By: Maggie Leonard
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Reflection—v. 2 ‘they were very dry’

I have a confession for y’all. I kill plants. Especially house plants. I’ve even killed rosemary, which is basically impossible to kill. I don’t do it on purpose, it just comes naturally to me. I suspect they die because they are deprived of sunlight or water or new soil or a bigger pot… I’m never really sure. It’s probably mostly the watering though. I always know that it’s a bad sign when I try to water the plant and all the water trickles straight through the dry dirt. It’s like the dirt has been dry for so long that it has forgotten how to absorb water. At that point, it’s not necessarily a lost cause yet, but immediate attention is needed. It takes time, consistency, and patience to get the dirt to absorb water again. Pouring lots of water on it never works, on those occasions I end up with water all over the table. Instead, I have to drop ice cubes in the pot. As they melt slowly, the dirt has more time to soften and absorb. I think we can get like that too. If we deprive ourselves of God’s presence in the world, it doesn’t matter how much grace and mercy is poured upon us, we don’t absorb it. We can’t–not yet anyway. It takes time, consistency, and patience. Slowly but surely, as we attend to God we start to feel that love fill us again. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Lent is 40 days – if we haven’t been attentive to God’s presence, it will take some time to soften, absorb, and feel. It will happen though, have faith.

Prayer Patient and attentive God, soften our hearts that we may absorb your grace.

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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