Charles E. Dudley, Sr. was born in South Bend, Indiana, on February 1, 1927, to Joseph and Julia Dudley. He is the last of eight children – Arthur, Clarence, Joseph, Jr. Dudley, A. Gaynes Thompson Lucille, Alfred, Martha and Charles Dudley.
For a short period he attended the Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in Kansas City, Missouri. His education was in the public schools of South Bend through the eleventh grade. He transferred to Oakwood Academy of Seventy-day Adventists in Huntsville, Alabama, and graduated in 1944.
He attended Emmanuel Mission College (presently Andrews University) in Berrien Springs, Michigan during the mid-forties, but returned to Oakwood College to complete his college education.
After graduation he served in the Seventh-day Adventist pastoral ministry for fifteen years in Knoxville, Jackson, Humboldt and Memphis, Tennessee; Clarksdale, Mississippi, Greenville and Montgomery, Alabama. He continued his pastorate in the Southwestern part of the United States in Baton Rouge and Alexandria, Louisiana, before serving in Dallas, Mosier Valley and Waco, Texas, and later in the office of the treasury of the Southwest Region Conference.
In 1962 he was elected president of the South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and served for thirty-one and half years in the same position and earned the distinction of having the longest tenure of anyone in conference administration in Adventist history.
The membership increased from forty-three hundred to twenty-three thousand; tithe incomes increased from $210,000.00 to over $7,000,000.00; pastors increased from nineteen to sixty-seven; the teaching staff from thirteen to sixty-eight.
At the General Conference Sessions held in 1980 and 1985, he was elected to serve with the World Church organization, but declined to remain in service with the people in the NAD and throughout the world field.
During his years as president phenomenal progress was realized. He was a teacher of Church Administration for a majority of black administrators and some whites also benefited. Pastors who served under his administration were:
The late Elder Jesse R. Wagner who became president of the Lake Region Conference.
Dr. Charles D. Joseph who became president of the Lake Region Conference.
The late Richard C. Brown, Sr. who served as president of the Lake Region Conference.
Dr. Norman K. Miles, professor at the Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan who served as president of the lake Region Conference.
Elder Ralph P. Peay, president – South Atlantic Conference.
Elder John A. Simons, former treasurer – South Central, Central States and South Atlantic Conferences.
Elder. James M. Doggette, former president, Southeastern Conference.
Elder Donald A. Walker, former treasurer, South Central and Southeastern Conferences.
Elder Gerald Penick, secretary, Southeastern California Conference
The late Dr. Donald L. Crowder, former president, Central States Conference and evangelist for the Caribbean Conference.
Dr. Sherman H. Cox, former president, Central States Conference and Student’s pastor at Oakwood College.
Elder Steven P. Ruff, editor, Message Magazine
Elder Robert L. Lister, president, Southwest Region Conference.
The late Dr. W. J. Cleveland, former president, Southwest Region Conference
The late Dr. Harold L. Cleveland, former president, Allegheny West Conference.
Elder L. Chacha, president, Tanzania Union Conference- Africa
Elder Randolph P. Stafford, union evangelist for the Eastern Africa Division.
Dr. Benson Mugemancuro, director, Industrial Emergency Room at Loma Linda Medical Center, Loma Linda, California
Elder Fred N. Crowe, treasurer, Lake Region and South Central Conferences
Elder Joseph W. McCoy, president, South Central Conference
Elder Benjamin P. Browne, Secretary and President, Central Conference
Elder Seth Bardu, treasurer, South Central Conference
Elder Hector M. Mouzon, Jr., director of Regional Affairs, Washington Conference
Under his leadership:
Over 100 new congregations were organized throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee and Northwest Florida
More than 100 church and school buildings were constructed/purchased
130 ministerial interns were sponsored to the Andrews University Seminary program
Seven federally-subsidized housing complexes for the elderly and needy, were built
Over sixteen million dollars were given for support of Oakwood College
He was the founder or co-founder of:
Southwest Region Academy in Dallas, Texas – 1958
Infiltration Ministries in the NAD
The caucus of Black Leaders in the NAD
The North American Regional voice publication – 1979-1992
The Annual Regional Evangelism Counsel at Oakwood College with Dr. E. E. Cleveland & Dr. R. L. Woodfork.
