The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)

Joanna Adams is a preacher, pastor, and teacher known for building bridges of understanding in both the community and in the church.

A graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, Rev. Adams holds an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Davidson College and was awarded the Alumni Association Medal of Honor from Emory University and Columbia’s Distinguished Alumni/ae award. She has also served as a trustee of the Presbyterian Church Foundation, Agnes Scott College, and Columbia Theological Seminary.

In 2006, the Rev. Adams was named Georgia Woman of the Year and has been featured in Atlanta Magazine as one of the forty-five most loved Atlantans. In 2014, she was named Woman of the Year by the YWCA of Greater Atlanta.

She has preached at the National Cathedral, the Memorial Church of Harvard University, and the Chautauqua Institution, as well as at many Presbyterian and ecumenical events. She has authored over40 published articles, sermons, and chapters in books.

Rev. Adams has been involved in starting more than a dozen non-profit organizations, including Intown Collaborative Ministries, the Agape Center, and the Georgia Committee for Religious Liberty. She has also coordinated a series of Christian/Jewish dialogues in Atlanta under the sponsorship of the Institute of Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, MD. For five years, she and four other clergy leaders in Atlanta made up Higher Ground, an initiative of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, which encouraged civil discourse and brought insight and wisdom from their different religious traditions to bear on contemporary challenges.

From 2013-2014, she served as Interim Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA. Prior to that, she was Senior Pastor of Morningside Presbyterian Church, Trinity Presbyterian Church, and North Decatur Presbyterian Church, all in the Atlanta area. She began her ministry as Associate Pastor and Minister to the Community at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and served for two years as Co-Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago.

Across the years, Joanna has chaired the boards of five institutions, including that of Columbia Theological Seminary, the YWCA of Metro Atlanta and Our House, the first center in Dekalb County designed to serve families who are homeless and their children. Overall, she has served on the boards of over twenty organizations that strive to help the least, the lost, and the left out.

Currently, she is on the boards of Skyland Trail and One Hundred Miles, an organization that advocates for the protection of Georgia’s Golden Isles. Joanna and her husband, Atlanta attorney Alfred B. Adams III, have a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren.

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams

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Miracles Reconsidered

Tuesday July 23, 2024
In her anniversary series sermon, Joanna Adams points out that the Bible is filled with miracles, such as the two miracles in John 6. She calls us to open ourselves to see and experience more fully these "unforeseen possibilities."

Joanna Adams: The Complaint Department

Tuesday August 29, 2023
In Joanna Adams's sermon on Jeremiah 15, she says, here's a good question prophets can help us answer: What is breaking hearts today? Prophets know and they would tell us what needs to be fixed if we would only listen.

God Believes in You

Tuesday January 05, 2010
As the church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord, the Rev. Dr. Joanna M. Adams reflects on our own baptism, and how it shapes and empowers us to serve in the world.

Should There Be a Clock in the Sanctuary?

Tuesday December 29, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Joanna M. Adams launches the new year with a thought-provoking look at the times and seasons of life, and the many changes that confront us.

The Predicament of Freedom

Sunday July 01, 2007
The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams reminds us that by the will of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, freedom and responsibility belong together in our lives and in the life of our faith communities.

Why Can't We Pull Up the Weeds?

Sunday February 19, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams is pastor of Morningside Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA. In her sermon "Why Can't We Pull Up the Weeds?" she takes a look at Jesus' parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13:

Clarity About Your Calling

Sunday February 12, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams, pastor of Morningside Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, examines the story of Moses' call in Exodus 3 and offers some "Clarity About Your Calling."

A Beautiful Mind

Sunday March 20, 2005
The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams is pastor of Morningside Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA.

As Through a Glass, Darkly

Sunday June 14, 1998

Can We Talk?

Sunday May 31, 1998

Treasure in Clay Jars

Sunday May 10, 1998

Articles by The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams

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Joanna M. Adams: White Southerners, our souls are at stake. We must speak up now

Wednesday June 24, 2020
In this moving opinion piece for Opinion, the Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams shares her own experiences and struggles for justice as a white woman of the South.

Joanna Adams: Higher Ground: Final Blog

Friday January 30, 2015
The announcement of the conclusion of Higher Ground was made last week. Since then, I have been touched by the comments of so many people, in person and online, expressing sadness over our coming to the end of our journey and gratitude for our efforts over the past five years.

Joanna Adams: Say Grance

Wednesday November 26, 2014
Thanksgiving came in the nick of time this year. After an especially acrimonious political season, it was time for some comfort food. Please pass the cornbread dressing and giblet gravy, and let the only disagreement around the table be about whether or not oysters would have made the dressing tastier. (My answer? No.)

Joanna Adams: Anger Management

Saturday September 06, 2014
Have you been following news of the reclining-seat incidents on airplane flights? At least three times in recent weeks, flights have been diverted from their destinations because passengers got into terrible rows with one another over a few inches of valuable cabin space.

Joanna Adams: Love and Fear

Friday August 08, 2014
Despite constant reassurances from Emory doctors and public health spokespersons that the chances of the Ebola virus spreading are nil because of the rigorous procedures in place, there has nevertheless been an outbreak of fear that the infection will not be contained and could potentially contaminate the American population.

Joanna Adams: In Touch Too Much

Tuesday July 22, 2014
Not all of us, but many, are busy. We live according to calendars that are overflowing with commitments.

