Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., 61
Union Baptist Church of Baltimore
Grew up within the fellowship; associate minister, five years; assistant pastor, three years; senior pastor for 5 years.
1. How did you hear your call to ministry?
My call to ministry came during my twenties. I was a computer operator for the B & O Railroad Company. I worked the 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift at their Camden Yards office. During one evening shift a light appears that seemed to challenge me by asking why I was spending all my time working with machines, when God wanted me to work with His people. From that moment on, I began a career that has evolved into my ministry as it is today.
2. What was the biggest surprise when you started ministry?
The Rev. Dr. Baxter L. Matthews, the eighth pastor of Union Baptist Church, said to me in 1981, “In ministry always remember the world is your pulpit.” As a product of the African-American religious experience, we have a mandate to operate in a very wide context while staying grounded within our local community.
3. What aspect are you most proud of?
I’m particularly proud of the people of Union Baptist Church who are very proud, faithful and strategic in their service to the community. I’m able to carry on the rich tradition of providing Head Start services to families of need. I serve as the president/CEO of the Harvey Johnson/Union Baptist Head Start program. It was begun by the Rev. Vernon N. Dobson, Dorothy P. Mapp and Lavern Stewart over 44 years ago. Since that time, we have served over 7,000 children with early childhood educational enrichment and training. Many have gone on to do wonderful things. In fact the current director, Gayle Headen, is a product of our program. I am also proud of Union Baptist Church embracing the use of technology. We developed a Cyber Center which has high speed Internet service and over 40 computer terminals. Youth participate in our Cyber Center Club and receive tutoring, mentoring and academic and career advice.
4. What’s the most exciting thing about your ministry?
The collaboration that is developing among my ministry colleagues: Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary, Douglas Memorial Community Church, Rev. Dr. Arnold Howard, Enon Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Lester A. McCorn, Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church, Rev. Dr. Darron McKinney, Macedonia Baptist Church and Rev. Dr. J. L. Carter, The Ark Church. We are affectionately known as “The Doctors.” Through that collaboration we have created a non-profit organization: Community Churches for Community Development, and a Certified Community Development Entity: Trinity Development Enterprises, L.L.C. We sponsor a program in collaboration with The University of Maryland Baltimore called Promise Heights. Through that initiative we are working with the schools in our targeted West Baltimore Community: Furman Templeton Academy, The Historic Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary School, The Performing Arts School at Booker T. Washington, The Renaissance Academy, The Eutaw Marshburn Middle School, The Mount Royal Middle School and The Youth Opportunity Academy. In collaboration with 19 institutions we have submitted a proposal to create a Health Enterprise Zone within West Baltimore. We have developed an expertise in negotiating economic inclusion plans with developers of major projects in Baltimore; The State Center and The Super Block projects to name a few. We will launch a Certificate Program in partnership with University of Baltimore that will teach the skills of urban community economic development to faith and community leaders. Operating within an urban ministry context with partners who are committed to follow a strategic plan that will change the community in measurable ways is very exciting. I serve as the Chairman of the Community Benefits Committee of Maryland General Hospital. From that vantage point, I’m able to direct health care services to the community I serve. Every time I chair a committee meeting, I’m reminded of my first experience at the hospital as a child having my tonsils removed.
5. How does social media enhance your ministry, or not?
Social Media is a fantastic tool. I regularly post activities, meditations and announcements for my 5,000 Facebook followers. I have a blog: www.alhathaway.com which is entitled, “Daily Walking, Working and Winning by God’s Word.” I regularly tweet at twitter@PastorHathaway. I post on Instagram as URBANMINISTER. Through social media I’m able to maintain regular contact with friends, associates, family and church members regardless of where they may be and live. I encourage every ministry member to learn the many ways we can communicate and to master aspects of the technology.
6. Who in your community most inspires you?
My father in the ministry, the Rev. Dr. A.C.D. Vaughn, Sharon Baptist Church would be the person who most inspires me in ministry. He has the unique ability to maintain relationships across time, geography and age. He is always encouraging, thoughtful and confidential. He is committed to the struggle for empowerment and represents our people very well. He inspires me by his wit, his intellect, and his love of God, family, church and community. I love to sit at his feet and be blessed, to hear the stories of people of faith, and to be challenged by his mind to do and be more.
7. What’s your favorite form of recreation? Self care?
My favorite form of recreation is my regular exercise routine at Coppin State University’s Fitness Center. Next would be travel within the States, as well as internationally. In terms of self care, I read regularly and widely. I have a team of doctors I regularly see. I eat moderately and I monitor what I eat. I spent my mornings in prayer and meditation.