Eastside UMC and Martha Brown UMC to Merge
Growing congregation in Oakhurst to merge with
historic church in East Atlanta
On April 6, Eastside United Methodist Church, currently located in the Oakhurst neighborhood in Decatur, will move into Martha Brown United Methodist Church in East Atlanta Village. The two congregations will merge, with Eastside’s lead pastor, Rev. Timothy Lloyd, moving with the congregation to preside just in time for Easter, bringing about the church’s own resurrection.
“We are a forward-thinking congregation, very passionate about social justice and working with the underserved, and now we are moving to an area where we can do just that,” said Rev. Lloyd. “I feel confident that this will be a wonderful coming together of a congregation in need of a place to grow and a congregation in need of growth.”
Eastside UMC formed in 2011 under the name of Oakhurst UMC because of its location.
“Soon after, we changed our name to Eastside to better reflect the demographic of the people who come to the church,” said Lloyd. “It’s a wonderful coincidence that we are now moving to East Atlanta.”
Eastside is moving from a storefront on 630 East Lake Drive to the historic church at 468 Moreland Avenue that has been home to a Methodist congregation for 120 years, and known as Martha Brown UMC for several decades.
“And not only are we committed to continue Martha Brown’s tradition of being outwardly focused, we will honor the name and her legacy by preserving the historical memorabilia housed there and transferring the name to a significant part of the building.”
The move offers Eastside a permanent home rather than a rented space, which they were occupying in Oakhurst. Also, it keeps an active United Methodist congregation at the Moreland Avenue church where membership has been declining.
Churches of all denominations in urban areas across the country have been on the decline in the last few decades. Established in 1894, Martha Brown’s congregation has dwindled recently to a few dozen in attendance, but has remained a stalwart in the community for outreach. The church hosts an art group, mother and infant play group, self-help groups for addiction and many other organizations and will continue to do so under the name Eastside.
“Martha Brown has been an important part of the United Methodist Church’s life in the city. This part of Atlanta, in particular, has seen incredible change and growth over the last several decades,” said Rev. Phil Schroeder, Director of Congregational Development. “What an incredible opportunity that a young, dynamic congregation can be a part of an historic congregation’s rebirth.”
Eastside plans to hold its first public worship service at the new location with the newly merged congregation on Easter Sunday, April 20 at 9:30 a.m. and and again at 11 a.m. To learn more, visit their website www.eastsideatl.org/eastside-move.