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Joseph Garlington
Presiding Bishop, Reconciliation Ministries International

Bishop Joseph Garlington is a humble and fearless man who loves the Lord. He is the senior pastor of Covenant Church in Pittsburgh and the president of Building United of Southwest Pennsylvania. He is also Presiding Bishop for Reconciliation! Ministries International, which pursues a vision of racial healing and reconciliation across the world. In keeping with this vision, he longs to see all people of all races in harmony with one another, joined together by the one true source of healing and reconciliation, Jesus Christ.



He founded Covenant Church in 1971 with the help of his wife Barbara. It is a multiracial and cross-cultural congregation that now houses over 3,000 members. The church is involved in a great deal of outreach, working with other organizations to generate real change in the community around them. For example, he launched an outreach that took over an abandoned school in Wilkinsburg, PA and made it into Hosanna House Community Center, which now delivers various health and human services to over 35,000 people.


As mentioned above, he is the president of Building United of Southwest Pennsylvania, an ecumenical coalition of bishops in the Southwestern and Western Pennsylvania corridor. It partners with local and national financial institutions and foundations in order to give low and middle-income families the opportunity to own homes. He is also internationally renowned for his work with many churches in South Africa since 1979, and he has preached before tens of thousands at national conferences like Promise Keepers.


His ministry through diverse media has touched thousands, especially through the outlets of radio and TV—his weekly television broadcast, Something Fresh, has particularly impacted man. He has an anointed voice, and the music that he has produced epitomizes the joy and passion with which he leads his congregation. They strive by the power of the Holy Spirit in them to bring about improvement in the lives of others; and they do so in conjunction with other organizations while always holding firm to a pure and simple devotion to God.


He is married to Pastor Barbara Williams Garlington, and they have seven children, along with twelve grandchildren.