Vanderbilt Divinity, GDR Distinguished Alumni Named Pastor of Lee Chapel

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(l-r) Vanderbilt Provost Susan R. Wente, Forrest Harris, honoree Harold M. Love Jr. and Dean Emilie Townes. Photo by: Steve Green/Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, TN — The Honorable Right Reverend Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath, Presiding Prelate of the 13th Episcopal District and 128th Elected & Consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church appointed the Honorable Rev. Harold Moses Love, Jr., as pastor of Lee Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Sunday November 20, 2016.

Located in North Nashville, Lee Chapel is growing and is one of the most progressive religious institutions in Tennessee and is well known to minister to a multi-generational congregation and University students.

Love, 43, was born in Nashville to the late Rep. Harold M. Love Sr. and Mary Y. Love. He attended Metro Nashville public schools and graduated with honors from Whites Creek High School. He enrolled at Tennessee State University, where he marched in the Aristocrat of Bands and was initiated into the Rho Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance with a minor in political science in 1994.

Love experienced the call to ministry and went to Vanderbilt Divinity School, where he earned a master of theological studies in 1998. He was ordained an elder by the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in 1999 and received his first pastoral assignment at Hopewell A.M.E. Church in Columbia, Tennessee.

Since October 2002, he has served as pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Nashville. “Rep. Harold Love’s roots grow deep in the tradition of his family, including his father, and his education at Vanderbilt Divinity School expanded his vision for compassionate politics and religious leadership,” said Rev. Forrest Harris, associate professor of the practice of ministry and director of the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies at Vanderbilt. “Rep. Love is a true holistic visionary for social justice in the community, and we are deeply proud of his dedication to public service and minis- try in Nashville.”

Since 2013 Love has been the primary organizer of “Love’s Healthy Start Festival,” with a collaboration of 30 community organizations to sponsor a back-to-school event. It has provided more than 4,000 backpacks to students while promoting higher education, nutrition and health habits, and responsible citizenship. Love serves on the board of trustees for 18th Avenue Family Enrichment Center, Tennessee State University Foundation, Tennessee Advisory Commission on Inter-governmental Relations and Tennessee Higher Education Initiative.

Love has been a state representative since 2013. He is a member of the Education Instruction Programs Committee, Business and Utilities Committee, and Calendar and Rules Committee. He is pursuing a doctorate in public administration at Tennessee State University.

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