Photograph of Bob Rivers, Ray Hammond, Gloria White-Hammond, and Quincy Miller

Pastors Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond Honored With Community Advocacy Awards

July 1, 2019

Co-Founders of Bethel AME Church Recognized for More Than 30 Years of Social Justice Advocacy Focused on Issues Affecting High-Risk Youth and Violence Prevention, and Victims of Sexual Trauma

BOSTON, July 1, 2019 – Eastern Bank, America’s oldest and largest mutual bank, honored Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond and Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church with Community Advocacy Awards at an event held at the Museum of African American History’s African American Meeting House in Boston. The awards ceremony was held in honor of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. 

Initially trained as physicians, Pastors Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond found their calling as ministers. In the late 1980s as Boston communities experienced widespread drugs, guns and gang violence, the Hammonds vowed to make a difference. They founded Bethel AME Church in 1988, which began as a bible study in the dining room of their home with five parishioners and now serves thousands annually. Pastor Hammond and Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond created a space for healing by helping to initiate over 26 programs for people in the Boston area and around the world. In 2009, they also founded the Bethel Institute for Social Justice to provide life-transforming educational and social services to high-risk youth and families in Greater Boston.

With a passion for aiding at-risk youth, Pastor Ray Hammond spearheaded the creation of Generation Excel, a program of the Bethel Institute for Social Justice which provides direct services and growth opportunities to underserved, low-income at-risk and high-risk youth and their families. First a gang intervention program, Generation Excel shifted to provide the academic, social, and emotional support at-risk and high-risk youth need to become productive young adults. Offerings include a Mediation and Wellness Program for troubled youth who experience behavioral challenges in the school environment. Other programs help to increase the confidence of middle school students in STEM concepts, support regular school attendance for high school students, and use the production of plays to highlight challenges youth face.

As a devoted pediatrician in the South End Community Health Center from 1981-2008, Pastor Gloria White-Hammond supported families from Boston’s most challenged communities. While caring for adolescent female patients, she was inspired to found Do the Write Thing, which aided hundreds of high-risk girls throughout Boston public schools, juvenile detention centers, and Bethel AME Church. She traveled to war-torn South Sudan from 2001-2003 to help free more than 10,000 enslaved people. Following that experience, she created with five other women the humanitarian and human rights organization, My Sister’s Keeper, to champion social justice for women and girls in conflict zones. At the Bethel Institute for Social Justice, she helped establish Shatter the Silence, a faith-based network of congregations that addresses sexual victimization of women and men in predominantly African American communities and helps healing begin. Pastor White-Hammond is also the Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School.

“For 30+ years, Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond have been dedicated to helping underserved people transform their lives and the communities where they live,” said Bob Rivers, Chair and CEO of Eastern Bank. “It is a pleasure to honor their roles as community advocates and their commitment to helping others achieve new opportunities

Recognition of Pastors Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond was organized by Eastern’s Black Professional Alliance Employee Network Group. Past award recipients include former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Diane Patrick, and community activists Sarah-Ann Shaw and Klare Shaw, and Bennie and Flash Wiley.

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818, Boston-based Eastern Bank is America’s oldest and largest mutual bank, with over $11 billion in assets and more than 115 locations serving communities in eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Eastern provides exceptional access to fairly priced banking, investment and insurance products and services for consumers and businesses of all sizes. Eastern Bank, which includes Eastern Wealth Management and Eastern Insurance, is known for its outspoken advocacy and community support that has exceeded more than $125 million in charitable giving since 1999. An inclusive company, Eastern employs 1,900+ deeply committed professionals who value relationships with their customers, colleagues, and communities. Join us for good at and follow Eastern on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.


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