Rev. Dr. Charles G. Adams retires as Sr. Pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist in Detroit

DETROIT, MICHIGAN September 30, 2019--After more than 50 years of Holy Spirit-led and Christian love-filled service, the Rev. Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams will retire as Senior Pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church (HMBC) of Detroit, Michigan, effective October 1, 2019. Dr. Adams is HMBC’s longest serving pastor and only the third pastor in the church’s 100-plus year history. His son, the Rev. Charles Christian Adams, will succeed him as Senior Pastor, also effective October 1, 2019.

The formal retirement and succession announcement was made on Sunday, September 29, 2019, at HMBC’s regularly scheduled morning services by HMBC Chairman of the Diaconate Ministry Thomas R. Williams. In celebrating the remarkable pastoral career of Dr. Adams, Mr. Williams commented: “We thank God for Pastor Adams, who has led this church with Christian love, truth and generosity for more than 50 years. While we will miss his active leadership, his legacy continues with his son and our new Senior Pastor, the Rev. Charles Christian Adams; and in everyone who has been touched and blessed by this great man of God! We are rejoicing in the Lord for the mighty works He has done and will do through these anointed servants.”

Dr. Adams, reflecting on his career of service to Hartford and reminiscent of his rousing eulogy to civil rights giant Rosa Parks in 2005, said, “…I wish I had ten thousand tongues to say ‘Thanks Be Unto God’ and ‘Thank you, Hartford!’” His guidance to new HMBC Senior Pastor, the Rev. Charles Christian Adams, was simple, yet profound: “Love everyone!”

Dr. Adams, 82, frequently referred to as the “Harvard Hooper”, in a nod to his tenured faculty position at Harvard University in the 2000’s, had a storied career in ministry, education, social action and community activism. Among his notable accomplishments and achievements within and outside of HMBC:

• Graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A.) and Harvard Divinity School (B.D.) and graduate work at Union Theological Seminary
• Recipient of thirteen (13) Honorary Degrees
• Orator at more than twenty (20) collegiate Commencement and Baccalaureate Exercises
• Growing HMBC membership from 400 to a peak of nearly 10,000
• First William and Lucille Nickerson Professor of Ethics and Ministry, Harvard University
• Professor of Preaching, Ecumenical Theological Seminary
• Pastor of Concord Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, one of New England’s largest Black churches
• President of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, where he led a successful boycott of Dearborn businesses for alleged discriminatory practices
• President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention
• Recipient of the Detroit NAACP James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award
• Ebony Magazine’s “most influential Black Americans” and “15 Greatest Black preachers”
• Published sermons including “Drunk on the Eve of Reconstruction”, “The Burden of the Black Church” and “The Priestly Faithful and Prophetically Courageous”
• Writer of more than 1,000 articles in The Michigan Chronicle
• Member of Omega Psi Phi and Phi Mu Alpha fraternities
• Trustee/Director, Morehouse College, Morris College, Shaw College of Detroit, Ecumenical Theological Seminary and Progressive National Baptist Convention

Dr. Adams led many economic development efforts in Northwest Detroit. Under his leadership, HMBC purchased commercial real estate along Seven Mile Road to launch new job-producing fast food restaurant and retail sites such as McDonald’s, Subway, KFC and Home Depot. Other development projects include the Head Start Agency, a Tutorial Program and the Hartford Institute for Biblical Studies. Most recently, Dr. Adams led a HMBC partnership with the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan to build Detroit’s first senior citizens gated community in Detroit, known as Hartford Village. This well-planned senior community has 84 units.

Rev. Charles Christian Adams, 53, who served as Co-Pastor of HMBC, will now serve as its Senior Pastor. “Pastor Christian”, as he is often referred, is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity) and Wayne State University (Bachelor of Arts) and is the former Youth and Young Adult Minster for the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church. He has preached throughout the United States, Europe and Africa. He serves as First Vice President of the Michigan Progressive Baptist Convention and serves on the boards of the Morehouse School of Religion, Loyola High School and Ecumenical Theological Seminary.

“God has blessed us to have Pastor Christian so well prepared to lead the Hartford flock. He is an anointed spiritual leader who will build upon the legacy of his father’s ministry while also following our God’s plans into a brighter future”, said Mr. Williams.

In May 2019, HMBC honored Dr. Adams for his 50 years of pastoral service to HMBC. Details for activities related to Dr. Adams’ retirement are in development.

Founded in 1917, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church (hmbcdetroit.org) is located at 18700 James Couzens Highway, Detroit, Michigan 48235. It has more than 30 active and diverse ministries serving its members and the surrounding community. Worship services are held on Sundays at 7:30 and 11:00 a.m.; Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. services are streamed live via its website.





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