After more than 50 years as head of an influential Baptist church in Detroit, the Rev. Charles G. Adams is retiring, church officials announced Monday, September 30, 2019.
Adams, 82, senior pastor at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, will step down officially on Tuesday and is to be replaced by his son, Rev. Charles C. Adams, who has been helping lead the church for years.
“We thank God for Pastor Adams, who has led this church with Christian love, truth and generosity for more than 50 years,” said Thomas R. Williams, chairman of the Dianonate Ministry at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, in a statement. “While we will miss his active leadership, his legacy continues with his son.”
Adams is the longest serving pastor in Hartford Memorial’s history and only the third pastor of the church, said church officials.
Adams said in a statement: “I wish I had ten thousand tongues to say ‘Thanks be unto God’ and ‘Thank you, Hartford!’”
His advice for his son as he leads the historic Detroit church was: “Love everyone.”
Adams was a professor at Harvard University in the 2000s, serving there as the first William and Lucille Nickerson Professor of Ethics and Ministry. For five years, he flew to Boston to teach every week.
“He is not only a widely acclaimed preacher, but has been just as influential as a pioneer in linking the church’s mission to urban revitalization through economic, educational and social initiatives,” said the school’s dean at the time, William A. Graham.
Adams graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. and Harvard Divinity School with a B.D. He also has done graduate work at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
The church said he grew the Hartford’s membership from 400 to a peak of nearly 10,000.
Adams has also been a past president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, once leading a boycott of businesses in Dearborn over discrimination against African-Americans in its city parks.
He has been professor of preaching at Ecumenical Theological Seminary and pastor of Concord Baptist Church in Boston, and president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
The Free Press reported in 2017, when the church marked its 100th anniversary, that he helped make vibrant a stretch of 7 Mile Rd. after the church moved into the area in 1977. In March, the church opened Hartford Village, a gated senior citizens community.
“I had been to Atlanta and seen what the Kings had done around Ebenezer Baptist Church,” Adams said in 2017. “That gave me an idea that we should own all the land we could around Hartford Memorial. As a result, most of the land around the church belongs to the church, so that it makes economic development all the more possible.”
Hartford was founded in 1917 and is now at 18700 James Couzens Highway, in northwest Detroit near the intersection of 7 Mile and the Lodge.
He recalled how the church’s previous pastor mentored him after his mother died when Adams was 14.
“The church became our family when my mother died,’’ he said. Charles Andrew Hill “was a great man; a caring man and I learned a lot from him. I studied under him. I knew his wife. I know all of his children; he had four girls and four boys. I was treated like a member of the family. I was welcomed.”
His son, Rev. Charles C. Adams, 53, who served as co-pastor, will now be its senior pastor. He’s often called “Pastor Christian.”
The younger Adams, 53, graduated from Wayne State University and Union Theological Seminary and is also First Vice President of the Michigan Progressive Baptist Convention. He 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,” said Williams, a leader with the church. “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.”
You can check out the latest casting calls and Entertainment News by clicking: Click Here
Click the logo below to go to the Home Page of the Website
Click the logo below to follow ETInside on Twitter
Click the logo below to follow ETInside on Facebook
Click the logo below to follow ETInside on Instagram
Click the logo below to follow ETInside on Pinterest
Click the logo below to follow ETInside on Medium