Holy Family Catholic Church announces Ash Wednesday schedule

Submitted information:Holy Family Catholic Ash Wednesday

Mass and services with the distribution of Ashes (next Wednesday, Feb. 26) will be held at the following times at Holy Family Catholic Church (3401 Lower Roswell Road). All services will be held in English unless otherwise noted.

7:00 AM Mass

9:00 AM Mass

12 Noon Service (Ashes only)

5:00 PM Mass

6:30 PM Misa en Espanol

8:00 PM Missa em Portuguese

If you’ve got Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter service information to share, please e-mail us: [email protected].

We’ll be compiling a combined listings page, similar to what we do for Christmas services.

 

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St. Andrew to hold Methodist women’s district mission study

Submitted information:United Methodist Women

Feb. 22, 2020 – 8:30am-2:00pm – Atlanta Marietta United Methodist Women’s District Mission Study – St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 3455 Canton Rd., Marietta, GA – Keheley Bldg.

All women of the Methodist Church are invited to the Atlanta Marietta United Methodist Women’s District Mission Study on “Women United For Change – 150 Years in Mission.” Cost: $10 (includes breakfast, lunch and study). Study books can be ordered (and are suggested) through www.umwmissionresources.org. Registration starts at 8:30am. Lunch is 12:00pm. Our program is led by Cindy Davis Campbell, United Methodist Deaconess, whose ministry is with Cobb Senior Services. The study is learning about the history of the United Methodist Women and its predecessor organizations. 

 

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Registration Deadline: Sat., Feb. 15, 2020 (contact: Edna Felmlee, [email protected] or 678-494-4213).

Solo art show opening at The Gallery at Johnson Ferry

Submitted information:The Gallery at Johnson Ferry art show

Marietta artist Rita Pelot will be featured in a solo show titled “The Goodness of God” at The Gallery at Johnson Ferry. The exhibit will open on Fri., Jan. 17 and run through Sun., Feb. 16, 2020. There will be an opportunity to Meet the Artist in the Gallery on Sunday, Jan., 26 from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. 

“God has been so good to me in giving me the talent, creativity and passion to paint. My desire is that I will do my art for God’s glory,” said Pelot. “I am thankful for Johnson Ferry because the church values the visual arts as a means to speak to our hearts in a unique way. As I gathered the paintings for the exhibit, I was reminded of the blessing that a painting can bring to someone. My desire is that this exhibit will be a blessing to you as well.”

Pelot has loved to draw for as long as she can remember. While attending the University of Georgia, the art classes she took for an elementary education degree were her favorite classes.  Though she laid her art aside while marrying and raising two daughters, her passion for art was again renewed when her daughters went to college. She has taken many workshops and classes from well-known artists such as Marc Chatov, Greta Schelke, Jim Schelle, Mel Stabin and Tony Van Hasselt, and Kris Meadows. She is a juried member of the Portrait Society of Atlanta and a member of the Portrait Society of America. Her work appears in many private collections.

About The Gallery at Johnson Ferry

The Johnson Ferry Gallery is located at 955 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA 30068, in the third floor Atrium of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. It is a part of the Johnson Ferry Creative Arts Ministry, focused on giving artists a voice in the church and opportunities to use their gifts for the glory of God. and puts on 6-7 art exhibits a year, with one of these exhibits dedicated to a solo show each year. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Sundays during regular worship hours. You can view artwork from previous exhibits at https://www.johnsonferrygallery.com/.

About Rita Pelot

Rita Pelot is a member of the Portrait Society of Atlanta and the Portrait Society of America. Pelot’s paintings have been selected for juried shows at the Abernathy Arts Center, the Atlanta Artists Center in Buckhead, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, the Portrait Society of Atlanta, the Roswell Visual Arts Center, and many private collections. She and her husband Bill live in Marietta, GA with their Boston terrier, Lovey.

For more information about Pelot and her work, visit www.ritapelot.com.

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Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to hold MLK worship service

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church MLK service

In addition to Cobb commemorations of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday on Monday (see the bottom of the post), East Cobb’s Holy Trinity Lutheran Church will be holding a special MLK worship service.

