Aurora Mourns, Funeral Services Set for Bishop William Bonner, Founder of Greater Mount Olive Church
Residents of the city of Aurora and Kane County, dignitaries throughout the area and churches across the country are mourning the passing of Bishop William Haven Bonner, founder of The Greater Mount Olive Church.
Bonner died Monday, Aug. 29, just two weeks short of his 95th birthday.
According to his obituary in The Beacon-News, Bonner will lie in state at The Greater Mount Olive Church of God in Christ from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today (Thursday, Sept.1, 2016). Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2, at Calvary Church of Naperville. His homegoing service begins at 11 a.m.
Interment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Montgomery. James Funeral Service is serving the family.
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner described the renowned Aurora clergyman as an integral figure in the community for 72 years — 68 of which were with the church that Bonner and his congregation founded in 1948.
“I had the honor of working with Bishop Bonner in the community for more than 30 years, including all of my years as mayor,” he said. “From neighborhood meetings to citywide forums, we could always depend on Bishop Bonner’s presence and insight. On a personal level, he offered me counsel and advice over the years, for which I am truly grateful.”
According to the city of Aurora website, Bonner Avenue was named after the bishop in 1980, recognizing his contributions to his church and community. In addition to his work as pastor, Bonner was the dean of Aurora Black ministers and served his church nationwide as the chairman of finance and vice chairman of the Budgetary Committee of the Board of Bishops of the International Churches of God in Christ.
“Bishop Bonner lived life in such a way that his legacy will be spoken of in perpetuity,” Weisner said.
Bonner’s Church of God biography describes him as a tireless crusader for the improvement of the
quality of life for the homeless, the helpless and the hopeless.
“His philanthropic endeavors have been driven by an internal flame of compassion, a steady diet of prayer, and an undying belief that is far better to give than to receive,” the biography says. “His duties spread far beyond his local community.
“Bishop Bonner is a constant seeker of righteousness. A modern day Moses and Joshua all in one — A Man With A Plan For Progress.”
In his statement to the community, Weisner extended his city’s deepest condolences to his family, the Mt. Olive Church congregation and all of the church congregations under Bonner’s jurisdiction in the Church of God in Christ.
“He will most certainly be missed,” Weisner said. “May the Good Lord hold him in His eternal embrace.”