Central Presbyterian Church Celebrates the Installation of Jason Harris as Senior Pastor
NEW YORK, April 14, 2014 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Central Presbyterian Church (Central) will celebrate the installation of The Reverend Jason Harris (photo) as its Senior Pastor at a special service to be held on Sunday, April 27, at 5:00 p.m., New York time, in Central's sanctuary. The service will be open to the public and will include remarks by guest speaker, The Reverend Dr. J. Howard Edington, a dynamic pastor, educator and author.
Jason began serving Central in August 2011 as Director of Renewal under an arrangement with the New City Commons Foundation, at the request of Central's Session and The Reverend Dr. Douglas Webster. Doug served at the time as Senior Pastor of Central on a part-time basis, while continuing to teach full-time as Professor of Preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Welcoming Jason to his new call by the congregation as Central's Senior Pastor, Doug stated that he "was thrilled to have Jason succeed him as Senior Pastor of Central to help ensure, with God's blessing, the continued revitalization of the Central congregation as a strong family of faith."
Since Jason joined Central, the historic congregation on Manhattan's Upper East Side has experienced a remarkable renewal and resurgence in its worship life and mission to the city. Central emphasizes the historic, orthodox Christian faith, thoughtful preaching, enriching music, meaningful community, a commitment to the arts, and service to those suffering from poverty and injustice.
Jason received his Masters of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University. Jason is married to his wife, Ashley, who also graduated from Princeton University as well as from Columbia Law School. Jason and Ashley have three young children, Luke, Olivia and Eliza.
All are invited to attend this joyous celebration.
Words of Support and Endorsement.
"My wife and I have enjoyed worshipping from time to time at Central Presbyterian Church, and have particularly appreciated the ministry of Jason Harris. The church is thriving under his leadership, with a remarkable ministry to the robust eclectic mix of Manhattan folk, and we look forward to seeing God's blessing on this work as it now goes forward."
-- N.T. WRIGHT, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, School of Divinity, University of St. Andrews; formerly the Bishop of Durham, Church of England
"Jason Harris is a visionary pastor who is ideally suited to lead Central Presbyterian Church through the spiritual currents of New York City. His vision for faithfulness will enrich and advance the calling of this historic church and serve well the needs of the city."
-- JAMES DAVISON HUNTER, Labrosse Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory, University of Virginia; Executive Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture
"Jason Harris is a great young preacher, friend, and trusted colleague in the Presbyterian ministry and I am so glad that, in addition, he has committed himself to parish ministry here in New York City as well. We pray for the ministry of Central on the Upper East Side and look forward to many years of God's blessing on the work."
-- TIM KELLER, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
"I have been both encouraged and inspired by the way our brothers and sisters at Central Presbyterian Church have passionately pursued God's call to justice through their compassion, generosity, and commitment to relieving the suffering of the world's most vulnerable. I am confident that your light will shine in New York City as it has around the world as you continue to 'seek justice for the oppressed.' I am grateful for your friendship and for Central Presbyterian Church's partnership with International Justice Mission in God's redemptive and restorative work."
-- GARY HAUGEN, President and CEO, International Justice Mission
"Believing that what goes deepest to the heart goes widest to the world, Jason Harris and the leaders of Central Presbyterian Church are guiding their church to extend the mission of Jesus Christ broadly to New York and beyond as the people of the church are being taught to live out of union with Jesus Christ. With a view for the common good of the city, by speaking the ancient truth of the faith to the late-modern world, and with worship that is lavishly beautiful, Central goes deep and wide with the good, the true and the beautiful of Christ himself."
-- JOSEPH "SKIP" RYAN, Chancellor, Redeemer Seminary, Dallas
"Jason has revitalized this historic city-center church with his compelling preaching and his vision for a faithful, engaged, and thoughtful urban congregation. I find his sermons both spiritually and intellectually challenging. And I love the talented young musicians attracted to the church. My wife and I attend Central whenever we find ourselves in New York."
-- MICHAEL MCCONNELL, Richard and Frances Mallery Professor of Law, Stanford Law School; Director, Stanford Constitutional Law Center; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; formerly, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
"Rev. Jason Harris represents a new generation of thoughtful, gracious, and dynamic leaders we so desperately need in our religious communities. His installation as Senior Pastor to one of the most distinctive churches in New York City is an occasion for celebration and a welcome sign of hope for urban ministry that joins theological conviction, vibrant community, and concern for the common good. Congratulations to Rev. Harris and to Central Presbyterian Church!"
-- ERIC GREGORY, Professor of Religion, Princeton University
"With the installation of the Rev. Jason Harris as pastor, Central Presbyterian adds a new page to the story of its rich cultural legacy in New York City. Once again, the historic Christian message of repentance, forgiveness, and renewal is central to the work of this historic congregation. The future will be exciting to see."
