Who's Who of Top Executives

A.R. Bernard

Title: Founder, Senior Pastor
Company: Christian Cultural Center
Location: Saint James, New York, United States

A.R. Bernard, founder and senior pastor at the Christian Cultural Center, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in pastoral and religious services.

Rev. Bernard is the founder, chief executive officer, and senior pastor of the Christian Cultural Center, a Brooklyn-based church and community center with a 42-year history and a congregation of more than 40,000. Born in Panama, Rev. Bernard holds two Master of Arts degrees, a Master’s in professional studies and a Master of Divinity. He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Nyack College, Wagner College, and the Alliance Theological Seminary. Before being called to ministry, Rev. Bernard enjoyed a decade-long career in the financial services sector, rising to become an operations specialist in the consumer lending division of the Bankers Trust Company. He founded the Christian Cultural Center in 1979 with his wife, Karen, intending to build the parish as a “third place” for congregants to find spiritual, cultural, and intellectual growth as part of a rich and supportive community.

Rev. Bernard continues to oversee the mission and operations of the Christian Cultural Center, including its numerous programs and projects. Among these are The New School for Biblical Theology, the seminary arm of the Christian Cultural Center, media arms ARBTV and ARB Radio, and a $1.2 billion housing development project. Under his guidance, the Christian Cultural Center has expanded to three campuses across the United States, and he is currently working toward the launch of C4, a new church networking organization anticipated to open in late 2021. Rev. Bernard is the current President of the Board of Directors of the New York Commission of Religious Leaders and the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, and the chair of American Bible Society’s National Church Council. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Luis Palau Association and Faith & Prejudice, and is active in numerous other faith and culture-focused organizations, building on a legacy of service spanning decades and including work with New York City mayors Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg.

In recognition of a lifetime of dedication to faith, to his community, and to his congregants, Rev. Bernard has been featured extensively in media and presented with numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from former President Barack Obama. In addition, Rev. Bernard has been named the Most Influential New Yorker, Most Influential Black New Yorker, and Most Influential American Clergy, and is the executive director of two critically-lauded films, “Emanuel,” 2015, and “Chicago: America’s Hidden War,” 2021. Rev. Bernard considers his family and his 50-year marriage to his wife, Karen, to be a “personal milestone” and a continuing source of strength, and he remains passionate about and dedicated to his pastoral work.

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