December 17, 2021
The EP Corner
by Aisha Brooks-Johnson, Executive Presbyter
(Aisha is pictured with artist and PGA minister member, Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman with the commissioned piece, “Surrounded”.)
This past November, I received a gift that has filled my heart with so much joy. Over a year and a half ago, I reached out to fellow minister member Rev. Lauren Wright-Pittman, of A Sanctified Art, to commission a piece of art that has been on my heart for years. I have always loved the passage of scripture in Hebrews 12:1-2 that reminds us that we have been surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. The passage goes on to tell us that we can find comfort in knowing that our journey on this earth comes with a legacy of spiritual mothers and fathers who have walked with God by faith. This scripture has always been an inspiration to me in my walk with Christ as a disciple and as a leader in the church.
 
I am also deeply visual and had hoped for a depiction of this text but with faces that represented the human family throughout time and space. I gave this vision to Lauren and simply asked that the piece be entitled “Surrounded.” The final expression of the text and the vision in my heart is a gift that has overwhelmed me. It hangs in my room, and I am encouraged and blessed every morning as I gaze at the witnesses reimagined.
 
This gift that I have received will now be a gift that continues beyond its original purpose. The piece has been scanned and prints are available here. Proceeds from the sale will go to benefit our ministry partner Memorial Drive Ministries. It has literally become the gift that will continue to give and be a blessing to others. It is my prayer that we continue to find ways to offer gifts that have a far-reaching impact in the world. It is my prayer that we offer our unique time, talents, and treasure as a way to communicate the grace and goodness of God in tangible ways.
 
May you receive the gift of waiting for the celebration of the Christ Child. May you offer your gifts to others in new, creative, and life-giving ways. May you remember that you are surrounded by the peace, hope, joy, and love of our soon and coming King, Christ the Lord.
 
Advent Blessings, Christmas Joy, and a Hope-filled New Year,
ABJ
From the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)

As night fell on December 10, a horrific line of powerful tornadoes ripped across several states, ending the lives of more than 100 people and wreaking devastation across many communities by the time morning had broken. One of these tornadoes was on the ground for a terrifying and unprecedented 250 miles, more than 200 of those miles in Kentucky alone, where the town of Mayfield saw the catastrophic destruction of much of the downtown area, including the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches.

It is the season of Advent — a time of watchful expectation that begins with a warning of impending judgment, the end of days, and continues with a prayerful journeying toward the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas, an ordinary babe dependent on the love and care of others for his survival.

In the wake of these terrible and catastrophic storms, it is the role of ordinary people of faith like us to shine as light in this bleakest of winters. We are called to be the hands and feet of God as we reach out to shelter, feed, care for and help rebuild the lives of those who have lost loved ones, homes, work and a sense of safety as a result of the tornadoes. We are invited to stand with them — and to stand together — bearing witness by our gifts and prayers that God is indeed incarnate among us, no matter what.

The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the "GAP" — Give. Act. Pray.

GIVE. ACT. PRAY.

GIVE: Gifts can be made online at pcusa.org/DT21, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check using the below reply device. You can also text PDA to 41444 to donate.

ACT:
Stay informed and like us on Facebook (facebook.com/PDAcares), download resources at pda.pcusa.org/pda/resources and share updates with your congregation.

PRAY: As we awake to news of devastation and death from another natural disaster, we pray.
  • For those experiencing loss, confusion, and despair, may they feel comfort only your Holy Spirit can bring.
  • For the community leaders and emergency personnel, we pray for wisdom and strength as they work to restore and repair their communities.
  • May we heed your call, oh God, to be co-creators with you in the caring of creation, our communities, and your beloved children in their time of need.
  • May the hope, peace and love of the Christ child comfort and keep us all.

Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, President and Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Presbytery Holiday Office Hours and Dates
As we look ahead to the end of 2021 and the promise of 2022, we want to wish you all a blessed Advent, a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year. 
 
Please note that the presbytery office will be closed Dec. 24 - Jan. 2 in celebration of Christmas and New Year’s.
 
