Hill, 69, was hospitalized nearly two weeks ago and has now died. The Rev. E.V. Hill, longtime pastor of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles and ardent supporter of lying, thieving, adulterous Dr. Henry J. Lyons is dead! Hill died yesterday after a bout with pneumonia and other undisclosed medical problems.
A force in the National Baptist Convention and a speaker at rallies around the country sponsored by Promise Keepers, an evangelical men's ministry, Hill stood out among prominent African American pastors in championing conservative political causes. He had been an adviser to several prominent Republicans including President Reagan.
In 1999, Hill was an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the National Baptist Convention, one of the nation's largest African American Christian denominations. It was same convention about which the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on August 29, 2002 Once the nation's largest and most prestigious African American religious denomination, the National Baptist Convention USA was taken over in the 1950s by leaders who often put their own financial interests ahead of the membership.
At the annual meeting of the National Baptist Convention in 1998, the Rev. Henry Lyons of St. Petersburg, admitted to an ``inappropriate relationship'' - an increasingly popular euphemism for adultery - with a woman employed by the nation's largest black church group. He said he was sorry and asked for forgiveness and they forgave him.
Rev E.V. Hill led the charge of corrupt ones to support his very dear friend Rev. Henry J. Lyons no matter what. As a result, the Leaders of the National Baptist Convention USA stood by president Henry Lyons, who had been indicted for racketeering and grand theft and supported Dr. Lyons in every aspect of his legal endeavors that included money.
An internal church probe directed by Pastor E.V. Hill determined that Lyons did not take any of the denomination's funds, and that any money he received included honorariums and fees the church agreed to pay him. Hill promised to help Lyons with his legal bills even though Prosecutors contend that Lyons diverted millions of dollars in church funds to finance a lavish lifestyle. But the courts had a different opinion about Lyons and his lying and thievery.
Rev. Henry Lyons' peccadilloes and the grand theft and racketeering convictions by State of Florida and the Government of United States against him didn't stop Rev. Hill from supporting his friend, for birds of feather stick together.
Lyons resigned as head of the convention after pleading guilty to five federal counts. He is serving a 5 1/2-year state prison term and a concurrent 4 1/2-year federal sentence.
He was a man called by others as Rev. "Hanky-Panky" who was a personal friend of Bill Clinton. A man who sought spiritual solace in the bathtub smoking marijuana after a hard day of playing patty-cake with Nigerian dictators and the financial stewardship of the NBC including secret bank accounts, forged signatures, missing files and hushed-up lobbying work on behalf of those wacky, zany Nigerian scamps.
A man who made a $200,000 rip-off of an Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith donation, which found its way into his pockets instead of burned out Baptist churches where it was originally intended. A man whose whole hand-picked board of the National Baptist Convention refused to see the facts about Lyons and forgave him unanimously and unilaterally. So that they could also be forgiven if caught.
Lyons had been the focus of state and federal criminal investigations since the summer of 1997 when his wife set fire to a $700,000 waterfront house he owned on Tierra Verde with a former convention employee, a convicted embezzler and his alleged lover. The fire triggered revelations about secret bank accounts and large commissions on convention business deals and deductions concerning his total gross salary.
"Born Again" Senior Pastor E. V. Hill did not accept Lyons guilty verdict, charging that jury was racist.
Later, Lyons approved the National Baptist Convention advertisement which labeled Florida `the most racist state'' in the union and called for racial unrest in the black community of St. Petersburg, the same community rocked by two riots in late 1996.
Lyons was convicted in February 1999 of swindling more than $4 million from companies that wanted to market life insurance, credit cards and cemetery plots to his convention members. Prosecutors said Lyons padded the convention's mailing list with names randomly selected from phone books across the country. Even a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan was on the list. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax evasion, fraudulent activities and lying to officials.
In his sentencing, Judge Schaeffer had ordered Lyons to pay $2.5 million in restitution to the companies who bought his phony mailing lists and to pay $97,000 for the cost of the state probe into his dealings.
Lyons is now serving a five and a half year prison sentence. His bid for a shorter prison term went nowhere with a trial judge fed up with his crimes. A judge flatly denied the Rev. Henry Lyons' bid to reduce his state prison term rejecting pleas that the religious leader is suffering physically and mentally from incarceration.
Lyons, who has tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis, ``can be treated in prison,'' Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer told about a dozen of his supporters. ``Prison is a place that brings on illnesses, a place where you are going to be among murderers, thugs and thieves,'' the judge said. ``There isn't anything about it that's supposed to be fun.'' Schaeffer did not mince words during an almost half-hour long oral ruling from the bench.
And neither did the media mince words - "Thieving reverend sobs his apologies" - St Petersburg, Florida:
The Rev Henry Lyons, president of one of the United States' largest and most influential black denominations, sobbed and apologized as he resigned yesterday, two weeks after being convicted of swindling more than $US4 million ($6.4 million).
"I'm just so sorry about all of this," he said at a news conference outside his Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church, where he told the board of the National Baptist Convention USA of his decision. "I'm truly repentant about it. I hate that I hurt so many people," he said, his voice breaking. Other ministers surrounded him, saying: "You're not alone."
"I appreciate it," he said as he began sobbing. The Rev E.V. Hill, who planned to run for president at the convention's next elections in September, patted Mr. Lyons on the back, saying: "We forgave any errors you have made. We love you."
Now Lying Lyons, President of the National Baptist Convention and Pastor of Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church in St. Petersburg. was not a novice although he definitely broke most of the rules concerning the position of a bishop outlined in the word of God. Dr. Henry J. Lyons was also President Emeritus of the Florida General Baptist Convention, Inc., and President of Ecumenical Counselor Community Concern, Inc. He also lectured at Colleges & Universities and was involved in National Prominence in Civic & Community Affairs Black History & Human Relations.
Dr. Lyons was born January 17, 1942. He said he accepted Christ in 1950 and was called to the Ministry in 1961. He and his wife, Deborah, reside in St. Petersburg. Earlier, Dr. Lyons served as an academic dean at Cincinnati Baptist College and in two pastorates at Baptist churches in Georgia.
Dr. Lyons' resume was that of a very prominent educated Evangelical with extensive ministry and educational background and many doctorate degrees. For Dr. Lyons has traveled and preached extensively abroad (17 Nations) under the auspices of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA. In addition, his travels have included Bible study in Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and theology study at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has conducted Evangelistic Crusades in the Bahamas and Taiwan. He has traveled and preached in Brazil, Rome, Italy, London, England, Paris, France and Spain.
Dr. Lyons educational background includes the following degrees:
Associate of Arts, Gibbs Junior College, St. Petersburg, Florida
Bachelor of Science, Bethune Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida
Bachelor of Divinity, Morehouse School of Religion, Atlanta, Georgia
Doctor of Divinity, Cincinnati Baptist College, Cincinnati, Ohio
Doctor of Sacred Theology, Hebrew Union University, Jerusalem, Israel
Doctor of Divinity, Bethune Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida
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