REV CARMEN DENISE COX HARWELL
The Rev. Carmen Denise Cox Harwell has served as the pastor of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Beachwood, Ohio since February, 2012. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio in 1998, and her Master of Divinity degree from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2001.
Baptized at the age of 12, she has been an active officer in the Presbyterian Church, serving as an ordained deacon and elder, and in all levels of upper governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church (USA). She was ordained to the Ministry of Word & Sacrament by the Presbytery of the Western Reserve in 2002. Over the past 14 years and just prior to returning home to Cleveland, Pastor Carmen served several of God’s churches in Pittsburgh, PA.; the last as pastor of the Mt. Hope Community Presbyterian Church in Penn Hills, PA.
In her years of ministry work, Pastor Carmen has earned the title of “the first” in several areas: she was the first African American to serve as president of the Student Government Association of Pittsburgh Seminary; the first African American to serve on the Student Advisory Board to the Board of Trustees of the Pittsburgh Seminary; the first and the only African American selected by Pittsburgh Seminary professors to participant in the Seminary’s Excellence From the Start theological scholars four year program; the first clergywoman to receive the distinguished Henry Highland Garnet Award for outstanding work in Youth Development; the first installed clergywoman and Associate Pastor of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church (the mother church of African American Presbyterians in Pittsburgh), and; the first installed African American and female pastor of the Mt. Hope Community Presbyterian Church. In addition, she provided faithful service as a seminary student intern to the Bethesda Presbyterian Church and the Bidwell United Presbyterian Church, both located in Pittsburgh.
Her service to the national Presbyterian church and to other communities has been just as fulfilling! She worked for five years as a mentor to higher-risk children, youth, and adult gang members through the East Cleveland Jail Diversion Program, providing assistance in the areas of counseling and spiritual development. She has served as worship preacher/workshop leader at the Presbyterian Women’s National Conferences; instructor of Pastoral Care at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Metro-Urban Institute, Christian Leadership Program; commissioned writer for Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Metro-Urban Institute, Office of Applied Religion, Bible Study Health Series; chair, African American Clergy Caucus; member and administrator of the Synod’s Street Workers Pilot Project; member of the Racial and Social Justice Ministry Team: Task Force on Racism; member, Board of Directors, Leadership Pittsburgh; volunteer Chaplain, Shadyside Presbyterian Hospital; graduate of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Citizens Police Academy; chaplain with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Department and the Penn Hills Police Department; member of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Gang Free Schools and Community Task Force; and a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XIX. She has also received several accolades for the work God has done throughout her ministry career.
Since returning home, she is slowly getting her feet wet in local community outreach as a member of Sisters United in Christ, and as a reading tutor to 6th graders at the Warrensville Heights Middle School.
Pastor Carmen is the proud mother of a daughter, Lauryn Nicole Harwell; a granddaughter, Nylah, and; two cats, Cheyenne and Kojo. Faithful to her Sabbath time of rest, Pastor Carmen enjoys cooking, the theatre, jazz music, ballroom dancing, reading, watching mystery movies, and spoiling her granddaughter every chance she gets!
I have been blessed in doing God’s work because I Trust in the Lord with all my heart and I lean not on my own understanding.In all my ways I acknowledge God…and that is why God has and continues to direct my many paths!(Pr3.5-6)
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chiefs Chaplaincy Award for Outstanding Service; the Henry Highland Garnet Freedom and Justice Award in recognition of excellence in the pursuit of youth development; and the Gamaliel Foundation National Community Organizing Leadership Recognition Award, to name a few.