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Born August 19, 1931-Died December 17, 2023
Bishop Samuel Irving was born to Leslie and Mary Irving on August 19, 1931 in Phoenix Arizona. While serving as the Church of God in Christ Northern California State Choir Director, he met and fell in love with Ella Rene Goss. Reportedly, it was love at first sight. He married Ella Rene October 6, 1951.They remained married for 69 years until Mother Irving went on to be with the Lord .Their love for each other was unconditional. They had five children from this beautiful union, Samuel Jr, Marcus, Adrienne, Todd, and Marlon.
Bishop Irving accepted the Lord at an early age. He was called to preach at 12 years old. He was an anointed musician, singer, and powerful Man of God. He played four instruments and taught his kids to play.
He was more than a Bishop. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He made sure that the family went on vacations every year. The vacations typically involved camping at famous National Parks, attending Amusement Parks such as Disneyland, trips to the coast, and numerous trips to Canada and Mexico.
Along with his work in the Ministry, Bishop Irving worked as a Bus Driver for San Francisco Transit, an Assistant Manger at a notable San Francisco BBQ restaurant, a Mail Distribution Clerk at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, the first Black Postal Carrier in Vacaville California, and finished his career as a Postal Carrier in Portland Oregon.
He was a BBQ Pitmaster. The family always looked forward to the BBQ events on Holidays. He was also a made for TV gadget man. His boys adopted this fetish.
His love for people, in general, was undeniable. His radiant smile, willingness to help anyone in need, and ability to win souls is his legacy. Those who knew him and loved him referred to him as “Dad”. He was that kind of Father.
Bishop Irving pastored several churches over a sixty year period. Tens of Hundreds of souls came to the Lord under his leadership.
This Journey began in Tulare, California where Bishop Irving pastored his first church. Shortly thereafter, he was called to Evangelism. Subsequently, he moved to Vacaville, California where he started a church in his Mother-in-Law’s, Inez Cuerington, living room. He, later, built a church on land that his Brother-in-Law, Robert Goss, donated. He would start a second church in Sacramento, California. He pastored both churches at the same time. Eventually, the two Churches merged.
1959-61 Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ, Tulare California
1962-68 Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ, Vacaville California
1963-66 Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ, Sacramento California
Bishop Irving had a severe case of Asthma. Typically, his Asthma attacks were prominent during the spring and summer seasons. In the Summer of 1967, he took his family on vacation to Mt. Shasta National Park and Portland, Oregon. To his surprise, he had no severe Asthma symptoms. He felt that the Portland climate was more conducive to his good health
He decided to turn the Vacaville Church over to his Brother-in-Law, Elder Robert Goss, and moved to Portland in 1968. Upon moving to Portland, he established new membership at St. Paul Church of God in Christ, under the leadership of Bishop J.C. Foster. This was a significant move in that it allowed both Bishop and Mother Irving to establish deep roots in the Oregon church community. While attending St. Paul, Bishop Irving formed a strong alliance with the other Church of God in Christ Pastors. Mother Irving was appointed as the State Chair Lady for the Young People Willing Workers (YPWW) where she inspired young people to be active in the work of the Lord.
In 1969, Bishop Irving was inspired and encouraged to start a new church. He established the World for Christ Evangelistic Center in a small storefront on NE Fremont. The membership grew to a point necessitating a larger venue.
In 1971, he relocated to a building that was formerly called The Colonial Theater on N. Albina. After the renovation, the church name and affiliation changed to Albina Christian Life Center Church of God. His fellowship with St. Paul and the Church of God in Christ remained in tact
After joining the Church of God, Cleveland Tennessee, Bishop Irving along with Bishop Vaughn, founded the Northwest Pentecostal Fellowship. This Fellowship consisted of existing affiliated Black Churches while recruiting other Black Churches in order to further the Church of God’s diversification efforts in the Pacific Northwest Region. This fellowship would later expand into California to be renamed the Western Region Pentecostal Fellowship. He served on the Church of God Council for many years. On a regular basis, he was asked to sing and perform at Church of God State Camp meetings.
It is important to note that Mother Ella Rene Irving was by his side during their entire journey.
While he was highly accomplished and gifted, he remained a humble Servant of the Lord. While these two Servants have completed this Pastoral Journey, they are on an everlasting Journey with Lord. They fought the fight, kept the faith, and finished the course, Amen
1969-71 World for Christ Evangelistic Center, Church of God in Christ, Portland, Oregon
1971-2018 Albina Christian Life Center, Church of God, Portland, Oregon
2018-23 Bishop Emeritus, Albina Christian Life Center, Portland, Oregon
He leaves to cherish his memory, his five children and their families consisting of Samuel Jr., Marcus, Adrienne, Todd, and Marlon, 14 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, his sister (Dorothy Moore), and several hundred friends and family members. This includes the Irvings, Goss, Smith, and Lethridge families.
Bishop Irving is preceded in death by his loving wife Mother Ella Rene Irving, his mother and father Leslie and Mary Irving, ten brothers and sisters- Sylvester, Joe, Ernest, Pauline, Clara, Gertha, Solomon, Paul, Martha, Betty, and three grandchildren-Samuel III, Shalon, and Simone.
The Bishop Samuel and Mother Ella Irving family is grateful to all for your support, prayers and love. Thank you and God Bless You.