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, an ecumenical coalition of bishops. 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.
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. His ministry through diverse media has touched thousands, especially through the outlets of radio and TV — including a weekly television broadcast, Something Fresh. 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.