Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams

Rev. Dr. Joanna Adams joins the panel to discuss her experience as a faith leader.

Credit: Joanna Adams

Please note: This conversation was pre-recorded before the Midtown Atlanta shooting that occurred on May 3, 2023.

The panel

Reverend Doctor Joanna Adams, former Presbyterian pastor and cofounder, Higher Faith

The breakdown

Reverend Doctor Joanna Adams formerly served as pastor at Morningside and Trinity Presbyterian churches in Atlanta and Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. She also briefly served as interim pastor of Atlanta's First Presbyterian Church. She was born into a Christian household in Meridian, Mississippi, attending church and Sunday school from a young age. Her mother's family included several male ministers.

Rev. Adams on her childhood.

Rev. Adams worked closely with interfaith organizations, cofounding 'Higher Faith' alongside Imam Plemon El-Amin, the Rev. Joseph Roberts and Rabbi Alvin Sugarman. She said she leans on her fellow cofounders because they have a common set of values. She's deeply involved in civil rights activism, citing Micah 6:8, which says to "Do justice, love mercy". Her hometown was just under an hour away from Philadelphia, Mississippi, where Emmett Till was murdered in 1955.

Rev. Adams on interfaith support.

Rev. Adams spoke on the idea of 'unconditional love' in the Protestant tradition, the idea that a Christian accepts God's love and grace and is then encouraged to live a more 'Godly' life. As a pastor, Rev. Adams said she sees the best and worst moments in life. She called it a 'privilege' to be a source of comfort for those suffering.

Rev. Adams on aiding suffering people.

Rev. Adams is a believer in 'knowing what time it is'. She cited Weimar Germany, saying churches should have preached the message that Jesus was a Jewish man. She criticized institutional Protestantism, which she notes she herself was a part of, for worrying about pleasing congregants instead of 'knowing the time.' She says she worries about political polarization, climate change and gun violence.

Rev. Adams on 'purple' congregations.

Friday on Political Rewind: In conversation with author Heather Hendershot.