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Homegoing of a Saint: Dr. Timothy J. Winters, San Diego, California

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Dr. Timothy J. Winters

by Robert Earl Houston

One of the most influential pastors in my lifetime has passed away – the Reverend Dr. Timothy James Winters, the retired pastor/builder of the Bayview Baptist Church in San Diego, California, went home to be with the Lord early Saturday morning, March 15, 2014.

I had known of Dr. Winters for years as a young preacher when he would come to Portland, Oregon to preach for the late Dr. O.B. Williams. Little did I know then that I would have the privilege of being a colleague of his and sharing pulpits with him.

In the 1970s there were a group of “young guns” in the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. – Dr. E.K. Bailey, Dr. Stephen John Thurston, Dr. S.J. Gilbert, Sr., Dr. Melvin Von Wade, Sr., Dr. A. Bernard Devers, Dr. E. Edward Jones, and of course, Dr. Winters. These “young guns” were sought out for their preaching and pastoral excellence. They came to the convention and you would see them transpose the length and breadth of the convention in various settings. Each one of them would rise denominationally and as individuals. Dr. Winters did rise.

He was called to a small congregation, the Bayview Baptist Church, in San Diego in the 1970s. He was a police officer who was called to preach and he pursued education. He wanted to be on the cutting edge and not just a preacher, but an effective communicator and visionary.

Bayview grew exponentially. It was the fastest growing congregation in San Diego for years. He went on to serve not only Bayview, but he sat on too many boards and committees and commissions to name here. He was the President of the Baptist Ministers United of San Diego and Vicinity, the Vice Moderator of the Progressive District Baptist Association, the Vice President of the California Missionary Baptist State Convention, the Educational Board Chairman of the National Baptist Convention  of America, Inc.

He started the Christian Growth Ministries because of his desire to share what he knew with other pastors and ministers. Sadly, he just hosted a training session less than 30 days ago – his last session.

Dr. Winters embraced technology. When I came to San Diego, Churches on the internet were rare and I was one of the voices in that realm of the black Baptist Church. He not only embraced it but he took Bayview into it with sermons, videos, teaching, and etc.

Dr. Winters’ trademark was that seaman’s captain hat that he wore across the nation. He loved the ocean and in his latter years, he and his wife Betty moved near the sea and had a view of it every day.

Dr. Winters was a friend to preachers and had an open pulpit. If you had a preacher in town he would bring him in. When Dr. Winters invited you, you were assured to be blessed spiritually, financially and of course, he and Sister Betty would make sure you were fed well.  They were one of the best role models of Christian marriage I ever witnessed.

Dr. Winters often took controversial stands and helped those who were in troubles because he understood that the job of the church is not to kill it’s wounded but to help restore them. He believed in redemption as an act of grace that should be modeled.

I preached in his pulpit for years – from 1995 until as recent as a few years ago. He would call me in the middle of the night and say great things – i.e., “Houston, listen – go get a blender, get you some kale and some fruit. You’ll thank me for that.”

I’m sure that when the services will be announced, no church in the city will be able to accommodate the crowd. He was a friend of preachers and my friend.

For that, I thank you Dr. Winters.

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13 responses

  1. Pastor Houston, your blog post about Pastor Winters was truly heartfelt. My mom text me this morning that he passed away early this morning. I was sad to hear the news but rejoiced in knowing that Dr. Timothy Winters is with our Heavenly Father who has said to him, ‘well done my good and faithful servant’. I was blessed to know Pastor Winters because I grew up in San Diego and our churches (I attended Mt. Erie under Pastor Walter Wells) were in the same Progressive District. I was active in the Youth Usher Department holding office at my local church, in the Progressive District and on the State level. Pastor Winters was very active with the youth, always encouraging us to be our best and to do our best for God. I married and left the country, losing contact with Pastor Winters. Years later I reconnected with him via Facebook and I messaged him about my friend request. When he messaged back he responded that he remembered me. (I was shocked!) Over the years I was blessed to be able to hear him preach via K-Praise while I lived in Florida and later when I moved to Phoenix. When his video sermons landed in my Newsfeed on Facebook I would sit down with pen, paper, and my Bible to take notes from this blessed man of God. Pastor Winters has touched my life and the lives of so many people. He was truly a fisher of men. I agree, when the Homegoing Celebration is announced there will not be a church in San Diego large enough to host it. My prayers are extended to Sis. Betty and the rest of his family, church, and friends. We have lost his physical presence but his teachings will live on forever. God bless you as well as you grieve the physical loss of your friend.

  2. Wayne Snodgrass | Reply

    Rev Houston, thank you so much for your continued efforts of information. When I was a part of NBA I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Winters. He also was one of the last that I spoke with as I was leaving United Seminary. It was a blessing to know him. I would like to talk with you concerning the Kale.

