Growing up in Hinds County, Jackson, Mississippi, Bishop H. Vonzell Castilla grew up attending New Lake Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. Even though throughout his young life he did not aspire to hold any ministerial office in the church, let alone the office of bishop, he has embraced the calling on his life. “I’ve always enjoyed working for the Kingdom with or without a position,” said Bishop Castilla. The bishop believes that holding this ministerial office is a calling he was happy to answer after being convinced it was what the Lord wanted him to do.
Bishop Castilla completed his high school studies at Christ Missionary and Industrial College, followed by college at Jackson State University. He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. In his final chapter of school, Castilla has completed many hours towards his Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School at Emory University and the McAfee School at Mercer University.
Bishop Castilla is a partner in the law firm of Waldon, Adelman, Castilla, Hiestand and Prout. Bishop Castilla developed a passion for advocacy, during his career as an attorney, that has proven invaluable as he pursues the higher calling of making the case for Christ on a daily basis. Through his law career, Bishop Castilla has also been blesses to acquire various mediation skills to resolving differences, which proves beneficial in ministry.
Castilla believes that although the legal profession may not enjoy the esteem of some others in reputation, it is an honorable profession. “We as people (African Americans) owe thanks for many of the rights that we now enjoy to lawyers such as Thurgood Marshall, who secured in the courts what Martin Luther King started in the streets,” said Bishop Castilla. With any profession comes negative and positive reputations, however Bishop Castilla aspires to uphold the highest ethical standards in the legal profession, which has made the transition to ministry less traumatic.
Like many people who achieve success in their lives, the bishop praises his parents for instilling discipline as well as commitment and compassion that has prepared him for where he is in life today. When asked who inspires him in life, the bishop refers to his father, Deacon Willenham Castilla, and arguably the one of the greatest basketball players, Kobe Bryant. Castilla also likes to live his life with this quote in mind, “I want to “Make God Look Good” therefore, I press towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 3:14).
As far as goals that the Bishop hopes to accomplish in his role, he looks forward to the Lord using him to help the Southeastern Diocese, states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, serve as an example for expanding His (God) Kingdom.
“Whatever I can give back to the church, I give willingly as the church has given – and continues to give – so much to me and my family,” said Bishop Castilla.
As bishop, he wants to serve people with joy and integrity, spread the message of victorious living through Jesus Christ and, generally, Make God Look Good.
Make God Look Good, is also a book written by Bishop Castilla, which focuses on his journey and is sold through Amazon and other book sights.