Portraits: Rev. Howard Hart

Portraits: Rev. Howard Hart

Rev. Hart was born at Fall River, MA, in 1933. His father was a Roman Catholic and his mother was a Congregational/Unitarian. As a child he did not attend church. He enlisted in the army after junior high school and served in Korea. His trumpet played an important part of his life while he was growing up. In junior and senior high school he played in dance bands, following in his father’s footsteps. During the latter part of his high school years some friends from the United Presbyterian Church invited him to church to play his trumpet in their minstrel show. During this time he was exposed to God’s Word. The Holy Spirit worked in his heart and the Scriptures began to take on meaning and he received Christ as his Savior. About a year after his conversion he had a desire to share his faith and made a decision to enter into the ministry of Jesus Christ. He received the support of his pastor, the Rev. G. I. Williamson.

The first step of his higher education was at Providence-Barrington Bible College, in Providence, RI, where he graduated with a BA in Philosophy and Psychology. It was there that he met and married Barbara Monson in 1958. During his college years he was active in Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Fall River, MA. He served in the National Guard as a staff sergeant for six years, during his high school and college years.

He attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, from 1958–1961 (M. Div.) During the summers he served internships in Portland, ME, and Harrisville, PA, Orthodox Presbyterian churches. After seminary he accepted a call to Immanuel OPC in Bellmawr, NJ (1961–1965). He was ordained by the Presbytery of New York and New England (OPC) on March 28, 1962. Their daughter, Deborah, joined them in 1963. Their next move was to Bridgewater, SD to Trinity OPC (1965–1969). He attended North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, SD 1968–1969 pursuing a Masters of Arts in Education (MA). Howard was licensed by the Reformed Church in the United States on October 31, 1969, after which he served Eureka RCUS in Eureka, SD, (1969–1976); Hope RCUS in Sutton, Nebraska (1976–1983); called by the RCUS to serve as a Missionary at Large in Cincinnati, OH, to labor there with small groups (1983–1985); Faith Presbyterian Church in America in Cincinnati (1985–1986;  Their daughter, Debby, was married in this church to Terry Van Zee of New Holland, SD, in 1986); Peace RCUS in Garner, Iowa (1986–1993); and St. John’s RCUS in Lincoln, Nebraska (1993–1998). While in Nebraska two grandsons were added to the family.

Howard retired from the active ministry in October 1998. The Harts moved to Mitchell, SD, where they now live. From 1999–2005, Rev. Hart was a writer for the RCUS and produced 1,000 Sunday School lessons. During this time he was also the Administrator of the Reformed Resource Center. He served various area churches by filling the pulpit for Sunday worship. Pastor Hart served four interims at Grace Church, Mitchell, SD. In 2007 he received his Dr. of Divinity (D.D.) from St. Luke’s Divinity School. Dr. Hart’s real passion was teaching the Bible. He fulfilled this by teaching seven courses at Mitchell Christian High School from 2004–2010. He loved his students and they loved him. In the summers he was employed by the Prehistoric Indian Village as a tour host.

He is now retired from teaching but remains active in serving on two Synodical Committees (Home Missions and Christian Education). Although he has battled various health problems, he remains active and praises God for how He has led him for the past fifty years in the ministry and that God has given him the strength to continue on in a limited capacity.

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