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Rev. Dr. Charley Hames, Jr.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary 2000

Senior Pastor, Beebe Memorial Cathedral, Oakland, California

We share, we worship, and we serve,” begins the Rev. Dr. Charley Hames, Jr. as he describes the essence of his ministry, a ministry built on the mission of his congregation, Beebe Memorial Cathedral. Rev. Hames believes it is the responsibility of every member of his church—and every person of faith—to witness to the Word, to share how it impacts and transforms their lives. Central to that transformation is worship, which Rev. Hames considers essential to the experience of God in the lives of Christians; worship is what helps people of faith stay connected to God, reimagine the world, and be “refueled” for service. Finally, Rev. Hames understands service as key to Christian life, an intentional seeking to live out Christ’s statement that the world will know people are disciples through their love—of God and neighbor. A visible demonstration of this love for God and neighbor comes through service and mission in the community.

For Rev. Hames, faithfulness in ministry often is measured by how large or grand a ministry or event becomes. For him, faithfulness in ministry is demonstrated through a conscientious effort to the core purpose to which God calls a person or community. Rev. Hames’ motivation comes from a belief that God has called him to pastor, preach, and share in relationship with the people of God—so that they might orient their behavior toward abundant life. Additionally, what inspires him to continue in ministry is seeing people who have lived in doubt and despair move to a place of joy, peace, and aliveness.

As Rev. Hames reflects on his time at Garrett-Evangelical, he recalls Professor Henry Young as someone whose words continue to guide him in ministry more than 16 years later: “Garrett-Evangelical taught me how to critically analyze and conceptualize life and faith, but it also allowed that faith to be brought to life.”

Garrett-Evangelical stretched Rev. Hames theologically and allowed him to bring his understanding of Scripture and theology together in ways he had never done. Seminary also allowed him to encounter people of different faith traditions, experiences, and ethnicities. All the time, he knew Garrett-Evangelical was not the place he would stay forever, that he would be there for a season to learn and experience all he could before moving on in ministry.

Seeing his seminary experience as an important preparation for the challenges he faces today, Rev. Hames acknowledges the ongoing need for works of justice and mercy in a world that is increasingly becoming post-Church and post-Christian. His hope is that Garrett-Evangelical, particularly CBE, stays true to its identity of liberation while rethinking the means by which its distinctive voice is heard so it can continue to be relevant in the future.

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