A celebration of life service for Pastor Macon Gwinn Sr.,of Atlanta Georgia will be held at noon, on Saturday, June 9, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Betty, and their children, Macon, Jr., Michelle, Rev. Philip, Pastor Gary, Pastor Jacquelyn, and Victoria, five grandchildren and a host of god children, other relatives and friends.
Macon Gwinn, Sr. had Mennonite connections. On June 9, 1968 he was installed as an Assistant Pastor of the Berea Mennonite Church, Atlanta, to serve as an intern under the tutelage of Pastor Elvin Martin.
On November 8 – 9, 1968, Chester Wenger, Home Missions Secretary for the Eastern Board of Missions, Salunga, Pennsylvania and Martin Lehman, Bishop, visited Berea and observed that the congregation continued its integrated character, but there was a tendency for Mennonites from the north to increase at a faster rate than African Americans from the city. He expressed a hope that the influence of the Gwinn family might change this.
During this visit by Wenger and Lehman, Pastor Elvin Martin shared his feeling that it would be better for the congregation and his family if they moved to another assignment. This was unexpected by the congregation, but it agreed to release Elvin from the pastorate effective July, 1970.
About six months before on January 4, 1970, Gwinn was ordained in preparation for him to serve as Berea’s senior pastor. He was given full support by the Eastern Board. Carl Martin and James Ranck were licensed to serve as “tent-making” members of the pastoral team. Thus both the congregation and the pastoral team were integrated.
Berea had a building fund in 1975. However, before they could build they discovered a church building for sale at 1088 Bouldercrest Drive, with a 200 seat auditorium and a 12 room educational building on six acres of land. They held their first service in the new building on Mothers Day, May 11, 1975. The congregation now numbered 66. . Seven years after his ordination, Gwinn resigned as pastor of Berea and became active in pastoral roles in Baptist congregations in Atlanta.
The congregation showed its appreciation for the Gwinns’ years of leadership by giving them Barclays Commentary of the New Testament and a framed resolution commending them for their years of faithful service.