Our Pastor

In October of 2018 Rev. Charles (CJ) Harkness began serving as  Pastor of People's Community Church in Berea, Ohio.  He accepted this call after over 20 years of service as an associate minister at Mt. Zion Church of Oakwood Village under the leadership of Pastor Larry L. Macon, Sr. and Co-Pastor's Larry Macon, Jr. and Daniel Macon.  Having accepted Christ at an early age and his call to ministry as a college student, Pastor Harkness has served in many aspects of church operation including preaching, Christian education, singing, ushering and security.  He is humbled and excited about the call to lead a church as Pastor. 

In addition to his life in ministry, CJ also serves as the Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator at Baldwin Wallace University. Stationed in the Office of the President, CJ provides senior leadership as a member of the President's Cabinet.  He previously served Ashland University for nearly 13 years in capacities including Director of Institutional Diversity, Director of Multicultural Student Services and Director of Student Conduct.  These roles allowed him to gain a wealth of experience in meeting the needs of ethnic minority and at risk students.  Currently, he is charged with oversight of the University's diversity initiatives as set forth in the University's Strategic Plan.  CJ also promotes dialog and gauges the pulse of the campus community as they relate to issues of diversity and inclusion through his leadership of BW's Center for Inclusion.

Rev. Harkness earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio.  He also holds a Master of Arts in Practical Theology from Ashland Theological Seminary.  In addition to his experience at Mt. Zion, Ashland and Baldwin Wallace, CJ has served people through his work as a consultant, program manager and presenter for a number of organizations and programs.  CJ has also taught courses and presented in high schools, colleges and several Ohio
 prisons.  A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., CJ has a passion for helping others reach their potential. 
 He strives to achieve this through diligent advocacy,  candid advising and provocative programming.  
Above all, he wants you to know that "God Loves you; A'int a Thang You Can Do About It!"


Rev. Leroy McCreary has served as pastor of the People's Community Church of Berea since 1975.  As pastor, he has provided outstanding leadership and direction to the congregation in identifying, purchasing, and establishing a permanent home on the North End of Berea.  Pastor McCreary retired as active pastor of Peoples Community Church Septrember 30, 2018.  He is now honored with the title Pastor Emeritus.


631 North Rocky River Drive, Berea, Oh 44017
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