Pastor: Rev. Dawson Harmon

I also liked the “freedom of conscience” aspect of Presbyterianism.

From our Pastor, Dr. Dawson Harmon: I was born in Montgomery, Alabama and lived there until I moved to Tuscaloosa at the age of 18 to attend the University of Alabama. I married my junior high school sweetheart, Karen Milligan at the end of my sophomore year. (I had taken Karen to the junior high prom.) I went to work with Gayfer’s and finally graduated from Memphis State 14 years later. During my retail career, Karen and I lived in Alabama, Ohio, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Mississippi and Tennessee. We always went where the opportunity for career advancement was greatest. By the time I finished my retail career, I was Corporate Senior Vice President of City Stores and Regional Director of Lowenstein/Maison Blanche in Memphis.

During these years, Karen and I also did a great deal of faith exploration. I had grown up Baptist, but in Ohio we joined the Methodist Church. It was there that I really began to struggle with my sense of calling into ministry.  I rationalized that it was too risky to give up my job—Karen and I had 2 children by then. We moved to Pennsylvania and became Episcopalian. It was not until New Jersey that I found my denominational home, Presbyterian. By the way, when Karen and I finally went to seminary at Columbia in Atlanta, Karen and I had 3 children—God has a sense of humor.

I believe becoming Presbyterian was more about government than tradition. I liked the bottom up approach to government rather than the top down. I also liked the “freedom of conscience” aspect of Presbyterianism. I had grown up Baptist and had always struggled with being told what to believe.

Personally, I would describe myself as Biblically conservative but socially liberal. I am much more comfortable in an environment where everyone's thoughts are welcome and every person is respected. My task is to meet people where they are, embrace them as they are, and allow the Holy Spirit and Scripture to do any necessary makeovers. I believe that we are all on a journey toward Christ-likeness and our mutual calling is to help one another.

Karen and I now have 8 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. We live in Pell City on Logan Martin Lake. We retired to this location by design—we wanted to have a centrally located family gathering place. I enjoy landscaping, fishing, water skiing, monopoly, bridge, and pool. And I am always up for college football, (particularly Alabama), live theater or a good movie.