Central Presbyterian Church | Atlanta, GA


Central Presbyterian Church, located in downtown, Atlanta, is a vibrant congregation with over 700 active members. Central is known for worship built on excellent preaching, outstanding and diverse music, creative liturgical arts, lay leadership, and the deliberate connection between proclaiming and living out the Word. Active outreach ministries include the Central Night Shelter for homeless men, the Central Outreach and Advocacy Center, which offers food, counseling, job training and medical care to homeless and near-homeless people, and a Prison Ministry. Christian Education for all ages emphasizes Central’s social justice work. Weekly Sunday worship is at 11AM, and is followed by a community meal. More than one-third of the congregation actively participates in Central’s music and arts program. Children and Youth Choirs, a Chancel Choir, two Handbell Choirs and a Drumming Choir enrich worship at Central. Central’s Liturgical Arts Guild encourages the creation of and use of visual arts to transform and enhance worship spaces and experience. Regular art exhibits and workshops also help members explore the visual arts as a means of worship and expression of Christian faith.

201 Washington Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303


Team Leader: 
David VanderMeer


Arts of the Spirit: Concerts, Classes, and Collaborative Worship Planning

Twice each year, Central Presbyterian’s clergy, musicians, and educators convene to plan worship for the upcoming months. Although the details are left for subsequent staff meetings, these biannual times of focused reflection establish the foundation for Central’s intentional, inspiring, deliberately inclusive and liturgically grounded worship life.


Three times per year, a professional artist/ensemble comes to Central under the auspices of the Arts of the Spirit education / performance / outreach series. For “Concerts with a Cause,” artists present a free public performance with a love offering that benefits a designated charity. For “Learning with the Spirit,” artists lead Saturday master classes and then participate in Sunday worship. For “Gathered to Sing,” artists conduct a worship‐centered concert emphasizing audience participation.


Central’s project envisions combining these two established practices, extending their reach in ways that would serve the larger community and the larger church. Specifically, the project involves:

  • Bringing guest artists to the biannual planning sessions for collaboration with Central’s worship leaders.
  • Facilitating worship‐planning workshops to complement each “Arts of the Spirit” event.
  • Commissioning a professional videographer to record each phase of their worship‐planning practices, and create from this footage a teaching tool that Central would make available to all churches.
  • Daring to produce or host more provocative artworks.

When we imagine artists joining Central’s worship‐planning team to collaborate on arts‐infused services across the liturgical year, we are exited for our congregation. When we remember how worship must always flow beyond the confines of a Sunday morning sanctuary, we are excited for our community. When we consider how this process could be made public through the creation of a worship‐planning video resource, we are excited for the larger church. This excitement would be made manifest by participation in the Yale ISM Congregations Project.