The next newsletter will go out Feb. 1 (Deadline: Jan. 18). There will not be a newsletter published on Jan. 1.

Blessings to you this holiday season,
The Presbytery Staff
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The staff and leadership of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta wishes you and your loved ones a safe, meaningful, and merry Christmas! May you be filled with peace by the Holy Spirit, guided by the light of Christ, and loved by our Almighty God.
by Donna E. Wells, Stated Clerk
Presbytery meetings for the next two years will take a deeper dive into the Seven Marks of the Vital Congregations Initiative Program. We kick off 2022 with the first mark, Life Long Discipleship: 
 
“The righteousness that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God based on faith.” (PHIL. 3:9B)

  • From the cradle to the grave seeking to be formed for right living with God and with all people.
  • Faith — seeking understanding, cultivating wisdom, and actively following Christ. It is not an extra-curricular activity nor merely head-knowledge
  • Discipleship awakened and engaged in issues facing today’s culture: injustice, inequality, divisive segregation, oppression, suffering, abuse of creation
  • Discipleship formed and strengthened in the community of Christ and permeates daily practices and daily living.
 
We are delighted to welcome Rev. Kevin Park from Korean Central Presbyterian Church to keynote/preach for us, adding his perspective on healthy churches and Christian leaders through education and life long discipleship.

Join us via Zoom on February 12, 2022 at 9 AM as we begin the new year!
Annual Statistical Report Information to be mailed January 3
by Donna E. Wells, Stated Clerk
The Annual Statistical Report information will be sent to all churches on Monday, January 3, 2022. BE ON THE LOOKOUT. There are a couple of new pieces to call to your attention. The Presbytery approved a new parity plan, and therefore the number of your commissioners to Presbytery for 2022 may have changed. Please take note of this. Also, we are stepping up on encouraging clergy to get boundaries training. We have been investigating some online options for those that have interest in taking their training on line at their own pace. 
 
If your church has NOT received the packet by January 11, 2022 please contact Donna Wells (dwells@atlpcusa.org) for a replacement. Deadline for submission of your report is February 17, 2022.
A retreat for High Schoolers in the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta on MLK Jr weekend focused on the intersection of faith & social justice.

When: January 15-16, 2022
Who: 9th-12th graders
Cost: $70/person

We will gather at Central Presbyterian on Saturday morning for an afternoon exploring the intersection of faith and social justice then spend the night at the Calvin Center. We will return to Central for worship and closing time on Sunday, and will depart by 2pm. Registration is open now. For more information contact emma.neishloss@morningsidepc.org with questions and for more information.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Observances
January 12, 2022 - 9-10 AM. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) invites you to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service live on the PC(USA) Facebook page.

January 16, 2022 - Dismantle Structural Racism Sunday (Matthew 25)

January 17, 2022 - Presbytery office will be closed to honor the MLK, Jr Holiday.
In July 2022, the Presbyterian Church (USA) will welcome thousands of its high school-age youth and their youth workers to Indianapolis, Indiana for four days of worship, recreation, bible study, outreach, and faith formation. The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta is currently seeking high school youth to be part of our Presbyterian Youth Triennium Delegation!

This is a once-every-three-years event and maybe the ONLY TIME your youth can attend! 

Here’s what you need to know and do:

WHEN: July 24-27th, 2022
WHERE: Indianapolis, IN
WHO: High School Youth and adult chaperones
COST: $590 for youth and $610 for (18+)
HOW: Churches please complete the Triennium Church Registration Form, and a check for $100 deposit (per participant) written out to Presbytery of Greater Atlanta (Noted for Triennium) and MAIL to McDonough Presbyterian Church c/o Destiny Williams, 427 McGarity Road, McDonough, GA 30252 by January 26, 2022.

We are asking that the churches share the costs with families and our presbytery to get our youth to this amazing event. Participant costs include the event fee ($399 for youth and $418 for adults), hotel cost at the event ($165) plus transportation, delegation costs, and travel accommodations that will be determined by the size of our delegation. Presbytery of Greater Atlanta will transport our youth and chaperones in a charter bus. 

