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Update on El Refugio

Dear Everyone,

As you know, a team of us regularly visit Stewart Detention Center. This is an update about our last visit and information about the post-release program that will begin next month.
lets us hear their stories and reminds us once again of the horror of what is going on. 

Meeting Dawn and her four children from Virginia who were visiting their husband/father was special for us. We saw her early as they went to his court hearing. Then we were with them in the waiting room as they visited – all the children were crying as they left. Then she came to the El Refugio House as we were debriefing. She was looking for some medical assistance before they began the 10-hour drive back to Virginia. She had stayed at El Refugio once before when she came for a weekend.

A second special happening was meeting Michelle Fierro. She is El Refugio’s newly hired Coordinator for the Post Release Program which is scheduled to begin in March. Michelle is a wonder…. She is full of life and sympathy and knowledge. She helped Dawn with information about medical assistance and gift cards for gas and food for the trip back. She helped us understand the exciting plans for the post-release program. We puffed out our chests in a too ‘proud-full’ way as we remembered the NDPC helped get the program going with our $4,500 contribution from the Alternative Gift Market. More on that program below.
All in all, it was a very special trip.  Our next ones will be Feb 27, March 26, April 23, May 28.  Several of you have already signed up.  Please let us know when you want to go. Visiting and seeing all that El Refugio is doing makes your heart sing and break at the same time.
Oh, two more things. Mike is planning to build a shed at the House sometime soon. And court watching may begin soon.

Take care,
Joe Sandifer

                         El Refugio’s Post Release Program to begin in March 2020
Some good news comes from Stewart Detention Center (SDC) in Lumpkin, GA!  Recent efforts to increase legal access for folks at Stewart Detention Center mean more people are being released on bond and parole.  SDC offers those released a ride to the closest bus station in Columbus, GA—about one hour away.  However, many people have never seen freedom in the USA before, or don’t have the resources to immediately travel.
In response to this problem, El Refugio has set up its post-release program to begin in March. El Refugio will provide a place to stay, food, help with travel arrangements and transportation to Columbus. This gives people time to relax and prepare for what can be very long journeys to join family or friends across the United States.
Plans call for recruiting volunteers to spend at least one week serving at our El Refugio house.  Split shifts are acceptable instead of staying the entire week.  Volunteers will assist with running the house, orientation of new guests, preparing guests for travel and, most importantly, welcoming and supporting guests at this time.  Volunteers may also have the chance to visit people at SDC and participate in Immigration Court Watch held in the courtroom at SDC.

To apply, fill out our short application form online at  [email protected] 

For more info on El Refugio’s post release program visit http:/bit.ly13ahRy8D.
Contact persons:  Charlotte Stone:  [email protected] and Joe Sandifer: [email protected]

You should have received a hardcopy of the most recent Seasons in your mailbox. If you did not, please send an email to [email protected] and we will send you one. Click here for an online copy. 



Sunday, March 1st, 2020 

8:30 a.m. Worship Leaders
Head Usher: Jack Kittle
Usher: Bill Castle

11:00 a.m. Worship Leaders

Liturgist: Barbara Gifford
Word in Worship:  
Acolytes: Elsa Cayce
Head Usher:  Chet McQuaide                       
Ushers: David Evans, Bert Weaver, Carl Parlato, Tom Schreck, Margaret Lewicki, James Leonard
Greeter: Heidi Gleason

Extended Session:

Nursery: Laura Eby
Toddlers: Sallie Owens
PreK-1st Grade: Laura Snyder, Mirrin Reagan
Floater:  Matt Eby

The flowers in the sanctuary are given by the Worship Committee for all the good NDPC does in the world. 

To submit comments or suggestions about worship, or volunteer to donate flowers, or serve as an usher or liturgist, contact [email protected]. Go here to sign up for word in worship. To submit information for scrolling announcements or media presentations during worship, see the official NDPC AV Guidelines and contact Clint Miller at [email protected].


We have arrived at the season of Lent, a season of simplifying and deepening our faith. We “give up” something in order to clarify our reliance on God. We “take up” practices of prayer and serving others that bring our lives into alignment with God’s will. During the Sundays in March, we will explore the 6th “Big Idea” of the Bible, mercy. Mercy, we will discover on the first Sunday in Lent, is the primary aspect of God’s character; God is merciful.

Worship live streams on Facebook!

If you can’t be with us but still want to be with us Sunday morning, you can join the worship through the live stream on Facebook. Just go to our Facebook page and look for it under “Videos.” Tell your friends! 
You can access last week’s video here. 

