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The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles

The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles is pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Presbyterian Church (USA)

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Central Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Central Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles is pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Gary Wayne Charles attended the College of William and Mary where he earned a B.A. degree in Psychology. He was also awarded the Aldernon Sydney Sullivan award upon graduation. From 1976-1980, Gary attended Union Theological Seminary (now Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education) in Richmond, Virginia, where he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree. Upon graduation, he was awarded both the class preaching award and a graduate fellowship upon graduation.

Gary married Jennell Elizabeth Piplico in May, 1976. They are the parents of two children.

Gary has served pastorates in Wilmington, North Carolina (Bethany Presbyterian) and Newport News, Virginia (Hilton Presbyterian), and served as the senior pastor at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, Virginia from 1993 to 2004. In that period, the church grew from 820 to over 1200 members and the budget more than doubled. During that same period, Gary served as founder and President of the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium, a faith based partnership (24 congregations in the city of Alexandria) with the Alexandria City Public Schools that provides school day tutoring for at-risk first and second grade students. In 2003, the A.T.C. was named the 2003 recipient of the Outstanding Service Organization for Alexandria.

In August 2004, Gary accepted a call to be pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, a congregation committed to speak truth to power and to advocate on behalf and minister with the least, the lost, and the forgotten.

In 1999 Gary was awarded a grant from the Louisville Institute, which he used to conduct research and then write a book based on his research and twenty years of experience as a Presbyterian pastor. Published in March 2001, The Bold Alternative: Staying in Church in the 21st Century focuses on why people choose to serve as disciples of Jesus in this post-modern era of the church. In May of 2001, the Presbyterian Writer’s Guild granted Gary the 2001 Angell Award for the best new book by a Presbyterian author.

In 2003, Gary and Brian Blount, Professor New Testament Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary wrote a book for Westminster/John Knox Press under the title: Preaching in Two Voices, which explores Mark's Gospel from the perspective of socio-cultural hermeneutics and includes sermons from both authors and responses from each. In addition to these two books, Gary has written numerous poems and articles for such journals as The Christian Century, Journal for Preachers, Theology Today and Lectionary Homiletics.

Gary has served on the Alumni Board of Union Theological Seminary in Richmond and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Union Theological Seminary and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, for which he chairs the Academic Affairs Committee. Gary has been an active supporter of the ministry of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, a group of lay and clergy with a vision of the church that seeks to be as welcoming and expansive as is God's grace.

In addition to his congregational, denominational, and civic interests, Gary is an avid reader, a lover of sports, especially golf, baseball, basketball (well, let's just say 'many sports'), and an enthusiastic supporter of music and drama.

 


Latest Content by The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles

The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles

The Good Life

Matthew 16:21-28

15th Sunday after Pentecost

August 28, 2005

The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles (PCUSA)

I was blessed with good parents. Out of necessity, they went to work right out of high school, college not being an option. They worked hard for their modest salaries, and they saved when most people of my generation would have spent--with one memorable exception. They often gave to my late brother and me more than they could reasonably afford. Their rationale: "We want you boys to have what we didn't have." So on Christmas day, for example, Dale and I would open an embarrassment of riches while my folks would open a box or two. They sacrificed so that they could give us "the good life."

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The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles

Keys

Matthew 16:13-20

14th Sunday after Pentecost

August 21, 2005

The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles (PCUSA)

One reality of serving an urban church is hauling around keys and lots of them. Keys for the iron gate intended to protect the property from vandalism and from becoming a public bathroom for the homeless. Keys for the front door that stays locked to keep those on crack from cracking their way inside. Keys for the sacristry where the church stores its family silver. Keys for interior doors to guard us from unwelcome visits from straying guests to our outreach center. Keys to the elevator that is the sole passageway to our Central Night Shelter. Keys hidden in strategic places throughout the church for those times when Caroline, my colleague, comes running up, asking frantically, "Have you seen my keys?"

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