Barbara Clementine Harris

Barbara Clementine Harris

infobox bishopbiog
name = Barbara Clementine Harris

religion = Episcopal Church in the United States of America
See = Massachusetts
Title = Bishop Suffragan
Period = 1989— 2003
consecration = 1989
Predecessor =
Successor = Gayle Elizabeth Harris
post =
bishops =
ordination = 1980
date of birth = birth date and age|1930|6|12
place of birth = Philadelphia
Anglican Portal

The Rt. Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris (born 12 June 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was the first woman ordained a bishop in the Anglican Communion.


Harris attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls (Class of 1948). There, she excelled in music and wrote a weekly column for the Philadelphia version of the Pittsburgh Courier called "High School Notes by Bobbi". After graduation, Harris attended the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism in Philadelphia where she earned a Certificate in 1950.

Harris later attended Villanova University, the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, England, and also graduated from the Pennsylvania Foundation for Pastoral Counseling.

Prior to her ordination to the priesthood, Harris served as head of public relations for the Sun Oil Company.

Harris has long been active in civil rights issues, participating in freedom rides and marches in the 1960s, including the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. cite web |url=|title=Episcopal News Service: Press Release # 88202 |accessdate=2007-03-27 |work=Episcopal News Service] . Throughout her various careers, she has been noted for her liberal views and her outspokenness.


Her rector at the Church of the Advocate on the north side of Philadelphia, the Rev. Paul Washington, became convinced of Harris's serious interest in seeking holy orders, and recommended her to Bishop Lyman C. Ogilby of Pennsylvania. Ogilby ordained her as a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1980. She served as an acolyte in the service in which the first eleven women were ordained priests in the Episcopal Church on 29 July 1974. She was the priest-in-charge of St. Augustine of Hippo Church in Norristown, Pennsylvania from 1980-1984, served as chaplain to the Philadelphia County prisons, and also as counsel to industrial corporations for public policy issues and social concerns. She was named executive director of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company in 1984, and publisher of "The Witness" magazine. In 1988 she served as interim rector of the Church of the Advocate. [cite web |url= |title=Biography of Bishop Barbara C. Harris |accessdate=2007-03-27 |work=Episcopal Diocese of Washington |publisher=Episcopal Diocese of Washington ]

Election as bishop

She was ordained Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on 11 February1989. She retired from her post in Boston in 2003. She was succeeded as bishop suffragan by another African American woman, Gayle Elizabeth Harris.

Currently, Harris serves as Assisting Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC, and as president of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company, publishers of "The Witness" magazine.

External links

* [ Barbara Harris' oral history video excerpts] at The National Visionary Leadership Project

Major works

*cite book |last=Harris |first=Barbara C. |title=Parting Words: A Farewell Discourse |origyear=2003 |publisher=Cowley Publications |location=Boston |isbn=1561012173
*cite book |last=Harris |first=Barbara C. |title=Beyond Powershift: Theological questions in a changing world (The Westminster Tanner-McMurrin lectures on the history and philosophy of religion at Westminster College) |origyear=1993 |publisher=Westminster College |isbn=B0006PCK34


*cite book |last=Bozzuti-Jones |first=Mark |title=Miter Fits Just Fine: A Story about the Rt. Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris: The First Woman Bishop in the Anglican Communion |origyear=2003 |publisher=Cowley Publications |location=Boston |isbn=1561012203


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