November 1, 2021
E.P. Corner
by Rev. Aisha Brooks-Johnson, Executive Presbyter
October 12, 2021 - Social Media Post by Clarence E. Stowers, Jr (inspired by Allen White)
Loving and Leading the Church You Have...

It is hard to believe that our meeting this month will be our last presbytery gathering of the year. We have truly had to embrace the reality of being a “Virtual and Vital” presbytery. It is hard to believe that most of our meetings and gatherings have continued in virtual space. Our pastors, congregations, new worshiping communities, NCDC leaders, validated ministers, partnerships, and connectional ministries have done an incredible job serving God and others. Let me say that again. You have done an amazing job learning to pivot and adjust to the ever-changing landscape of what it means to be the church in this age. I hold the deepest amount of love, respect, admiration, and inspiration for your willingness to go above and beyond in your service to the Lord.
In the middle of October, I read a social media post that almost stopped me in my tracks. Well, it stopped me from scrolling on to the next post. It simply said, “Stop leading the church you lost and start leading the church you have.” I had to re-read it. I also had to process it in pieces. “Stop leading the church you lost.” To digest that statement, we must be honest with ourselves. We have lost some of the ways we have always done church. Whenever there is loss, we need to make space for lament. We also make space for healing and renewal. We make space for reflection, discernment, solitude, and courageous conversations as we listen for the Spirit’s direction in our lives and in our shared ministry together.
 
The second part of the statement is a grand and hopeful invitation. “Start leading the church you have.” To digest this statement, we must embrace that the church is still here. It may look different, but people are present, in person and online. Whether churches are relocating, engrafting, reimagining, and gathering, lives are being transformed and disciples are being made. There is so much life and hope if we can see the gift and potential before us. No matter if we are ordained or lay leaders, we have been called to lead, encourage, and support one another as we live into the reality of leading the church that is reforming right before our eyes.
 
For me, loving and leading the church I have means that I should never seek to do this alone. We need one another. I need the vision, ideas, creativity, challenge, and critique of others who are with me on this journey. It means cultivating relationships with ecumenical and interfaith leaders who live into hope and are ever ready to adapt. I am so excited for our November Stated Meeting guest preacher, Bishop Robert Wright of the Diocese of Atlanta. He has become another voice in my life who pushes me to lead the church that I have and to listen to God every time the church takes on a new form and a new shape. I pray that his ministry will offer hope and encouragement to you as we seek to be a church who loves neighbor and stranger.
 
I give thanks for the opportunity to serve God, this presbytery, our denomination, and the ministry we have together. May we all count it an honor to be the church in this season. 
 
With deep gratitude and much love,
ABJ
 
#VirtualAndVital
#AtlPcusa
by Donna E. Wells, Stated Clerk
Once again, we will gather for a virtual Presbytery meeting on November 9, 2021 beginning at 9:00. We are delighted to welcome Bishop Robert C. Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, as our preacher for the morning. 

Bishop Wright will add to our conversation on being Virtual and Vital in relationship to how we fellowship and be neighbors to one another. He will also join us after the meeting for a time of conversation and a time of FAQ. For an introduction to his digital outreach, check out his podcast called “For People”: link. And also “Imagine Church,”a hybrid worship experience of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta: link.

We also have lots of business to consider at the meeting: overtures for General Assembly, reception of new minister members, and election of new committee members for 2022 to name a few.

Click below to register, download the handbook, and/or donate to the offering.
Inviting all honorably retired pastors, validated ministers, Christian Educators, spouses, significant others

Honorably Retired Christmas Tea, Thursday, December 2 at 4pm on Zoom.  

Simple next steps:
  1. Register in advance for this meeting: register here
  2. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email from Chip Blankinship containing information about joining the meeting
  3. Save confirmation email with the link for Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 4pm 

Questions? Email Jane Hubbard at jhubbard@atlpcusa.org or call 404-200-6283.
Clerk of Session Training Offering
by Donna E. Wells, Stated Clerk
Are you a new clerk of session? Feeling a bit out of your league? No problem. Join Donna Wells on Saturday, December 4, from 10:00-11:30 AM for an introductory Clerk of Session Training. This training will be by Zoom. Please register in advance for the invitation. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Donna at dwells@atlpcusa.org.

Click here to register.
Vital Congregations Initiative Info - In Case You Missed It!
by Joy Fisher, Congregational Consultant
Is your congregation asking, “Who are we called to be now, as we come out of this pandemic?” You are not alone!
 
Our Presbytery is embarking on the Vital Congregations Initiative (VCI), starting in January 2022. Click here for a link to the Introductory/Invitational Meeting on VCI. You’ll learn about the 7 Marks of a Vital Congregation, clergy cohorts, elder cohorts, neighborhood assessment, congregational assessment, Bible studies, and so much more! Ask your Congregational Consultant for more information, or click here to read more. For planning purposes, we’re asking the session to send their Letter of Intent to Aisha at ep@atlpcusa.org by December 15 to be part of this exciting initiative!
Norcross Presbyterian New Home Dedication
by Kate Geerlings, Norcross Presbyterian
On October 17, 2021, Norcross Presbyterian Church celebrated coming ‘home’ to downtown Norcross, GA. We have moved to a ‘new’ facility that was Norcross Presbyterian’s home building 49 years ago!
 
