Christ Church Episcopal, off Holcomb Bridge Rd in Norcross, is pleased to announce that Rev. Fr. Edgar Otero will be joining the parish beginning January 3, 2024.
Father Edgar was born in Puerto Rico and relocated to the mainland 23 years ago. He is married to Marycelis and has two children, Eliam Manuel, age 17 and Edgar Ezekiel, age 14.
Father Edgar has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. He also attended Mount St. Mary’s University and Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, and St. Vincent College and Seminary in Latrobe, PA, where he studied at a master’s level in Roman Catholic theology.
Father Edgar graduated with honors, acquiring a master’s in divinity with a certificate in Anglican/Episcopal Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
Father Edgar served on the Vestry of St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, his home parish, as a seminarian at Grace Episcopal Church for four years, as a teacher and Chaplain at St. Benedict’s Episcopal School and as a Priest-In-Charge of St. Anthony’s Episcopal Church in Winder, GA.
Changes at Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries Help Further Community Mission
Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries has been battling poverty, food insecurity and homelessness, among other crisis events, in southwest Gwinnett, for 27 years. In total, NCM served more than 25,000 individuals in 2023, through direct support and personal empowerment programs.
Over time, the county’s demographics have changed, meaning the organization has needed to adapt to serve the community.
Families now face long-term needs due to fixed incomes, homelessness, abuse, language barriers, single-parent homes and many other circumstances, according to the NCM website.
NCM now serves 50 to 70 families each day from a 12,000-square-foot facility. In addition to a food pantry, NCM offers job readiness classes, on-site hiring events, money management courses and regular health fairs.
A new course of leadership
Perhaps one of the biggest changes took effect this January. After almost 30 years of service to NCM, Executive Director Shirley Cabe will now give her primary focus to what she loves the most, the organization’s clients.
Cabe has been with NCM since its inception and has helped grow the organization tremendously as needs in this service area have drastically changed.
NCM’s Board of Directors supported Cabe’s request and developed a new role specifically for her. She will now serve as Director of Client Operations, allowing her to use her exceptional gifts and talents to serve those in need.
Additionally, Cabe will lead the expansion of the food program as refrigerated products will be added to client food offerings. Healthier food options such as protein, produce, reclaimed food and more will also be added.
“Healthier intake directly correlates to improved health and more productivity,” said Cabe in a news release. “This new initiative is huge for the clients we serve. We want to positively contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty. I am excited about the opportunities ahead for NCM and grateful to transition into this new role, focusing on more impactful service to our clients.”
With Cabe’s new role, former Director of Community Relations Ryan Jones will take over as Executive Director.
Jones has been with NCM for three years. Under Jones’ leadership, the organization held its most successful fundraising event to date, bringing in over $519,000 to continue its mission of making a difference one family at a time.
“Building out our team and people is the next step in the process,” said Jones. The big thing with the staffing change is just honoring Shirley and her years at this organization and allowing her to serve people, which is the heartbeat of our organization; that’s how she best serves–interacting with our clients in our community.”
Cabe’s larger role in the food program will help keep it running smoothly, he added.
There is already an established pickup schedule from Publix and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Jones explained that about 40% of food in the United States is wasted.
With new resources in place to access surpluses from supermarkets, restaurants, distributors, farmers and more, NCM can put a sizeable dent in southwest Gwinnett county’s share of the waste.
“We hope to use food as a resource, as we have more touch points with families that we see. So, as things come up in their lives, they’re seeing us more often, and we can step in when unexpected emergencies happen and try to address kind of the issues that have brought them to us in the first place,” Jones explained. “And with that comes just a lot more work.”
Dedicated board members
Les Harper, who succeeded Elizabeth Gross, has taken over as chairman of the board of directors to help with the vision for that work.
“My wife and I have been involved with Neighborhood Coop for a long time, volunteered through the church, and supported financially through the church over the years,” said Harper.
When I retired from working a couple of years ago and was looking for opportunities to give back to the community … one thing led to another, and I had the opportunity to join the board,” he added. “I started on the board a couple of years ago, and then last year, I was asked if I would consider stepping into the board chair role [this year], which I was excited to do.”
Harper’s experience on the board and working closely with Gross for an entire year allowed him to step in almost seamlessly into the new position.
“Elizabeth and I had a chance to work together in some leadership roles at church over the years. So, we have chaired and co-chaired a number of things over the years,” he said.
“For the past 12 months, she’s been great at including me in everything and making sure that I was up to speed on everything, fully involved, and ready to go,” he said.
Anyone involved in large-scale non-profit activities appreciates the time, energy, and resources that go into community organizing. To be good stewards of community trust, funds and well-being, NCM has focused on making operations run smoothly.
“NCM is definitely a feet-washing ministry, especially with the food. … A lot of times it’s heavy, and it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s well worth it,” Jones said. “I’m moving from strictly fundraising to overseeing all aspects of the organization and strategic oversight of all the initiatives that we have going on. … I was born in Gwinnett County. “So, really, the big reasons that I left my corporate job to come to NCM is how impressed I was with the board and the staff when I met them before coming on and the fact that it serves an area where I grew up that has a lot of need,” he commented.
Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries
500 Pinnacle Ct
Norcross, GA 30071
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MOQ Invites Community to Celebration of Saint John the Baptist’s Birthday
Mary Our Queen Catholic Church in Peachtree Corners invites everyone in the community to attend a special evening Mass and outdoor festivities on Friday, June 23 in celebration of the eve of Saint John the Baptist’s birthday.
Saint John the Baptist, one of the most important figures in Christianity, is the cousin of Jesus and is known for preparing the way for Jesus’s public ministry.
Mary Our Queen will honor the saint with a Mass at 7 p.m. Following that, there will be a blessing of Saint John’s bonfire in his memory.
Everyone is invited to bring their lawn chairs and beverages to enjoy outside while listening to live music on our church plaza. Other festivities include outdoor games for children and teens, like the dunking booth — Saint John was known for baptism, after all — and eating crickets — Saint John actually ate locusts.
Mary Our Queen’s Knights of Columbus will serve watermelon, and there will be some fireworks towards the end of the evening.
For more information on this event, visit maryourqueen.com or call 770-416-0002.
West Point Gospel Choir to Visit and Sing in Peachtree Corners
The United States Military Academy at West Point Gospel Choir will be in Peachtree Corners April 7-9. The choir is scheduled to sing at Salvation and Deliverance Church, 3940 Fifth St., Peachtree Corners on Easter Sunday, April 9.
City Council Member Phil Sadd extended an initiation to the choir to visit Peachtree Corners City Hall on April 7, 2:30 p.m. for a special event that will include introductions, a proclamation presentation and a challenge coin presentation.
For more about the United States Military at West Point Gospel Choir, visit westpoint.edu/military/directorate-of-cadet-activities/diversity-clubs/gospel-choir. Get details about Salvation and Deliverance Church at facebook.com/SalvationandDeliverance.