Rev. H. Beecher Hicks of Metropolitan Baptist Retiring

Metropolitan Baptist Church was begun by 10 freed slaves 150 years ago in 1864. Rev. Hicks has been pastor since 1977, and announced his retirement to the congregation on February 2nd. Rev. Hicks will remain involved in the transition process and will aid the church, but is retiring on account of a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. We are grateful to God for the service he has rendered to God's people and to the people of the DC area, and our prayers are with him and his family for his health.

The AFRO-American reports,

“He’s a world class preacher, and a universal spirit,” said Robert (Brother Ah) Northern, who has been a member of Metropolitan for 15 years. “He can reach his people—and I mean African American people—he can reach their intellect through emotions and he can reach their emotions through intellect. He has been very connected to the people.”

“There are some things that are more difficult for me to do now,” he added, discussing for the first time outside the church his struggles with Parkinson’s. “I continue to work, I continue to preach, but in order for Metropolitan to thrive, it will need to turn a corner in terms of leadership, and my responsibility at this juncture is to give guidance and ensure a transition that’s orderly and loving.
    '"All we have now is a changing of the guard, from one gladiator to the next," said Hicks, who became pastor of Metropolitan in 1977 at age 33. "All that I have tried to be is a gladiator for the Gospel." 
         ... “'Rev. Hicks and Metropolitan Baptist Church offered stability through the rough times in Washington, D.C.,” said Graylan Hagler, senior minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast Washington. He added that Hicks “has left an indelible mark upon preachers and upon the church.'”