Word in Worship

Fulfill your baptismal vows! Tell a story, read a book, reflect on scripture, sing a song! Share a message with the children during the 11 a.m. worship service. You will receive the scheduled liturgy the week you are signed up to lead and you are always welcome to reach out to the week’s preacher for help in planning. Questions? Contact Erin Reed Cooper at [email protected] Review the available slots on the Sign Up Genius.

Change for Change

For the month of March, our loose change offering will go to RIP Medical Debt, to coincide with the worship theme throughout the month of “mercy:” RIP Medical Debt to remove the burden of medical debt for individuals and families in our community.

Community Fellowship

Thanks to NDPC Fellowship for providing our refreshments this Sunday. The 2020 Sign-Up Genius is now available! Click here to see which Sunday your parish or

committee is scheduled to provide the refreshments for fellowship between Sunday School and Worship. There is also one Sunday each month available for any individual volunteer who would like to host. This is a popular opportunity to meet and greet old and new friends each week and enjoy snacks together. We are totally dependent upon folks stepping up to offer this hospitality, so please volunteer! Contact Thom Schreck at [email protected].

Adult Education

Our Spring Adult Education Brochure

Do you have an idea for a class, workshop, or small group that you’d like to share? 
Click HERE to tell us all about it! 

Lenten Wednesday Night Class


Just Neighbors: A Lenten Conversation Between Congregations

Wednesdays in Lent, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
How do we love our neighbor when we are separated from our neighbors by visible and invisible walls? In this Lenten Wednesday class, participants will explore Scripture, our own life stories, and the particular history of DeKalb County together. We will discuss how we can be neighbors to one another in this “Beloved Community.” Participants will be drawn from the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross and North Decatur Presbyterian Church. Enrollment is not limited. Because the goal of the class is to develop relationships, we ask that participants attend as many class sessions as you are able. Registration: Send an email to [email protected] to sign up.

This Rotation 

Just and Sustainable Food: Transforming our Food System 
Dates: March 8, 15, 22, and 29
Facilitators: Rebecca Watts Hull, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Wilkes
Location: Parlor in Sanctuary Building

Year-Round Classes

Forming Us Parenting Class
Facilitators: Kimberly Broerman, John Morgan, and others
Location: Parent Classroom in the Children’s Education Building
The Artistry of The Bible
Facilitators: Rick Neale, Alice Hickcox, and others
Location: Studio Classroom in Sanctuary Building
Craftivists and Liturgical Arts – On Thursdays!

Dates & Times: 1st & 3rd Thursday, 7 p.m. (Liturgical Arts);
                2nd & 4th Thursday, 7 p.m. (Craftivists)
Facilitator: Ellen Gadberry [email protected]
Location: Studio Classroom in Sanctuary Building                                             

Children, Youth, and Families



On Sunday, February 23, we began a new rotation, “Wholeness and Healing.” We are studying the story of Jesus healing 10 people, with only one returning to give thanks. This rotation will run from February 23 – March 15. Together, we’ll explore the relationship between being thankful and being whole and healed.

Children’s choir will meet on March 1st.


Youth Group this week:
There is a lot to do to prepare for Youth Sunday worship service. Please join us this Sunday night as we meet to find a dynamic way to share our perspective with the entire congregation. We need you there!
Middle School Music:
To highlight our amazing youth, the Middle School youth are forming a choir to be included in the Youth Sunday worship service on March 15th. You don’t have to be an amazing singer to join! We will be rehearsing March 1st and 8th.

Youth Sunday:
March 15th, the youth will be leading our morning worship services. Please plan on joining us for preparation during youth group in February and March.

Nourish Our Youth! 

Volunteers are needed to provide a simple meal on Sunday evenings so our youth and children’s choir can be fed before their fellowship time. Volunteers agree to provide a meal for 30-40 people, set up tables and buffet in the fellowship hall and serve the meal from 6-6:30 p.m. Lastly, volunteers agree to clean up the kitchen and Fellowship Hall once the youth have finished their meal. It’s a fun way to serve in our church! Need more details? Contact Kate  Mosley [email protected].

Thank you to Anne Dishman for preparing the meal for next Sunday, March 1st. 

Congregational Care

Circle of Care, Next Gathering: Sunday, March 8th 4:30 p.m., Parlor: 
We meet twice a month and offer support and fellowship for caregivers and those living with mental or physical health issues. This group ordinarily meets every 2nd and 4th Sunday at 4:30 p.m. March dates are the 8th and 22nd. Contact Mary Anona, [email protected].

