February 2, 2024

EP Corner

by Aisha Brooks-Johnson, Executive Presbyter

I have become a life-long learner on the subject of death and dying and grief and grieving. In college, I was introduced to the classic work On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. She taught me and so many others about the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) and the many ways they show up in our lives. I clung to the wisdom in that book as I initially mourned the death of my father. Years later, I sought out wisdom from David Kessler and Kübler-Ross in their collaborative work, On Grief and Grieving. It was a gift as I grappled with my role as a caregiver to my first husband and walked down the road to widowhood in 2018. 

In the middle of the pandemic, I stumbled upon a podcast by David Kessler. He lost his adult son to an accidental overdose. He is known as a guru and leader in helping people process their grief and loss. It was in his own moments of grief-wrestling and refection that he came to the conclusion that there must be something more to dealing with loss than acceptance. He believes that finding meaning is the sixth stage of the grieving process. In his book Finding Meaning, he encourages those who are grieving not to rush to finding meaning too soon. But in time, we can discover that there is more to life than what we have lost. There is a beauty to be found in a new reality. Sometimes it just takes time to see it.

This year our 2024 theme for the Presbytery is “Finding Meaning, Inside and Out!” The church has had to grieve a lot over the years, especially coming out of the pandemic. In 2023, we jumped in full steam ahead with our meetings, calendar events, services, and programming. This year we hope that our churches and faith leaders can carve out space to name the things that we must release and embrace who we are as disciples of Christ on the road to transformation. Our theme has found inspiration by Kessler’s work as well as a book by Canadian Christian leaders Daye and Fennell entitled Turning Ourselves Inside Out. They describe six qualities “that both reflect and shape faith communities that are thriving and revitalizing.” We will collectively reflect on those characteristics at our subsequent presbytery meetings. They are hope, humility, love, courage, integrity, and kenosis. We look forward to growing and learning together at each of our presbytery meetings.

At the end of 2023, my husband Alonzo sold his Kentucky home and moved to Atlanta. Together we purchased a family home in Snellville, Georgia. The view from the kitchen table creates natural space and light to reflect on the life we are creating together with our big, blended family. One morning, I thought about what our son Ellington said as we were cleaning out the Decatur house. He said, “This is sad but beautiful.” Letting go of the former things can bring sadness. Opening our hands and hearts to what is new and ever changing is beautiful—it may just take some time to see it. 

During our February 2024 Stated Meeting, you will hear some of our partnership leaders answer the question, “How has your organization found meaning in the face of brokenness in our world?” This is a question for all of us. You will hear how our ministry partners have taken the time to see God at work with the most vulnerable among us. You will hear our ministry partners give space for leaders to reflect on their pain, name their trauma, and ask for healing and support. You will hear from our council as we grapple with the sadness that our numbers are not what they once were and discern the best way to use our abundant resources to do what God is calling us to do. You will also hear a word of encouragement from our powerful and passionate Co-Moderators of the 225th General Assembly, Revs. Ruth Santana-Grace and Shavon Starling-Louis. 

In the days and months ahead, while we wait for what God has in store for us and our world, may the Spirit of the Lord give us eyes to see, hearts that discern, and hands and feet ready to find meaning and share the hope of Christ with all.

Hallelujah and Amen,


#FindingMeaning #InsideAndOut

Winter Stated Meeting - Saturday, February 3

by C. Anderson James, Stated Clerk

The Winter Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2024, from 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M at Roswell Presbyterian Church, 755 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell. 

Format: Upon the decision of the Presbytery’s Council, this meeting will be held in-person. A livestream will be available at the top of this page. Livestream viewers will not be able to speak, vote, or have their attendance recorded. 

Theme, Worship, and Business: This meeting serves as the kickoff for our 2024 theme “Finding Meaning, Inside and Out.” At this meeting, we will welcome the Co-Moderators of the 225th General Assembly (2022), Revs. Shavon Starling-Louis and Ruth Santana-Grace, who will be our preachers for the day as we discover ways that we can find meaning in the midst of grief and change around us. They will also preside over communion during the second half of the meeting. 

