The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Hamlin serves as Pastor of the 130-year old Tabernacle Baptist Church and as Director of the HIV/AIDS African American Faith Based Initiative at the 1917 Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Most recently, for six years he served as Facilitator for Project Corporate Leadership, a leadership program designed for middle managers of businesses and corporations sponsored then by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce. From 1990 to September 2000, Dr. Hamlin served as Senior Pastor of the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church of Birmingham.
As pastor of the historic Tabernacle Baptist Church for thirteen years, Hamlin enjoys preaching and teaching Bible studies weekly; meeting with various committees and ministries to ensure accountability and programmatic success; meets with community pastors to discuss community issues; represents the Church in the Community, and speaks to community groups, corporations, and organizations.
At UAB’s 1917 HIV/AIDS Outpatient Clinic, Dr. Hamlin serves as a chaplain responsible for developing ongoing relationships with faith-based institutions and leadership to encourage HIV preventive education and testing. He and a team of colleagues and volunteers facilitate HIV testing at the Clinic and in the community at health fairs and other events. He makes presentations on HIV/AIDS, religion and culture, discrimination and stigma, and issues around diversity to community groups. As the chaplain for the Clinic, Hamlin also assumes responsibilities as the Grievance Officer; serves on various committees that help manage the care of patients; and represents the Clinic in the community.
A native of Macon, Georgia, Dr. Hamlin received a B.A. degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia (1981); Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Crozer Theological Seminary, Rochester, New York (1984); and Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary (Proctor-Moss Fellow), Dayton, Ohio (1996). His doctoral dissertation focused on the unique role of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church as a historic, memorial and opened-door church.
Dr. Hamlin has committed himself to several local and national organizations including Morehouse College National Alumni Association and Birmingham Chapter; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Omicron Lambda Chapter; Leadership Alabama; Leadership Birmingham; National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.; The Minister’s Discussion Group that meets on the campus of Samford University; AIDS Alabama and Agape Foundation of AIDS Alabama, and others.
He has received many awards in recognition of community service. The Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel selected him as one of Alabama’s Unforgettable Faces. The Governor of the State of Alabama appointed him to the Governor’s HIV Commission for Youth, Children and Adults. The Golden Key International Honour Society at the University of Alabama at Birmingham inducted him into their organization and the Birmingham Business Journal named him as a 2008 Healthcare Hero for his work in HIV/AIDS. In 2013, the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College inducted him into its distinguished board.
In 1998, he published a history on Sixteenth Street Baptist Church titled, Behind the Stained Glass: A History of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Crane Hill Publishers, Birmingham, Alabama. He and the Rev. Sarah Jackson Shelton (Baptist Church of the Covenant, Birmingham) published in 2013, The Teaching Church: Congregation as Mentor, a book through Smyth & Helwys that examines what pastors learn from congregations they serve. He is currently working on a book of spiritual reflections titled, From This Mount: Reflections for the Journey. He has contributed to several publications through his work with UAB’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the School of Public Health.
The Lilly Endowment’s Clergy Renewal Program granted Dr. Hamlin and Tabernacle one of its 147 sabbatical grants for 2016 that will entitle him to step away from ministry for three months and for the church to develop a new programmatic initiative.
He is married to Sara B. Hamlin, Vice President of Tourism for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, and they are parents to Jermaine Fuller and Kyle P. Hamlin and grandparents of Karter Patric Hamlin and Peyton Je’Na Fuller.
He enjoys gardening, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.