Meals and Transportation: The Meal Care and Transportation teams are under the umbrella of Congregational Care at NDPC. The Meal Care ministry provides meals to those in need of nutritional support due to illness or death of a loved one. The Transportation Team provides support to those who are homebound who want to attend Sunday services. If you think these ministries are calling you, give them a try. The Congregational Care Team members would love to have you join them. Contact Audra Grace: [email protected]

Need Congregational Care? Do you or someone you know need congregational care? The phone number for care at the church is 404-981-6372. Or contact [email protected] at our confidential email address to let a pastor know of a concern that needs prayer, a visit, or pastoral attention. If you would like to be added to the weekly In Touch prayer list for a concern or a celebration, contact [email protected].

Community Life

Men’s Retreat April 24 to 26 (Note Date Change), Highlands, North Carolina: Join NDPC Men’s Fellowship for a weekend of great food, fun, fellowship, and reflection. We will have a variety of activities inside and outside appealing to different interests and abilities, all to create an environment of coming together. Tim Merritt will lead us with the topic, “What Do Movies Say to Men?” We will be staying in houses of members with overflow rooms available in a local resort if needed. This is the corrected date for the Men’s Retreat: April 24-26. Mark your calendar because we *really* want to see you there! You are a hardworking team and you are much, much appreciated. Thanks for all the many things you help the people of this church accomplish. Put it on your calendar and sign up in the Narthex or email your interest to Kip Duchon at [email protected]. More details to follow.

Salt Shakers! If you signed up for this year’s program of meals and fellowship, you should have received your assignments by email last Monday. If you did not get your assignments, please send a note to [email protected] and he will send you a copy. If you forgot to sign up it’s not too late – spaces are available in the February and March gatherings. Send a note to [email protected] if you would like to join in the fun.

Book Study of Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection, Thursday, February 27, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Studio Classroom: This four-session book study is a follow-up to the creative process introduced by Karla Kincannon earlier this month. Join us even if you didn’t make the Saturday event for a time of conversation and creative expression – our focus is on the process, and on our Imago Dei fellowship. The remaining dates for this book study are 3/12, 3/26 while meetings of the Craftivists Group are on hiatus until later this spring. Contact: Ellen Gadberry [email protected].
Poetry Sharing Expands!  Twice a month! Tuesday, March 3, 2:00 p.m., parlor: We love sharing poetry so much that we are now going to get together twice a month instead of just once a month. The group will meet on the first and third Tuesday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. in the parlor. If you haven’t been able to come on the first Tuesday, then maybe the third Tuesday will work for you. We have been discovering some wonderful modern poets but the more classical ones we memorized in school are still fun to share. Contact Barbara Jung: [email protected].

Liturgical Arts Group, Thursday, March 5, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Studio Classroom: The joyful mission of the Liturgical Arts Group is to support, enhance, and extend elements of worship in our community through the visual arts at North Decatur Presbyterian Church.  Our projects are guided and participatory, and all adults are welcome to this “visual choir.” We build our skills by doing, so no prerequisite talent is needed! This class meets the first and third Thursdays of the month. Contact: Ellen Gadberry st[email protected]

Young Adults Gathering: Thursday, March 5, 7:00-8:15 p.m.:
All NDPC Young Adults are invited to participate in a night of fellowship downstairs at the Po’ Boy Shop on Thursday, March 5th. We will discuss future monthly gatherings and eat delicious food. Contact: Rob Schoonover [email protected].


Book Group, March 5 at 7:00 p.m., at Roger Duvall’s “Beloved” by Tony Morrison: Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Contact Kip Duchon. [email protected]

SAGES Luncheon, Tuesday, March 10, noon, Fellowship Hall. Program: Jan Cribbs, (a member of NDPC and SAGES and also of Southern Order of Storytellers) presents: “It’s Women’s History Month, and ‘Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History’. . . or do they?” For $8 a wonderful lunch catered by Badda Bing is available. Please make your lunch reservation by 4 p.m. on Sunday 3/8 with Jim Goodspeed at or notify the church office. Our meetings are open to the congregation-at-large and friends. Contact: Jim Goodspeed, [email protected]

Service and Missions

Moms Demand Action, State Capitol, February 27: Last year, hundreds of people attended Moms Demand Action – Georgia Advocacy Day. We rallied together to advocate for common-sense gun laws with our state legislators. This year, we are going back on February 27th to continue our fight! Will you join us? Come to the Georgia State Capitol to show our legislators that Moms Demand Action is a force to be reckoned with. There will be a short rally at the church across the street, and then we will head to the capitol in our red shirts to talk to our legislators. Contact Deedee Murphy at [email protected] if you are interested in joining us.
Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence and is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Sign Up here:–event-search&fbclid=IwAR0y8ow_6F6Oj-pqFWFalIR-vP0YTXmz8Df41e9L4fcmMmlT8TQUD83sch4 