  3. Rev.Winters was truly a great minster. I met him in 1989, when I accepted the lord
    into my life. I was raised catholic growing up San Diego at St. Rita. Listening to Pastor
    Winters and Learning his teachings taught me to become very spiritual and blessed
    today. May you continue your great blessings in Heaven,

  4. I knew Pastor Winters since I was a little girl at Mt. Zion when he was “Brother Winters”… My family and I followed him to Bayview when I was 16, and even though eventually the Lord led me away from Bayview, he was always “Pastor Winters” to me… My heart is broken at his passing, but I know where he is, and I know he is rejoicing. May his soul rest in paradise and may God comfort his wife, children, grandchildren, the Bayview family and extended family, and all those who were blessed by him and will miss him greatly. San Diego will never be the same.

  5. I have never heard of this preacher before, but it sounds like he was about God’s work.

  6. Patricia Edwards Childers | Reply

    As a young girl, I first met Tim Winters when he came to Mt. Zion. He was a sailor in the Navy. All of us were infatuated with the tall man with the mesmerizing voice. Some of us even dreamed that one day we would be old enough to marry him. Years later we were thrilled when we found out he was marrying Sis. Wise who had always been our (young Christian women) role model. She was the only one who we wanted him to marry. A few more years later, as God would have it, he married my husband and I. Even though I have been gone from San Diego and Bayview since 1983, when I left to start my life as a military spouse; God blessed my husband and I to see Pastor Winters (and Sis.Betty) when he would come to Virginia to preach and teach at Rev. Tyree’s church, First Baptist Berkley. (My husband was the ROTC instructor of his nephews Marcus and Maxwell. Marcus called us earlier today to let us know that he had passed away.) Pastor Winters always remembered us and I will never forget him. He took me from being a Christian who was still drinking milk, to growing into a child of God who feasts on the meat of the Gospel. Thank you God for Rev. Winters who went “forth into all the world and” preached and taught an uncompromised gospel.

  7. Mrs Betty J. BELL @ Edward Bell | Reply

    Doctor Timothy J. Winters, was a well spoken man, I Just enjoyed listening to him, and learning so much from him. I am from INDIANA, and I became a member of his church after seaching around, for a church home,my husband also a member. He will be missed by all, THANK YOU DOCTOR WINTERS and thank GOD for guiding me to this wonderful man of your choosing to guide us all.

  8. wow a sacred sage has moved on!!! Loved him Loved Bayview , love having the opportunity to serve with him, to be blessed by him, laugh with him & preached @ Bayview .He is one my heaven sent heroes !!! I can hear that bass baritone voice…Haaaman causing me to grin from ear to ear

  9. Rip Pastor Winters I remember attending Bayview Baptist Church as a young man…

  10. Felecia Bryant | Reply

    Uncle Tim was my Godfather. Simply put, he was the best. Always present, always available, always joyful and always loving. The world has lost a light of incomprehensible brightness. I miss him dearly.

  11. Wanda Robinson | Reply

    About 25 years ago my spouse and I moved to San Diego as he was transferred here for military service. I was looking for a new church home and found Bayview and Rev. Dr. Winters. I thought he was very intelligent and well spoken and although I did not agree with everything he said, I like the movement of the church and felt that I could learned a lot from his teachings and being a part of Bayview. We moved further north in San Deigo county and I needed to find a church closer to my new home. And low & behold, I was ecstatic to discover that Pastor Winters had been influential in starting up a church in the Mira Mesa area, which is named Mesa View Baptist Church in Poway, CA. I am very happy to say that I’m currently a proud member of that church. Additionally, I understand that as a part of Dr. Winters’ vision, another church named Mountain View Baptist in Hesperia, CA. is also thriving. Pastor Winters will be greatly missed and although I would love to be a part of his homegoing service, I’m sure I’ll never get into the church- it will be inundated! May God bless his family, friends and Bayview Baptist Church during this time- but remember he is with God.

  12. Pastor Winters was a great friend to San Diego State University and the entire San Diego community. He will be missed.

  13. Pastor Winters was my Pastor from the early 1980’s until the early 1990’s until I moved away to Virginia. When I heard of his passing my heart broke, but my spirit rejoiced for I know that he is seated at the feet of Jesus. Pastor Winter’s powerful teaching and preaching changed my life in many ways. It was through the preached word and studying under his leadership that I regained my self-esteem and learned to see myself the God see’s me.

    He was the first Pastor that I had ever heard teach biblical principles on getting out of Debt God’s way. I spoke with him almost two years ago to share with him that the seed that he planted in me has changed my life and the lives of literally hundreds of thousands over the years; because God is using me to set the captives free through teaching financial literacy in ministry at my home church in Virginia. I am forever grateful and will certainly miss this great man of God.

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THE WIRE

by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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