Business for the meeting will include examinations for service in the church, the introduction of a potential new candidate in the ordination process, consideration of a request from the Synod of South Atlantic to change the synod’s plan for election of commissioners, and approval of the the 2024 Presbytery budget. This commissioner handbook contains the full business for the meeting, and a worship bulletin with a summary of the docket and worship materials will be available on the day of the meeting. 

Health and Safety: We encourage all attendees to use the time between now and the meeting to get current with covid and other vaccinations, and those who do not feel well on the day of the meeting should stay home and watch the livestream. All are welcome to wear a mask throughout the meeting if they feel more comfortable doing so. During the first half of the meeting, the balcony of the Sanctuary will be reserved for those who wish to be masked. (After the break, we will move to a space that does not allow such separation.)

If you have any questions about the meeting, contact Stated Clerk Andy James at cajames@atlpcusa.org. We look forward to seeing you on February 3! The commissioner handbook, worship bulletin, and offering link can be found using the link below.

Stated Meeting Resources

2024 Advocacy Training: Presbyterians for a Better Georgia

by David Lewicki, North Decatur Presbyterian Church

This year’s Georgia General Assembly is a very important session because the state has the largest ever ($16 Billion) surplus of state funds that should be used to expand access to healthcare, mental healthcare, affordable housing, and other critical programs to help vulnerable Georgians. Presbyterians for a Better Georgia (PBG) needs the voices of people of faith like you that:

  • Oppose cuts to the state low-income housing tax credit that supports construction and preservation of affordable housing;
  • Support passage of the Safe at Home Act (HB 404) that provides essential protections for renters facing sudden eviction; and
  • Advocate for increased funding for housing and mental health supports for unsheltered Georgians.

Please join us for on-line training, then come to Central Presbyterian Church (CPC) to walk across the street to the State Capitol and engage the people who represent you:

  • PBG Advocacy Training (Zoom) 7pm February 6, 2024
  • PBG Lobby Day - Central Presbyterian Church March 5, 2024
  • Georgia ACT Housing Day - CPC March 13, 2024 

To learn more, go to the PBG website P4BG.org or email Al Stacer, PBG Chair at info@p4bg.com. To register for Advocacy Training, click here.

The next three articles are great ways to join in the celebration and commemoration of Black History Month this year.

glee image

The Nancy Frampton Rising Artists Series: Spelman College Glee Club Benefit Concert

Saturday, February 3, 7 p.m.

MPC Sanctuary 1411 N. Morningside Drive NE, Atlanta

Morningside Presbyterian Church hosts the Spelman College Glee Club in concert, benefiting the Nancy Frampton Rising Artist Series of MPC. The Glee Club is Spelman College's premier performance organization and kicks off the 2024 season of the artist concert series. Tickets are $40 and benefit the concert series supporting esteemed rising artists. Click here to purchase tickets.

2024 Voter Education, Information, and Outreach

by Elder Shirley Wright-Davis (Trinity PC Decatur) and Cassandra Morrow, Congregational Consultant

The members of the Black Church Collective Mission Team of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta are hosting a non-partisan Voter Education, Information, and Outreach Event in 2024. Please join us at Radcliffe Presbyterian Church, 286 Hamilton E Holmes Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 11am.

Voter education is the act of providing voters with basic information about the voting process and elections. Our primary goal is provide non-partisan voter education materials that cover the essential things every voter needs to know, for example: registering to vote, checking or updating voter registration, change in precinct or redistricting, when and where to vote, sample ballots, and accessibility. 


You will learn about the basics of a primary election vs. a presidential election and much more. There will be a bus with voting machines that you can practice on. Finally, there will be areas to register to vote in 2024, as well as applications for the Poll Worker position.  Make your vote matter in 2024 by learning about this very important process.


Come and be prepared to vote in 2024! Click here to view the flyer.

image image

North Avenue Presbyterian Church, in collaboration with Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, extends an invitation for you to participate in a transformative exploration of the Black Church. 

Join us for a three-part series titled "The Black Church - What She Can Teach Us Today," where we delve into the profound musical contributions and insightful interpretations of the Word emanating from the Black Church. This series offers a unique opportunity to learn from the significant social and cultural impact the Black Church has had on shaping our identity as children of God.

The Black Church: What She Can Teach Us Today

Lunch and Learn: Good Food, Transformational Experience, Rich Discussion

Sundays, February 11, 18. 25, 12:30pm - 2:30pm. $15 Registration includes lunch.

