Frederick Brown Harris

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Frederick Brown Harris

Frederick Brown Harris (April 10, 1883 – August 18, 1970), a Methodist clergyman has the distinction of the longest service record as Chaplain of the Senate (24 years), in a term of service interrupted by the chaplaincy of Peter Marshall.

Early life[edit]

Frederick Brown Harris was born April 10, 1883, in Worcester, England, the son of George Thomas and Ellen (Griffiths) Harris; his father was also a minister. He came with his family to the United States as a small boy. He was raised in New Jersey and studied at Dickinson College[1] and Drew Theological Seminary (1912). He was ordained to the Methodist ministry in 1909.[2][3]


Harris served these pastorates in succession: Greenwood Avenue Methodist Church, Trenton, New Jersey, 1909–13; St. Luke's Methodist Church, Long Branch, New Jersey, 1914–18; Grace Methodist Church, New York City (1918–1924).[4]

In 1924 he was called to serve Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C., a pastorate he would hold for more than thirty years. During his pastorate there, he would serve as Chaplain of the Senate (1942–1947) and (1949–1969), his time of service interrupted by the chaplaincy of Peter Marshall.[5][6]

Illustrious world leaders were numbered among those who attended worship at Foundry or became his friends in Congress, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill who attended a special service at Foundry on December 25, 1941.,[7] Madame Chaing Kai-Shek (Soong Mei-ling),[8] and Syngman Rhee[9] He conducted the funerals of President Herbert Hoover, Senator Robert A. Taft, and General Douglas MacArthur. Harris retired from Foundry in June 1955.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Harris married Helen Louise Streeter on June 4, 1914 at the John Street Methodist Church in New York City; her father Dr. Lewis Richard Streeter was pastor of that church.[11]


  1. ^ Congressional Serial Set, Government Printing Office, 1991,p 303
  2. ^ Who Was Who in America: With World Notables – Page 309
  3. ^ Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches – Page 346
  4. ^ Religious Leaders of America, Volume 2, p 49
  5. ^ Federal Council Bulletin, Volumes 31-33, 1948
  6. ^ ‘’Time’’, February 14, 1949
  7. ^ Foundry United Methodist Church website
  8. ^ The First Lady of China: The Historic Wartime Visit of Mme. Chiang Kai-Shek, by Harry J. Thomas
  9. ^ Michigan Christian Advocate, Volume 80 - Page 33
  10. ^ ‘’Time’’, June 13, 1955
  11. ^ New York ‘’Times’’, June 5, 1914
Religious titles
Preceded by
ZeBarney Thorne Phillips
56th US Senate Chaplain
October 10, 1942 – January 4, 1947
Succeeded by
Peter Marshall
Preceded by
Peter Marshall
58th US Senate Chaplain
February 3, 1949 – January 9, 1969
Succeeded by
Edward L.R. Elson