Category: Faith

Dunwoody may ban religious symbols from city buildings

Requests to set up a Nativity scene at Dunwoody City Hall resulted in a new policy that would ban all religious symbols from most areas of city buildings. Doing so would ensure the city is not accused of endorsing one religion over another and possibly violating the Constitution, according to the city attorney. “This is still a hotly contested issue,” City Attorney Bill Riley told the mayor and City Council at its Oct. 14 meeting. “I drafted a policy that steers us away from all that … from the endorsement of religion debate. I don’t want us to get...

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Buckhead church to present requiem, host AIDS Memorial Quilt panel

Buckhead’s Covenant Presbyterian Church choir and a chamber orchestra will present a requiem on Oct. 27 and collect donations to host a Dec. 1 display of a panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The requiem “For Us the Living” was written by a music minister at a church in Albany, N.Y., and first performed in 2007. The free performance at Covenant is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the church, 2461 Peachtree Road. Donations will be accepted after the performance to help sponsor the World AIDS Day display at the church of a panel from the quilt. Overseen by the...

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Worth Knowing: In a leap of faith, a new church is born

In the last 20 years, attendance at American houses of worship has dropped 20 percent, according to Gallup. Last year, the percentage of Americans reporting church or synagogue membership reached an all-time low of 50 percent. So, why would anyone want to start another church? That’s what I asked a group of Dunwoodians who five months ago started a Bible study in a private home that is now preparing for its official launch as an independent church in a 70-year-old stone chapel in Sandy Springs. Miracle? You decide. It all started last March when a popular worship leader left...

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Anti-Defamation League regional director to speak Aug. 29 at MJCCA

Allison Padilla-Goodman, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast Regional Office, will speak on “Standing Up to Hatred and Anti-Semitism” on Aug. 29 at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, located in Dunwoody. The talk is from 10:30 a.m. to noon and is part of the MJCCA’s Active Mature Adults department’s KnowlEdgewise Speaker Series. The MJCCA is at 5342 Tilly Mill Road. The program is free to MJCCA members and $5 for the community. Padilla-Goodman has worked as a sociologist, focusing on race relations, migration, public education and urban development before joining the ADL, according to a...

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Episcopal bishop calls for bell-tolling to remember 1619 slave-trade incident

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, based at Buckhead’s Cathedral of St. Philip, is calling on its churches and schools to toll bells on Aug. 25 in remembrance of the first enslaved African people forced to come to English North America 400 years ago this month. That 1619 event in what was then the Colony of Virginia was recently highlighted by the New York Times Magazine in “The 1619 Project,” a package of stories about the legacy of slavery in American history. Rev. Robert C. Wright, the bishop of the diocese, said in a press release that the bell-tolling, scheduled...

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Sandy Springs’ Congregation Or Hadash to host event in remembrance of terrorist bombing

Tragedy struck Argentina 25 years ago, when a Jewish community center was attacked in Buenos Aires. In remembrance, the American Jewish Committee’s Atlanta office (AJC) is hosting “25 Years Without Justice: Atlanta Remembers Victims of AMIA Bombing” on Aug. 11 at the Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs. On July 18, 1994, 85 people were killed and more than 300 injured when a suicide bomber drove a car filled with explosive materials into the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building in an act of terrorism. Argentinian prosecutors have accused Iranian and Hezbollah agents, but investigations continue. Years later, terrorism...

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Mount Vernon Presbyterian in Sandy Springs announces new pastor

  Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in Sandy Springs announced its new pastor, Barrett Abernethy, will take the post in August. The church, located at 471 Mount Vernon Highway, has been led by Susan Haynes as an interim pastor for the past year and a half. The previous pastor was Rev. Dr. Joe B. Martin, who is now serving in Charlotte, North Carolina. Abernethy, who is originally from Texas, currently serves as a pastor in Livingston, Alabama at First Presbyterian Church. He is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, the University of Alabama and Austin Theological Seminary, according to...

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At marathon Holy Spirit expansion meeting, talk of agreement, threats of lawsuits

A massive, marathon meeting about Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Preparatory School’s controversial campus expansion plan April 24 was filled with tough questions and hopes of compromise — all backed by increasingly tough legal pressure from both sides. Some residents continue to say they might go to court over a 15-year-old legal agreement that could block part of the project, while Holy Spirit revealed that it photographed 170 pro-agreement yard signs with an eye to possibly suing opponents for “defamation.” Despite such saber-rattling, both sides say there’s room to talk about the proposal – which includes a parking deck,...

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Holy Spirit pitches smaller school, church expansion plan; legal agreement’s impact still disputed

Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Preparatory School are back with a new, smaller version of their controversial Buckhead campus expansion onto a Sandy Springs site. While aiming to appease neighbors in advance of an April 24 community meeting, Holy Spirit is also citing a legal technicality to say an old agreement with the community that might partly block the project is invalid. One resident leader says that move has “appalled” the neighborhood and that, while talking is preferable, going to court is not off the table. Holy Spirit’s plan for the combined church and Upper School campus in Buckhead...

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Local leaders offer prayers, hope after Notre-Dame cathedral fire

Local leaders are responding with prayers and reminders that “Spirit” outlasts material things following a devastating blaze that heavily damaged Notre-Dame, a Roman Catholic cathedral in Paris, France, that is a landmark of world art and architecture. Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Atlanta Roman Catholic Archdiocese offered prayers in a written statement and described Notre-Dame as “a treasure for the Catholic Church, for European history and culture, and for the world of art.” The April 15 fire at the over 800-year-old cathedral came during Holy Week, a Christian observance leading up to Easter Sunday, a celebration of the faith’s...

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Atlanta archbishop will move to D.C. position

Rev. Wilton Gregory, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Atlanta for 14 years, has been named the new head of the Washington, D.C., archdiocese in a move that takes effect May 21. Gregory, who was named to the Washington position by Pope Francis, has served as head of the Atlanta archdiocese since 2005. An Atlanta archdiocese spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about the appointment of a local successor. In a statement in “The Georgia Bulletin,” the archdiocese’s newspaper, Gregory praised Atlanta and asked for prayers. “While I am humbled and honored by the confidence the Holy Father has...

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Local pastors await possible United Methodist Church split over LGBTQ rights

Senior Pastor Skip Johnson stood at the front of Brookhaven United Methodist Church on a recent Sunday morning and delivered his sermon holding the UMC’s Book of Discipline in one hand, the Bible in the other. “When I held the books up, I said, ‘These aren’t really equivalent,’” Johnson said he told his congregants. He describes one book as God’s words as stated through scripture, while the other contains the doctrine of the church as legislated by the UMC’s governing bodies. Johnson’s sermon came days after the UMC’s global legislative body – the top governing body of the denomination...

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