Influential Bishop, Gospel Singer Iona Locke Passes Away at 72

John Paluska | Contributor | Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Iona Locke, Locke passes away at 72

Influential Bishop, Gospel Singer Iona Locke Passes Away at 72

Iona Locke is an iconic black pastor and gospel singer who passed away at the age of 72.

Bishop T.D. Jakes called her "one of the greatest orators I had ever witnessed," The Christian Post reports. "Growing up as a young man, one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life was to hear Dr. Iona Locke preach the Gospel. She was a young girl, a child prodigy, one of the greatest orators I had ever witnessed. Her voice was distinctive," Jakes wrote on Instagram.

Iona Locke

Additionally, Gospel music composer Kurt Carr, who has composed many gospel hits, said of Locke, "Bishop Iona Locke was a brilliant and tremendously gifted preacher. I’m so grateful to have experienced her preaching, but I also had the blessing of her friendship. Once I was in Detroit and needed a place to rehearse. At [that] point in life, we had actually never met before. But, she graciously opened her church’s doors and said stay as long as you want. When I arrived, she asked if she could lay her hands on me. Then she began to pray. When she finished praying, she said God is going to use you to create something great for His Kingdom, son. That's the day God blessed me to compose ‘The Presence of The Lord is Here!"

Larry Reid, a talk show host and retired pastor stated of Locke in a Facebook post, "We have lost one of the most prolific preachers who changed the context and substance of preaching worldwide. Bishop Iona Locke has passed. Man this a gut punch. Pray for her entire natural and spiritual family."

Locke was born in Pennsylvania and received a Doctorate in Theology after pursuing Christian studies in college. She has published multiple praise songs and sang gospel music. Locke would travel from church to church and preach. She also was the head pastor at It is unclear what caused her death. She became a bishop in 2000.

Photo courtesy: Larry Reid Facebook

John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.