Rev. Harold C. "Hal" Doster
Ordained Disciples of Christ minister; this information is from his biographical summary for his 2007 July 50th Class Reunion at Yale Divinity School and for his 2012 June 60th Anniversary of Ordination at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Willoughby OH.
Hal, as nicknamed by his high school basketball coach, was raised a fifth generation "Disciple" in the First Christian Church of Willoughby, Ohio, while also sharing Boy Scout and Sunday School opportunities in the Mayfield Methodist Church nearer his home. He affirmed his calling to ministry in a consecration service at Ohio's Camp Christian (Disciples) in 1947. His first ministry began in his freshman year at Bethany College, when a group of seven students hitchhiked each week to McKinleyville WV, a mining town six miles distant to begin a Sunday school in a chicken coop clinging to the side of a mountain; this chicken coop became the town's first church. As a sophomore and through his senior year at Bethany he served a student ministry in the First Christian Church of Flushing, Ohio, a ministry once produced in pictures for LIFE Magazine but never published.
After graduation from Bethany College, Hal studied at Yale Divinity School and served the New Canaan United Methodist Church as Youth Minister. Taking a seminary internship his third year, he developed a Pastoral Unity in the Ohio River valley, involving six rural churches in Meigs and Athens Counties with support from the Ohio Christian Missionary Society. Returning to Yale the following year to complete his degree, he served as a Field Work Supervisor and Practicum Instructor for Yale Divinity School, his first experience in college teaching.
These experiences in pastoral service and higher education ministries set the pattern for Hal's more than 63 year response to God's calling. His career has included pastorates (or interims) in 20 churches in eight states as well as eight teaching or administrative portfolios in six colleges. From 1988-1991 he was a program director for the National Evangelistic Association; from 2004-2006 he was a Hospice chaplain; he has served on the Cherry Log Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Chaplain Corps from its inception in 2007 to the present.
In both ministry and education Hal served on denominational as well as educational boards: for the Disciples the General Board, the Board of Unified Promotion, and President of the Commission on Colleges; in higher education as President of the Association of Private Colleges in Missouri and being a Commissioner for the North Central Accrediting Association.
Pastoral opportunities have ranged from home mission ministries in town and country settings, suburban and inner city churches, and eleven interim ministries. Active in Regional, General, and ecumenical ministries, Hal has led programs in new congregational establishment (21 in Georgia and South Carolina), church revitalization (16 in Georgia), evangelism (with the National Evangelistic Association), gift planning and deferred giving (five colleges and four congregations), historical church preservation (with a Bicentennial 1811-2011 website www.brushrunchurch.org on the Brush Run Church in southwest Pennsylvania (first congregation of the Disciples of Christ), research and resources in reconciliation on www.reconciliationcenter.org and several studies presenting religious change in undergraduate students, church related higher education, interim ministries and successful patterns of conflict resolution leading to reconciliation.
To prepare for ministries in higher education beyond degrees from Bethany College and Yale Divinity School he studied philosophy, intellectual history and educational administration for the MA and PhD degrees at the University of Michigan. His positions in college and university work have included Director and Assistant to the President portfolios at Bethany College and Oglethorpe University, Deanships, and Professorships at Alice Lloyd and Potomac State Colleges and Presidencies at Culver-Stockton College and Atlantic Christian (now Barton) College.
Awarded the Alumni Achievement Award and the Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree by Bethany College, Hal's other honors include Outstanding Young Men of America; Who's Who in America; Who's Who in Colleges and Universities; Community Leaders of America; Service to Appalachian Education; Outstanding Religious Leaders of the 20th Century (Oxford, England) and the "Hall of Fame" installation by Mayfield High School (Ohio), his Alma Mater.
(Last Updated: 2012 July 12)