Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams
Pastor, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church
William and Lucille Nickerson Professor of the Practice of Ethics and Ministry, Harvard Divinity School
Charles G. Adams, one of the most prominent ministers in the United States, an acclaimed preacher and leader on faith-based urban revitalization has been Pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church since 1969. From 1962 to 1969 Dr. Adams served as Pastor of the historic Concord Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He has lectured on homiletics and Black Church Studies at Boston University, Andover Newton School of Theology, Central Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, and Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.
Charles Gilchrist Adams, was born December 13, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan.
He was baptized by his granduncle, the late Gordon Blaine Hancock, of
Richmond, Virginia. He attended Fisk University where he was President of
the Sophomore Class and Vice President of the Student Council.
He graduated with honors from the University of Michigan and Harvard
University and went on to become a doctoral fellow in Union Theological
Seminary in New York City. He has been awarded twelve honorary doctorates
from such institutions as Morehouse College, Marygrove College, Dillard
University, Morris College, Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the University of Michigan.
From 1962 to 1969, Dr. Adams served as Pastor of the historic Concord
Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by an appointment as the
Pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, in 1969.
He has lectured on homiletics and Black Church studies in Boston
University, Andover Newton School of Theology, Central Baptist Seminary in
Kansas City, and Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He lectured
seven times at Boston University School of Theology in a course on the
Black Church taught by Professor Preston Noah Williams.
In April 1989, Dr. Adams was invited to speak before the United Nations on
South African apartheid. In August 1990, he was a speaker for the World
Congress of the Baptist World Alliance in Seoul, Korea. His theme was
“Together In Christ We Love.”
In 1991, Dr. Adams addressed the Seventh General Assembly of the World
Council of Churches in Canberra, Australia, and spoke on the theme, “Come
Holy Spirit, Renew The Whole Creation. At this Assembly, he was elected to
their organization's Central Committee. He recommended the World Council
use its offices and resources to combat racism in the U.S. and around the
world, and their response was to join forces with the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the USA. Together, the organizations converged on
Los Angeles in 1992 to meet with churches, gang leaders, public officials
and citizens in order to bring about a lasting peace after the riots
following the verdict in the beating of Rodney King.
Dr. Adams was the 1993-94 Conference Preacher for Hampton University
Ministers Conference held in Hampton, Virginia. He has been awarded twelve
honorary doctorates from colleges and universities across the country, has
spoken before the United Nations (on South African Apartheid), and has
received the coveted "Rabbi Marvin Katzenstein Award" from the Harvard
Divinity School. This is given to a Harvard graduate who exhibits "a
passionate and helpful interest in the lives of other people, an informed
and realistic faithfulness, and an embodiment of the idea that love is not
so much a way of feeling as a way of acting and has a reliable sense of
A prolific writer, Dr. Adams has published locally and nationally in
scholarly journals and daily and weekly in newspapers. His sermon, "Drunk
on the Eve of Reconstruction" appeared in the Winter 2001-2002 Edition of
The African American Pulpit (Judson Press). Judson Press also published
9.11.01 African American Leaders Respond to an American Tragedy in which a
sermon by Dr. Adams is featured. In September of 2002, Westminster John
Knox Press published Power in the Pulpit, in which Dr. Adams describes how
he prepares, writes and delivers his sermons.
Dr. Adams' board affiliations include the Baptist World Alliance, the World
Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the Congress of
National Black Churches, Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) and Morris College
(Sumpter, SC). He is married to Agnes Hadley Adams and is the father of
Tara Adams Washington, M.D., and the Rev. Charles Christian Adams.
To view Dr. Adams' Curriculum Vitae, please