By Monica Fountain
|John W. Fountain with Grandfather George A. Hagler, 94.|
Pastor George Albert Hagler is a man of vision. He is a man with a vision for souls. A man with a heart for the people. More than 40 years ago, Pastor Hagler heard the voice of the Lord and received a vision for a church. In 1972, he founded True Vine Church of God in Christ in Chicago, Ill.
For decades, Pastor Hagler has preached the Gospel and served the community, whether on Chicago’s West Side, in suburban Bellwood and the surrounding communities, or wherever his heart and mission to make a difference have led him. He is considered by many as being more than just a pastor. He is a father. In 2014, he was ordained a Bishop in the Church of God In Christ, International.
“The greatest title I could ever call him is, ‘Grandpa.’ He’s my grandfather,” said his grandson, John W. Fountain, a journalist and professor. “A humble man, a loving man. No greater man I know.”
Pastor Hagler, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, served with honor during World War II. For 20 years, he was an employee of the U.S. Postal service and retired in 1987.
The grandson of Burton Roy who was born a slave, George A. Hagler himself was born Jan. 12, 1921, to Easter and Eli Hagler in Pulaski, Ill. On April 22, 1937, he married Florence Geneva Taylor in Pulaski, Illinois. In 1942 the couple moved to Chicago, part of the historic Great Migration that led millions of African Americans from the South to the North.
A humble man of wisdom, Pastor George Albert Hagler is a father, grandfather, provider, protector and pastor.
|A younger George A. Hagler with his wife of 64 years, |
the late-Florence G. Hagler. They married in 1937.
Although he regularly attended church as a child in Pulaski, when Pastor Hagler moved to Chicago, he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and joined the All Nations Church of God in Christ under the pastorate of the late Administrative Assistant William Campbell. At All Nations, he served as a deacon and Sunday School superintendent. In November 1972, Pastor Hagler heard the voice of the Lord calling him to establish a church. He was told that the name of the church was True Vine. With the support of his pastor, Elder William James Campbell, Pastor Hagler established the True Vine Church of God in Christ in 1973.
In 1975, the church purchased and renovated property on Chicago’s West Side. That same year, the late Bishop Louis H. Ford appointed Pastor Hagler as the co-superintendent for the J.S. Bailey District. He was later appointed to the office of assistant state Sunday School Superintendent and later became state superintendent.
In January of 1988, tragedy struck when True Vine’s edifice was gutted by a fire. The congregation found a building in the western suburb of Bellwood, Illinois and in November of 1988, True Vine moved into and dedicated a new building. In 1988, Pastor Hagler was named the Pastor of the Year by the COGIC First Jurisdiction of Illinois. By 1995, the church had burned the mortgage for their new home. In that same year, Pastor Hagler was honored by the township of Proviso’s Black Man Association as the Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
Pastor Hagler is currently pastor emeritus of the True Vine Church of God in Christ. He serves as the superintendent of the St. William Campbell Memorial District and also serves as an administrative assistant of Third Jurisdiction Prelate Bishop Robert R. Sanders.
|George A. Hagler with wife Margaret Gavin Hagler at breakfast|
with John and Monica Fountain in Oak Park.
Pastor Hagler and his wife, Missionary Florence G. Hagler, were married for 64 years. Six children were born to their union—one son and five daughters. Missionary Hagler made her heavenly transition in January 2002. In September 2002, Pastor Hagler married Missionary Margaret Gavin and added her three children to his family. He is also the grandfather of 15 and also a great-grandfather and great-great grandfather.
A humble man of wisdom, Pastor George Albert Hagler is a father, grandfather, provider, protector and pastor. He is a visionary who deeply loves God’s people and whose supreme passion is to save souls.
|George Hagler at ordination in November 2013|