It’s Sunday at 3 p.m. at the church (2922 Sandy Plains Road), and the public is invited to attend. Here’s what Holy Trinity is sharing with the community about the service:

You are invited to this special once a year event as we share the love of Christ and live out the reality of being family of God together in worship. Come be part of this Lutheran service with multicultural expression. We will have organ and choir, drums and liturgical dancers, singing, praying, and gathering together at the table. We are also blessed to have Bishop Kevin Strickland share God’s Word with us in the message. This year’s theme is “A Foretaste,” which reminds us both of God’s overarching purpose and blessing for us, as well as what we strive for together in response to God’s amazing grace.

Come early for a seat and to experience inspirational pre-service music and dance. In the spirit of the foretaste, all are welcome and invited to a reception immediately following the service. This year is the first year our annual service has come to East Cobb. Come, let us celebrate and worship together as the one body of Christ!

 For more information please contact the church at
 [email protected] or call 770-971-4600.

Cobb County government offices will be closed Monday.

The county’s official MLK observance takes place Monday at 10 a.m. at the Cobb Civic Center’s Jennie T. Anderson Theatre (548 S. Marietta Parkway).WSB-TV anchor Fred Blankenship will serve as emcee.

The event will also feature the annual presentation of the “Living the Dream” award by the Cobb branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. This honor is given to community members who demonstrate leadership and commitment to making our county more diverse and inclusive.

 

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Top East Cobb stories for 2019: Johnson Ferry Baptist’s new pastor

Rev. Clay Smith

The year 2019 marked some dramatic change for several East Cobb faith communities, including one of its best known. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church has a new pastor, only the second its history.

Rev. Clay Smith was called from First Baptist Church in Matthews, N.C., to succeed founding pastor Rev. Bryant Wright.

Wright, who initially ministered to a tiny congregation in vacant office space in the early 1980s, shepherded the church into one with more than 8,000 members, with a sprawling campus on Johnson Ferry Road that now includes a large activities center, ball fields and a K-12 school.

In addition, Wright began the non-denominational Wright From the Heart Ministries, reaching radio and multimedia audiences, and was president of the Southern Baptist Convention as it welcomed historically black congregations.

At the end of 2018 Wright indicated his desire to step away from his Johnson Ferry duties, and will continue with Wright From the Heart.

Read the stories

Another long-time spiritual leader in East Cobb announced this year he will be retiring in 2020. Steven Lebow of Temple Kol Emeth became the Reform synagogue’s first full-time rabbi in 1986 and took part in community protests against an anti-gay resolution by the Cobb Board of Commissioners in the early 1990s.

Leo Frank Memorial
Rabbi Steven Lebow of Temple Kol Emeth is retiring at the end of June 2020.

Later he took up the cause of working to exonerate Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager who was lynched near what is now Frey’s Gin Road in 1915. In the wake of 9/11, Lebow started an annual Ecumenical service the week before Thanksgiving, inviting faith leaders and worshippers from around the north metro Atlanta for music, humor and interfaith messages of unity.

Earlier this year, Eastside Baptist Church made the news when the Southern Baptist Convention had listed it for possible “defellowshipping” related to a 2017 sexual abuse case.

Newspapers in Texas had reported on allegations of abuse in the SBC, but Eastside Pastor John Hull was publicly critical of the SBC for the listing, saying the congregation on Lower Roswell Road had addressed the matter promptly.

A former Eastside youth ministry volunteer was convicted of two counts of sexual battery in 2016 and is in prison; the church took actions to improve security, strengthen background checks and increase safety as Hull was coming on board.

The SBC later removed Eastside from the list, saying no further investigation was warranted.

In September, a longtime East Cobb church announced it was closing its doors, due to declining an aging membership and financial issues.

Members of Powers Ferry United Methodist Church gathered in early December for “homecoming” as the 65-year-old congregation prepares for its final service on Dec. 29.

Also as the holidays approached, two East Cobb churches became one. Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which had been sharing space with Hope Presbyterian Church on Sandy Plains Road, merged with Christ Presbyterian.

The new church is named Christ Orthodox Presbyterian Church and it meets at 495 Terrell Mill Road.

 

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Powers Ferry UMC celebrates ‘homecoming’ before closing

Powers Ferry UMC closing
Former Powers Ferry UMC youth pastor Brian Tillman brought his daughters to the church’s farewell celebration Sunday. (East Cobb News photos by Wendy Parker)

A half-hour after the worship service ended, the sanctuary at Powers Ferry United Methodist Church was packed.

