By David Hart
Sherman Avenue Church
Rev. David Hart celebrated his first anniversary as the pastor of Sherman Avenue Church the same way he celebrated his arrival — on the streets of the Northside.
On this occasion, however, there were no streamers, no food, no music, no balloons or party favors. Just the sun peeking through the clouds and a somber quiet that hung thick and viscous in the air.
Rev. Hart was in a Northside apartment complex talking to residents who had been affected by recent gun violence. As he shared prayers and listened to stories, children rode their bikes cautiously through the crowded parking lot.
If it seemed Rev. Hart was at home in that environment, it’s because he was. Rev. Hart was born and raised on the Northside. He was educated in Madison public schools (Lindbergh Elementary, Gompers Middle) and graduated from Madison East High School, where he met his wife, Azure. They have two sons, Ronnie (almost 17) and David (16). Both attend Madison public schools.
Rev. Hart is also an attorney. He has practiced law for 15 years and has served as a criminal prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney in Madison. Currently, he is a trial attorney in the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s office. He is active in Madison’s civic and arts communities, has served on several government and nonprofit boards and ran for alder on the Northside in 2003.
In his first year at Sherman Avenue Church, Rev. Hart has worked diligently to establish relationships between the church and the Northside community. For instance, with the assistance of Cyndy Hoffman, the church’s outreach coordinator, he has established a long-term partnership with Mendota School. He also serves as a weekly tutor and mentor at Mendota. Through an initiative called “Know Your Neighbor,” Rev. Hart has invited community leaders, elected officials and business professionals to worship and speak at Sherman Avenue church.
Rev. Hart looks forward to the work ahead, including a domestic violence sermon series and a Trunk or Treat celebration in October. He is eager for the opportunity God has blessed him with to minister to the Northside.
“My life has been a journey toward love,” Hart said. “With all the opportunities granted me, I’ve always felt called to serve others, to make a difference in the world — first through law, and now ministry. With each transition, I’ve tried to share more power, to diminish self and enlarge others, to be less fuel and more catalyst.”
Sherman Avenue Church is one of the oldest churches in Madison. Located at 3705 N. Sherman Ave. on Madison’s beautiful Northside, the church provides active ministries and comfort and counsel to all souls.