Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church held its 7th Annual Pastor Appreciation ceremony on Sunday, June 9, honoring Pastor Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine for 29 years of service as pastor and 36 years of preaching.More than a pastor, Bernstine is a community activist and peacemaker with a strong interest in community health. He has been heavily involved in local efforts to end community violence.He served as a lead clergyman in the Ceasefire/Lifelines to Healing anti-violence initiative in Richmond. He recently obtained a master’s degree in psychology and counseling and was awarded a stipend to pursue a license in Marriage and Family Therapy, although he will remain involved in community efforts to end gun violence in Richmond.
Bernstine was called to ministry in 1977 as a student at Laney College. He transferred to Bishop College in Dallas, Texas before enrolling at Vanderbilt Divinity School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
In 1984, he received a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in preaching and biblical studies. He later attended United Theological Seminary where he earned a Ph.D. in Ministry.
In March 2012, Bernstine was among 100 clergy invited to the White House to participate in the African-American Clergy Forum and meet President Obama.