-- ROBERTA GREEN AHMANSON, Writer, Philanthropist, Patron of the Arts; formerly, Board Chair, Museum of Biblical Art
"The prospect of the historic Central Presbyterian Church being led by the supremely gifted Jason Harris is profoundly encouraging to anyone who cares about the full proclamation of the Gospel in New York City. That this landmark church should have found such leadership 'at such a time as this' is glorious evidence that God has not abandoned the cultural centers of American culture, but on the contrary, that he is answering the prayers of generations in our time."
-- ERIC METAXAS, New York Times Bestselling Author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; President, Socrates in the City
"Rev. Jason Harris' new work at Central Presbyterian has stirred my heart as an exciting effort to integrate gospel, biblical living into the heart of Manhattan. The diverse, creative leaders in education, arts and business, as well as families with children present, offers a necessary community and a vigorous cultural presence. I am delighted to journey with Jason to see this congregation grow."
-- MAKO FUJIMURA, Artist, The Four Holy Gospels
"Jason Harris is using his many gifts to build a vibrant congregation at Central Presbyterian with a heart for the City and for the needy. Our partnership together in seeing a new life direction for the children of the South Bronx is a special joy. We are excited to see what God will do in the future through Jason and Central."
-- ED MORGAN, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Bowery Mission
"I have known Jason since he was a Young Life kid meeting in our home in New Canaan, CT. He was a leader then, and he is a leader now in every way—articulate, determined and smart! We love partnering with Jason and the Central Presbyterian Church in New York City and have enjoyed his teaching at NCS Manhattan in midtown."
-- JIM LANE, Founder, New Canaan Society
"I had the privilege of worshipping under and getting to know Jason last Fall during a four month stay in New York. I was absolutely bowled over by every aspect of his and Central's ministry. Jason's sermons are terrific—both carefully exegetical and full of wisdom on difficult issues—and there is a palpable sense of excitement about God's work in and through Central. This is the beginning of what looks to be a very special season at Central."
-- DAVID SKEEL, S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
"I consider Jason Harris to be an outstanding young Presbyterian minister. He has a keen understanding of what churches need in this hour, and he addresses them with personal and theological integrity."
-- GEORGE HUNSINGER, McCord Professor of Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
"When I look back upon my years of work with Jason in the seminary classroom, I must gratefully acknowledge that God has been preparing him, at every step, for this new responsibility of servant leadership. Using the language of Ephesians 4, Jason is called and gifted to equip the saints at Central Presbyterian Church for the work of ministry, and to do so apostolically, prophetically, evangelistically, pastorally, and formatively."
-- DARRELL GUDER, Henry Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
"Flourishing in the Lord! Central Presbyterian with Pastor Jason Harris as senior minister is indeed flourishing in the Lord: with strong intelligent preaching and teaching; with rich music of all kinds; with weekday activities for kids and older (and a great gym!); with ever increasing numbers of engaged participants from diverse backgrounds, of all ages, who bring wonderfully varied gifts to share. It is very exciting to see this growing community reaching out and drawing people into fellowship."
-- ELSIE MCKEE, Archibald Alexander Professor of Reformation Studies and History of Worship, Princeton Theological Seminary
"Given its strategic location in Manhattan, Central's potential impact for Christ is tremendously exciting. It's obvious the Lord has gathered great 'people resources' to this church. In Jason Harris, God has provided Central with a pastoral, visionary leader who is wonderfully equipped and energized for Gospel ministry. I look forward to seeing all the great things the Lord does in and through the people and ministry of Central in the years ahead."
-- JEFFREY JEREMIAH, Stated Clerk, Evangelical Presbyterian Church
More About Jason Harris. Prior to joining Central, Jason served as the founding Campus Minister for the chapter of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Northwestern University, which he began in 2005 shortly after receiving his ministerial degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to RUF, Jason has developed ministry partnerships and longstanding relationships with the International Justice Mission, the Bowery Mission, the New Canaan Society, FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools), Young Life and The Veritas Forum. Jason was raised in New Canaan, Connecticut.
More About Central Church. Central, located at 593 Park Avenue (at 64th Street) in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was founded in 1821 in a schoolroom on Mulberry Street. The founding pastor, The Rev. William Patton, 22 years of age at the time, was a graduate of Middlebury College and had attended the newly-formed Princeton Theological Seminary. Central grew rapidly under Patton's leadership and became an influential institution in New York City and beyond.
Historically, Central has demonstrated a strong commitment to mission, and started churches, schools and hospitals in Appalachia and inland China in the 1890s. Central's current building, a Neo-Gothic structure, was constructed in 1922 as a home for the former Park Avenue Baptist Church with funding provided by John D Rockefeller, Jr. Central held its first service at the Park Avenue location on Sunday, September 22, 1929.
Central, a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, is committed to building a strong community of faith in Jesus Christ that enables people from diverse backgrounds to experience the transformative power of the Gospel through insightful teaching, expressive worship, authentic prayer and meaningful relationships. At the same time, Central seeks to provide a setting in which people who are undecided about their faith or religious commitment may freely investigate the claims of Christianity. As a congregation, Central strives to serve the people of New York in humility and love and to have a positive impact on the world around us.
Pastor, Central Presbyterian Church
Stated Clerk, Central Presbyterian Church