Bishop John Morgan Lewis, Sr. is the founding pastor of the Harvest United Ministries. Growing up in Loris, South Carolina, he began his walk with the Lord in 1950. Upon completing high school and desiring to matriculate at Howard University in Washington, DC, he left his hometown and began his studies for higher education in 1957. His brother, Reverend James Lewis had already moved North to Washington, DC and had been a member of Rehoboth Church located at 8th and L Streets NW and invited him to hear the preached word of his pastor, Bishop Monroe R. Saunders, Sr. John consented and during Bishop Saunders’ message, “Except the Lord Keeps the City…” he was spiritually convicted for a closer walk with God. He joined the church that Sunday and became an on-going part of Bishop Saunders’ ministry.
In 1965 Bishop Saunders along with several other bishops formed the United Church of Jesus Christ, Apostolic. John served in the capacities of Sunday School teacher, National Youth Treasurer, National Youth President, trustee, in addition to the Bishop’s personal liaison in the organization.
In 1978 he was ordained at the National Convocation as an elder in the United Church of Jesus Christ, Apostolic. After the ordination, he continued to minister in various churches on the east coast until he answered the call to pastor the Carron Baptist Church in Washington, DC from 1980-1985.
Heeding God’s call to bring God’s people to a deeper level of spiritual growth, Pastor Lewis made a transition and founded the Gethsemane Church of Christ in Oxon Hill, Maryland, October 1985. Gethsemane Church of Christ was vibrant and thrived on the love of God as well as the teachings and preaching of Pastor Lewis.
In 1994 under the leadership of the Holy Spirit he renamed the church to Harvest United Ministries and relocated the ministry to Waldorf, Maryland. Over the years he utilized his ministry gifts to the Body of Christ as teacher and global leader at his local church and at various church conferences.
In 2002, Presiding Bishop Monroe R. Saunders, Sr. appointed him as an Overseer in the United Church of Jesus Christ, Apostolic, serving the First Episcopal Diocese. After several years of faithful service, he was consecrated in June, 2006 to the Board of Bishops. It was during this time that God sent a young Joshua from Charleston, South Carolina to head up Harvest’s music ministry. Bishop Lewis saw in this young man, Rodney Lewis, more than a musician, but a spiritual son. It was not long before he appointed him Youth Pastor and assigned him additional responsibilities.
In 2009, Bishop John was appointed Diocesan of the First Episcopal Diocese and served thirteen churches in the areas of Maryland, District of Columbia, East Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia.
In April 3, 2016, Bishop Lewis preached a message entitled, “The Divine Swap”. He stood before his parishioners and shared his desire for Harvest to own their worship facility. It was in that same year that Minister Rodney was ordained an Elder in the United Church of Jesus Christ. Elder Rodney and a team of members began to search to fulfill the vision that God had given Bishop Lewis. Although Elder Rodney facilitated the journey looking for a permanent church home throughout the area of Waldorf and neighboring communities, it was God’s plan to bring Harvest to the Clinton, Maryland community to continue its ministry. Almost two years later on February 21, 2018, the members of Harvest United closed on the purchase of their first property at 8010 Old Branch Avenue in Clinton, Maryland.
After close mentoring of Elder Rodney for several years, on December 29, 2019, Bishop Lewis announced to the church that Elder Rodney Lewis would be the official Pastor of Harvest after Pastor Lewis preached his final message on January 12, 2020. Bishop Lewis preached that final message, “The Phenomenal Church” (Ephesians 3) and it was sobering, challenging, and dynamic.
Installation service for Pastor Rodney was scheduled to occur in the Spring of 2020 so that Bishop John Lewis would be a part of passing the torch to his successor. Due to a worldwide pandemic, the official service will be rescheduled possibly to Spring of 2021.