OUR CHURCH HISTORY
Founded - October 18, 1959
1959 – 1968 Pastor William Jones Pastor Jones (1st Pastor) was sent to Atlanta by
the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to start a new congregation. At his initiation, Saint Mark Lutheran Church consolidated with the new congregation. During his tenure, our current building was built and membership grew.
1969 – 1973 Pastor Vernon Schultheis (2nd Pastor) was called, the congregation shed its mission status and became a self-sustaining church.
1974 - 1987 Pastor Leslie Weber was ordained and installed as the congregation’s third pastor. A graduate certified for the ministry by Christ Seminary-Seminex, which was created due to a doctrinal schism within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, his calling made it necessary for Atonement to reconsider its affiliation with the Missouri Synod. In June 1976, the congregation voted to leave the Missouri Synod and several months later Atonement was one of the first congregations to join the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC).
1987 - The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the American Lutheran Church merged to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Atonement became a member of the new body and has had three members from the congregation to serve on the Southeastern Synod Council.
1989 – 1996 Pastor Lonnie L. Branch (4th Pastor), Atonement’s first African American pastor. Under his leadership, the Congregation grew and several new ministries were started.
March 1996 - January 1998 our congregation was served by interim and guest ministers as our Call Committee actively looked for a full-time minister.
1998 – 1999 Pastor the Rev. Dr. W. Arthur Lewis (5th Pastor). During Pastor Lewis’s tenure, we became members of a five church cluster in the Dixie Hills area - Atonement, True Light Baptist Church, Dixie Hills Baptist Church, Simpson Road Baptist Church and Newberry Chapel AME Church.
July 1999 - March 2003 interim and guest ministers, Rev. Eugene Powell, Rev. Mark Ellingsen, and Rev. Hugh Williams, served our congregation as our Call Committee actively looked for a full-time minister. During this time, the Congregation adopted the This Far by Faith: An Africian American Resource for Worship.
2003 - 2008 Pastor Lamont Anthony Wells (6th Pastor) . During his ministry, Atonement had two Sunday services for a pilot year, increased membership, and the Exuberant Praise Team was formed. The congregation began to use the Evengelical Lutheran Book of Worship, made changes to the service litany, added new carpet in Sanctuary. Pastor Wells also brought active participation of college-aged students from Atlanta HBCUs into the worship services.
2008 - 2009 our congregation was served by interim and guest ministers as our Call Committee actively looked for a full-time minister.
2009-2010 Pastor Ronald S. Bonner served as Interim Pastor. He answered the call to serve as the pastor and served as Pastor at Atonement from October 2010 to October 2018.During his tenure, we expanded our outreach to the surrounding community by appointing a liaison to the neighborhood clubs and hosting spaghetti and scripture dinners. We have also served our neighbors well by planting a community garden from which they could freely partake. We recently partnered with volunteers from Pine Accres Urban Villa to stage a neighborhood clean-up. The Fall Festival is another project involving the community. During the last years o his tenure, Pastor Bonner added 36 new members to our roster; through baptism, confirmation, affirmation of faith and transfers.
In 2019, Pastor Beverly Shaw answered the call and became Pastor of Atonement. As a former member of the congregation, Pastor Shaw brings a unique perspective to her role as congregational shepherd. Atonement members are excited and look forward to spiritual growth under her discipleship.
Through the years, Atonement has established a strong history of social ministry. Our food pantry is stocked and available to individuals in need. We continue to volunteer at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. WELCA provides health kits, school kits, clothing, soap and toiletries for homeless women and children. Our Men in Mission provide Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for our homebound members and needy families.
We are proud of our Church and what we have accomplished for more than 60 years with God’s blessing. We pray that our congregation will continue to survive and prosper as we strive to reach new heights in service to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
For this, we give thanks and praise His Holy Name!