VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/25/15)—The American Baptist Churches of the South (ABCOTS) has announced that the Rev. Dr. James Mitchell Harrison, former President of ABCOTS (2011-2013), has been elected to serve the Region of the South as Regional Executive Minister. The election occurred on Thursday, April 16, 2015, following the recommendation of the Search Committee, and an affirmative vote of the Region’s Board of Directors, and body of delegates attending the 45th Annual Session held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Dr. Harrison, the fourth person to come to this position, succeeds the Rev. Dr. Walter L. Parrish, II, who led the region for 36 years, beginning January 1979. Dr. Harrison will begin his duties on August 1, 2015.
Dr. Harrison serves Main Street Baptist Church in Smithfield, Virginia, as Pastor, a post he has served since December 1996. He was ordained by the Ministers Council of Area II, Region of the South, in November 1983. Drs. Henry and Ella Pearson Mitchell served as Examiners. Dr. Harrison began his professional career at the Zion Union Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, serving as Administrative Assistant to the Pastor. The late Rev. Raymond Allen Hailes was the Pastor and became mentor to Dr. Harrison.
He has served five (5) other pastorates across Virginia. He has done adjunct teaching with Virginia’s Community College System for the past 17 years, and served as an institutional chaplain with the Chaplain’s Service of the Churches of Virginia. Additionally, he sits on several boards of Directors, including Community Housing Partners of Virginia, Inc.
Dr. Harrison holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia (B.A.), 1983; the School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia (M.Div.), 1986; and United Theological Seminary at Dayton, Ohio (D.Min), 1997.
“The Board of Directors, along with the constituent congregants in ABCOTS, welcomes Dr. Harrison to this new post and applauds the work of the Search Committee which was led by Mr. Coleman McLean of Rockville, Maryland,” said Mr. T. Harding Lacy, Jr., ABCOTS President.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.