The Reverend Harold L. Barnwell is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and a graduate of New Stanton Senior High School.
After graduating from Kentucky State University with a Bachelor of Art degree in sociology, he taught special education one year at Kentucky State Development Training School. He then relocated to Gary, Indiana, and began his vocation as a social worker at the Lake County Department of Welfare. Later, he completed the Senior Executive Program (SEP) for Child Welfare Managers, University of North Carolina, School of social work.
Pastor Barnwell is a graduate of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, with a Master of Divinity degree.
Pastor Barnwell's ministry began at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Logansport, Indiana, in 1981. In 1984, the late Bishop Samuel S. Morris assigned him to St. John AME Church, East Chicago, Indiana. God guided him and the members through financial crisis, and the burning of the mortgage. The church grew both spiritually and numerically, and on October 31, 2004, he was assigned to Bethel AME Church, Evanston, Illinois by Bishop Philip R. Cousin. At the 132nd Session of the Chicago Annual he was assigned to Mayo AME Church, Matteson, Illinois by Bishop John R. Bryant.
He is married to Vivian Beamon, who is an educator. Their family includes two children, one grandson, and a daughter-in-law.