The Rev. Charles Earle Hopson, pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton for 15 years and chaplain to the East Hampton Town Police Department, died at home on July 2. He was 59.
“In this type of work, you follow the will of God,” Mr. Hopson told The Star in 1997, just after his installation as Calvary Baptist’s pastor. “I knew the church had a lot of potential and I felt that God was leading me that way, to Calvary,” he said at the time. “What I need to do is cultivate the garden we already have, turn up the good soils, and teach people how to grow in the knowledge and worship of Christ.”
On July 7, 15 years and 2 weeks after he was welcomed to the church, the congregation and community bid him farewell with a special service celebrating his life and contributions to the church and community. The Rev. Martin Dozier of the Unity Baptist Church in Mattituck officiated.
Mr. Hopson was born in Southampton on July 29, 1952, to Arthur and Margaret Hopson. He grew up in Bridgehampton, graduating as salutatorian from Bridgehampton High School in 1970.
On Aug. 23, 1975, he married Shelia Ann Wyche. They moved to East Hampton and raised their three children there.
Mr. Hopson felt the calling to the ministry in the early 1980s, while a member of the First Baptist Church of Bridgehampton. He was ordained in 1985. He headed the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center’s youth program for a number of years and became pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Southold in 1992. When the opportunity arose to seek the pastorship of his hometown church, he took it. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of working in the community I live in,” he said at the time. “I think I can make more of an impact within the community this way.”
He spent his life in service to others, at the Child Care Center, in the church, and in his “day” job as head custodian at Southampton High School, and was particularly concerned with helping young people. He was a member of the East End Baptist Council and the Religious Affairs Committee, was a lifetime member of the N.A.A.C.P., and had served on the East Hampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force.
As chaplain to the East Hampton Police, he was able to counsel officers in their time of need.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Hopson is survived by their three children, Shatina Moore of Riverhead, Charles Hopson II of East Hampton, and Shalyn Hopson of Herndon, Va. He also leaves two brothers, Arthur Hopson Jr. of Bridgehampton and Wayne Hopson of Sag Harbor, and three sisters, Betty Hite and Margaret Proctor of Southampton and Julie Hopson of Bridgehampton, as well as eight grandchildren, and countless parishioners and friends.
Mr. Hopson was buried at Edgewood Cemetery in Bridgehampton.