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Taking the Lead with “Pastor Willie,” the Rev. Guillermina Gongon González

Taking the Lead with “Pastor Willie,” the Rev. Guillermina Gongon González

By Olga Acosta

Affectionately known as Pastor Willie, the Rev. Guillermina Gongon González is a faithful woman of God, a loving mother, and an accomplished leader in ministry.

She has ministered not only here in the U.S., but in the nations of Guatemala, Venezuela, Peru and Kenya. Her dedication to family, the church and the ministry is unmatched.

Pastor Willie Gonzalez, and her husband, the late Bishop Raul Gonzalez, founded Glory Chapel International Cathedral (GCIC) in 1979. The church was established to provide a place where the graduates of Youth Challenge and their families could be spiritually fed, become part of a church family, regain their dignity, and rebuild their place in society.

The church originally met in a small chapel located at 19 May St. in Hartford forming the house of worship that Bishop and Pastor Willie envisioned – a place that would be for all people of different ethnicity, background, and social standing. By 1991, the church had outgrown this facility and it began to hold services at 221 Greenfield St.; six years later GCIC purchased the building and still meets there today.

The ministry of Glory Chapel International Cathedral has continued to expand across the country and globe to places as near as Central Village and as far as Wildwood, Fla.; Puerto Rico; the Dominican Republic; Guatemala; Costa Rica; Venezuela; Peru and Kenya.

Pastor Willie married the late Bishop Raúl González in 1967. She is the mother of four: Col. Raúl E. González, U.S. Army; Yvette Hopping; Rev. Esther González-Torres and Braulio González; and grandmother of four: Jade González; Jason Ricardo, Daniel Raúl and Ray David Hopping.

Pastor Willie came to Hartford in 1971 with Bishop González in the early days of Youth Challenge, a program to help men and women struggling with drug addiction and other life controlling problems. She is a graduate of the Corinthian School of Urban Ministry with a Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree. In addition, she is an Ordained Minister with Youth Challenge International.

She supported and worked with her husband since the early days of their ministry until he passed on to glory in July 2009. She then stepped into the role of Senior Pastor of GCIC. She is indeed a living testimony that with God all things are possible.
Pastor Willie has ministered extensively to families, women and children. She has been involved in church educational programs, neighborhood children’s outreach, and prayer ministries. She has also been a part of Christ-centered substance abuse support services including culinary and administrative functions.

Under the leadership of Pastor Willie, Glory Chapel strives to stay true to its mission to help those in need by providing outreach and care for all people. GCIC does this through its food pantry, prison ministry and street evangelism. The church develops leaders, young and old, through children’s and youth programs and the Corinthian School of Urban Ministry.

(Editor’s note: Olga Acosta, a teacher in Farmington, is a member of Glory Chapel International Cathedral. Do you know somebody who is Taking the Lead among CT Latinos? Send us an email at and we’ll consider them for a future profile.)


8 Responses to Taking the Lead with “Pastor Willie,” the Rev. Guillermina Gongon González

  1. Olga M. Acosta says:

    Thanks Keith and Diane for your willingness to feature our awesome Pastor as someone who is Taking the Lead in the Hispanic community in CT and other parts of the world. May the Lord continue to grow your efforts in your new venture with CT Latino News. Olga M. Acosta

  2. diane says:

    Olga, thanks for submitting this “Taking The Lead.” Ct’s 500,000 Latinos have many stories like this. wants to tell those stories, so we hope more submissions come our way!

  3. joseph Aviles says:

    Lady Willie has been a wonderful example of someone who walks with the lord and hears from him ,I love her example. to me and many others …xoxoxoxox affectionately Her spiritual son Joseph

  4. Saundra Melendez says:

    I have been a covenant member of GCIC since 1990 & in full time ministry with Youth Challenge of Connecticut, Inc. since 1994 and I travelled with Bishop and Pastor Willie to Guatemala, Venezuela, Kenya and Israel and I can attest that everything written in this article is true. Pastor Willie and the late Bishop Raul Gonzalez has been exemplary Spiritual leaders by walking biblical principals not just talking them. They’ve mentored, disciples & loved us.

  5. Pastor Willie Gonzalez says:

    To Keith and Diane:

    I would like to express my appreciation for featuring me as a Hispanic who is Taking the Lead in CT. It is a privilege to be able to encourage others to step up and make a way for the new generation of Hispanic and other individuals!
    I commend you for the great work you are doing in this great state of CT. Thank you all who have commented with great words of encouragement.

    • Sandra Rosado says:

      Thank you pastor willie, you will always be an inspiration. I’m so glad see that you are still going strong. You don’t age. You are as beautiful as you were in 1991 to 1993 when I lived in CT and a member of glory chapel.

      Sandra Rosado,
      Rochester, NY

  6. madeline says:

    Pastor Willie has been a wonderful example in my life. She has been a supporter to my Husband, children and G-children,for many years. I’m a graduate of the womens home and have been off drugs along with my Husband for 30years now we love you PASTOR’

  7. jose.Edwin viruet says:

    im sorry to here that Bishop Raul past away, im a graduate of youth challege of 1976 i been going to church for the past 10 year and i was going to call Rev Raul to get back in Felloship and to find out about Rev Frank Collazo.Pastor Willie if you read this paragraph i want you to know sincerly with a sad heart, it shoulnt have happen, only our Lord and Savior jesus Christ know the reason.ill will try to get in touch with you Edwin Viruet 585 4783604

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