Dr. Harry Serio
The Rev. Dr. Harry L. Serio was born in Newark, New Jersey and he received his B.A. from Ursinus College and his master’s degree and doctorate from Lancaster Theological Seminary.
As an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, he has served churches in Eastern Pennsylvania, recently concluding a thirty-two year pastorate at St. John’s United Church of Christ, Kutztown.
Dr. Serio has taught Latin and Social Studies in the Lancaster and Easton school systems. He is a frequent lecturer and workshop leader in the areas of archaeology, spirituality, and the arts and meditation. His doctoral work was in the field of Christian mysticism. He is President Emeritus of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies.
Pastor Serio is a Biblical archaeologist. He did research at the University of Pennsylvania on the “Royal Tomb of Gordium (Anatolia),” and has studied archaeology in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel. He has excavated at the City of David and in the Rephaim Valley near Jerusalem, and has led archaeological tours of the Middle East including Egypt.
A member of Alpha Psi Omega, the national honorary drama society, Pastor Serio is interested in the interrelation of the arts and religion and encourages the use of the performing and visual arts in celebrating the presence of God in the life of the congregation. His thesis at Lancaster Seminary was “The Secularization of Damnation: The Meaning of Existence in the Works of Tennessee Williams.” He is active in supporting the arts in eastern Pennsylvania, having served on the Boards of Directors of the Berks Arts Council, Lehigh Valley Arts Council, and the New Arts Program. He was president of the Berks Arts Council from 1993 to 1995, and a member of the Berks Jazz Fest since its beginning, serving as Festival Chairman from 1993 to 2000, and creator of the annual Pagoda Award. In 2009 he organized the Spirit on Tap program currently held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading. He recently conceived and initiated the Spiritual Exploration Project and leads discussions on film at the Goggleworks Theater, Reading, PA.
His concern for social justice and world peace has led to Pastor Serio’s active involvement in the Berks Interfaith Peace Fellowship, Amnesty International, and the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference’s Committee on the Middle East. He has also been involved in refugee resettlement concerns beginning with the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 through assisting Kosovar families following the Serbian war. He was a regional organizer for the first Earth Day observance in 1970 and assisted in the formation of the Lehigh Valley Environmental Federation.
Pastor Serio is active in community affairs. He is vice-president of the Board of Directors of Saucony Cross Apartments in Kutztown and is a founder of the Kutztown Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a past-president of the Kutztown Rotary Club and the Kutztown Ministerial Association. He has served on several campus-community committees, including the President’s Roundtable on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and has instituted a Kutztown University Appreciation Day observance at St. John’s Church. He has also been involved with the Kutztown Folk Festival in several capacities and lectures daily on “The Spirituality of the Pennsylvania Germans.”
Dr. Serio has also been a consultant in outdoor ministries and was a partner in the development of “Voyage of Faith” resources for confirmation education. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Lancaster Theological Seminary.
In May, 2000, Dr. Serio was awarded the Allen S. Meck Award for Excellence in Ministry by Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is a recipient of the Caron Foundation’s Clergy of the Year Award in 2003, and was cited by the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for service to the arts, the community, and social justice causes.
Dr. Serio is married to the former Mary Ann Kocsi who is a retired private music instructor in piano. They are the parents of three children: Stuart, Tasha, and Matthew.