Bill Hines, former chair of Good News board, remembered

hinesBy James V. Heidinger II –

The Rev. William Hines, United Methodist pastor in the West Ohio Annual Conference and a former chairman of the Good News board of directors, died on Father’s Day, June 16, after an extended illness. A service celebrating his life and ministry was held at the Marysville United Methodist Church on June 20 in Marysville, Ohio.

One of Bill’s sons, Derik, also a clergy member of the West Ohio Annual Conference, said at the start of the memorial service, “Father’s Day! What a great day for a great dad to go home to a great Heavenly Father!” And everything about the service attested that Bill had been a great dad, and that he believed the God he served in ministry throughout his lifetime was a great God!

The ministry Bill and Carolyn Hines had in West Ohio was extraordinary, as they served numerous significant churches — Armstrong Chapel, as associate; Hamilton First; Sydney First: Grove City UM Church; and St. Mark’s in Finley. His impact on those churches was both fruitful and long-lasting, evidenced by the large number of lay persons from those churches in attendance at his memorial service.

Not only did he give effective leadership in the churches he served, Bill also was a strong evangelical voice of leadership in the conference and beyond. He was elected as a delegate to General Conference four times and as a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference six times. He was always a leader in the West Ohio Evangelical Fellowship (WOEF), one of the strongest and largest of the annual conference renewal groups. In 1996, Bill was a candidate for bishop from the West Ohio Conference. He was a clear, courageous, and bold candidate who spoke candidly about what he believed the church needed in its leadership. He also served as chairman of the Good News board (’97 and ’98) and was made a Lifetime Honorary Member of the board soon after that.

Bill used his love of sports, particularly basketball, to relate to young people. It was no surprise that many young people entered the ministry because of Bill’s influence and mentoring. Nine young people from his Hamilton Church alone went into the ministry. Numbers of others did as well, two of whom spoke at his memorial service.

The Rev. Greg Stover, senior minister at Armstrong Chapel in Cincinnati, was one who came out of Hamilton First and was Bill’s associate while getting his seminary training at United Theological Seminary in Dayton. Stover, speaking with obvious deep affection, recalled Bill’s help as he worked to understand his call to the ministry. Stover acknowledged with deep gratitude, “Across the years, Bill has been a friend, a mentor, and a colleague in ministry. He loved and trusted Jesus. His life was grounded in Jesus. Preaching and sharing the gospel was the most important thing for Bill.” He mentored Greg well as he would later take up the mantle of leadership in the West Ohio Evangelical Fellowship and also become a candidate for bishop from West Ohio. Stover has been a leader beyond the conference, serving on the boards of both Good News and The Confessing Movement. He has also served as a district superintendent.

The Rev. Scott Oche, another clergy member in the conference, shared about Bill’s influence on his entering the ministry. Scott was an accountant in the church at Sydney when he felt God’s call to preach. Bill invested time in his relationship with Scott, who likens Bill’s influence as similar to Paul’s mentoring of young Timothy. Scott served on staff with Bill while he was in seminary and noted how Bill helped him in many first opportunities in preaching, including Christmas Eve and then his first funeral. Scott remarked that “Bill was a disciple maker long before the annual conference had a plan. Bill was faithful to his family, to the church, and to my family.”

Another ministerial voice at the service was that of Dr. John Wagner, a professor at United Theological Seminary, and one who admitted to being of a different theological persuasion than Bill. But he clearly admired and respected Bill, though they had disagreed on the floor of annual conference. “I came to count on Bill for his honest opinions,” Wagner said with deep affection. “We are all in this together for the transformation of the world. His family is a witness to that transformation. There was no one like Bill. I miss him already.”

Bill and Carolyn have six children and they are impressive by any measure. Two are in pastoral ministry, one has been a missionary, and the others are actively involved in the churches where they live. It was moving to hear the two minister sons (Derik and Bill, Jr.) share about their Dad’s influence on them, by his affirmation of them in their various sports activities and by his insistence on the importance of character and integrity—there were to be no moral or ethical shortcuts. That would not honor Christ and the gospel.

Sixteen years ago, Bill developed Primary Progressive Aphasia, a disease which gradually reduced his ability to articulate his thoughts. Then came Progressive Supra Nuclear Palsy which took away his mobility, Finally, he developed Frontal Temporal Dementia, which attacked his memory. Through those sixteen years, his lovely wife, Carolyn, cared for him tirelessly and patiently, which is a beautiful story in itself. Bill donated his brain to Harvard University for research in Frontal Temporal Demential, a disorder in which there is need for much further research.

The local church played a crucial role in the final years of Bill’s life. Carolyn shared how the Marysville Church and Sunday school classes came and helped her as Bill’s condition worsened. They sat with Bill while she could be out on errands and to shop. Others in the class came over in the evenings to help her get Bill from his wheelchair into bed. This is a beautiful testimony of the church simply being the church. The church doing what so many churches do week in and week out, in unselfish ministry and service that never gets splashy headlines. Someone has said that the Christian churches have many critics, but few competitors. How true that is.

I came away from that memorial service deeply moved by the extraordinary impact of the ministry of Bill and Carolyn Hines. What a great pastoral team they have been in the West Ohio Conference of our church. Thanks be to God for these faithful servants.

James V. Heidinger II is the president and publisher emeritus of Good News. 


  1. What a wonderful article! Bill and Carolyn were next door neighbors to us while at Grace Methodist in Hamilton, Ohio. We loved their family as did our whole church! Bill’s ministry had a profound influence on my own spiritual life.

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