(Photo: IPHC website)
Bishop Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr., former presiding Bishop over the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), passed away Sept. 20 after a 20-year battle with melanoma. His many admirers remember Bishop Carpenter as a "passionate" man of God.
Carpenter, who passed away at age 64, has served the Christian community via various leadership roles at the IPHC over the past 48 years, serving as a pastor, college professor, Upper South Carolina Conference Superintendent, and Evangelism USA Director, according to his obituary.
The climax of Carpenter's faith-filled career came in July 2009, when he was inaugurated as the presiding Bishop of the IPHC at the 26th General Conference.
"He will always be remembered for his humble spirit and giving nature. He was a strong leader yet a gentle man," reads Carpenter's obituary.
He was forced to step down from his post as presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Christian denomination in July 2012, citing health concerns inflicted by his encroaching melanoma, which he fought against four different times over the span of 20 years.
"There has not been a more passionate leader in the IPHC than Bishop Ronald Carpenter, Sr. He had a heart of gold, which drew me and thousands of others to him," Presiding Bishop A.D. Beacham, Jr. told The Christian Post via email.
"His heart and life were an open book. In his integrity there were never hidden agendas. I've often thought that Bishop Carpenter exemplified the description of Israel's King David and Jesus' observation about Nathaniel in the Gospel of John – a man after God's heart in whom there is no guile," he added.
Followers of the IPHC and Bishop Carpenter took to Twitter to offer their prayers and expressions of love for the religious leader and his family.
"A great man of God has passed away. His passion, humbleness and love was contagious and affected many. He will be missed," tweeted one user.
Others took to the IPHC website to express their condolences.
"My deepest sympathy is extended to your family during this time. We so enjoyed Brother Carpenter's ministry this past February at the Appalachian Conference's Minister meeting in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He will be sorely missed in this denomination but grandly welcomed in heaven!" commented the Rev. Jim Fields.
"Hawaii Pacific Realm District-IPHC in Kailua, HI salute the man of great influence and tremendous impact in this generation. Sir, you stand tall in my life and consider you a hero of faith. Thank you for your passion and the giving of yourself to God and to expand His kingdom here on earth. We love you and will miss you greatly," wrote Joan Hood of Hawaii.
Bishop Carpenter, a native of Rocky Mount, N.C., is survived by his mother, wife, two children, and five grandchildren.
His funeral will be held Tuesday, Sept. 25 at Redemption World Outreach Center in in Greenville, S.C.