Rev. Gloria White-Hammond: Pastor

"When she preaches, it's as though a spirit moves within her. It's almost as though a light shines, and she becomes a vessel of her faith"

--Dr. Gerald Hass

When asked how she managed to do all that she does, the Reverend Dr. Gloria White-Hammond often replies with an explanation along the lines "God helps me." Indeed, it is easy to see how connected Dr. White-Hammond is to her faith. Since marrying her husband Ray in 1973, she has become increasingly involved in the church, despite her beginnings as a doctor. White-Hammond felt called to ministry, and longed to join her husband in the pulpit--Ray completed his Master of Arts degree in the Study of Religion (Christian and Medical Ethics) at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1982. He became the founding pastor of Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain. Gloria, however, constantly looking for new ways to spread her message (while by no means seeking the limelight), came to a decision, which she herself described as "being 'called' to the ministry... It was not a matter of saying, 'I'll take that one', but rather a sense of yielding to the call." Enrolling in the Harvard Divinity School and graduating in 1997 with a M.Div. degree, she has since become co-pastor at Bethel AME, a task which is by no means easy for her reserved personality, but one that she devotes half of her week to. The church has since helped her to expand her many projects, and the offices for My Sister's Keeper are onsite on the same grounds as the church. Do the Write Thing meetings also take place on church grounds, along with many other locations throughout the city.

As far as her duties as an active pastor go, Gloria apparently cannot be praised enough, by her congregation and by her colleagues. Her husband, when asked to describe his Co-Pastor, says that she has a "great ability to connect with people" and shares "not only the good parts {of her life}, but the mistakes" she has made, inspiring a comfortable atmosphere and developing a conection between herself and her congregation. Melinda Weekes, another colleague, describes Gloria's preaching style as "compassionate," and mentions, as many others have, her ability to "change a room with her presence." It is best, then, to describe Pastor White-Hammond as both a "vessel" of faith, and as a bridge between faith and the faithful.