Antipas L. Harris Appointed Dean of the All New Urban Renewal Center
Dr. Antipas L. Harris has been appointed as the founding dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia, spring 2017.
Dr. Harris has served on the faculty at Regent University School of Divinity for the past nine years, most recently as associate professor. Born and raised in Manchester, Georgia, Harris has lived and served in ministry in Atlanta, Boston and New Haven. He taught at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and New York Theological Seminary North Campus at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, NY.
Harris has extensive experience in community leadership with global connections in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria. His leadership, scholarship and ministry bridges the academy, the community and the Church.
Antipas believes that the Church is a critical partner in the community and key to advancing holistic transformation, including racial reconciliation and social justice. Having served the past three years as Theologian in Residence at First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, Harris is no stranger to the congregation. FPC is a crucial partner and key supporter of the Urban Renewal Center.
Several of Norfolk pastors are supportive of the center. Presiding bishop of Calvary Alliance of Churches and Ministries, Bishop B. Courtney McBath comments, "The establishment of the Urban Renewal Center has great potential to change lives and transform families. Through effective collaboration with churches, ministries and other agencies, the URC will demonstrate the power in the practical application of the gospel." Also, Rev. Jim Wood, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, is very enthusiastic about the vision and mission of the Urban Renewal Center and is keenly supportive of Harris' appointment to the role of dean of the center. The URC office is located at FPC.
Harris completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at Boston University; he earned his Master of Sacred Theology degree at Yale Divinity School; he completed his Master of Divinity degree at Candler School of Theology (Emory University); and his Bachelor of Arts degree is from LaGrange College.
Harris’ scholarship focuses on the intersection of Church and Society. He is interested in spiritual and social revitalization in the city. With concern for all of humanity, Harris' leadership spans beyond the conventional congregational context and is inclusive of inter-religious dialogue, cultural, racial and trans-ethnic healing, concern about the situations of homelessness, incarceration, inequality in education, and more. Harris is a public intellectual. He writes and speaks on issues of faith and public concern. National leader and minister, Bishop TD Jakes has said, "Dr. Antipas Harris is a scholar and modern-day theologian who is not only academically trained, but a gifted orator ...."
The Urban Renewal Center is positioned to serve, support, and build meaningful coalitions to awaken the community to its promised wholeness. With Harris' leadership, the center will bridge community leadership, educational outreach, and ministry to make a difference for common good.
To aid in its vision to awaken the community's wholeness, the URC's long-range goal is to build partnerships throughout the religious community, service organizations, the business community, municipalities and institutions of higher learning. One should expect the center to develop and convene a plethora of coalitions that focus on issues in the community by way of think tanks, public lectures and learning opportunities, ministry and leadership training, summits, and community engagement opportunities, i.e., youth, mentoring, outreach, etc. There will be lots of opportunities for the public to participate both at the URC and with the URC sponsored projects. This center exists to encourage, enrich, educate, and ignite the city's potential to "rise to the call!"