A Biography of Dr. Ray H. Hughes
The Dr. Ray H. Hughes Sr., 87, former general overseer of the Church of God and longtime Cleveland resident, went to be with the Lord on Monday evening, April 4, 2011, in a local hospital.
He began his ministry in 1940 and served in many offices of distinction in the Church of God and interdenominational ministries.
His early ministry was as an evangelist, and he considered himself an evangelist no matter what office he was serving in. He gained national attention in 1948 when he preached an interdenominational youth rally at the Hollywood Bowl in California. Sponsored by Pentecostal denominations and independent ministries, the event signaled a new day of cooperation among Pentecostals as well as his eventual leadership of the global Pentecostal movement.
His pastoral ministry included the Church of God in Fairfield, Ill., and the North Chattanooga Church of God. Appointed offices in the Church of God included state overseer of Georgia and the region of Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia; the National Sunday School and Youth Board; and director of the General Board of Education.
He twice served as president of Lee College (1960-66 and 1982-84) and once as president of the Church of God Theological Seminary (1984-86).
The Church of God elected him as general director of Sunday School and Youth in 1952, where he served for four years, and to the International Executive Council in 1956 where he served for a total of 36 years.
He was first elected to the International Executive Committee in 1966 and served on the Executive Committee a total of 26 years including the offices of third assistant general overseer, second assistant general overseer, first assistant general overseer and general overseer. He is the only person to have served three tenures as general overseer.
Along with his ministry in the Church of God, he was frequently honored with leadership opportunities in interdenominational ministries.
He was a member of the board of administration, on the executive committee, and president of the National Association of Evangelicals; a member of the National Sunday School Association; chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America; a member of the advisory committee of the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America; a member of the presidium and advisory committee, vice chairman and chairman of the Pentecostal World Conference.
Outside the Church of God, Hughes was a widely respected Evangelical leader. He rose to top leadership posts in several organizations, including president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Pentecostal Fellowship of North America and the Pentecostal World Conference. During his chairmanship of the PWC, he led worldwide conferences in Oslo (1992), Jerusalem (1995) and Seoul (1998).
As chairman of the Pentecostal World Conference he led global meetings in Oslo, Norway, Jerusalem, and Seoul, Korea, where he preached to more than 108,000 people in a packed Olympic Stadium at the 18 Pentecostal World Conference.
Known for his powerful anointed preaching, he was a popular speaker at camp meetings, ministers’ retreats, missions rallies, youth rallies, and other meetings. He was speaker for the Church of God’s radio broadcast, “Forward in Faith,” from 1960 to 1963. A prolific author, a partial list of his books includes “Church of God Distinctives”; “Who Is the Holy Ghost?”; “Pentecostal Preaching”; “Religion on Fire”; “Lord, Show Us Thy Glory”; “The Cross, Love’s Necessity”; and “The Rapture and Revelation.”
He was preceded in death by his parents the Rev. J.H. and Emma Lou Cochran Hughes; his first wife, Marian Euverla Tidwell Hughes; and his brother-in-law, John Johnson.
He is survived by his wife, Linda Redman Hughes; children: Janice Hughes of Nashville, Ray H. Hughes Jr., and his wife, Anita, Donald Joseph Hughes, and his wife, Maxine, all of Cleveland, and Anita Chamberlain, and her husband, Jim, of Fernandina Beach, Fla.; stepchildren: Jerry Redman, and his wife, Jeanine, Greg Redman and his wife, Debbi, and Kristi Armstrong and her husband, Bob, all of Cleveland; grandchildren: Joe Hughes of Cleveland, Ray H. “Doc” Hughes III, of Virginia Beach, Va., Cristen Chamberlain, and Craig Chamberlain and his wife, Elisa, all of Fernandina Beach; stepgrandchildren: Jennifer Redman of Chattanooga, Lindsey Armstrong, and Christian Armstrong, both of Cleveland; two great-grandsons: Chase Chamberlain and Landon Chamberlain, both of Fernandina Beach; sisters: Helen Johnson of Huntsville, Ala., and Jacqui Killebrew, and her husband, Joe, of Bullhead, Ariz.; brothers: Bill Hughes of Del Rio, Texas, and Dale Hughes, and his wife, Brenda, of Cleveland; sister-in-law, Florence Clawson, and her husband, the Rev. Paul Clawson, of Chambersburg, Pa.; brothers-in-law: U.D. “Bud” Tidwell Jr. and Marcus Tidwell; and several nieces and nephews.