North Georgia United Methodists mourn the death of beloved clergywoman the Rev. Marita Harrell, whose life was tragically taken on May 19, 2022.
"I am broken-hearted since being informed of the death of Rev. Marita Harrell," wrote Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson in an email to Conference clergy. "It is a blow to our clergy family, especially since it appears she died at the hand of one she was helping. Marita was a friend and a shining light among us. I pray for her family, her church, and all who loved her. I am grateful that the Lord she represented so well was with her in all things and accompanied her to her eternal home. May His Spirit comfort those of us who remain."
Rev. Harrell was pastor at Connections at Metropolitan UMC in Atlanta. A provisional elder, she had previously served appointments at Newnan Chapel UMC, Rivertown UMC, and at Wellroot (the former United Methodist Children's Home). She was a longtime member of Central UMC in Atlanta when she felt the call to ministry.
As news spread on Friday, Central North District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Michael McQueen turned his focus to offering care and support to Marita's family and her congregation. Neighboring congregations extended care to the church and family. Condolences poured out across our United Methodist connection. Clark Atlanta University offered a full, four-year scholarship to Harrell's 18-year-old daughter. A crisis team put into motion plans for support specifically for clergy colleagues in the days and weeks to come.
On Monday, May 23, the Black Clergywomen of North Georgia hosted a time apart at Kelley Chapel UMC for all clergywomen to grieve and lament together. Two more grief processing gatherings for clergy were held on May 25 and 26.
Grief support for clergy includes access to the Employee Assistance Program which provides 8 free counseling sessions in-person or virtually.
Please join us in continued prayer for the family, congregation, and friends of Rev. Marita Harrell. The North Georgia Conference extends our love and care to all who are grieving.