The Rev. Dr. Charles B. Hardwick of Bloomington, Illinois, has been named Director of Theology, Worship and Education for the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC).
The Theology, Worship and Education ministry area includes the GAMC’s Office of Theology and Worship, Congregational Ministries Publishing, and Office of Theological Education. Programs include the Company of New Pastors, Re-Forming Ministry, Interfaith Relations, and the Theological Education Fund.
“We were looking for a convener of conversations – someone to connect and engage Presbyterians in issues of theological concern to the church’s life and witness,” said Linda Valentine, executive director of the GAMC. “Chip will help us draw on the great wealth of theological resources in the PC(USA), bringing our seminaries, universities and pastor/theologians together to address the presenting issues and questions of theological importance to congregations and the denomination.”
“Chip comes straight from the pulpit,” noted Roger Dermody, the GAMC’s deputy executive director for Mission. “He’ll bring great insight into ways the GAMC can help provide theological leadership for congregations and new worshiping communities. We’re delighted that God has led us to Chip.”
Hardwick has served since 2007 as Pastor/Head of Staff at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Illinois. Second Presbyterian is a downtown church with 650 weekly worshipers. He previously served at Montgomery Ministries, a new church development in Montgomery Township, New Jersey; Centerville Presbyterian Church, a medium sized suburban congregation in Fremont, California, and North Avenue Presbyterian Church, a large congregation in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
“This is a critical time this is in the life of the denomination,” Hardwick said. “Drawing multiple voices into the conversation is critical to our growth and to healthy resolution of disagreements. The opportunity to participate in that is very exciting for me. I’m also eager to build on the successes of this office over the years. It’s my hope that the experience and practical theological perspective I bring will add to the great work done by outstanding systematic theologians who have served, and who continue to serve there.”
At the 219th General Assembly (2010), Hardwick served as a commissioner on the Middle East Peacemaking Issues committee. Leaders of the committee credited him with drawing together disparate constituents to find common ground in the debate about Israel-Palestine. “Something inside me came alive at the Assembly last year. The opportunity to be part of conversations so vital to the church that I love is thrilling. I look forward to convening those kinds of conversations in ways that help the PC(USA) truly thrive,” Hardwick said.
Hardwick holds a PhD in Homiletics and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his Master of Theology from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. His undergraduate degree is from Presbyterian-related Alma College. Prior to his ordination, Hardwick served as a manager and consultant with Bain and Company at offices in Dallas, Texas, and Madrid, Spain. He is bilingual, speaking fluent English and Spanish.
Hardwick will begin service with the GAMC in late January, 2012.