Central Presbyterian Church, located in downtown, Atlanta, is a vibrant congregation with over 700 active members. Central is known for worship built on excellent preaching, outstanding and diverse music, creative liturgical arts, lay leadership, and the deliberate connection between proclaiming and living out the Word.
Active outreach ministries include the Central Night Shelter for homeless men, the Central Outreach and Advocacy Center, which offers food, counseling, job training and medical care to homeless and near-homeless people, and a Prison Ministry. Christian Education for all ages emphasizes Central’s social justice work.
Weekly Sunday worship is at 11AM, and is followed by a community meal. More than one-third of the congregation actively participates in Central’s music and arts program. Children and Youth Choirs, a Chancel Choir, two Handbell Choirs and a Drumming Choir enrich worship at Central. Central’s Liturgical Arts Guild encourages the creation of and use of visual arts to transform and enhance worship spaces and experience. Regular art exhibits and workshops also help members explore the visual arts as a means of worship and expression of Christian faith.
201 Washington Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Twice each year, Central Presbyterian’s clergy, musicians, and educators convene to
plan worship for the upcoming months. Although the details are left for subsequent
staff meetings, these biannual times of focused reflection establish the foundation
for Central’s intentional, inspiring, deliberately inclusive and liturgically grounded
Three times per year, a professional artist/ensemble comes to Central under the
auspices of the Arts of the Spirit education / performance / outreach series. For
“Concerts with a Cause,” artists present a free public performance with a love
offering that benefits a designated charity. For “Learning with the Spirit,” artists
lead Saturday master classes and then participate in Sunday worship. For “Gathered
to Sing,” artists conduct a worship‐centered concert emphasizing audience
Central’s project envisions combining these two established practices, extending their reach in ways that would serve the larger community and the larger church.
Specifically, the project involves:
- Bringing guest artists to the biannual planning sessions for collaboration with Central’s worship leaders.
- Facilitating worship‐planning workshops to complement each “Arts of the Spirit” event.
- Commissioning a professional videographer to record each phase of their worship‐planning practices, and create from this footage a teaching tool that Central would make available to all churches.
- Daring to produce or host more provocative artworks.
David VanderMeer, Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries
David graduated from Westminster Choir College in 1981, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary. At Central, David conducts the adult and handbell choirs, and oversees the entire music and arts program.
Gary Charles, Pastor
A graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, Gary is author of The Bold Alternative: Staying in Church in the 21st Century (2001), Preaching Mark in Two Voices (2003), and editor of Feasting on the Word.
Ellen Cavendish Phillips, Lay-Representative and Artist
Ellen works actively as a professional artist, teacher and workshop leader. She has received several commissions from Churches in and around the Atlanta region. Her paperlace cut banners (see photo) enliven the worship space at Central.