The Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris, D.S.T., was born June 12,
1930, in Philadelphia, Pa.
In 1954, she received a diploma from the Charles Morris School
of Advertising and Journalism in Philadelphia, and from 1977 to 1979
she attended Villanova University in Villanova, Pa. She has studied
in the Executive Management Program at Pennsylvania State University
(1973); the Sun Institute (1975, 1977); the Urban Theology Unit,
Sheffield, England (1977); and the Pennsylvania Foundation for
Pastoral Counseling (1979-81).
She received an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from
Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1981.
Before entering the ordained ministry, Harris had a career as
a public relations executive. She was chief operating officer of a
public relations counseling organization, Joseph V. Baker Associates,
Inc., Philadelphia (1958-68), and she began a 12-year period at the
Sun Oil Company (later the Sun Company). She was manager and
consultant in community relations (1968-72); manager for community and
urban affairs (1972-73); manager for public relations (1973-77); and
senior staff consultant (1977-80).
She became a member of the Episcopal Church at a young age,
and by 1968 was active at the Church of the Advocate on the north side
of Philadelphia. In the 1960s, she was involved in church-related
programs to register black voters in Mississippi, and in 1965 she
participated in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.,
that was led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the Church of the Advocate, Harris served on the vestry and
as a volunteer in the prison ministry. Her interest in ordained
ministry increased during those years, and in 1974, she cut short a
business trip to the west coast to be crucifer at the celebrated
service for the "Philadelphia 11," in which 11 women were ordained to
the priesthood without official Church authorization.
Her rector, the Rev. Paul Washington, became convinced of
Harris' serious interest in seeking holy orders, and he recommended
her to Bishop Lyman C. Ogilby of Pennsylvania. Ogilby ordained her
deacon in September 1979 and priest in October 1980.
She returned to her home parish first as deacon intern in
1979, then as assistant in 1980, and from 1980 to 1984 she was priestin-charge at St. Augustine of Hippo Church, Morristown, Pa. During
this same period she was a chaplain in the Philadelphia County
Prisons. Harris returned to the Church of the Advocate as associate
in 1984, and June 1988 was appointed interim-in-charge.
In 1984, she became the Executive Director of the Episcopal
Church Publishing Co., an umbrella organization that publishes The
Witness, which for 70 years has been the Church's leading journal
advocating peace and justice ministries. Harris has written
extensively for The Witness, most notably a column entitled "A Luta
Continua," an anti-Portuguese rallying cry from the Angolan guerrilla
movement. It means "the struggle continues."
In recent issues her column had addressed South African
terrorism, the life of Mattie Hopkins, inclusive language liturgy and
human sexuality debates before General Election, educating black South
Africans, and hate-group activities in the United States.
In other service, Harris has been a member of the Union of
Black Episcopalians; the Task Force on Recruitment, Training, and
Deployment of Black Clergy; and the Public Relations Society of
America. She has served on the boards of the Episcopal Divinity
School, Cambridge, Mass., the Pennsylvania Foundation for Pastoral
Counseling, and the Seybert Institution.
Suffragan Bishop-elect Harris is divorced with no children,
and makes her home in Philadelphia.