Bishop William Anthony Ellis is the youngest of 13 children born to the late Elder Charles and Lucille Ellis. His father was the founding pastor of the Indiana Avenue Pentecostal Church of God, which is affectionately known as "35th Street" located at 3520 S. Indiana Avenue in Chicago, Illinois where he served as pastor until the Lord called him home in 1953.
Bishop Ellis experienced “the new birth” and received his Pentecostal experience on January 8, 1950. His spiritual convictions and the tutelage he received under the loving eyes of his father and mentor have left an indelible impression upon his life. After his father’s death, he cherished the spiritual guidance of his beloved brother, Bishop David L. Ellis, the late pastor of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan, who was also his confidant and best friend.
He began "preaching" at the age of 8 years wherever he could find an audience and box to stand on. In 1962, at the tender age of 20, he officially accepted the call to the ministry and received his first ministerial license in October 1963 from the Illinois District Council where the late Bishop John S. Holly was Diocesan. He was ordained in Los Angeles, California, at the 1968 Convention of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. In the year of 1975, he was elevated to the position of District Elder. Bishop Ellis was elevated to Suffragan Bishop in August, 1992, and two years later in March, 1994, he was elevated to the office of Bishop and assigned the 15th Episcopal Diocese (Mountain States) of the P.A.W. He served two terms as the dedicated and progressive Chairman of the Texas State Council and as Diocesan Bishop of the 13th Episcopal Diocese.
On June 29, 1963, he was joined together in a blissful marriage that lasted nearly 50 years to Sister Mary Wilkins of Chicago, Illinois. Mother Mary P. Ellis transitioned into the portals of Glory on December 10, 2012. They were the proud parents of four sons: Isaac of Seattle, Washington; Jonathan of San Antonio, Texas; Michael and William Jr. of Chicago, Illinois. Their eight grandchildren will always be their pride and joy.
In 1968, the Lord directed Bishop Ellis to San Antonio, Texas, to pastor the Lincoln Park Church of Christ. Believing God could bless him just as he blessed Abraham, Bishop and Sister Ellis packed up their family and, on a cold day in January, they embarked on the historic trip to their new home.
God was indeed faithful to his word; the church membership increased to over 600 active members. He became a "Pentecostal Trailblazer" in San Antonio. Bishop Ellis was the first in that area to schedule a weekly church service on television. He served on many civic boards and championed many causes.
Once again the Lord spoke to Bishop Ellis and commissioned him to build a cathedral of worship to accommodate His people. The new, modern and renamed Greater Lincoln Park Temple, located at 937 West Magnolia in San Antonio, stands as a memorial of the legacy left in that city by this great man of God. It is currently under the leadership of his son, Suffragan Bishop Jonathan D. Ellis.
On December 6, 1995, he was elected by a large plurality vote as pastor of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park. Returning to Chicago, he has proven to be anointed and a visionary as he revitalized, evidenced by many souls that have been saved and blessings God has bestowed upon both he and his flock. There is no doubt that Bishop William A. Ellis’ steps have been ordered by the Lord, and that this 13th child born to Elder and Mrs. Charles Ellis on September 18, 1942, had come into the kingdom for such a time as this!
Assuming the helm of this great historic church was a bittersweet “Homecoming” for Bishop Ellis on his return to Chicago. On the day of his consecration as Senior Pastor of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park, formerly the Morgan Park Assembly Church, by the late Diocesan Prelate of Illinois Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, Bishop Ellis was surprised by the attendance of his brother, the late Bishop David L. Ellis. Little did he realize that his brother’s anointing of him during the consecration would be his last official act, as he was transitioned to Glory a few days later.
Undeterred, Bishop Ellis set out on a course to revitalize and rejuvenate the church he was now pastoring, with the motto, “I’m Bishop E, ready to set you free”. Chicago was now tuned in to this dynamic gospel preacher. The news quickly spread that something was going on at the “Park!” People began to flock to the services and before long the church was at capacity on Sunday mornings.
For every triumph that is encountered by great men and women of God there are also some pitfalls, and Bishop and Mother Ellis endured the trial of their lives. But again, God brought them through and after several months away, Bishop came back with a vengeance.
Bishop’s absence was a blessing in disguise because his youngest son, William Anthony Ellis, Jr. affectionately called “Pastor Bill”, took over while his father was away. The Lord blessed him and the church to not only survive, but to thrive which set the stage for Pastor Bill being designated as the new pastor, as his father retires.
There is not enough space to give special tribute to the “fragrance of the house”, the late Mary P. Ellis, and while she is resting in the arms of Jesus, the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park will never be the same. We miss her, but she is never forgotten. As Bishop Ellis retires and moves on to share his knowledge and experience around the country, we pause and thank God for His blessings to the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park and to the entire Ellis family. God Bless You, Bishop E, in Jesus’ Name!!