The Reverend Ernest Harris, 97 (Trinity Presbytery), known to most as Ernie, died September 24, 2020, in Ukiah, California, where he lived near his son, Robin, and daughter in law, Becky. The Reverend Mark McNeese said of Ernie, “He was truly one of my heroes and I was very blessed to be considered a brother in Christ with him!”
One of six children, Ernie was raised in the area of Austin, Texas, by his mother and stepfather. In 1941, he joined the United States Navy. After World War II, Ernie remained in the Navy having decided to make it his career. He married Jeri and had a family. After retirement from the Navy, Ernie dabbled in the restaurant business briefly before going into insurance.
Ernie came to the ministry as a third career. He also began to heed a call to the ministry, supply preaching at various churches including Pine Grove Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in the Dimple community a new miles north of Clarksville, Texas. He was also invited to serve as chaplain for a local National Guard unit. Eventually, he decided to seek ordination.
Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Clarksville, Texas, which Ernie was supplying, endorsed him to Trinity Presbytery. He was interviewed by the presbyterial committee on ministry January 13, 1990, and received as a candidate for the ministry February 17, 1990. He was licensed to preach on February 20, 1993, at Concord Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Troup, Texas.
Ernie attended the Program of Alternate Studies while supplying Shiloh. As he neared completion of the program, he received a call to the Antioch Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Quitman, Louisiana. On November 14, 1993, a commission of Trinity Presbytery ordained Ernie and installed him as Antioch’s pastor. The Reverend James G. Rippy asked the questions pursuant to ordination and the Reverend Loyce Estes those pursuant to installation. The Reverend Charles Hughes delivered the charge.
Ernie served as moderator of Trinity Presbytery for 1994. He served as pastor of Pine Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, Texas; Progress Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Pleasant Hill, Louisiana; and Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Clarksville, Texas. Ernie also supplied the E.T. Allen Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Ashdown, Arkansas (Arkansas Presbytery) while keeping his membership in Trinity Presbytery. He was honorably retired in around 2007.
Mark McNeese recalls, “Ernie shared this prayer with me at Trinity Presby on the day I was presented as a candidate: Come Holy Spirit! If I am holding in my heart any anger, hostility, resentment, unforgiveness, whether it originated with me, or was passed on to me by someone else, let it die in me so that I do not pass it on to someone else.”