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Pastor Chris Harris

Pastor Chris Harris, Sr. who is a native of Chicago, Illinois is the Senior Pastor of Bright Star C.O.G.I.C. ( since November 18th, 1999. Recognizing the need for more “community-minded clergy,” and due to increasing violence in Chicago, he established Bright Star Community Outreach ( in 2009. This organization is committed to creating collaborative partnership program models designed to provide educational enrichment programs, anti-violence prevention and intervention activities along with good student incentives. With an operating budget of over $5 Million Dollars, BSCO provides employment to more than 450+ people annually and leads a collaborative of 105+ organizations in the Greater Bronzeville Community. 

Pastor Chris Harris travels the country building relationships between African-American and Jewish Clergy and has traveled to the Holy Land six times and led more than 70+ leaders to Israel. Pastors’ 2012 trip to Israel prompted the development of the TURN Center (The Urban Resilience Network) based on the Israeli model of NATAL in Tel Aviv. TURN endeavors to focus on five core competencies: counseling, parenting, mentorship, work-force development and advocacy. Its unique model will utilize faith leaders as post-trauma counselors and use community surveys as the basis for services that directly correspond to the unique needs of constituents. BCSO’s partners in this effort are: Northwestern Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, CIGNA, MacArthur Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to name a few. This community impact project has received more than $9 Million dollars of support thus far. BSCO’s Trauma Helpline opened in July 2017 and our advocates have  touched 650+ individual callers and our ambassadors have touched more than 45,000+ residents, students, school administrators, etc. making them trauma informed. Bright Star Church Chicago partnered with Howard Johnson to vaccinate 800+ people and have supported thousands of families with close to $1 Million Dollars in housing , utilities and food support throughout the COVID19 Pandemic with financial support from Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and other liberal partners.  

Pastor Harris travels the country building bridges between African American and Jewish clergy and communities. Along with speaking and singing Hatikvah in countless synagogues across the country, he has taught students on various college campuses of the importance of Black – Jewish relations as well as how to combat BDS. For over a decade he has done extensive work with JUF, ADL, AIPAC, JNF, AePi, Sigma AePi, USY, AJC, Simon Wiesenthal Center and has led six trips to Israel educating more than 70+ faith leaders. His personal motto for this very important bridge building work is, “We are better together.”

Please see awards and honors given to Pastor Harris provided below: 

  • The Decalogue Society of Lawyers Community Service 2013 Award 
  • Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity Congressman Eliot Engel Award 2015/16 
  • Near North Health Service Corporation 2016 Inspiration Award 
  • The 2nd Annual Israel-Midwest Bridge 2016 Award 
  • AJC Lawrence M. Adelman 2017 Award 
  • Chicago Defender Men of Excellence 2017 Award 
  • Honored by Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza for the 2017 African American History  Month Award
  • State of Illinois Treasurer Outstanding Commitment Community Service 2018 Award • Nami Chicago Light the Darkness Faith Based Leader of the Year 2018 Award • Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program/ Real Men Invest In Girls 2918 Award • Chosen Tabernacle Ministries You Make A Difference 2019 Award (Honored for the  Greater Bronzeville Neighborhood Network) 
  • DuSable Alumni Coalition Mary Herrick Scholarship 2019 Award • Erikson Institute Early Childhood Leadership Honors for Completion of McCormick  Foundation Executive Fellows Program 2019 
  • Leadership Greater Chicago 2021 Fellow

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