Jon Scott Harris was born and raised in Riverside. He is the only son of four children and was raised by his grandmother, the late Rebecca Ruth Harris. Under the mentorship of the late Dr. L.B. Moss of Park Avenue Missionary Baptist Church in Riverside, he began preaching at the age of 12 and served as the Pastor of his first church when he was 26. He majored in Small Business Management at California State University, San Bernardino in 1993, received his Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies in 1999, and earned his Master’s degree in Ministry and Divinity in 2002 from Carolina School of Theology.
Jon is the Pastor of Castle Rock Christian Fellowship Baptist Church which was organized in August 2001 in San Bernardino. In 2011, the church launched its second location in the High Desert followed by a third location in Jon’s hometown of Riverside in 2012. Thereafter, Castle Rock’s ministry expanded to include a weekly televised program on the Hosanna Broadcasting Network for one year.
In June 2014, Jon launched and organized a grassroots community organization, the Eastside Reconciliation Coalition (“ERC”) with the purpose and mission to eradicate all forms of violence and activities that disrupt peace within our community. The ERC seeks to achieve this by maintaining open dialogue, implementing advantageous interventions for at-risk youth residents in the Eastside and promoting interactions that are sensitive to all communities and cultures, propelled and carried out through prayer, respect, nonviolence and the sacrificial love of Christ. Jon serves as the ERC’s President whose Board consists of other local Pastors. The ERC partners with various community organizations and individuals and has become well known and recognized for the unification of leaders in city politics, school board, police, churches and the community and continues to develop and implement new programs in line with its mission.
In 2014, the ERC launched its Safety Chaperone Program which recruits and works with a dedicated network of volunteers who selflessly serve as “chaperones” for our elementary, middle and high school aged students as they walk to and from school in the Eastside area of Riverside. The chaperones are conspicuously dressed in orange Safety Chaperone shirts and strategically placed at selected stations which are most heavily traveled by children and are determined to have the most potential for dangerous or negative activity. Since the program’s inception, the presence of chaperones has provided a sense of comfort to parents and their children and the Eastside has seen a decrease in violence during the hours of travel to and from school.
The ERC introduced its Summer Youth Career Development Program in July 2015 for Riverside high school students. This daily, four-week personal and career development program introduces the students to a wide variety of career options and training designed to improve job seeking and workplace skills. Numerous business professionals in the community serve as presenters, graciously volunteering their time to speak to the youth in their particular areas of expertise. Students are also able to visit several local businesses and organizations for a behind-the-scenes look into business operations. Upon completion of the program, students graduate with a certificate of completion and a scholarship.
In recognition of his many efforts and contributions to the Riverside community, Jon has received several awards of recognition including the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award from the California Inland Empire Boy Scouts of America in 2015. He is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Riverside with the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, and is a member of Riverside East Rotary Club.
Jon and his wife Leita live in Riverside and are the proud parents of five adult children: Baron, Tyler, Jon, Brandon and Kaylee. Dr. Leita Harris has been an obstetrician-gynecologist for over 26 years and has her own medical practice in Corona. During his down time, Jon enjoys riding and caring for his 13 horses.