Photo caption: Dr. Marshall Elijah Hatch and his wife Priscilla
Dr. Marshall Elijah Hatch recently celebrated several milestones this year. Pastor Hatch turned 65 years old, he celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary (with his wife Priscilla) and on Sunday, September 17 he joined his New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in observing his 30th Pastoral Anniversary at his historic West Garfield Park institution.
After pastoring for nearly eight years in North Lawndale, Pastor Hatch answered the call three decades ago in 1993 to lead New Mt. Pilgrim Church after his mentor, the late pastor Reverend James McCoy, died suddenly.
Under his leadership, the church experienced exponential growth and it became a civil rights staple. Many prominent civil rights figures including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Dr. Cornel West and Rev. Al Sharpton have visited this socially active West Side church where countless campaigns for justice continue to be launched.
Prominent pastors and community leaders marked his achievements on the historic occasion with personal tributes to the civil rights icon, Dr. Marshall Elijah Hatch.
“Pastor Hatch has kept alive the true purpose of the church that has too often been forgotten. He has been a prophetic voice, uncompromising in his concern for the disenfranchised and abandoned. He has been and continues to be a moral compass for us all,” stated Father Michael Pfleger, lead pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church.
“Pastor Hatch is a friend, teacher, preacher, and organizer of unparalleled talent. He is a source of comfort to the stricken and mourning, a voice for justice, and a provider of care for those in need. His work on the West Side of Chicago as a pastor and a social justice champion has improved the lives of everyone who lives there. He reaches out his hand in friendship, compassion and understanding to all of God’s children,” stated Rabbi Max Weiss of Oak Park Temple.
“Pastor Hatch is a visionary and a leader among leaders. Thank you for your example of Godly living, preaching, teaching and outreach to the world,” stated Reverend James T. Meeks, founding pastor of the Salem Baptist Church of Chicago.
On Sunday during their morning service, notable activist Pastor Ira Acree delivered the keynote message. “I have worked very closely with Pastor Hatch for over 20 years and he’s a rare breed. His commitment to his congregation, his love for our community and his dedication to the prophetic training of clergy is unmatched and priceless,” stated Acree.
“Pastor Hatch prophesied a vision of a village rising, the Sankofa Village, in the heart of West Garfield Park,” says Dr. David Ansell, senior vice president of Rush University Medical Center. “This village, as articulated in the Sankofa Window in New Mount Pilgrim church became the coalescing idea that brought partners like the Rush, Erie, West Side United and the YMCA to join with New Mount Pilgrim during the Covid pandemic to create grand project plans. Now Pastor Hatch’s vision of the Sankofa Wellness Village will be realized as this project was the winner of the prestigious $10 million Chicago Prize in 2023,” concluded Ansell.
“I am extremely honored to add my voice to the chorus in congratulating Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch on 30 years of ministry,” says Dr. Gail Rice, associate pastor at Freedom Baptist Church of Hillside Illinois. “He has been integral in moving forward an agenda of justice, equity, and equality for those who live on the margins and have no voice. As a woman in ministry, I am thankful his agenda also encompasses advocacy for the full inclusion of women in all aspects of leadership and ministry in the life of the Church through providing opportunities to women in ministry. He is a risk taker and has been an ally and advocate, pushing women forward so that we are not only seen and heard but also supported, resourced and able to exercise our God given gifts to advance to Kingdom of God,” added Dr. Rice.
Dr. Otis Moss III, the prominent pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ stated, “The prophetic and poetic voice of Dr. Marshall Hatch consistently communicates with an urgency drawn from the ‘Hebrew Prophets’ and a passion birthed from the ‘African Grio,’ demanding all who hold power function with a moral compass rooted in justice, compassion and equity. Our city is better because such a man stands faithfully on the wall fighting for the marginalized.”
Sunday’s Pastoral Anniversary for Rev. Dr. Hatch was a rare opportunity to have a multi-racial interfaith gathering of Chicago’s most prominent religious leaders to honor a minister on the front lines of our city’s ongoing movement for racial, social and economic justice.