State Street Preacher | What’s up with that?
Will Samuel Chambers move with Old Navy?
For years, I’ve dealt with the street preacher in front of the Old Navy at State and Washington telling me I’m going to hell if I smoke, if I’m a homosexual, etc. Now that Old Navy has moved up the street, is the preacher man going to follow?—Jim C., Uptown
For 43 years, the Rev. Samuel Chambers and his “You can’t go to heaven if you…” message have, for better or worse, been fixtures on State Street. Over the last decade, Chambers has become known as the Old Navy Preacher as he made his pulpit the sidewalk outside 35 North State, home to the fleece-centric clothing retailer until it opened a block north in mid-November. Last week, we found Chambers still holding court at his favorite spot. He had just arrived with his portable speaker in tow and was attaching a microphone and gathering the religious pamphlets he passes out for a donation. The Mississippi-born 73-year-old seemed to have no plans of carving out a new missionary post.
“I like this corner because a lot of people know me here. They don’t know me up there,” he said of Old Navy’s new 150 North State Street address. “People are on the Internet calling me the Old Navy Preacher. A lot of them probably think I’m going to move, but I’d rather not.”
An Old Navy employee said they won’t miss having to accommodate Chambers’s bathroom breaks. The Reverend said he now heads to Target or Macy’s to answer nature’s call.
As Chambers began his sermon, paper behind him covering the windows of the shuttered Old Navy announced a Gap would soon occupy the building. “I might be the Gap Preacher now!” he said with a toothy grin. Then he picked up the mic and asked for a donation.