Venue: North Avenue Presbyterian Church, 607 Peachtree St NE. Atlanta GA 30308

  • February 11 - Registration closes February 7
  • February 18 - Registration closes February 14
  • February 25 - Registration closes February 21

For a flyer including links to the bios of presenters: Press Release

For more information and registration: www.napc.org/Special-Events

For any questions regarding the series please email Jane Hubbard at jmhhubbard@gmail.com

Clerks of Session: Don't Forget Your Annual Statistical Reports!

by C. Anderson James, Stated Clerk

Statistical report season is well under way! The Session Annual Statistical Report with basic membership, attendance, and financial data is due by Monday, February 12. The annual report of pastor’s compensation is due by Thursday, February 29. For more information and links to these articles, visit www.atlpcusa.org/clerks-corner. Contact Stated Clerk Andy James at cajames@atlpcusa.org or 770-330-7838 with any questions.

Upcoming Boundaries Training Opportunities

by C. Anderson James, Stated Clerk

All minister members of the Presbytery (except for those who are retired) are required by the Book of Order to complete boundaries training every three years. The next opportunity to fulfill this requirement is Tuesday, February 27, from 12:30-2:00 P.M. via Zoom. Additional trainings are scheduled for April 18 and October 17. By action of the Committee on Ministry, those ministers who are not current with their boundaries training will be considered not in good standing beginning in 2025, so please get current now! Visit www.atlpcusa.org/boundaries for more information on the requirements and to register.

Small Church Conference, St. Simons Island

Feb 29 - March 3

by Joy Fisher, Congregational Consultant

This year's Small Church Conference is called "The Gift of Small," but it's going to be bigger than ever! This year it includes leaders from PAM (Presbyterian Association of Musicians) and the Southeast Region of APCE (Association of Partners in Christian Education). The Keynote Speaker is Mark Tidsworth, founder of Pinnacle Leadership Associates which provides coaching, consulting and training in church revitalization. Check out the website to see all the great workshop leaders (including Aisha and Alonzo Brooks-Johnson!) Click here for more information and to register www.presbyasc.org. (Contact Joy Fisher for scholarship information.)


Hunger Walk 2024 - March 10, 2024

by Destiny Williams, McDonough Presbyterian Church

Since 1984, the Hunger Walk/Run has been an annual 5K/“fun run” of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and its partners. Proceeds benefit the ACFB and other local nonprofits, programs, and ministries focused on hunger relief. These benefiting partner organizations help recruit participants and receive a percentage of the funds raised to support their direct hunger relief programs.

As a benefiting partner, the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta keeps 60% of the funds we raise as a presbytery, which supports our Diaconal Grants program. All Presbytery of Greater Atlanta churches are eligible to apply for a Diaconal Grant to support hunger initiatives within their congregation. The remaining 40% that we raise goes to the Atlanta Community Food Bank where - among many other outstanding results - they leverage every $1 into $9 worth of groceries for hunger relief (enough for 4 meals!).

How it Works:

  1. Register as part of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta (link below). If you do not register as part of the presbytery, funds raised do not contribute to the presbytery’s grant fund.
  2. Start a Team, Join a Team, Reactivate a Team, Register as an Individual, and/or Donate toward a team/individual’s goal. Your team may be called the “{Church Name} Team” or you can get creative! Churches may have multiple teams.
  3. If you register as a team, your Team Captain will need to register first to Start/Reactivate the Team. Then, additional team members may Join the Team.
  4. Leading up to the Walk/Run, invite people to donate toward your team or individual goal.
  5. Return to the link below to track team/individual progress and monitor the presbytery’s collective fundraising toward hunger relief.

Questions? Contact Destiny Williams - destiny@mcdonoughpresbyterian.com

Register, Donate, Track Donations, Etc.

Clergy Gatherings

by Jane Hubbard, Pastor-to-Pastor Team Coordinator

Clergy Gathering Dates for 2024

  • Save The Date/location that suits you.
  • Mark your calendar.
  • RSVP to Jane no later than noon on the day before the gathering.

