Oral History

Cedric Harmon

  Listen to the interview.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

  Read a transcript of the interview.

  Read Cedric Harmon's profile.

Biographical Notes

Pastor Cedric Harmon is a native Midwesterner with Southern and New England influences—a surprise last child to older parents who shared with him the gift of experience and wisdom. He was a precocious youth excelling academically and religiously at a very early age. In fact, he announced a calling to ministry at age 8 and has been active in church ministry most of his life. He is a licensed and ordained minister affiliated with the Progressive National Baptist Convention, National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, and The Fellowship. His childhood familial and ministerial experiences taught him that religion is something that you discuss and explore over time. This sense of exploration led him to numerous religious communities while he was a student at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Harmon had decided that he would delay going directly into seminary, and so he attended Emerson College and graduated with a BS in media management.

After graduation and some time working for a Boston publishing company, he moved to Washington, D.C. which has been his home every since. Initially, he found a job within the non-profit sector and decided the non-profit arena nurtured him and mirrored his religious values of a meaningful life where equality and justice mattered. Concomitantly, he felt the pull back into ministry and entered Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C. While deciding to go to seminary he also began his first same gendered partnership. His time at Wesley also spurred him into religious activism. Cedric’s deep faith calls him to do the work of justice and equality and equip others to do the same. For thirteen years, he worked as the Associate Field Director for Religious Outreach at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, where he identified clergy, provided media training and brought them to Washington, D.C. for legislative testimony about issues of religion and government. Although he began his work with the organization in 1996, his portfolio expanded to include reproductive justice issues, welfare reform, public education, and LGBT equality.

Harmon left Americans United for Separation of Church and State in 2008 and began volunteering to organize clergy to secure marriage equality in Washington, D.C. He was already known for his writing and television appearances on human rights and social justice issues, and he serves on several boards having to do with sexuality and religion. At the same time, he became involved in the founding of an affirming and inclusive congregation in Washington, D.C. He has served as associate pastor and is currently the senior pastor of the congregation. Harmon recognizes his career trajectory as religious organizing and activism and sees his role as pastor as a function of this activism. While serving this “radically inclusive” congregation, he also is the Minister of Welcoming Resources for Many Voices—Sharing Ways to Welcome in Faith. He is immensely proud that their website (www.manyvoices.org) provides liturgical and educational resources for allies and partners in the work of inclusion.

Recognizing the need for a balanced life, he delights in living simply and mindfully. He loves the arts seeing them as a way to break through discrimination and oppression. Cedric enjoys his longtime friendships, cooking, being near a peaceful body of water, and going to concerts and museums. His foundational values of equality and respect are lived out in his work and hopes that humanity finds ways to relate to each other from places of love and respect.