held following the celebration with Revs. Ray Sanders and Gene Rice officiating.
To learn more about the life and global ministry of Dr. Ray H. Hughes, Sr., log on to the Church of God Web site, www.churchofgod.org and click on the Hughes graphic.