On a typical Sunday, the average number of attendees at the church, located on Powers Ferry Road at the South Marietta Parkway, is only around 50 people.

On this sunny early December Sunday, more than 200 mingled, hugged and recalled their memories of a church home that for many of them extends a half-century or more.

“The energy in this place is enormous!” said the church’s senior pastor, Dr. Larisa Parker.

The worshippers included current congregation members and those who have gone elsewhere, but came back for a special occasion.

All of them were there to say goodbye.

After 65 years as a congregation, Powers Ferry United Methodist Church will be closing its doors at the end of the year.

Declining membership and financial struggles prompted the decision, as members voted 28-14 in October to shutter the church and turn the property over to the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The final worship service will be on Dec. 29, but on Sunday, a special “homecoming” celebration was arranged that included an open house and an early afternoon luncheon.

Many just wanted to linger among the pews as long as they could.

“Today was a testimony of what this church has meant to this community,” said member Angela Schneider Wilson, who’s belonged to Powers Ferry UMC most of her life.

“But society has changed,” she said. “We are a very loving congregation and we’re all going to miss this place very much.”

Longtime Powers Ferry UMC members Angela Schneider Wilson and Michelle McRee haven’t decided where they’ll attend church in the future.

According to documents compiled by the North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, the average worship attendance at Powers Ferry UMC has fallen steeply over the last two decades, from around 200 in the mid 1990s.

Powers Ferry UMC opened in 1954 on the eastern outskirts of Marietta, when what is now East Cobb was mostly farmland.

Now, the community around the church, made up mostly of small homes and nearby apartment and condominium complexes, has transitioned from mostly white middle-class to to include many working-class minorities.

The East Cobb area also has grown rapidly, and there are at least a dozen UMC churches within a 10-mile radius of Powers Ferry UMC.

In recent years the church began a mission to minister to nearby Brazilian, Latino and Dominican communities, including the establishment of scout troops and a revamped youth ministry.

But the Atlanta-based North Georgia Conference—the governing body for more than 800 churches—created a study group last year to examine the viability of the congregation.

Among its conclusions, which were released in March, were that too few members were carrying a heavy burden of the giving load, and that the church could not meet its financial obligations.

That included difficulty in paying the pastor’s salary, making repairs and renovations to older buildings and submitting apportionment payments to the conference.

More than 75 percent of Powers Ferry UMC members are age 40 or older, according to the report, and 51 percent are over the age of 60.

The report also concluded that between 24 and 40 “active households” are supporting most church ministries and operations, and that the top 10 givers in the congregation range in age from the 50s to the 80s.

Powers Ferry UMC closing
Powers Ferry UMC has reached out to local minority communities in recent years, but it hasn’t prevented membership declines.

The closure of Powers Ferry UMC comes as new research about church attendance in America shows a decline in those considering themselves religious.

“This is a sad reality for a lot of churches, and not just in the Methodist church,” said Rev. Brian Tillman, associate pastor of Ben Hill UMC in Atlanta, and a former youth pastor at Powers Ferry UMC.

“It’s like losing a member of the family.”

Tillman’s children were baptized at Powers Ferry UMC, and his time as youth pastor inspired him to get into the ministry full-time. He brought his daughters to the homecoming, and gave hugs to just about anyone (including a reporter) who got within arm’s reach.

“This is the most loving church I have ever been a part of,” said Tillman, whose other church posts have included McEachern UMC in Powder Springs. “People here have different opinions about things, but they love each other. They get along.

“This is a small church, and you’re able to have a family feel and connections. You literally know everybody.”

Dr. Henry Bohn, a retired veterinarian, is one of those longtime Powers Ferry UMC members who knows just about everybody.

He joined the church in 1969, before the community was bisected by the Loop, and recalls former pastor Fred Emery saying “that road is going to destroy this church.”

Powers Ferry UMC closing

But it wasn’t until East Cobb became heavily suburbanized, several decades later, that his premonition came to pass.

“I’m very sorry to see it happen, but it’s sort of inevitable in a number of ways,” said Bohn, who’s active with the East Cobb Lions Club that has met at the church for more than three decades to prepare and deliver Meals on Wheels on Christmas.

(The church also hosted the Lions’ annual holiday pancake breakfast, which has been moved to nearby East Cobb United Methodist Church and will take place this Saturday.)