Joanna Adams: Red Boots

Sunday May 18, 2014
Recently, I learned of the impending closing of two shelters/transition centers in Atlanta. I have been waiting for a public outcry over these closings, but I have heard none.

Joanna Adams: What's on the Menu Today?

Saturday March 01, 2014
Meanness is hard to avoid out there in the world – sometimes within the circles of personal and family relationships.

Joanna Adams: Preach It, Johnny

Saturday January 25, 2014
The Georgia legislature is considering broadening the state’s concealed weapons rule so that under various circumstances, guns would be allowed in bars, houses of worship, and on college and university campuses. Not a good idea.

Joanna Adams: YOLO

Thursday September 26, 2013
Today’s texting and tweeting world is experiencing an unprecedented, and rapidly spreading, epidemic of acronyms. One of the most frequently used is LOL, which can mean either “lots of love” or “little old lady,” depending on the context. For the record, I am too tall and too young-spirited to fit into the latter category.

Joanna Adams: In Kindness We Trust

Tuesday August 27, 2013
I hope most Americans still trust in God, but I am concerned that many of us are losing faith in one another and in the institutions that have long provided the underpinnings of our society.

Joanna Adams: Tenderness

Friday July 26, 2013
Welcome, royal baby! I know that British royalty is really old school, but let’s face it: the July 22nd arrival of Kate and William’s first born has reawakened tenderness in the hearts of millions of people around the world.

Joanna Adams: Say It's Not So, Paula Deen

Wednesday June 26, 2013
I have never met her, but I have always liked Paula Deen. For one thing, she is Southern to the core, and I am too.

Joanna Adams: With This Ring...

Saturday June 01, 2013
How about a shout-out for the month of June? Named for the Roman goddess of marriage, June has been the go-to month for weddings since ancient times.

Joanna Adams: For Men Only?

Thursday May 09, 2013
At present, at least half of American Protestant denominations do allow for the ordination of women, but that has been the case for a relatively short period of history. When I was a young girl, a vocational path toward ministry was not in the realm of possibility, and hey, I am not that old!

Joanna Adams: School Days

Wednesday April 10, 2013
I believe that public schools are the most important institutions in America. If they are broken, let’s fix them, but let us never allow cynicism or negativity to carry the day.

Dr. Joanna Adams: What About the Bandits?

Tuesday March 12, 2013
One of the familiar stories of the Christian tradition has to do with a man who was beaten within an inch of his life. The poor fellow had been traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho when he “fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him for dead.” (Luke 10)

Dr. Joanna Adams: The Blame Game

Monday January 07, 2013
Last week’s round of acrimonious decision-making in Washington sent me back to the Bible in search of a more elevated view of human nature. In the beginning, I found little comfort.

Joanna Adams: Beat the Clock

Thursday December 06, 2012
Unless you have been vacationing on a desert island in a faraway ocean, you are probably feeling a bit of time pressure yourself this December. For those of us who celebrate Christmas, December 25th is coming upon us at break neck speed. We have fewer than three weeks to shop, wrap, bake, decorate, entertain, assemble bicycles, address cards, hang the mistletoe, sit on Santa’s lap, and stuff the turkey. Time will have its way.

Dr. Joanna Adams: Behave Yourself

Saturday November 17, 2012
I am not in favor of sending out morality squads to scrutinize leaders with regard to their personal conduct, but I do believe that any time people in positions of power and authority decide that they are in a separate category from everyone else, bad stuff can happen.

Joanna Adams: A Voice from the Grave

Tuesday October 02, 2012
Is it too late to step back and think about the ethical attributes we want in our next President? On the eve of the first debate between President Obama and Governor Romney, I have been pondering the qualities of character I want in the leader of our nation. Here are my top five

Joanna Adams: Going to Extremes

Tuesday September 25, 2012
I am convinced that extremism in the name of religion is the most destructive force in the world today. We have seen its negative, even deadly effects as waves of protest and violence have washed across the Middle East in recent days.

Video by The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams

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Day1 Book Launch Party Video

Saturday December 12, 2020
Day1 presents a video Book Launch Party for the new book, "Bread Enough for All: A Day1 Guide to Life," published by Church Publishing, Inc. Join Day1 host Peter Wallace and seven outstanding preachers/church leaders who share their sermon excerpts from the book and engage in conversation and Q&A: Joanna M. Adams, Anna Carter Florence, William Flippin Jr., Juan Carlos Huertas, Micah Jackson, Charley Reeb, and Ozzie Smith Jr.

Dr. Joanna Adams on "30 Good Minutes" - On Not Keeping Score

Wednesday June 24, 2015
What is the most important message faith has to tell in a world that is filled with vengeance, bitterness and violence? It is, I believe, the message of forgiveness. That is God's antidote to human sin and destruction.

The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams - Day1 Prayer Breakfast

Friday September 21, 2012
The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams speaks to our prayer breakfast crowd about the challenges, and forward looking excitement, of embracing change.

The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams (Part 2) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Friday January 29, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams discusses a wide array of issues facing the Church and her own life. The two discuss the future of the Church, women in the priesthood and the changing world of worship in today's world.

The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Friday January 29, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams sits down with Day1 host Peter Wallace and discusses some of the major changes in her life as a retired pastor, being a "loved Atlantan," the things that bring her joy, and the emergent Church.

Radio by The Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams

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Day 1 Podcast Extra- Adams

Friday July 06, 2007
In this podcast extra, the Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams, pastor of Morningside Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, shares her personal insights and experiences.