Inner Cities Ministries and Friendship Camps by Elder E. W. Moore – 1965
Evangelism Blitz Program in Natchez, Mississippi – 1971
Black Workers’ Supplemental Retirement Program for Retired Workers of the South Central Conference – 1984
Black SDA Archives Program for the South Central Conference - 1990
NAD Black Presidents’ Council – 1962
Black Adventist Medical/Dental Organizations of SDA for the North American Division – 1968
Regional Scholarships for Black Medical/Dental and Graduate Students was established – 1972
Monthly subsidies for education from the G. C. and Union Conference were enacted – 1972
Instituted a Student Intern Auditing Program for Black SDA Youth
Served on the following Boards of Trustees:
Southern Union Conference Executive Committee for thirty-one and one-half years
Southern Union Conference Association Board of Directors
Oakwood College Board of Trustees thirty-one and one half years
Executive Board of Directors for Oakwood College – thirty-one and one half years
Southern College Board of Trustees twenty-eight years
Tennessee Christian Medical Center board of Trustees thirty-one and one-half years
Adventist Health Systems/Sunbelt Board of Trustees
Southern Publishing Association Board of Trustees nineteen and one-half years
Tamco Housing board of Trustees from 1990
Adventist Medial Center board of Trustees - fifteen years
Review and Herald Board of Trustees – fifteen years
NAD Regional Presidents Council from 1972 to 1993
Christian Record Services Board of Trustees three years (1989-1993)
Riverside Hospital Board of Trustees nineteen years
He served as the chairman of the following boards:
South Central Conference Executive Committee of Seventh-day Adventists thirty-one-and a half years
South Central Conference Seven Housing boards – twenty-three years
Caucus of Black NAD Leaders twenty-five years
Executive Committee of the North American Regional Voice Publication
Chairman of the Regional Conference Presidents’ Council since its inception
Chairman of the Regional Council of Evangelism
Chairman of the Board of Education for the South Central Conference – thirty and one half years
Chairman of the Adventist Education Development Corporation Board of Trustees
He wrote a monthly column in the North American Regional Voice for thirteen years (1979-1992)
He was a contributing editor for the Message Magazine, The Southern Tidings, The SDA Ministry Magazine, the Adventgechichte (German) Journal, and the Adventist Review.
He was the editor of the Harambee News Journal.
He wrote four volumes on African Americana Black history in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, entitled: Thou Who Hath Brought Us! He was very knowledgeable o the history of African-Americans in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Recognitions and Awards:
Who’s Who Among Black Religious Church Leaders
Who’s Who Among Black Leaders in America
International Who’s Who of Professionals – 1995, 1996
Who’s Who Among African Americans – 1996, 1997
Citation of Excellence Award from President George Bush
Citation of Excellence Award from President William Clinton
The Governor’s Award from the State of Tennessee from Ned McWerther
Award of Distinction from the NAD during its 1992 Evangelism Council in Orlando, Florida
Award of Distinction from the NAD/FHES Leadership Council of 1992 in Orlando, Florida
Honorary Leader Award from the Mississippi Mass Choir – Jackson, Mississippi
Housing Management Citation for Housing and Urban Development for the United States Government and constructed seven “low income” housing projects for the needy.
Oakwood College National Alumni Certificate of Merit for 1986, having raised more than $16,000,000.00 for the college in operational, scholarship and capital improvement funds.