Bohn abstained on the vote to close Powers Ferry UMC, and said he’s transferring his membership to Mt. Bethel UMC, where he’s been an associate member for many years.

“There are four certainties in life,” Bohn said. “Life, death, taxes and change.”

Other Powers Ferry UMC members haven’t decided where they might be attending church in the future.

“I’ve never had to church-shop,” said Wilson. “I’m enjoying everything until we close. It will be hard to find another place like this.”

The same goes for her childhood friend, Michelle McRee, who like Wilson met her husband at Powers Ferry UMC.

A volunteer at nearby Sedalia Park Elementary School, she said the church’s current mission work has been vital “because we’re in a community that really needs it.”

That’s what makes the decision to close especially hard for her, in addition to the personal memories she holds.

During Sunday’s service, she said, “my heart was filled, and at the same time, there were tears in my eyes.”

Powers Ferry UMC closing

 

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At East Cobb interfaith service, pledging to ‘be my brother’s keeper’

East Cobb faith service, Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service
Retiring Temple Kol Emeth Rabbi Steven Lebow with clergy following the 15th Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service (ECN photos and videos by Wendy Parker).

Rabbi Steven Lebow was scheduled to give the final benediction near the end of the interfaith Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb Thursday night when the event took a most surprising turn.

The rabbi who had a vision for a celebrating religious and social pluralism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has rarely been a man of few words.

But when another clergyman rambled down an aisle at the synagogue, crooning Kenny Rodgers’ “The Gambler” as the packed house delighted, Lebow was left speechless.

The mystery guest was retired Monsignor Patrick Bishop of Transfiguration Catholic Church, who worked with Lebow to get the service started. The affable “Father Pat”—who retired in 2014—warmly embraced Lebow and nearly brought the retiring rabbi to tears.

Lebow is stepping down in July, after becoming the first full-time leader of the East Cobb Reform synagogue in 1986.

“For 30 years . . . you have stood for the marginalized and the outcast,” Bishop said. “You screamed and hollered when injustices were done to others, even facing serious injustices done toward you.

“Fifteen years ago you had a dream, to bring people of goodwill, who could share in these troubled times, not division and poison and polarization and the ugliness of the world we’re living in right now, but the goodness of people. . .

“It’s easy to get cynical. We need each other, to say, ‘Hey wait a minute, the darkness does not prevail. Light will win out.’ You, my dearest rabbi, have been a light to nations.”

His remarks embodied the service’s theme of “Are We Our Brother’s Keepers?” and that featured music and personal reflections. The service attracted several hundred people and included participation from nearly two dozen faith communities in metro Atlanta.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Lebow said about the visit from Father Pat. “I was flabbergasted. In a community of several hundred people, this was kept a secret from me. I am on cloud nine. I am delighted to be with an old friend.”

Hal Schlenger, a Temple Kol Emeth congregant who heads the service’s organizing committee, said the key to flabbergasting the rabbi was to tell hardly anyone.

“Six people, and my wife,” he said after the service.

The festivities included a Muslim call to prayer by members of the Roswell Community Masjid, songs from an interfaith choir from the participating faith communities, reflections from youth about addressing climate change and global warming, and poignant pleas for peace.

“Fifteen years ago, this was a vision I had,” Lebow said at the start of the service, and then brought the crowd to a loud applause. “Take a look at this. This is what America looks like.”

The message was clear: Helping others in need, regardless of whom they may be, is at the essence not only of faith, but in the spirit of brotherhood and community.

“The best way to help someone is to teach them how to help themselves,” said Kol Emeth member Henry Hene. “There’s no better way to help one another than to do it together.”

Mansoor Sabree, director of the Intercity Muslim Action Network of Atlanta, bolstered that message by explaining the work of his organization to help formerly incarcerated people transition to outside life.

“We see this as a chance to join an interfaith community,” he said, “and lead in a way in which we trust in God and in our humanity.”

The German-born Syrian-American pianist Malek Jandali, of the Atlanta-based charity Pianos for Peace, also issued an emphatic message for people of goodwill to combat hate and violence in a most eloquent way.

In his work, he has visited refugee camps in war-ravaged Syria, where his parents had been beaten for their son’s song, “Watani Ana,” written to protest the Syrian regime.

