Bishop Joseph L. Garlington, Sr., PhD is the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, a multiracial and cross-cultural community of more than three thousand members, which he founded with his wife, Barbara, in 1971.
For more than two decades, Covenant Church has been a model for racial healing and reconciliation for Reconciliation! Ministries International, an International Network of Churches and Ministries, INC, for which he is the Presiding Bishop. Reconciliation! Ministries spans the globe in representation with nearly a thousand congregations worldwide.
He is the president of Building United of Southwestern Pennsylvania, an ecumenical coalition of bishops in the Southwestern and Western Pennsylvania corridor. Through the synergy of this partnership with local and national financial institutions and foundations, they are beginning to see genuine fruit from President Bush’s faith-based initiatives in providing home ownership for low and middle income families.
As the visionary for Covenant Church, he launched an outreach to recover an abandoned school in Wilkinsburg, PA, that is now known as Hosanna House Community Center, which has become a world-class model for creative partnerships with government, business, foundations and the church. This and other numerous outreaches to the local and international community have positioned Covenant Church as a recognized leader in the faith-based community.
Bishop Garlington is an accomplished musician, recording artist, author and scholar, whose work touches thousands through radio and TV, through his weekly television broadcast, Something Fresh, through national and international conferences, through albums, books and articles. He is internationally recognized in the religious community for his work and ministry in many churches in South Africa since 1979.
His preaching and teaching ministry, known for its humor and deep insight, has made him a popular speaker at many national conferences such as Promise Keepers, the international men’s movement, where he has regularly addressed tens of thousands of men. Bishop Garlington regularly consults for pastors, churches and organizations that are eager to develop similar models of racial reconciliation and healing.
He is married to Barbara Williams Garlington, and together they share responsibility for seven children, thirteen grandchildren, two great-granddaughters and one great-grandson.