It is with gratitude and excitement that First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto is welcoming Rev. Tom Harris to pastor our faith community. We thought you might like to learn a little bit more about him and his family.

Rev. Tom Harris in pulpit of FPC Palo Alto

Tom grew up on the barrier islands off the east coast of Central Florida where his first sense of awe, wonder, and reverence was experienced in this portion of God’s creation. He is quick to point out that he still finds God in the natural world. 

Tom has served 24 years as a Presbyterian pastor with 17 of those serving Govans Presbyterian in Baltimore, Maryland. A dedicated advocate of LGBTQ+ equality in both church and society, Tom helped to author one of the earliest amendments to the Book of Order to allow any two people to be married in the PC(USA). He also advocated for marriage equality in Maryland.

Very much a dedicated advocate for racial equality, Tom has served on a team to require all clergy in the Presbytery of Baltimore to be trained in dismantling racism. He then took the further step of creating a new position – Minister of Racial Justice and Multicultural Engagement – at Govans Presbyterian and worked side by side with this person for over three years advancing anti-racist policy and education in the church.


Tom married his wife, Sasha, the summer he graduated from college while she still had two years left to go. While waiting for Sasha to graduate, Tom did a variety of social work jobs and a short stint as an Interim Christian Education Coordinator at a local Presbyterian church. When his wife finished college, they left for San Francisco Theological Seminary. It was here that Tom and Sasha fell in love with the San Francisco Bay Area. So much so, that they named their daughter, Marin! 

Life and career have placed the Harris family in Michigan, South Carolina, and Govans Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland. In Baltimore, Sasha’s work as a Vascular Access Nursing Manager with Johns Hopkins in Baltimore allowed her to share her gift of leadership and caring for those in need. She hopes and plans to pursue a similar career here.

Tom and Sasha have two children, Oscar and Marin, both of whom have left the nest and have begun their own journey into the world. However, the couple are not arriving in our community alone! Their dogs, Milo and Luna, are looking forward to a lot of local hiking and to becoming a part of this community.

For recreation, Tom enjoys caring for their dogs, gardening, walking/hiking, swimming and eating vegan food.

The Harris Family will be moving to Palo Alto at the beginning of March with Rev. Tom Harris’s first day in the pulpit on March 10, so please Save the Date!