Northwest Mississippi Regional Community Development Corporation Honor – 1979
Recognition Award – State of Tennessee as chaplain of the House of Representatives during its session
Recognition Award – State of Alabama during the legislative session of the House of Representatives in 1967
Certificate of Merit – Oakwood College Church for assisting in the construction of the College Church on the school campus
Allegheny West Conference – Award of Merit – 1993 by President W. J. Lewis
Annual Ministers’ Conference Award – 1990 during the Internal Regional Evangelism Council
Golden Heritage Award by the N.A.A.C.P. in 1993 by W. F. Gibson, Board Chairman
Recognition Plaque for 31 years of Administrative Leadership Services in the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination from the southern Union Conference
Adventist Education Development Foundation Award – 1980 for support of fourteen elementary Church School and Academies in the Southland
Golden Heritage Life Membership Award – NAACP – 1993
SDA African-American Heritage Teachers Revision Plaque – 1996
Recognition Plaque from the NAD Regional Presidents – 1993
Award of Distinction – Lake Region conference – 1993 by R. C. Brown, Sr. from constituents of the Lake Regional Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Institute of Church Ministry Award – Andrews University – 1983
Directory of Black American Dictionary – Certificate of Merit – 1969
Recognition of Leadership Award from the Inter-denominational Churches of Shelbyville, Tennessee – November 4, 1996
109 – others not listed.
Doctor of Laws – Union Baptist Seminary Birmingham, Alabama – 1969
Doctor of Divinity – London Institute of Applied Research – London, England – 1973
Doctor of Divinity – Andrews SDA University – Berien Springs, Michigan – 1992
Married to Mrs. Etta M. Maycock Dudley since 1947; she served as his personal secretary for thirty years. During their travels they also served as ambassadors for the church when visiting many lands and continents around the world which included the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and the Far East, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Bonita A. Dudley Scott (Joseph) – Former Loss Control/Quality Assurance Technician – Hospital Corporation of America; currently Administrative Assistant to Pastors Fordham, Polite and Moore – Riverside Chapel SDA Church.
Charles E. Dudley II (Deborah) – Electrical Engineer and Sr Field Engineer for Airspace Management Systems for Northrop Grumman Corporation (formerly Westinghouse Corporation of America, Hunt Valley, Maryland. His job has taken him to over 34 countries where he has lived and worked.
Dr. Albert L. Dudley, Sr. (Nancy) – former President, Hadley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC, Founder/Owner of CliniCare Health Services, Inc., laurel, Maryland; currently Administrative Director for Clinical Services Shawnee Mission SDA Hospital, Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Dr. Benson Mugemancuro (Annette) – Former director of the Industrial Emergency Room – Loma Linda Medical Center, Loma Linda, California
Elder & Mrs. Edmond & Averil Julius – Pastor, Seventh-day Adventist Churches in the South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Elder Seth Bardu (Theresa) – Treasurer – South Central and Northeastern Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists
Kahlima Nicole, Dudley, Albert LeRoy Dudley II (Jessicca), Kareema Janae Dudley, Charles Edward Dudley III, Helene Julius Cort (Lee) , Nicole Julius, Charles Julius, Jessica Bardu, Bardu, Kevin Hatchett
Avery Lianna Dudley
Mrs. Lucille Sneed (sister) – Nashville, Tennessee
Mrs. Carolyn Palmer (niece) – Retired Classroom Supervisor, Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Chicago, Illinois
Elder Philip Palmer (Nephew) – Treasurer, South Central Conference – Nashville, Tennessee
Mrs. Carol Dudley Washington (Niece) – employed by Indiana State Welfare Department
Mrs. Felice Dudley Collins (Niece) – Administrative Supervisor of Medicare for State Welfare Department for the City of south Bend, Indiana
After serving over fifteen years in pastoral ministries and thirty-one and one-half years in administrative service to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, he and wife Etta pastored congregations in Shelbyville and Decherd, Tennessee, until he retired. To God be the glory!
-Submitted by Charles Dudley, Jr.