Saturday, December 2, 2023

SDPC Mourns the Passing of Charter Trustee Rev. Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams

Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc.
With Vision... By Faith... Through Action

A Mighty Oak has Fallen

Rev. Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams

12/13/1936 - 11/29/2023

          The General Secretary, Board of Trustees, staff, and entire network of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. (SDPC) express sadness at the passing of the Rev. Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams, known to many as “the Harvard Hooper.” For 50 years, Dr. Adams shepherded the 10,000-member Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, MI, before turning leadership over to his son, Rev. Charles Christian Adams.

SDPC Co-founder, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., a long-time friend of Dr. Adams, said, “The death of a friend who had been closer than a brother for 60 years leaves a scar on my soul that only heaven can heal.”

          Rev. Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, general secretary of SDPC, said, “The footprints of the Rev. Dr. Charles G. Adams are indelible in the life of the Black Church and God’s most faithful servants. With a heart for the people, he was a quintessential pastor, prophet, scholar, orator, activist, and visionary. I shall always cherish his guidance and enabling support as a founding trustee of an idea, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. His legacy is forever. A mighty tree has fallen, but, by example, an eternal bridge to faithful ministry. Rest in peace…”

          As one of the charter trustees of SDPC, Dr. Adams served from 2004 – 2015. In 2005, he received the coveted Beautiful Are the Feet Award, given annually to those who have made significant contributions to activism, scholarship, and prophetic preaching. It was in that year that the late Dr. Gardner C. Taylor passed his own moniker, “The Dean of Preaching” on to Dr. Adams, but to the masses who heard him preach, he will always be “the Harvard Hooper.”

          Born in Detroit, MI, Dr. Adams attended Detroit public schools before heading to Fisk University, the University of Michigan and finally to Harvard Divinity School. He was a fierce advocate for social, economic, and racial justice – as well as human rights for all people. He used the church to spur economic development throughout the city of Detroit. He had seemingly unending energy, drawing people and ideas to him.

          He believed in the power and necessity of the African-American church and in making sure the Black church was deeply embedded in the African-American community. As president of the NAACP in 1984, he nurtured that belief and encouraged community involvement with the work of that organization, as well as with their churches.

          The Honorable Rev. Wendell Griffen, co-chair of the SDPC, said, “Dr. Adams was a phenomenal preacher, prophetic pastor, unapologetic activist for liberation and justice, and a courageous visionary who helped fund the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. We salute his transition to join the ancestors and extend our condolences to his loved ones and congregation.”

         “Already we can feel the emptiness that has been left by his passing,” said Dr. Carruthers, “but we also still feel – and will always feel – the power of his preaching and teaching. Dr. Adams’ voice can never be silenced.”

The entire SDPC family extends love and condolences to Dr. Adams’ family and the Harford Memorial Baptist Church family.

Click image to download

Dr. Adams' section of the


Commemorative Book

Click to view the quentissential Harvard Hooper. If we had 10,000 tongues, we could not thank you enough for sharing your gifts with the world.

The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. (SDPC) is a nonprofit organization and United Nations NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sharply focused on advancing the mission to nurture, support and mobilize African American faith, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders to address critical needs of human and social justice within local, national and global communities. Named to honor the late Rev. Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor - a global 20th century educator, theologian, and civic leader - the overarching organization’s goals are to strengthen the individual and collective capacity of thought leaders and activists in the academy, church and community through education, advocacy and activism. Founded in 2003, it is a respected network of ecumenical congregations, clergy and lay leaders that embodies the values of academic excellence, transgenerational engagement, and community outreach as evidence of faith and Christian witness.

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