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John believes with the Apostle Paul that “whatever gain I had… I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7-8).
John Harris Harper was born in Florence, Alabama, graduated from Emory University, then Emory Law School in 1962, having been President of the Law School Student Body, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Phi Delta Phi & an editor of the law review. He passed the Georgia Bar at age 23.
After law school he served on active duty in the United States Army Reserves, later resigning as a captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps.
Following a year of law practice in Georgia, he became the youngest Administrative Assistant to a U. S. Congressman on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. From there, he passed the Alabama Bar and practiced law in Birmingham. Active in numerous civic activities and chair of a county political party, he was nominated for Birmingham’s Outstanding Man of the Year and received the Distinguished Service Award.
Returning to Washington, he became a member of the District of Columbia bar, legal council to numerous clients and, upon joining the newly formed Federal Energy Office during the Arab oil embargo, administering the oil allocation program nationally.
Becoming a Special Assistant to Treasury Secretary William E. Simon and then Deputy Assistant Secretary, John over four years was liaison to the fifty state governors, attended daily meetings of the White House Economic Policy Board in the West Wing’s Roosevelt Room, and was in charge of six Treasury bureaus: Customs, Secret Service, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Printing & Engraving, the Mint and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, resulting in being awarded the Treasury Department’s Exceptional Service Award.
Having been a churchgoer, Sunday School teacher, vestryman and at the pinnacle of success, he found no internal peace. He gave his life to Christ. Peace came and he left all behind, entering Yale Divinity School with a middle year at St. Mary’s College, St. Andrews, Scotland, and the final year at Yale.
Following a calling to be a bi-vocational, he moved to Georgia and donated his services to churches on the weekend as an Episcopal priest, gave Christian seminars nationally and internationally and wrote articles for national publications. Weekdays he was Director of Legal Training for U.S. Customs, becoming a Fourth Amendment expert and writing a 600-page book on Search and Seizure.
In 2000 John accepted a call to be a full-time priest, serving at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama, as Canon, Acting Dean, Vice Dean and Interim Dean. He retired as Vice Dean in 2010. He and his wife, Margaret, live in Birmingham.