Spirituality is one of the most important aspects of African American life. As tragic circumstances continue to hit the Richmond community, Rev. Albert Cobbs, Jr., is going beyond the four walls of his church to remind community members that by holding on to their faith, they can persevere.
Rev. Cobbs of Providence Missionary Baptist Church is a native of Oakland, graduating from Oakland Technical High School in 1984. He was a preacher’s son, raised in a very strict environment. While he wasn’t sheltered from the realities of life, his parents did provide a shield of protection.
“I did things to try and prove that I wasn’t going to be a preacher, and more so, to prove that I wasn’t my father,” he said.
His plan was to stay away from ministry. He had served as a musician for his father for many years but began feeling a sense of dissatisfaction. However, it was through a revival experience he attended with his father that God revealed his purpose to him.
Rev. Cobbs remembers the night that God sealed the deal and revealed his call to preach.
“I then headed to school. I attended Trinity Theological Seminary in Indiana and received a Bachelor’s in Theology,” said Rev. Cobbs, who currently is a Master’s of Divinity candidate at Golden Gate Seminary.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2004, he received a phone call asking him to serve as the senior pastor of Providence Baptist Church. He agreed and was installed in February 2005,
Since then, his ministry has grown dramatically. He started out with a congregation of about 80 members that has grown to over 900 people.
Beside every strong man there is a strong woman, and Carolyn Cobbs has supported her husband and his ministry for the last 24 years. From this union, they have two children, Chris and Nicole. Chris is an 11th grade vocal emphasis student at Oakland School for the Arts, and Nicole is a recent graduate of Cal State East Bay, with a degree in biology.
Rev. Cobbs not only teaches but also tries to makes significant changes in the lives of the people with whom he works. “I want to be very transparent, because I want to reach everybody, all ages. People don’t want to see you as a ‘holy-roller,’ because that is not reality, and we all have problems. I try to build more of a family relationship,” he said.