Faith and Fellowship, Featured

A Church Grows in Ormewood

New Ormewood Church pastor Jenelle Holmes. Photo: Four Corners Photography
New Ormewood Church pastor Jenelle Holmes. Photo: Four Corners Photography

By Katherine Clevenger

Nearly a year 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 for some, 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 Ormewood Park area residents of all backgrounds met to dream and discuss how a new church could look in our neighborhood. With some guidance from the Greater Atlanta Presbytery, they drafted and published an advertisement for an organizing pastor, followed by months of interviews, discussion, and eventual unanimity in selecting a pastor.

This groundwork culminated on March 15, as Jenelle Holmes accepted 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.

Pastor Holmes with her family. Photo: Four Corners Photography
Pastor Holmes with her family. Photo: Four Corners Photography

She is an avid reader, wife and mother of two plus a dog (to her credit for those who love the Dog Yard) and cat (jury still out on this verdict), and she has impressed with what has been perceived as a “quiet revolutionary” spirit. Most of all, she is a neighbor. “Being attentive and loving in the space where I live seems like a worthy calling,” Jenelle says. “Being a good neighbor is at the heart of the Gospel, and what a better place to start than your own front porch.”

Please stop by the Meet the Makers Festival March 25 on the church grounds to meet Jenelle and some of those from the neighborhood who are dedicated to the church plant.

There will also be a special drop-in event at the church for neighbors to meet Jenelle and her family from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Wednesday, March 29. For questions or further information about Ormewood Church or its timeline in the coming months, please contact ormewoodchurch@gmail.com or follow along on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OrmewoodChurch.