OUR VALUES, MISSION, AND STORY
Welcoming Everyone to Explore the Living God in Our Neighborhoods.
Open our minds.
Be of Service.
Nearly a year to the date after the former Ormewood Park Presbyterian Church shuttered its doors with 15 remaining members, there are signs of new life at the historic sanctuary on Delaware Avenue.
Ormewood Park residents, surrounding neighbors, families of the Ormewood School, and fans of the well-loved Ormewood Dog Yard gathered on multiple occasions throughout the spring and summer of 2016 in pot-luck style community meetings to discuss the fate of that 1071 Delaware Avenue property after the closing of the church, which is owned by the Presbyterian Church USA [PC(USA)].
The voice and vision of the people came in no uncertain terms -- to keep this geographical Ormewood Park center as a neighborhood community gathering place that prioritizes nearby residents while offering refreshing and creative new ways for neighbors to engage with one another and with their faith.
And so, per the vision of the community, a seed for a brand new church plant was sown.
Through the late summer, fall, and winter, a group of 12 Southeast Atlanta residents of all backgrounds met to dream and discuss how a new church could look in our neighborhood. These 12, with the guidance of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery, drafted and published an advertisement for an organizing pastor followed by months of interviews, listening to sermons, and late nights of discussion, disagreement, and eventual unanimity over pots of coffee in the depths of the church, overlooking the Dog Yard.
This groundwork culminated on March 15, as Jenelle Holmes began the call as the first organizing pastor of this new “Ormewood Church.” Formerly on staff at Trinity Presbyterian Church in North Atlanta, and with degrees from Whitworth University and Emory’s Candler School of Theology, Jenelle “grew up running amok in the neighborhoods of Washington State,” hiking, kayaking, and beach-combing the Puget Sound.
With Jenelle's arrival the collaborative nature of this church plant has continued. A small group of dedicated folks met every Wednesday through the spring and early summer in each others' homes to begin discerning the vision of Ormewood Church. During these gatherings we've spent time asking questions like, "Who is Jesus?" and "What is church?" We prayed. We discussed. We ruminated. We edited. We listened. We hope, in the end, God will accept our humble offering of words (below) and will continue to form us as disciples of Jesus' love.
We started worshipping in the Fellowship Hall in October of 2017 with a prayer to renovate the sanctuary. That prayer was answered, and in early 2021 we were awarded a grant to pay for the renovation. That renovation is now finished, and we've been worshipping in the sanctuary since early September 2021. (The Presbyterian Outlook wrote a story about it! You can read it here.)
We're a casual and participatory bunch, sipping coffee and gathering around coffee tables together each week. Other than Sundays, we are working on loving our neighbors, juggling all these kids we have, and continuing to explore God in our neighborhoods.
WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY...
Who is Jesus? Jesus is God's loving presence in the flesh, holding us dear while challenging us to explore the unexpected, love our neighbors, and seek the living God in the world. Jesus did this in many ways in his life--sharing meals with his community, touching the wounded, talking to the outcast, challenging the status quo, and healing the hurting. Jesus is still moving in our world and we must be too.
Who is God? In the Old Testament Moses asks God the question we are all wondering: "Who are you?" God responds, "I am who I am." We are careful to "define" God. God is bigger than our definitions or understanding. With that said, God offers us revelations of God's presence in our world which we can humbly hold. We have seen God act as our creator, redeemer, reconciler, and parent. We encounter God through Jesus. We have experienced a God who is both mysterious and set apart, yet personal. We can spend our lives seeking God and still be surprised because, "I am who I am."
What is community? Community is a gathering of folks who have a shared connection, experience, or need. Maybe it is circumstance, or an event, or proximity, such as a neighborhood. We believe that we are called to love our community. Love is mutuality. Love is a relationship. Love is unconditional but also persistently seeks wholeness and flourishing. Love is showing up. As we grow as a faith community, we also seek to grow in love for the broader community.
Who are our neighbors? We believe that neighbor is a dynamic word. It is both a noun and a verb. A neighbor is a person in proximity--someone in our life who we encounter and perhaps even live close to. To be a neighbor is to be like the Good Samaritan, who does not turn from need, gives of himself, and seeks to meet others where they are.
What is church? Church is a community seeking to follow God's loving way in the world. This journey is messy as we seek to be authentic and earnest, but it is also holy and beautiful, full of love and adventure. Ormewood Church is an ongoing journey, and we are excited to discover how God is leading us to embody this sacred calling.
What is worship? Worship is a sacred time where we gather together as a community to celebrate and explore who God is and who we are. In this special time and space we seek an encounter with the living God.
Ormewood Church is a worshiping community that is focused on welcoming everyone to explore the living God in our neighborhoods. When we say "everyone", we want the world to know that Ormewood Church is open and affirming of LGBTQ+ persons. When we think about how to be a good neighbor, we want to make sure that our LGBTQ+ neighbors are included and welcome in our space and in our worship. We encourage LGBTQ+ in leadership in the church and the larger community and we strive to empower that leadership. We believe that ALL people are made in the image of God and that all people are our siblings in Christ.
We are a More Light Church - find out more about More Light Presbyterians at the link below.