Northside - 2nd Thursdays – 12:30-2 PM - Rotate Roswell/Duluth

  • Thursday, February 8 Pure Taqueria
  • Thursday, May 9
  • Thursday, August 8
  • Thursday, October 10

OTP Eastside – 3rd Thursdays –12-1:30 PM Rotate Churches

  • Thursday, February 15 Conyers PC
  • Thursday, May 9
  • Thursday, August 15
  • Thursday, November 21

Southside – 5th Thursdays – 12-1:30 PM - Positano Pizza Napoletana

  • Thursday, February 29
  • Thursday, May 30
  • Thursday, August 29
  • Thursday, November 21

Young Pastors - 4th Wednesdays 1130-1pm Fox BBQ, Dekalb Ave.

  • Wednesday, February 28
  • Wednesday, May 29
  • Wednesday, August 28
  • Wednesday, November 20

Decatur - 2nd Wednesdays – 12-2 PM – North Decatur PC

  • Wednesday, April 10
  • Wednesday, July 10
  • Wednesday, October 9

For the Decatur group, Catered Lunch is by Baddabing. Please RSVP by the Friday before the gathering and pay $15 here.

Gifts of Women Sunday, March 3

To help celebrate Gifts of Women Sunday on March 3, the denomination has published a liturgical resource. Click here to view "Wonder Woman: Real or Myth?" and the accompanying worship resource.

Ordination of Donghyun Jeong

Join us as we celebrate the Ordination of Donghyun Jeong. The service will take place at Shelton Chapel, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, at 12:10 P.M. (ET).Livestream Link: 


Click here to read Mission Haven's latest newsletter, Haven Happenings, and here for volunteer opportunities.

For an archive of New Church Development Commission newsletters and/or to sign up for upcoming NCDC communications, click here.


Prayer Box

Each month we are taking the time to pray for our churches and new worshiping communities throughout the year. Please take a moment each week to lift up the following communities in prayer:

2/11 - Alpharetta, First Atlanta, *4Pointes

2/18 - Atlanta Taiwanese, Austell, *aijcast

2/25 - Barnesville, Bethany, *Atlanta Good Church

*Denotes New Worshiping Communities

The Presbytery Staff will never email or text you asking for money or gift cards. If seeking donations, staff will direct you to the Presbytery website or invite you to mail a check. If you have any suspicion, please reach out to one of us directly before responding! Stay safe in cyberspace!

Upcoming Events

Feb. 3 - Stated Meeting of the Presbytery @ Roswell PC

Feb. 3 - Glee Benefit Concert (Spelman College) @ Morningside PC

Feb. 6 - Advocacy Training (Presbyterians for a Better GA) - Zoom

Feb. 10 - Voter Education, Information, and Outreach @ Radcliffe

Feb. 11 - The Black Church: What She Can Teach Us Today @ North Avenue

Feb. 20 - Ordination of Donghyun Jeong @ Austin Pres. Theo. Seminary

Feb. 29- Mar. 3 - Association of Smaller Congregations Ann. Conf. @ Epworth

March 10 - Hunger Walk/Run 5k @ Mercedes-Benz Stadium

March 17 - Session Records Review (in Korean) @ Korean Central

April 6 - Welcoming Asylum Seekers (Peace & Global Witness) @ UUCA

April 21-26 - Transitional Ministry Training @ Calvin Center

April 28 - Morrow Presbyterians 60th Anniversary @ Morrow PC

April 30 - Stated Meeting of the Presbytery - Zoom

Click here for CTS's Center for Lifelong Learning courses and events.
Click here for the Calvin Center's programs.
The presbytery advertises employment opportunities within our congregations and partnerships. If you would like to browse opportunities or submit a new opening click here.

The next newsletter will go out March 1. Articles will be accepted through February 19. The following newsletter will go out March 29. To request space for an article, email your Congregational Consultant or Mark Sauls at msauls@atlpcusa.orgClick here to view submission guidelines.

Top Graphic Attribution:

Wesley, Frank, 1923-2002. Holy Family in Saffron, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=59201 [retrieved January 31, 2024]. Original source: Estate of Frank Wesley, http://www.frankwesleyart.com/main_page.htm. 

Communications, such as this one, are supported by your giving to the presbytery. Thank you for your support.

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  Youtube