Founded in 1830, Norcross Presbyterian (called ‘Goshen’) served the hardy pioneers of west Gwinnett. The congregation built a small church in 1899 in the (eventual) heart of Norcross’s downtown. For 73 years, Norcross Presbyterian worshipped in this clapboard church with the bell in the steeple before moving to a more modern building in 1972. 
 
Over time, the congregation grew and changed and then also shrank. In 2019, with guidance from the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, the session and congregation came to the decision to downsize into a different building. We explored office parks, retail space, and sharing space with existing churches. In an amazing moment, we realized our original Norcross building was for sale. 
 
It took 19 months to: convince the city to let a non-profit purchase a desirable ‘retail’ space, sell our existing property to Vietnamese Faith Baptist Church, and renovate our ‘new’ home. We brought back the original church steeple bell and reinstalled the stained glass windows that were painstakingly restored. It’s easy to summarize now, but accomplishing this work during a pandemic tested our congregation. 
 
Yet here we are! We were honored to dedicate our building with Dr. Lewis Fowler, Jr., the pastor of our church from 1966 to 1974. He led the congregation through the tumultuous late 1960s, being a lone voice from Norcross’ pulpits in support of racial integration, and moved the congregation to the building we just left. Dr. Fowler and his family shared unique memories with us of their time at Norcross Presbyterian. 
 
We were also honored with the attendance of our Executive Presbyter, Aisha Brooks-Johnson, Cassandra Morrow, Chip Blankinship, Guerry Mashburn, and David Hill.

We were filled with the Spirit during worship, singing together, sharing together, and creating energy for our new ministry in Norcross. We are very excited to have been called home to Norcross and to be creating partnerships with the community! Come visit us
Photo credit: Tima Miroshnichenko @pexels.com
Boundaries Two Online Course Opportunity
by Donna E. Wells, Stated Clerk
Friends, we have been looking at some options for a Boundaries Two training, for folks that have taken Boundaries One. We found a training course and a COM member has taken it and given it a glowing recommendation. The course revolves around boundaries in this social media/digital age. It is a self-directed online course so it will accommodate your schedule. We are looking into the possibility of setting a time where a group from the Presbytery can gather and take the class together. The course has a cost of $45. You can sign up for it here.

We require Boundaries training every five years. We encourage you to take the class if you are due for training. If you are still in need of Boundaries One, geared for parish clergy, our next offering is March 15, 2022, 12:30-3:30pm.
International Peacemaker Virtual Visits
by Marvin Simmers
This year the Peacemaking and Global Witness Partnership hosted three virtual visits with International Peacemaker, Rev. Havalio Poget, of Madagascar. Rev. Poget is a member of the Theological Faculty of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, where she teaches Missiology and directs a field research program for students that expose them to realities of social problems such as poverty, violence, and exploitation, and equips them to address these challenges as pastors.

The visits, which took place on October 3, 9, and 16, included video presentations of Rev. Poget’s ministry, as well as conversations about her ministry of among marginalized communities: youth, women, migrants, persons who are developmentally challenged, and victims of human trafficking. Rev. Poget’s presentations and her response to questions was both inspiring and challenging. She helped those who participated in the visits have a deeper understanding of, and commitment to, the ministry of peacemaking and reconciliation of the Church in Madagascar.
Presbytery Holiday Office Hours and Dates
As we are planning for the end of 2021, we wanted to make sure our holiday changes were public. The presbytery office will be closed Nov. 25-28 for Thanksgiving holidays and Dec. 24 - Jan. 2 for Christmas and New Years.

There will not be a Jan. 1 newsletter, instead a newsletter will go out in mid-December and the next one will go out Feb. 1. The deadline for the mid-December newsletter is Dec. 13.
Rev. Rafael Viana, of On the Way Church, was featured in a Presbyterian Mission article. For more information, click here.
Enterprise is hosting a Faith-Based Development Initiative Annual Summit on November 18, 1-5pm. For more information, click here.
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:

11/7 - Hillside, Jackson
11/14 - Johns Creek, Kairos Church, *El Buen Pastor Hispanic Ministry
11/21 - Kelley, Korean Central
11/28 - Korean Community, Lawrenceville, *El Nazareno

*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
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 December 1. Articles will be accepted through November 15th. The following newsletter will go out December 17. 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:
Pynas, Jacob Symonsz (1592-1650). Naomi and Ruth, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=58479 [retrieved October 30, 2021]. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jacob_Symonsz_Pynas_Ruth_beschliesst_mit_Naomi_nach_Bethlehem_zu_ziehen.jpg.