The Reverend Doctor Derrick Harkins Has served as our Senior Minister since November of 1997.
Prior to beginning his pastorate at Nineteenth Street, Dr. Harkins served as the Senior Minister of the New Hope Baptist Church of Dallas Texas. Dr. Harkins’ ministerial career began at the Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York where he was a seminarian intern before becoming Assistant Minister. He frequently represented the church in local and national media on issues ranging from racially motivated violence, to unfair billboard advertising. He has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities including, Bucknell, Cornell, Iona College, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Doctor Harkins also served as a consultant for the 1989 Academy Award nominated documentary on the life of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Rev. Harkins was appointed National Director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and was responsible for all aspects of engaging the faith community.
Formerly a Vice President with the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance, Dr. Harkins continues to be engaged with a number of religious and civic organizations. He has preached and been extensively engaged in relief and development work in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Jamaica. An active voice in the debate for comprehensive immigration reform, he has worked closely with the Immigration Policy Center, and Esperanza for America to expand the combined immigration reform efforts of the African American and Hispanic communities. He has appeared in a number of media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC and NPR, and was one of the platform speakers, addressing over 250,000 attendees on the National Mall at the March, 2010 March for America Rally. Dr. Harkins’ commitment to social justice has also included confronting the disparities inherent within the criminal justice system, and advocating equitable access to health care. Along with writing for the Sojourners blog God’s Politics, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors for World Relief, Faith in Public Life, Sojourners, and Union Theological Seminary. He is also engaged with “New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel” a group of scholars and leaders developing curricula and platforms for discussion that seek to address the complexities of contemporary Israel and the West Bank.
Dr. Harkins was a contributing author for The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama (Judson Press) He has earned a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film, from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, NY, and a Doctorate in Homiletics from United Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio. He is also a Fellow with the Christian Leadership Initiative of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He and his wife Juli are the parents of two daughters, Lauren and Shannon.