HARRIS CHAPEL COGIC HISTORY

Harris Chapel Church of God in Christ had a very humble beginning. Its founder, Elder Marion Harris, was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost at Tipton Church of God in Christ in Tipton, Tennessee in 1943. After that, he would walk from Millington to Tipton to attend service. Seeing the great need for a place to worship that was closer, he established a place in Millington, Tennessee.

His first meeting place was a bush harbor that was erected in front of his home on Sledge Road near the highway. This was done to attract members to his newly found religion. Many nights he often had only the coal oil torches that gave light to preach by. This went on for a while. After many people in that area gained more confidence in sanctification, they came to his revival services and were saved. Some of the people that were saved were his wife, Mrs. Ida Harris; his brother, Jimmie Harris, Sr.; and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Nettie Harris. Some other members that united with Elder Harris were Sister Jordan, Sister Catherine Walls, Elder and Sister Flippin and other children of Mother Neal.

In 1947, this congregation built a small church with Elder M. Harris and Deacon Jimmie Harris doing most of the labor. They worshipped in this building until 1957 when the church fell down from the wear and tear due to the weather. They did without a Church, holding service in Deacon and Mrs. Jimmie Harris’ home until 1960. Some of the members suggested that worship service be stopped in the home and that they merge with Macedonia Church of God in Christ.

Elder Jimmie Harris, a young minister initiated the move to Tipton and rented an old school building. They called the church Cooper’s Chapel, after the owner. They held service there until 1962, until a house was purchased and moved to make way for an expressway. The house was renovated and turned into a church with Elder Harris taking a leading role. Elder Marion Harris welcomed the assistance of Elder Jimmie Harris because he was getting old and his health was failing. The church again was called Harris Chapel Church of God in Christ. The church began to grow; new members were added to the church. Elder Marion Harris remained the Pastor until his death on May 17, 1974. Elder Jimmie Harris became the Pastor in 1974.

The Pastors of Harris Chapel since its inception were: Elder Marion Harris, 1945-1974 and Elder Jimmie Harris, 1974-present.

On October 21, 1984 members of Harris Chapel entered a new edifice constructed under the leadership of Pastor Jimmie Harris. A special dedication service was held and the guest speaker was Bishop W.L. Porter, Bishop of the Central Jurisdiction of Tennessee. The theme of the service was “So Built We The Wall”-Nehemiah 4:6.

Below is the reprint of the Pastor’s Message in 1984:

“I am very excited about our newly constructed sanctuary. I feel that this move will pave the way for bigger and better things at Harris Chapel. I am grateful for all of the support given physically, spiritually, and financially by all of the members and all of our friends. I thank God for our new building because it was built by the Holy Ghost. I am not an architect, but God gave me the plans and guided me throughout. Eight years ago, I tried to secure a loan of $45,000.00, but was denied. The loan officer said we were $20,000.00 short. Now, in 1984, we have built a better church for less money. God certainly was in the plans and without him nothing exists.”

THE NEW EDIFICE

The new edifice of Harris Chapel actually began construction in 1977. The foundation was built, but the building was not completed due to lack of finances. In January 1984, the church received a loan of $22,000.00. The building was built by the Pastor, Elder Jimmie Harris, Jr. and the members, both men and women. Elder Harris, inspired by the Holy Spirit, formed the blue print of the church. The church is worth approximately $130,000.00. The old building will be converted into a cafeteria and classroom in the future. The family members of the church began services in the new church the first Sunday in August, 1984. On October 21, 1984 a special dedication service was held and the guest speaker was Bishop W.L. Porter, Bishop of the Central Jurisdiction of Tennessee. The theme of the service was “So Built We The Wall”-Nehemiah 4:6.

SINCE 1984

The old building was converted into a cafeteria with a kitchen and a classroom before 1986. Many Sunday afternoons were spent in the kitchen as the members fellowshipped and ate “hot dogs”. After 1988, the new edifice was extended to include a larger entryway, 2 bathrooms, and an office. The choir room was also located in this area.

Pastor Harris had a vision to build a fellowship hall to serve the church and the community. In 2002, a fellowship hall was built that had as many square feet as the sanctuary. Naysayers wondered why it was built so large. They did not realize that Pastor Harris desired a facility large enough to serve the community.

After the construction of the fellowship hall, the ground surrounding the church was concreted. Pastor Harris wanted a parking lot that would accommodate the elements and be comfortable for the members. In the inside of the church, the choir room was moved to the back and the sound room was installed. The old cafeteria was converted into two rooms, one serves as a classroom and in the other, eight state of the art computers were installed. Pastor Harris is a man with vision. His next vision is to construct a senior citizen home. To repeat the phrase frequently used by Harris Chapel members, which First Lady Doris Harris coined, “If it can be done, Harris Chapel can do it”, with the Lord’s help.

August 2009

On August 16, 2009, Harris Chapel members celebrated the 35th Pastor and Wife anniversary. The church body has been fortunate to have so many talented and dedicated members throughout the years. People have come and gone, but the spirit of love continues to permeate the atmosphere.

We are inspired by our leaders, Elder Jimmie and Sis. Doris Harris. Pastor Harris continues to preach and teach holiness. He supports the district and state by attendance at meetings and serving on committees. First Lady Doris Harris has been the District Missionary of the former Rosemark and now the New Millington District for 25 years. She has been the Assistant to the State Mother of the Central Jurisdiction, Mother Bettie Sue Vaughn, for twenty years. In addition to serving faithfully at church, both maintained full-time employment until their retirement.

They have worked and continue to work throughout the community with many projects, such as AWAKE-a tutorial and drug awareness project in Millington, and the Neighborhood Christian Center (NCC), which provides food, clothing, and furniture to people in the community. One major project for the last 10 years is the Christmas baskets donated by the NCC and provided to the community. Both are lifetime members of the NAACP.

At the annual Friends’ Day program in March 2009, Elder Harris received a Special Proclamation of Service from Mayor Hodges, the mayor of Millington, Tn.

Elder and Sis. Harris love people and have assisted many persons over the years, both financially and spiritually. Their hearts are open to the needs of others. Elder Harris’ favorite saying is “I am on my way to heaven and enjoying the ride.”

HARRIS CHAPEL COGIC LEGACY
Founding Pastor, Elder Marion Harris
Served 1945 – 1974


(L to R) Deacon Jimmie Harris Sr., Elder Marion Harris, and First Lady Ida May Harris


Elder Jimmie Harris
Served 1974 – Present