Robert Sherman McCathern
Robert Sherman McCathern has been recognized nationally as a “visionary” for his work in community development, youth violence prevention/gang intervention, and substance abuse prevention and intervention. He also has shared on the topic of conflict resolution in Brazil and several countries in East Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan.
McCathern’s passion is to change the common public misconception of African-American males as throw-aways who are unworthy of society’s investment of time, energy and resources. His mission is to help rescue urban individuals, families caught in the cycle of crime, gangs and violence so they can become productive and valued citizens.
McCathern is currently writing a book entitled “Beyond Their Faces,” which describes his work with urban youths in Little Rock, Arkansas; Racine, Wisconsin; and Flint, Michigan. McCathern - along with former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee – was highlighted in the 2013 book, “Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City” by Gordon Young.
McCathern is founder of the Joy Tabernacle Church, which today serves as one of Flint’s leading churches in reaching the urban community, especially those young men, women and children living in and near the Civic Park Neighborhood. He currently is Executive Director of the Urban Renaissance Center, a social service entity of the church and believes in the strength of partnerships and works regularly with, among others, the City of Flint, Genesee County Land Bank, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Forge Flint, the Civic Park Neighborhood Association, and the University of Michigan-Flint. The latter is currently piloting a hybrid social work class, English Linguistics Class and other classes at Joy Tabernacle that includes both UM-Flint students and young men and residents from the Civic Park Neighborhood. McCathern serves as a community specialist/resource for the classes.
He has taught in public schools, served as a specialist to national leadership projects and is currently involved with President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. McCathern was recently selected to be one of only a dozen people nationwide to participate in the Chicago-based Christian Community Development Association’s 2015-2016 national Cohort 6 leadership team.
A 1978 graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary and College of the Bible in Nashville, Tennessee, McCathern earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Pastoral Counseling; he was ordained the same year. McCathern has served as pastor of several churches in Tennessee, and founded Greater Revelations Baptist Church in the same state. He has pastored in Arkansas, ministered in Wisconsin, and also in other countries.
URC’s Program Director, James Patrick has over a decade of experience overseeing and managing programs with urban populations in Flint, MI. While with the Genesee Intermediate School District he had a caseload of over 400 low income urban families. He was the co-founder and facilitator of the Fathers And Men Engaged program which served over 300 urban males in Genesee county. James currently serves on the advisory board for Healthy Start Male Engagement Initiative. James is the Youth Pastor at Divine Grace Ministries and he has mentored hundreds of urban youth in his life. James graduated from Indiana Institute of Technology in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.