Rev. Dr. Joanna M. Adams

Pastor Emerita

A preacher, pastor, and teacher known for building bridges of understanding in both the community and in the church, Rev. Dr. Joanna M. Adams was Morningside’s Senior Pastor from 2004 to 2010, and became its Pastor Emerita in September 2011. She served as Interim Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church recently, and previously has served as Senior Pastor of 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. 

 Beyond her congregations, Rev. Adams 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 over 40 published articles, sermons, and book chapters. graduate 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.  

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. 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 interfaith discourse and brought insight and wisdom from their different religious traditions to bear on contemporary challenges.

Across the years, Joanna has served on the boards of over twenty organizations (chairing five) that strive to help the least, the lost, and the left out. Currently, she is on the boards of the Grady Hospital Foundation, Skyland Trail, the Rockdale Foundation, 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.

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