General Superintendent Emeritus William J. Prince (center) receives the Heritage Award in 2009 from General Superintendent Jesse C. Middendorf (right) and General Superintendent Emeritus W. Talmadge Johnson (left).
General Superintendent Emeritus William J. Prince remembered
Thursday, December 27, 2012
By NCN News Staff
The Church of the Nazarene has lost a great leader as General Superintendent Emeritus William J. Prince, 82, passed away on December 24. 
Prince, who has been ill recently, was elected general superintendent in 1989 by the 22nd General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana. He served in this capacity until his retirement in 2001, when the 25th General Assembly conferred on him the honor of emeritus status.

Funeral services were Wednesday, January 2 at Bethany, Oklahoma, First Church of the Nazarene, with interment in Bethany Cemetery. To share a memory or condolence, click here.

Members of the Board of General Superintendents serve as the highest elected officials of the Church of the Nazarene. Major responsibilities include presiding at district assemblies around the world, the ordination of ministers, and ruling on matters of polity. 

Prince served as the fourth president of Mount Vernon Nazarene College (now Mount Vernon Nazarene University) from 1980 until his election as a member of the Board of General Superintendents. Earlier in 1989, he received a unanimous four-year recall from the MVNC Board of Trustees. At the time of his election as general superintendent, Prince was president-elect of Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma, having been elected to the SNU presidency only a few weeks before General Assembly. He had planned to assume that position effective at the close of General Assembly, when he was elected general superintendent.

A native of Oklahoma, Prince is a graduate of SNU and holds the M.Div. from Nazarene Theological Seminary. The D.D. was conferred upon him by SNU in 1975. 

While at Nazarene Theological Seminary, he served as minister of youth at Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene and later as Nazarene Young People's Society (now Nazarene Youth International) president of the Los Angeles District. He pastored churches in Lone Pine, Reseda, and Ventura, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Dayton, Ohio. He was superintendent of the Pittsburgh District and rector of European Nazarene Bible College (now European Nazarene College), where his responsibilities reached across Europe and the Middle East. He ministered in teaching and preaching missions in the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, India, and various locations in Africa and Asia-Pacific. 

"William Prince was a gracious leader," said General Superintendent J. K. Warrick. "He will be remembered for his investment in Nazarene youth, and as a college president, preacher, and personal friend to many, he will be missed. I am joined by my colleagues on the Board of General Superintendents in expressing our sorrow and loss. We join his many friends in offering our sympathies and condolences to his son, Shelburne, and family."

William Prince’s wife, the former Evelyn Imel of Lawrence, Kansas, passed away in 2006. A graduate of SNU, she taught in the public schools of California, Minnesota, Ohio, and Kansas, and was a member of the faculty of European Nazarene Bible College.

Below: William J. Prince speaks at the 2005 General Assembly.

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