The Crusader Newspaper Group

Honoring the Limitless Ministry of A Chicago Pastoral Powerhouse Rev. Dr. Henry O. Hardy

By A. L. Smith
Contributing Writer

South side-based minister Reverend Dr. Henry O. Hardy, whose work and impact extends worldwide, is regarded as a pastoral powerhouse, well versed in the bible, a respected spiritual leader, and a 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 during the church’s ‘Aged to Perfection: A Milestone 85th Birthday Celebration’ starting at 10:45 a.m.

The ‘Aged to Perfection’ tribute will formally acknowledge Hardy’s remarkable legacy of spiritual achievement and academic excellence.

Cosmopolitan’s current pastor, Reverend Dr. Eric D. Clopton, Sr., noted, “It is vitally important to acknowledge the dedicated leadership, exceptional evangelical vision and missionary work done by Reverend Dr. Henry O. Hardy over the 47-years during his pastorate of the historic Cosmopolitan Community Church of Chicago, 5249 S. Wabash Avenue, which is celebrating its 99th Anniversary during 2022.”

He added, “Not only was he instrumental in providing the congregation with various levels of leadership during major transformative periods, but he also greatly contributed to the spread of an activist model of Christianity through intensive community outreach and service throughout the 3rd Ward and across Chicago. I will always revere Rev. Hardy for his consistent inspiration and sincere support of my emerging Pastoral Leadership. And he’s still a major force to be reckoned with on a variety of platforms.”

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Pastor Henry O. Hardy

Speaking 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 talking through the Bible, but by applying passionate pastoral care in practical ways to combat social, economic and political injustice, 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 related that his initial career choice was to become a professional journalist and reporter. Accordingly, he pursued news and successfully reported for the St. Louis Argus, Chicago Defender, and Gary American newspapers.

Hearing the call of Christ Hardy entered seminary, and received a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literary Criticism from the University of Chicago. Among his awards and special merits, Hardy was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree by the Gospel Ministry Outreach (G.M.O.)

Henry Hardy was born in the southern Illinois town of Lovejoy (now known as Brooklyn), near East St. Louis, Illinois. Hardy recounts his early blessing as a member of a loving, close-knit family that encouraged his avid reading, and emphasized the importance of education, particularly after relocating to Chicago.

Mrs. Janet Jackson, who serves as Cosmopolitan Community Church’s President, Board of Directors said, “Reverend Hardy is what we fondly call a wonderful, dignified, straight-no-chaser, truth-telling theologian who powerfully connects ourselves and others more deeply to God.”

Throughout his decades of preaching, teaching, and reaching, Hardy became well known for taking his ministry to the Chicago streets, into the heart of disinvested urban neighborhoods, because as he emphasizes:

“I don’t believe that it is God’s will that some human beings have everything they could ever want and need, while many others and especially those who look like us, are often forced to make do with extraordinarily little, or worse, nothing at all. That’s why I refused to only ‘preach from the protected pulpit.’ I feel compelled to be out there on the streets where the people are, advocating for change and trying to somehow be effective in making a positive impact.”

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PASTOR HENRY O. HARDY’S book ‘Trump, Tumult & Transcendence: Relevant Rhyming Reflections’

Dr. Patricia Brady, longtime Cosmopolitan Community Church member concurs with his approach to the ministry: “Reverend Dr. Henry O. Hardy is one of the most courageous, caring, reachable, and Christian-centered individuals I’ve ever met, and I am honored to elevate him for his enduring commitment to never stop fighting to make our city and country better, fairer and more accepting to all.”

Years ago, as chairperson of the Operation PUSH-CBS-TV News Negotiation Team, Hardy led the charge of apprising the media of the concerns of minorities.

The special focus was on programming, fairness in equity, and parity in hiring and decision-making. These advocacy efforts led to the hiring of several Black newscasters, not only at CBS, but at area ABC, NBC, WGN, FOX, and other news station outlets as well, which became

longstanding operating procedures, and opened the doors to today’s multi-cultural media broadcasts.

Illinois State Representative and Deputy House Majority Leader Mary Flowers (D-31st) has admired Hardy’s persistence. She explained, “I deeply respect his ongoing life mission and pastoral legacy dedicated to promoting prayer principles, and working in partnership with officials like me, to advance innovative public policies to protect vulnerable residents, secure needed reforms, expand opportunities, and develop solutions to address the violent crime wave sweeping city neighborhoods.”

Other key economic development priorities advocated by Hardy involved banking in minority owned banks and the expanded use of minority products and services within local Chicago-area major government, nonprofit and corporate business sectors. For a number of years Hardy was “The Voice of P.U.S.H.” where he served as the anchor for the popular, thought-provoking weekly WVON-radio broadcast.

Civil-rights activist and National Rainbow P.U.S.H. Coalition founder, Reverend Jesse Jackson, sings Hardy’s praises: “Reverend Dr. Hardy has been 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 has devoted his whole life to lifting the next generation of leaders, and he has benevolently made things brighter in the world.”

After his retirement a few years ago, one might assume that the activist pastor and civic leader might finally take a well-earned hiatus from community service. Well, think again. “I believe in moving ‘Forward in Faith’ – – always. Also, I will never abandon God’s biblical call to social justice. I’m just using different formats to pursue the same inspired goals,” said Hardy.

As Mary Melcher, who serves as Cosmopolitan Community Church Treasurer, expressed it, “Reverend Dr. Henry O. Hardy is a fearless man of faith and a community builder who for many years dared to speak out and galvanize the power of collective action in a city yearning for transformative social change.”

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Rev. Henry O. Hardy speaking at the
Cosmopolitan Community Church

Today Hardy, the former journalist, is also an accomplished author of literary works “BECOMING,” “Reason-N-Rap,” and is currently promoting his newest book, Trump, Tumult, & Transcendence – Poetic Musings 2020 to 2021” a riveting interpretation of America’s tumultuous social and political environment.

A highly respected theologian, Hardy is an in-demand speaker across the nation and around the world. He was a featured speaker at the historic Million Man March in Washington, D.C., and has been an active supporter of the Black Lives Matter and diverse 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, Professional Journalism Fraternity; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; Board Member, Church Federation of Greater Chicago: Board Member, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA); Board Member, One Church/One Child; Former Second Vice President, South Side Branch of the N.A.A.C.P; Executive Committee, Concerned Citizens for Police Reform; Board Member of Operation P.U.S.H. National Rainbow Coalition.

He also hosted the ‘Dynamic Living’ religious television show on then-CLTV news cable network, and radio shows at Kennedy-King College station and on former WJPC-950AM in association with the Broadcast Ministers Alliance.

While doing God’s will for the people is his primary mission, when he is not laboring to highlight important social issues Hardy renews his mind, body, and soul practicing a 100 percent vegan lifestyle, adhering to a strict daily exercise routine, and centering his spirit with regular worship-driven, positive prayer circles.

He is the CEO of 360 Ministries, real, relevant, and resolute as ever. Hardy will turn 85 on May 3, 2022.

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