“Truth is being attacked,” Jandali said, “and art is the answer.”

The participating faith communities included:

  • Baha’i Faith Center
  • Chestnut Ridge Christian Church
  • Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
  • First United Lutheran Church of Kennesaw
  • Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation
  • Sandy Springs Christian Church
  • St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
  • Temple Beth Tikvah
  • Temple Kol Emeth
  • The Art of Living Foundation
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Transfiguration Catholic Church
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church Atlanta
  • Unitarian Universalist Metro-Atlanta North Congregation
  • Unity North Atlanta Church

Proceeds from the offering will benefit IMAN Atlanta and Kol Emeth’s “Give-A-Gobble” program to purchase turkeys and Thanksgiving dinners for those in need.

Lebow’s co-host in recent years has been Noor Abbady of the Roswell Community Masjid, who said in closing that while she’s going to miss being by his side, “the spirit of being each other’s keepers lives on.

“We don’t need to be of the same religion to be decent human beings.”

Lebow said he still plans to remain living in Cobb County, but admitted “I’m gonna miss” presiding over the service he initially thought would draw only a hundred or so people.

If they have him back, he quipped, “I’ll still tell a few bad jokes.”

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Temple Kol Emeth hosts 15th Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

Next Thursday Temple Kol Emeth will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, which includes nearly two dozen of faith communities in north metro Atlanta.

The interfaith service, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a dessert reception. Here’s more about the event:

“The Ecumenical Thanksgiving Celebration is a program that combines uplifting messages, music, and often humor to help those in attendance find common goals to benefit their local communities. During the reception after the program, guests can enjoy samples of treats from the different congregations and anyone can write their thoughts, comments or feedback about what moves them on the Wall of Words or on social media. This year’s theme is “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

“With so much negative media about religious extremism in many religions, this evening is proof that we can coexist, can learn and can enjoy being together! We’ve been doing this for years! It is an evening you will long remember.”

Other East Cobb faith communities that will be participating include the Baha’i Faith Center, East Cobb Islamic Center, East Cobb United Methodist Church, Emerson Universalist Unitarian Congregation, Pilgrimage United Church of Christ, St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, Transfiguration Catholic Church and Unity North Atlanta Church.

Temple Kol Emeth is located at 1415 Old Canton Road, and you’re asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before the service begins because seating for 900 people fills up quickly.

The program also will be live-streamed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (3155 Trickum Road), or you can view from home by clicking here.

For more information about the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Celebration, visit the Facebook page or contact Hal Schlenger at [email protected] or Temple Kol Emeth at 770-973-3533.

 

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Update: Mt. Zion UMC Party in the Patch postponed to Sunday

Due to rainy weather on Saturday the Mt. Zion UMC Party in the Patch event has been pushed back a day, to Sunday. Here’s what they’re sharing with the community about what’s taking place a day later:Party in the Patch postponed, Mt. Zion UMC

Bad weather is never fun, and we want our Party in the Patch to be the most fun for everyone who attends!

We are moving Party in the Patch to Sunday evening, October 20! Same time, same place, same bouncy, same pumpkins, same fun!

Festivities begin at 4:30 with our double feature of films beginning at 7:15!! It’s Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! followed by Spookely the Square Pumpkin! Be sure to bring a chair or a blanket!

All of the events are free to you, but all proceeds from pumpkins sales go directly towards benefiting our Youth Ministry!

Mt. Zion UMC is located at 1770 Johnson Ferry Road.

For other weekend events and our full calendar listings, click here.

More Halloween events in East Cobb can be found here.

 

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Holy Transfiguration to hold Spiritual Formation conference

Next weekend religious and spiritual leaders from several faiths will be featured at a Christian Spiritual Formation conference at Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in East Cobb.

Rev. Panayiotis Papageorgiou
Rev. Panayiotis Papageorgiou

“Exploring the Richness of the Christian Faith” will take place Friday-Sunday Sept. 20-22. It’s the fourth annual conference in the series, and this year the specific theme is “Ancient and Modern Voices: Salvation, Sanctification & Theosis.“

The program “explores the connection of modern Protestant reformers with ancient Christianity and how these connections affected their theologies” and participants “also will explore how their theologies compare with Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian theologies (both Catholic and Protestant).”

