By: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Matthew 11:2-11
Reflection—v. 6 ‘blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me’

I find it equal parts satisfying and disconcerting that Jesus’ message continues to shock and offend our delicate sensibilities. In this conversation with John’s disciples Jesus quotes a revelatory passage from Isaiah to convey the depths of what the God we follow is really about—the lowly will be brought up, the dead will be raised, and the poor will have good news. The whole world will be transformed wherein those without get what they need, and everyone is seen, acknowledged and valued. ‘Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me,’ he says, as if healing, life, and goodness could be offensive. And yet, those of us who worry that we have something to lose do take offense at such a radical image of hope. That is why every year as we discuss our way through the Gospel narratives, someone, often unwittingly, will have push-back for Jesus. ‘Jesus isn’t saying its bad to be rich, right?’ ‘Jesus’ good news isn’t only for the poor, right?’ We live in a world in which some of us have more than what we need to live comfortable, cushy lives, while others go without their basic needs being met. And yet God made us all to live and thrive. Jesus comes to set us free from the things we grasp onto so tightly so that we may actually desire to live in a world where all God’s children are valued. To those of us with something to lose, it can be offensive, but blessed are those who come to see another way.

Prayer: God, may we delight in your good news, even as it challenges us to change our ways!

Pastor Chad


Chad is pastor and founder of Mercy Community Church, a grassroots community of worship and action—a group of people who believe Jesus wants the hungry fed, strangers welcomed, and every child of God housed.

Originally from North Carolina, in the fall of 1986, he made the move to Atlanta to attend Emory University.  Following graduation,  Chad enrolled in Candler School of Theology, graduating with a Masters of Divinity in 1993. That same year, Chad was ordained and began to serve as an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Atlanta.

Chad and his wife Camille began Mercy Community Church in August, 2005.  A small circle of friends gathered for simple worship, sensing a call to begin an intentional community in a congregational form with an unmistakable preferential option for the poor at the heart of its worship and life.  Today Mercy makes it home on the campus of Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, serving meals, sharing clothes, talking about the Bible, welcoming strangers, and trying to build a diverse and faithful community with over a hundred people a day, five days a week.

Chad is an Associate of the Missionaries of the Poor, a Catholic religious order that embodies a daily commitment to the spirituality of Matthew 25.  He and Camille and their two sons, Matthew and Levi, live in Scottdale, Georgia

Contact Chad at chad@mercyatl.org.

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Pastor Brittany


Brittany grew up in Jacksonville, Arkansas.  She first learned about God and what it means to be a church community that loves and cares for one another from First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, AR.  Brittany graduated from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. After teaching abroad and working for a travel company, Brittany began her studies at Columbia Theological Seminary, taking steps to answer a call to ministry that she had felt since her childhood.  Upon moving to Atlanta, Brittany’s passion for being present with those on the margins led her to volunteer at Peachtree and Pine’s Taskforce for the Homeless and to become a pastoral intern with Mercy Church.  After completing her MDiv at Columbia, Brittany began a PhD program at Emory University, but left to answer God’s call on her life to full-time ministry as a pastor to our community.  Brittany was jointly ordained by the PC(USA) and Mercy Community Church in 2018.  Outside of Mercy, what gives Brittany life and joy is spending time with her husband Cooper and daughter Emi, traveling via plane, train, and foot, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and nerding out over Karl Barth.

Contact Brittany at brittany@mercyatl.org.

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Pastor Holly


Holly grew up in Ocala, Florida where she was nurtured by her faith community and encouraged to find ways to be a leader in the community.  Holly graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in Psychology.  After a period of discernment, she was called to a church community in Lady Lake, Florida where she served as the Youth Director for over six years.  She began her seminary career in 2014 at Columbia Theological Seminary where she earned her Masters of Divinity and Master of Arts in Practical Theological (Pastoral Care).  During her time in seminary, Holly began attending Mercy Community Church where she fell in love with the community.  Upon graduation, Holly served for two years as a Chaplain Resident at Grady Memorial Hospital and specialized in pastoral care through the lens of behavioral health.

In her free time, Holly loves to exercise, travel, spend time with her family, read, and organize.

Contact Holly at reimer4holly@gmail.com

Contact Brittany at brittany@mercyatl.org.

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Pastor Maggie


Maggie was raised and nurtured in Presbyterian churches in Plattsburgh, NY and Wilmington, NC. She attended undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill. Following graduation, Maggie volunteered in Guatemala as a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer.  When she returned, Maggie attended Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur,Georgia.  Bringing together her interests in community outreach and pastoral care, Maggie was been ordained by PC(USA) to work as a pastor for Mercy Community Church starting in 2010.

She enjoys traveling, cooking for friends, social justice, hiking with her pooch, yard games, laffy taffy jokes, and practicing and teaching yoga.  One of her joys is teaching for Centering Youth, a nonprofit that offers free yoga classes to those who might not otherwise have access to it.  For them, Maggie teaches yoga on the streets, to pregnant incarcerated women, youth caught in the court system, and women trying to get out of the sex-trafficking industry.

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