Got a minute? Get to know Susannah Davis, E&H ’92

Posted by Monica Hoel
Find out what it means to welcome “everyone, everyone, everyone.”

Rev. Susannah Davis (E&H ’92) is a well-known alumna on two Emory campuses; she is serving as a member of the Emory & Henry Alumni Board and she is also serving as the president of the Alumni Board at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. During a recent Zoom interview she pointed to an Emory & Henry pennant displayed proudly on her wall and quipped, “When I’m talking to folks at Candler I move my lap top just a little so they don’t see the ‘& Henry!’”

She is the senior pastor of Kirkwood United Church of Christ.  This is unique for many reasons. For starters, it was the first UCC church in the neighborhood – having started as a small bible study gathering at a coffee shop she and Susan Anderson owned together before they got married. They quickly outgrew that space, and have built a building for the more than 200 members to use.

The coffee shop beginnings led to another unique feature: they meet for worship at 5 pm on Sundays because the coffee shop hours ended at 4 pm – and a 5 o’clock start gave them just enough time to convert the room from a gathering place to worship space. Even after they moved the congregation decided they liked the unconventional hour.

And this congregation is unique in more meaningful ways; specifically, in their “extravagant welcome” of all who wish to worship. Susannah says many of the members of Kirkwood UCC are former members of other churches where they could not enjoy the full experience of worship. “We mean it when we say ‘Everyone, Everyone, Everyone’ is welcome. We even say it three times to make the point clear!” And because the congregation is committed to addressing issues of social justice for everyone there is a great deal of dialogue that goes on between the vastly varying members of this vibrant church. “We have honest conversations about really complicated issues like racism, homelessness, LGBTQ rights – but in that honesty, we hold people accountable by looking for ways to ‘call them in’ – not call them out.”

To hear more about how her church is addressing community issues related to the current pandemic, listen to a WEHC-90.7 interview with Susannah on Thursday, August 13 at 6:30 pm.

  • Susannah Davis, E&H Class of 1992
Rev. Susannah Davis, E&H ’92, is the senior pastor for Kirkwood United Church of Christ in Atlanta.

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