Passing of Rev. William J. Hamel

Rev. William J. Hamel, former EFCA president, passed away on August 15, 2018.

Aug 17, 2018

With sadness, we learned that former EFCA President Rev. William J. Hamel passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Bill was 71 years old and had been battling liver cancer.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, August 23, 2018, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Friday, August 24, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. with visitation from 9:30-10:40 a.m. All services will be held at Trinity Church in Lakeville, Minnesota.

Ministry and leadership

After graduating cum laude from Trinity Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1972, Bill began pastoring West Bloomington EFC in Bloomington, Minnesota. In 1986, Bill became district superintendent of the EFCA's Midwest District. Beginning in 1990, Bill served at the EFCA national office as executive vice president and then as interim president. On June 28, 1997, the EFCA Conference elected Bill as the EFCA's 5th president. Bill led the EFCA for 18 years until his retirement in 2015.

Bill’s leadership and passion for ministry left a significant imprint on the EFCA. We celebrate his life and the many milestones achieved during his tenure.

  • Pulling the EFCA national office together into a cohesive, united ministry team committed to serving the local church.
  • The formation and pursuit of a common mission statement: the EFCA exists to glorify God by multiplying transformational churches among all people.
  • Renewal of the EFCA Statement of Faith.
  • Bold and courageous leadership moving the EFCA beyond its Scandinavian roots to become more ethnically and racially diverse.
  • Expansion of mission efforts resulting in EFCA ReachGlobal missionaries and partners sharing the gospel in nearly 90 countries.

Bill loved the church, and the EFCA is deeply grateful for the lifetime of leadership President Hamel gave first in the local church, then as superintendent, and for nearly twenty-five years at the EFCA national office.

My life has been deeply impacted by Bill, and he was a great source of encouragement to me as I served in local EFCA churches and during my time leading the Africa Division of ReachGlobal. From the day I was nominated to serve as EFCA president, Bill was always available to give insight and perspective. He was affirming, encouraging and kind. His deep love for Karen, his daughters and their families evidenced the heart of a godly husband, father and grandfather. Bill set a wonderful example as a leader who loved the Lord and the church, and he was willing to lead courageously as he followed the Savior. I will miss his heartfelt laugh, his encouraging words and his faithful prayers. – Kevin Kompelien, EFCA President


At the request of the family, memorials may be specifically designated to one of the following:

William J. Hamel All People Fund
Evangelical Free Church of America
901 E. 78th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55420


Trinity Church
10658 210th St W
Lakeville, MN 55044-7574

If you would like to send a card to the Hamel family, please send to either addresses noted above. A full obituary is available online.

Please pray for Bill’s wife Karen, their daughters Krista and Kari, and the entire Hamel family. We thank God for Bill’s legacy of pastoral leadership provided to the EFCA movement.