In June, Sandy Springs United Methodist Church welcomed its first new senior pastor in four decades.
Dr. Thomas Martin, 33, follows Senior Pastor Dr. Ken Ray, who retired June 21 after 40 years at the church.
“This community has been very welcoming and made my family feel at home,” Martin said.
Martin said he’s excited about the way the church can continue to grow with the city of Sandy Springs.
“I think the church is poised to be known as the community church, and it always has been,” he said. “But to become a partner with City Hall, which is being built right across the street, and not just work in the community, but with the community in the years ahead, as Sandy Springs grows, is an exciting opportunity.”
Martin studied at Birmingham-Southern for his undergraduate degree and graduated from Duke Divinity School in 2008. His first appointment in the Methodist Church was at Peachtree Road United Methodist in Buckhead, where he has served as an associate minister since his graduation.
He, his wife Leslie, their two children Davis and Mills, and the family dogs have all made the move to Sandy Springs. Davis, who will be 5 in September, and Mills, who will be 1 in September, will enroll in the church’s preschool.
Martin said it has been an “adventure” moving with two young kids, but says he can tell “this has already become [Davis’s] new church.”
In his free time, Martin enjoys playing disc golf. He said he would like to find a way to get a small disc golf course on the church campus. It could even become a community attraction, he said.
Martin said he wants Sandy Springs UMC to “continue to do the things that churches do, but to look at new ways to be the church.”
–By Mary Helen Kelly