The work of the English cleric John Wesley will be featured at the conference, which takes place from 7-9 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20-22. According to the conference flyer:

“The goal of this series of Conferences is to help participants discover or get back in touch with our Christ-centered spirituality and also learn spiritual exercises and disciplines to strengthen and encourage our spiritual resilience in our journey to God’s Kingdom.”

The presenters include:

  • Dr. Roberta Bondi, Emory University
  • Dr. Robin Darling Young, Catholic University
  • Dr. Gary Moon, Richmont Graduate University
  • Dr. Charles Nienkirchen, Ambrose University
  • Rev. Dr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou, Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church
  • Rev. Joshua Toepper, Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church

The cost is $50 for the full weekend, or daily rates of $10 for Friday and Sunday and $30 for Saturday. Holy Transfiguration is located at 3431 Trickum Road.

For more information about the conference or to register online click here.

 

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East Cobb faith communities help dedicate new Habitat house

Habitat House, East Cobb faith communities

Submitted information and photo:

Nine Cobb County churches, two Mosques, a Synagogue and three corporations gathered yesterday in unity to dedicate the 19th Cobb County Interfaith Habitat Coalition home they built together for newest homeowner Belinda Arkoh.  

The 2019 Coalition included: Temple Kol Emeth Synagogue, Bethany United Methodist Church, Covenant United Methodist Church, Log Cabin Community Church of Vinings, Unity North Church, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church of Marietta, Smyrna First United Methodist Church, McEachern United Methodist Church, St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, West Cobb Islamic Center and the Islamic Center of Marietta. Corporations include BB&T, Moore Colson and Pinkerton & Laws Construction of Atlanta.  

They all work in concert to do as their motto says, ‘We Build to Coexist, We Coexist to Build’. The annual coalition is co-chaired by Henry Hene, NW Metro Atlanta Habitat Board Member and Paul Wilson, both members of Temple Kol Emeth. 

The home on Old Bankhead Highway began on June 1. Volunteers from each organization built alongside the new homeowner each Saturday since to complete the home.

Belinda is a recent widow and mother of two children: a 4-year-old son and 2- year old daughter. Belinda has been a United States resident since 2007, and proudly became a naturalized citizen in 2013. She lost her husband and father of her two children in 2018.  

After living in a single bedroom apartment with her two children, they now have a home, yard, neighborhood and community. Belinda is professional seamstress and a devoted Christian who loves working in her community work and her church.

Pictured from left to right: David McKay, House Leader; Jessica Gill, CEO NW Metro Atlanta Habitat; Greg Lee, McEachern United Methodist Church; Paula Wilson, Temple Kol Emeth; Henry Hene, Coalition Co-Chair and NW Metro Atlanta Habitat Board; Paul Wilson, Coalition Co-Chair; Tony Phillips, Pastor McEachern United Methodist Church; Rabbi Steve Lebow, Temple Koh Emeth; Belinda Arkoh, homeowner; Amjad Taufigue, West Cobb Islamic Center; Rev. Avril James, Unity North Church; Jerry Zigler, Covenant United Methodist Church; Connie Bergeron, Dave Daniels, St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church; and Alan Nicely, Smyrna First United Methodist Church.

 

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New Johnson Ferry Baptist pastor approved; to start Sept. 8

Rev. Clay Smith

The Rev. Clay Smith was approved by the membership of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church on Sunday to become the new senior pastor.

Smith, who was called by the church’s search committee last month, preached at all five services on Sunday. His hiring was formalized at a conference following the services in a motion that “had the unanimous recommendation from the search team, personnel committee, elders, and Bryant and Anne Wright. The vote of Johnson Ferry Baptist members was unanimous!”

Currently the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Matthews, N.C., Smith officially takes over on Sept. 8. Johnson Ferry is saying there will be some “overlap” until November or December as outgoing pastor Rev. Bryant Wright moves into a new position with his Wright From the Heart Ministries nearby.

According to a message on the Johnson Ferry Baptist website, the two pastors will be splitting up preaching responsibilities during the transition and that “plans are being formulated for how to honor Bryant and Anne for their incredible ministry at Johnson Ferry.”

Wright was the inaugural senior pastor at Johnson Ferry Baptist, which was established in 1981. It now has more than 7,000 members. Wright also is a former two-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

Smith’s first Johnson Ferry sermon can be seen below:

 

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