Berea Mennonite Church (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

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The Berea Mennonite Church, Atlanta, Georgia, USA began when the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference launched a Voluntary Service unit in 1958 led by Hershey and Norma Leaman. The unit primarily served men performing I-W service to fulfill their Selective Service requirements. The Berea congregation formed in 1961 with Elvin L. Martin as the first pastor.

The congregation first met on Clay Street Southeast in Atlanta. In 1975 it began to raise money for a building fund. However, it discovered a church building for sale at 1088 Bouldercrest Drive, with a 200 seat auditorium and a 12-room educational building on six acres of land. It held its first service in the new building on Mothers Day, 11 May 1975.

Macon Gwinn, Sr. was the first African American pastor of the congregation. He later pastored in a number of Baptist churches in the Atlanta area.

In January 1979, the Berea left the Lancaster Mennonite Conference and joined the Southeast Mennonite Convention. In June 2018 it shifted its affiliation to the Central District Conference. It made this shift because it feared the Southeast Conference would leave Mennonite Church USA.

In 1992 some members withdrew and formed the Atlanta Mennonite Fellowship. The new group desired more flexible church leadership. In the late 2000s, the congregation called itself the East Atlanta Christian Fellowship.

For a period of time, the congregation had three of its six acres under cultivation as a community garden. It sold food at local farmers’ markets and distributed some of the food through a free clinic. In a later version, it was called Oakleaf Mennonite Farm, complete with a barn.

In 2021 when both groups remained small, Berea reunited with the Atlanta Mennonite Fellowship under the name of Atlanta Mennonite Church. The new group met at the Berea location.

Bibliography

Jones, William Brent. "Mennonites." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 14 April 2021. Web. 5 April 2022. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/mennonites/.

Lehman, Martin. "A Tribute to Macon Gwinn." 8 June 2012. Web. 5 April 2022. https://www.oldmennofools.com/2012/macon-gwinn/.

Rich, Elaine Sommers, ed. Walking Together in Faith: The Central District Conference, 1957-1990. Bluffton, Ohio: The Conference, 2003.

Schrock, Jennifer Halteman. "Berea Mennonite farms three acres." Mennonite Creation Care Network. 15 November 2011 Web. 5 April 2022. https://mennocreationcare.org/berea-mennonite-farms-three-acres-2/.

Stella, Rachel. "Distance no obstacle for Central District’s growth." Mennonite Weekly Review 26 June 2017. Web. 5 April 2022. https://anabaptistworld.org/distance-no-obstacle-for-central-districts-growth/.

Additional Information

Address: 1088 Bouldercrest Drive, Atlanta, Georgia

Phone:

Website:

Denominational Affiliations: Central District Conference Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Berea Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Elvin L. Martin (1926-2013) 1961-1970
Macon Gwinn, Sr. (1941-2012) 1968-1977
James R. Ranck 1970-1973
Carl E. Martin (1936-2020) 1970-1986
Harold A. Shenk 1977-1987
David Lambert 1987-1995?
Vernon E. Schertz (1925-2013) 1995?-1997?
Jonathan Larson 1997-2002
Jonathan Emerson-Pierce 2002?-2005?
Dorothy Harding 2002?-2006?
Andy Johnston 2002?-2003?
Joshua Brockway (Interim) 2006-2007
Chris Jones (Interim) 2006-2007
John E. Wierville ?-2017?

Membership at Berea Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1962 8
1970 42
1980 43
1990 64
2000 51
2007 40
2020 20


Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published April 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Berea Mennonite Church (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2022. Web. 16 Aug 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Berea_Mennonite_Church_(Atlanta,_Georgia,_USA)&oldid=173732.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (April 2022). Berea Mennonite Church (Atlanta, Georgia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 August 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Berea_Mennonite_Church_(Atlanta,_Georgia,_USA)&oldid=173732.




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