Presbyterians for a Better Georgia: Join Presbyterians for a Better Georgia in partnership with Central Outreach & Advocacy Center for our annual Lobby Day! Join us for PBG Day at the Capitol on Monday, March 2nd at 7:30 a.m. at Central Presbyterian Church. Come put what you’ve learned into practice as we convene for a morning of advocacy training and issue briefings, then head over to the Capitol for meetings with our elected officials. Event is free to attend! Register online at

PBG Day at the Capitol (NEW DATE!!!!)
In Partnership with Central Outreach & Advocacy
Monday, March 2nd, 2020
Central Presbyterian Church
201 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303
Issue briefing begins at 7:30 a.m.
Light breakfast provided!

Cold Weather Shelter Volunteers: Please keep an eye on the Weather Channel and consider signing up from Thursday through Sunday. See recruitment below.

Cold Nights In Decatur: North Decatur Presbyterian Church is partnering with A Home for Everyone in DeKalb and other churches to manage a cold-weather shelter in Decatur for nights that are below 36 degrees. This year Decatur First United Methodist is housing the shelter. We need volunteers to provide food and to host the evening and overnight shifts. To volunteer at the Decatur First Methodist building, you must first complete a background check and read their safety information. If you have any questions, please contact Roberta Goldbaugh at [email protected], Annie Godfrey at [email protected] or Debra Robinson at [email protected]. Here are the links:

Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra Concert, Saturday, February 29, 7:30 p.m., NDPC Sanctuary: Join the APO for the first concert of 2020 continuing our 15th season! The concert will feature Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto in Bb Major,” and Kieffer’s “. . . and then the Universe exploded.” These composers took chances with their compositions and changed music. Whitt Locke, guest conductor. For ticket information visit

Opportunity for service to our immigrant community:  North Decatur Presbyterian Church is participating with the New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta which is a collaboration of seven churches and synagogues. NDPC is responsible for providing food for asylum seekers every Thursday.  The food request is for a main meal and then extra food that can be for a snack or second meal. The New Sanctuary Movement is asking that if you participate, you read and sign a consent form. All pertinent information can be e-mailed to you. If you can help on a one time or ongoing basis, please contact Karen or Bert Weaver at [email protected]. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Homeless Laundry Ministry, Wednesday, March 4th, 6 p.m., Medlock Laundry: Help wash clothes for our neighbors who are homeless. Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, a group of volunteers meet at the Medlock Coin Laundry to wash clothes, study scripture, and pray with each other.  We partner with Mercy Community Church and manage the laundry twice a month. Visit our page on our website to learn more. Those experiencing homelessness that we serve always have needs, especially this time of the year as temperatures drop. Please make a donation and check out Mercy Community Church’s wish list on Amazon for these members of their community and upon checkout, please select “Mercy Community Church Gift Registry” when prompted to “Choose shipping address.” Contact: Dee Raeside, [email protected].


Friends of Cuba, Church House at Kirkwood United Church of Christ, 100 Rogers Street, Atlanta, Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.: NDPC members are invited to come to a program on Cuba sponsored with the Cuba Caravan, a longtime voice normalization of relationships with Cuba: Dr. Rosemari Mealy of Brooklyn NY. Dr. Mealy is a recipient of the Cuba Friendship Medal as a long time supporter of solidarity with the Cuban revolution. She is a noted author, an adjunct professor at City College of New York, and a life long human rights advocate. This location is the house right on the street. Parking is available around the church house. Contact: Deedee Murphy [email protected].Wild Goose Festival! 
A group from NDPC is planning on attending the Wild Goose Festival again this summer (July 9-12). As you are making your summer plans, keep it in mind. Wild Goose is a “transformational community grounded in faith-inspired social justice.” It’s three days of lectures, singing, Godly Play, swimming in the French Broad River, Beer and Hymns and a lot of amazing progressive Christians. Very family friendly too! A variety of options for lodging are available but some of us will be camping!  Learn more here:  Reach out to Heidi Gleason ([email protected]) if you want to keep in touch with the others going from NDPC to camp together or to connect at the festival! 

Save the Date

  • Gun Violence Memorial Project during Fellowship Hour, March 15.
  • Men’s Retreat, Highlands, N.C. – Friday, April 24 to Sunday, April 26, 2020. 

Office Matters

Checks will not be processed the week of February 25-27th due to our Office Manager being away. Check requests submitted during this time will be processed the week of March 2nd and will be signed on Sunday, March 8th. Special thanks to Rob Schoonover for taking over the Communicator and InTouch while our Communications Coordinator was out for continuing education.

Lenten 2020 Image-2
Lenten 2020 Image-1