Got questions? Reach out to Destiny Williams, PYT Registrar at destiny@mcdonoughpresbyterian.com or call 770-957-9890 x1003.
SAVE THE DATE

Presbytery of Greater Atlanta's
VCI Clergy, Elder, & Deacon Cohort Gathering

Saturday, February 5, 2022

9am-10:30am via Zoom

NCDC Giving Tuesday Update
by Christina Toney-Schmitt, NCDC Development Director
On Giving Tuesday, YOU raised over $2,000 to support immigrant new worshiping communities at the New Church Development Commission – thank you! It is because of support from people like you that the Church continues to grow and invite new people into our Presbyterian faith.
 
With 16 of 28 new churches being new immigrant communities, the new churches of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta worship in 7 different languages each week, representing a multitude of different cultures and countries. YOU are providing translation services via Zoom to ensure that our community leaders can speak to one another in their own language. YOU are ensuring that leaders are prepared for homeland security visit and VISA applications. YOU are creating diverse and intercultural communities that spread the love of God and light of Christ in their neighborhoods.
Thank you for your generosity!
 
Want to get involved with NCDC?
 
  • Sign up for NCDC newsletters by clicking here
  • Check out our website here
  • Invite an NCDC representative to speak to your congregation, session, committee, or small group by emailing ncdc@atlpcusa.org
  • Set NCDC as your AmazonSmile nonprofit by clicking here
  • Contribute to NCDC financially (as able) by clicking here or sending a check
  • Set up a matching donation by contacting Executive Director Lindsay Armstrong at larmstrong@atlpcusa.org
New Boundaries Training Policy for All Clergy
by Donna E. Wells, Stated Clerk
The Committee on Ministry has updated its policy on Required Boundary Training for all clergy. We have also included new on-line options if that works better for you. Please make note of the new policy and if you are due for training, please sign up.
 
COM approved: November 18, 2021
PGA approved: N/A
 
Policy #16
Required Boundaries Training
 
All clergy, including retired clergy serving a church in some capacity, shall take a Boundaries class once every 5 years.
 
Boundaries One geared towards Parish clergy shall be offered twice a year. Boundaries One geared towards validated ministers shall be offered once a year.
 
Boundaries classes labeled Boundaries Two are designed for all clergy after five years of taking Boundaries One. These classes are advertised through Committee on Ministry and may change as various options become available. These classes delve more deeply into areas related to boundaries and clergy: Boundaries and Social Media, Self-Care, Sexual Harassment, Friendships and Congregants to name a few.
 
Sign up on our website for our offerings (March and October 2022) or take an on-line class:
 
 
We are also investigating other offerings.
In October, “A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast” initiated its first-ever Spanish-language episode to address the critical issue of gender-based violence in Puerto Rico and beyond. The Rev. Rafael Lemos Viana will be the first guest on “Una cuestión de fe” on Dec. 30. Click here to learn more.



Nancy and Shelvis Smith-Mathers recent newsletter is out and can be found here.



Click here to hear a presentation from Memorial Drive Ministries Executive Director David Roth on ministry to our Afghan refugee neighbors.
The 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:

1/2 - Morrow, Mount Vernon
1/9 - New Life, New Presbyterian Church of GA, *Iglesia Presbiteriana Horeb
1/16 - Newnan, Norcross
1/23 - North Avenue, North Decatur, *Junction Ministries/Junction ATL
1/30 - Northminster, Northwest, *Zo

*Denotes New Worshiping Communities
The Presbytery Staff will never email you asking for money or gift cards. If seeking donations, Staff would 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
Jan. 15-16 - High School Retreat

Feb. 5 - VCI: Clergy, Elders, and Deacons Cohort Gathering

March 6 - Hunger Walk @ Mercedes-Benz Stadium
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 February 1. Articles will be accepted through January 18th. The following newsletter will go out March 1. 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:
Swanson, John August. Shepherds, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=58575 [retrieved December 8, 2021]. Original source: www.JohnAugustSwanson.com - copyright 1985 by John August Swanson.