"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Reverend Thomas A. Harris, III was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. He accepted Christ at age twelve while attending Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
In 1985, he received his B.A. degree in Political Science and Business Administration from Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Reverend Harris relocated in California in 1987 and united with the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church. He served faithfully as the Assistant Superintendent of the Sunday school and worked with various auxiliaries in the church. He acknowledged his call to the ministry on June 12, 1987. He was ordained in October 1990 and he served as an Associate Minister under the leadership of Pastor Arilee Hightower.
In February 1993, Reverend Thomas A. Harris, III, a son of Pleasant Grove, was called to be the fourth pastor of the church, and he is steadfastly concentrating on moving Pleasant Grove forward to enact a brand new vision placed before him by the Heavenly Father. He is determined for the city of Oakland to benefit from the spiritual growth of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Under his leadership, growth has taken place in the Men’s Ministry, Prayer Meeting, Survivor Ministry, and the Women’s Ministry. Reverend Harris was extremely proud of the development and publication of the Pleasant Baptist Grove Church monthly newsletter, “Calvary”, however no longer being printed, a weekly emailed newsletter is sent out to it’s members.
Rev. Harris has faced many trials during his tenure, as he is pastoring during the time of great change in the city of Oakland. The gentrification has been at the door of Pleasant Grove, but Rev. Harris, along with the mayor and city council members worked together to reach an understanding. A block party was given to hopefully meet the new neighbors in the area and unify the city of West Oakland as we joined together to make a joyful noise.
Under Rev. Harris' ministry, Pleasant Grove has moved into the new age and taken the church online. The church has reached thousands of people through online videos and sharing messages to people whom otherwise may not have been able to reach the church, and Rev. Harris isn't done yet. He is planning to make a big impact on the major homeless problem that is effecting the city. He wants to find ways to provide shelter and food to those in need. He is working on building upon the food ministry that Pleasant Grove currently has and expanding it include major food giveaways with food from the food bank. He is also working with the city on a plan to house the homeless in local lots, including Pleasant Grove.
Reverend Harris has served as an officer of the California State Youth and Young Adult Convention and the Home and Foreign Mission Association. Reverend Harris serves as an officer of the Baptist Minister’s Union of Oakland, California. He also is a Board Member of the West Oakland Health Center. Reverend Harris is currently perusing a Masters degree in Theology.
Reverend Harris resides with his family in San Leandro, CA. He is married to Sister Keryl Harris, and they have been blessed with a son, Rhaun Harris, and a daughter, Reenah Harris. Reverend Harris is a devoted husband and father. He is very active in the education and development of his children. He is a man of great morals, great judgment, and great leadership.