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A life of faith, soft words and mighty deeds

REV. DR. HOWARD Washington Hinson spent much of his young life in Seebert. With 63 years in the ministry, he has seen a lot of changes, and he has played a part in many of the changes. At age 82, he’s thinking about retiring – but just thinking about it – for the fourth time.

Jaynell Graham

Rev. Dr. Howard Washington Hinson doesn’t know much about retirement. He tried it a few times, but was always called back into the pulpit – most recently as senior pastor of the Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

It is a beautiful church building and sanctuary, and Hinson said, “It has beautiful people.”

Hinson is setting things in motion to begin fundraising for an estimated $3 million-dollar renovation of the building. Once it gets in gear, he may try retirement – again.

At 82 years of age, he has more energy than men half his age.  He has a twinkle in his eye, a spring in his step, a mind and heart full of wisdom and new ideas, and is, perhaps, the nicest, kindest man you’ll ever meet.

Hinson was born March 28, 1936, the seventh child of the late Richard W. and Ethel M. Hinson. There were 11 children in the family, and Hinson was “informally” adopted at the age of two by his great uncle and aunt, George S. and Eddie F. Washington who lived in Seebert.

His education, work in ministry, activism and various accomplishments led to his recent selection for inclusion in Marquis Who’s Who.

The narrative of that honor reads in part: “Rev. Dr. Hinson is highly regarded in his community for his warm spirit and modern view, as well as his experience as a pastor.”

In recognition of his dedication to the church, Hinson was inducted into the Preachers Hall of Fame at its Tenth Induction Ceremony May 27, “Honoring his legacy which will preserve the history and dignity of a passing era.”

The education portion of Hinson’s autobiography speaks of a past era, but also records hope for the future.

Hinson received his dip-loma from the Hillsboro Colored School in 1949 and graduated from Sumner High School in Parkersburg in 1953.

He received his A.B. degree in Christian Education from Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1957, and was appointed by the University President as Student Ambassador to the Maine Methodist Conference.

From 1957 to 1959, Hinson attended Boston University School of Theology in Boston, Massachusetts, but resigned in protest against racial injustice in employment by the school. A protest, he said, brought about change.

A lifelong learner, Hinson gained his Master of Divinity degree, with honors, in 1965 from Howard University School of Divinity, and his Doctor of Ministry degree, Pastoral Counseling and Christian Financial Planning from Eden Theological Seminary, in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1985.

In addition to continuing his education, Hinson opened doors, as he was the first African-American to be accepted into the clinical training program at Care and Counseling for this DM degree. He was the first African-American to be elected to membership in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

Hinson said he was called into the ministry at age 11 on a summer Sunday afternoon, on the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

REV. HOWARD WASHINGTON Hinson is senior pastor of the Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a beautiful church building, above, with a beautiful sanctuary, below, and Hinson said, “It has beautiful people.” The congregation is poised to begin an estimated $3 million-dollar fundraiser for renovations of the building – inside and out.

At the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of 2018, Hinson will have completed 63 years in ministry.

In that time, he has seen a lot of changes, and played a role in changing things.

When he served as appointed pastor for the Metropolitan Methodist Church in Indian Head, Maryland, the church organized a Metho-dist Youth Fellowship with 12 youth; built a new, brick, three-bedroom parsonage; and led a political movement to force the Charles County Government to hire black citizens in the various departments of government. 

Obviously recognized as a man who could get the job done, Hinson was recruited by the Northern Illinois Conference to start a new church (Wesley) in Chicago, Illinois. In just 11 months, the congregation grew from a 15-member Bible Class to 120 members. In addition, a youth ministry was organized, with one of its members ultimately becoming a District Superintendent.

Recruited to become Campus Minister/Wesley Foundation Director at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, Hinson increased student participation from an average of 18 to 120+ students, and was the negotiator between administration and student leaders to help prevent violence on campus.

He was appointed Chief Chaplain at Homer G. Phillips Hospital, in St. Louis, Missouri, serving in that capacity for 10 years. While there, Hinson wrote a “Protocol for Dealing With Rape Victims,” which was adopted by the hospital and was also recommended by the City Grand Jury for use by all hospitals in the City of St. Louis.

As Senior Chaplain at the Illinois Department of Corrections, Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, Hinson organized a Protestant Church in the prison for inmates where Sunday worship attendance increased from 15 to more than 300 men. He formed a choir, sponsored NA, AA and Arts groups, and was the Protestant Chaplain on Death Row.

He also received training from the Illinois State Police Academy to be a “Hostage Negotiator” for the Illinois Department of Corrections. 

Hinson retired – or so he thought – and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, but was soon appointed to serve as Senior Pastor at the Union Street United Methodist Church in Westminster, where he led in organizing a “Shalom Zone” which developed a $1.3 million-dollar community center.

Then, he retired – or so he thought.

He was then called to serve as Assistant to the Pastor at John Wesley United Methodist Church, from 1999 to 2011.

And then, he retired – or so he thought.

He answered another call, and, since July 2017, he has served as Senior Pastor at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is leading the congregation toward an estimated $3 million-dollar building restoration project.

A complete list of his awards, honors, projects and good works would fill a book, and there is no end in sight.

Suffice to say, the Lord is not quite ready for Rev. Howard Washington Hinson to retire.

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