By AL Smith
South Side pastor Rev. Dr. Henry O. Hardy, whose work and impact spans the globe, is considered a pastoral powerhouse, well-versed in the Bible, respected spiritual leader and social activist committed to the church and the community. On Sunday, April 24, 2022, Hardy, Pastor Emeritus of Bronzeville-based Cosmopolitan Community Church of Chicago, will be honored at the church’s 85th anniversary celebration beginning at 10:45 a.m.
The “Aged to Perfection” tribute will officially recognize Hardy’s remarkable legacy of spiritual achievement and academic excellence.
Current Cosmopolitan pastor, Reverend Dr. Eric D. Clopton, Sr., noted, “It is extremely important to recognize the dedicated leadership, outstanding gospel vision, and missionary work done by Reverend Dr. Henry O. Hardy during of the 47 years of his ministry of the historic Cosmopolitan Community Church of Chicago, 5249 S. Wabash Avenue, which celebrates its 99th anniversary in 2022.”
He added, “Not only has he been instrumental in providing the congregation with different levels of leadership during great times of transformation, but he has also been instrumental in spreading an activist model of Christianity through community outreach and service. intensive throughout the 3rd Ward and across Chicago. . I will always revere Reverend Hardy for his constant inspiration and heartfelt support for my emerging pastoral leadership. And he’s still a major force to be reckoned with on a variety of platforms.
Talk with the Chicago Crusader Hardy shared that he has dedicated his life to the pursuit of education, professional excellence, and most importantly, faithful service to God.
He described his philosophy saying, “I believe in sharing the fullness of God’s glory, not just by speaking through the Bible, but by applying passionate pastoral care in practical ways to combat social, economic and politics, while making a real difference in the lives of believers and the greater community.
A gifted wordsmith and graduate of the University of Illinois School of Journalism, Hardy said his first career choice was to become a professional journalist and reporter. As a result, he continued the news and successfully reported for the Saint Louis Argus, Chicago Defenderand Gary American newspapers.
Hearing the call of Christ, Hardy entered seminary and earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. He also earned a Master of Arts in Theology and Literary Criticism from the University of Chicago. Among his special awards and merits, Hardy received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Gospel Ministry Outreach (GMO)
Henry Hardy was born in the southern Illinois town of Lovejoy (now known as Brooklyn), near East St. Louis, Illinois. Hardy recounts his first blessing as a member of a loving, close-knit family that encouraged his avid reading and emphasized the importance of education, especially after moving to Chicago.
Ms Janet Jackson, who is board chair of the Cosmopolitan Community Church, said: “Reverend Hardy is what we fondly call a wonderful, dignified, forthright, truth-telling theologian who powerfully connects us and others more deeply to God.”
Throughout his decades of preaching, teaching and outreach, Hardy has become well known for taking his ministry to the streets of Chicago in the heart of disused urban neighborhoods because, as he points out:
“I do not believe it is God’s will that some human beings have everything they could ever want and need, while many others, and especially those like us, are often forced to settle for extraordinarily little, or worse, nothing at all. That’s why I refused to even ‘preach from the sheltered pulpit.’ I feel compelled to be out there on the streets where the people are, advocating for change and somehow trying to be effective to have a positive impact.
Dr. Patricia Brady, a longtime member of the Cosmopolitan Community Church, agrees with his approach to ministry: “Reverend Dr. Henry O. Hardy is one of the most courageous, caring, approachable, and Christianity I have ever encountered, and I am honored to raise him for his enduring commitment to never stop fighting to make our city and country better, fairer, and more tolerant.
Years ago, as chairman of the PUSH-CBS-TV News deal team, Hardy led the charge to inform the media about minority concerns.
The focus was on programming, equity in equity, and parity in hiring and decision-making. These advocacy efforts led to the hiring of several black news anchors, not only at CBS, but also in the ABC region, NBC, WGN, FOX and other news stations, which became
longstanding operational procedures, and opened the doors to today’s multicultural media broadcasts.
Illinois State Representative and Deputy House Majority Leader Mary Flowers (D-31st) admired Hardy’s persistence. She explained, “I deeply respect his ongoing life mission and pastoral legacy of promoting principles of prayer and working in partnership with leaders like me to advance innovative public policies to protect vulnerable residents, secure needed reforms, expand opportunities and develop solutions to combat the wave of violent crime that is sweeping through neighborhoods across the city. »
Other key economic development priorities advocated by Hardy involved banking operations at minority-owned banks and expanded use of minority products and services in key government, non-profit and corporate sectors in the region. Chicago. For a number of years, Hardy was “The Voice of PUSH” where he served as the anchor for WVON Radio’s popular and inspirational weekly show.
Reverend Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist and founder of the National Rainbow PUSH Coalition, sings Hardy’s praises: “Reverend Dr. Hardy was one of my brothers on the battlefield. He was always a serious scholar. He has such faith and was very well trained. I salute the fact that he dedicated his entire life to raising the next generation of leaders and kindly made things brighter in the world.
After retiring a few years ago, one would assume that the militant pastor and civic leader could finally take a well-deserved break from community service. Well, think again. “I believe in stepping forward in faith – always. Also, I will never give up on God’s biblical call for social justice. I just use different formats to pursue the same inspired goals,” Hardy said.
As Mary Melcher, who is treasurer of the Cosmopolitan Community Church, put it, “The Reverend Dr. Henry O. Hardy is a fearless man of faith and community builder who for many years has dared to speak out and galvanize the power of collective action in a city aspiring to transformative social change.
Today, Hardy, the former journalist, is also an accomplished author of literary works “BECOMING,” “Reason-N-Rap,” and is currently promoting his latest book, Trump, Tumult, & Transcendence – Poetic Musings 2020 to 2021 “a captivating interpretation of America’s tumultuous social and political environment.
A highly respected theologian, Hardy is a sought-after speaker nationwide and around the world. He was a guest speaker at the historic Million Man March in Washington, DC, and has been an active supporter of Black Lives Matter and various local and national social justice movements.
Reverend Hardy’s multi-faceted community affiliations include: Board Member, Broadcast Ministers Alliance – DuSable Museum of African-American History; Sigma Delta Chi, Fellowship of Professional Journalism; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; Board Member, Church Federation of Greater Chicago: Board Member, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA); board member, church/child; Former Second Vice President, South Side Branch of the NAACP; Executive Committee, Citizens Affected by Police Reform; Member of the board of directors of Operation PUSH National Rainbow Coalition.
He also hosted the religious television program ‘Dynamic Living’ on the then cable news network CLTV and radio shows at the Kennedy-King College station and on the former WJPC-950AM in association with the Broadcast Ministers Alliance.
Although doing God’s will for the people is his primary mission, when not working to highlight important social issues, Hardy renews his mind, body and soul by practicing a 100% vegan lifestyle, by adhering to a strict daily exercise routine and centering one’s mind. with regular positive prayer circles focused on worship.
He is the CEO of 360 Ministries, real, relevant and purposeful as ever. Hardy will turn 85 on May 3, 2022.