WELCOME FROM OUR PASTOR!
“Love to the loveless shown/that they might know their loveliness.” This paraphrase from a hymn conveys well our Love in Action focus at BPC. Contrary to the m.o. of many secular institutions, whatever is good for the loveless is considered good for the whole here. Maintaining this focus on the power of love versus the love of power allows us to explore ways the Spirit can employ our full humanity — good, bad, and ugly — for serving God, God’s creation, and our neighbor. And I am forever amazed how this spirit of service is employed by our number here in their personal callings/vocations in their daily lives. Come, Worship with Us! Come, Serve with Us! Join us on our journey into Christ’s relational joy! -- Gracia y Paz, Chuck
The Rev. Charles Booker began his ministry at BPC in mid-2009. He arrived in Bethesda following 11 fruitful years as a pastor in Ann Arbor, MI. Chuck’s background ranges from serving interracial congregations in an AZ barrio and a CA ghetto to staffing a suburban church in NC and pastoring a rural charge in OK. In AZ and CA, he labored for four years resettling countless Central American refugees seeking sanctuary from torture and slaughter in their homelands.
Three life narratives serve as spiritual signposts for Chuck’s ministry of wounded healing and love in action …
His struggle in his 20s with depression, alcoholism, and other drug addiction. His night-into-light journey included several hospitalizations in the mid-’80s. "Through my frailties," Chuck says, "my experience of Christ has worked wonders with my life."
His calling to align his ministry with the voiceless and participate in several nonviolent resistance actions. In efforts to close what is known throughout Latin America as the “School of Assassins” — the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) — he is among 200-plus who have served federal prison time (in his case, 3 months) for the misdemeanor of trespassing onto the Ft. Benning, GA base where the school is located. Also, Chuck participated at significant vocational cost for two decades in a resistance effort that changed national church policies discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identification. He was the first Presbyterian clergy to officiate at a legal same-gender wedding in the country (2005), and officiated at both heterosexual and same-gender weddings long before they were legal.
His separation and divorce after a 20 year marriage. From this experience, he learned what it means to be a single parent for his son’s high school years. His son Andrew now thrives as a college student, with aspirations to work in The Peace Corps.
Currently, Rev. Chuck serves as the Chair of National Capital Presbytery’s Pastor Care Team. He has served on the national boards of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, More Light Presbyterians and Presbyterian Health Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA). For his SOA prison witness, he received the Presbyterian Peaceseeker Award.
For fun, Chuck enjoys nonfiction, does a lot of swimming, and plays a little golf (he boasts a two handicap: his right hand and his left hand).
Chuck resides in the Church House on-site – hey, it beats any Metro DC commute! Feel free to knock on his 7611 Clarendon door. He can best be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or his cell: 734-646-3550. Feel free to connect with him!