Rev. Dr. W.G. Hardy, Jr., a native of Portland, Oregon has been the Senior Pastor of Highland since March of 1996. To compliment his pastoral duties, in Dec. 2000, he formed a 501C3 non-profit Corporation called Highland Haven. Highland Haven serves distressed communities in North/Northeast Portland with nine different social service programs. In addition to the youth ministries, HUCC has a full men’s and women’s ministry, 12-step substance abuse recovery program, prison ministry and worldwide missions, among others.
Dr. Hardy has carefully managed the business aspects of the church and Highland Haven, inclusive of updating the church’s accounting system. When Pastor Hardy began conducting services at HUCC as a visiting pastor in the early 1990′s, the church had fewer than 30 people in regular attendance. Since acting as co-pastor in 1995 and accepting the full leadership of the church in 1996, membership has increased thirtyfold. Dr. Hardy and his congregation endeavor to create a safe and loving environment that is inclusive of everyone.
A significant event (under Pastor Hardy’s leadership and vision) in the church’s history was the purchase of the property on 18th and Alberta Street in 1999. It signified the tremendous development of the church and created a renewed spirit among parishioners. However, within six years of the purchase, the church was looking for a larger facility to accommodate its’ increase in membership and ministry growth. As a result, in December 2005, to accommodate the phenomenal growth of Highland and Highland Haven, HUCC acquired the existing $6 million multi-purpose church campus on 7600 NE Glisan St, just 5 miles east of the former worship center.
Before choosing ministry as a full-time vocation, Dr. Hardy served five years in the United States Navy as an aviation electronic technician, and then took classes in Business Administration at Mt. Hood/Portland Community College. Dr. Hardy continues his education at Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, OR. He is a fellow (Class of 2003) of the American Leadership Forum and received his honorary Doctoral Degree from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary in Fresno, California on July 25, 2004.
Dr. Hardy received over 20 years of training through the Church of God in Christ Institutional Training Program and is an ordained minister with triple standing in the Church of God in Christ, United Church of Christ and Full Gospel Pentecostal Church. He was the state minister of music and the state youth President of the Church of God in Christ, Oregon Jurisdiction No. 2 in 1985.
Dr Hardy works with community service entities and government agencies to advocate for Africa, African-American Aids, HIV/health issues, and gentrified North/Northeast Portland African-American citizens. His influence is felt worldwide with an emphasis on African trade, tourism, and cultural exchange in Angola, Zimbabwe, and Ghana. He serves on the board (Chairperson) of African American Mental Health Coalition (AAMHC), Innovation Partnerships (IP), Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA), and the African American Chamber of Commerce (AACC). Under his leadership and guidance, on February 28, 2008, the African American Mental Health Coalition opened the Avel Gordly Center for Mental Healing. The Center was established to meet the mental health needs of the African-American community and take away the shame associated with mental illness.
Dr. Hardy has received numerous awards for his varied contributions, including in 2002, the 11th Annual Emerald “Religion Award” by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; 2004 NAACP Man of the Year; 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Portland based World Arts Foundation. In February 2008 Pastor Hardy received a trophy from the US Army Corp of Engineers for outstanding contribution to their celebration of Black History Month. Dr. Hardy is a featured speaker at many local and national events. He and his wife Ali and family reside in Wood Village, Oregon.