Sunday, July 15, 2001

Pator's background varied, extensive


The Rev. Charles Atkins Jr. came to the Flat Rock African Methodist Episcopal Church a year ago with a background as varied as today's world.

Born in Atlanta and partially reared in the Roswell area, his family moved to Gary, Ind., where he graduated from high school.

Drafted in 1964, he joined the family tradition of serving in the Navy. During his six years with the Navy he served in Viet Nam for 13 months and traveled around the world twice.

Returning to Gary, he earned a degree in sociology and eventually returned to the Atlanta area.

Receiving additional education at Atlanta Metro College in computer science, he worked in this field for Equifax for nine years and then worked as an independent programmer-analyst for several years.

In 1985 he felt a change in occupation was due and, at the age of 40, he became the oldest recruit in the Atlanta Police Department.

He serves as a detective in the Domestic Violence Division and was awarded a commendation last month as the Detective of the Month.

Acceding to the call of the ministry in the early 1980s he passed the AME Board of Examiners and has served churches in Eatonton and North Atlanta. Flat Rock called him a year ago and he and wife, Annie, look after the flock. She also sings in the choir.

They are the parents of three boys, 32, 29 and 26, two of whom are in Atlanta and one in New York.

The family is looking forward to September when he will complete his seminary work at the International Theology Center in Atlanta.

Under his leadership Flat Rock AME has added needed walkways, new Communion ware, established a weekly Wednesday night Bible study and added an associated pastor, the Rev. Richard Shaw, who also serves as youth minister.

Atkins brings to bear a wealth of experience which he uses to pastor to a modern, growing congregation.

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