Rev. Joyce E. Banks Gross
Senior Associate Pastor
The Reverend Joyce E. Banks Gross was born in Denham Springs, Louisiana to Eilor and Leanna Cobb Banks, her first role models. She was educated in the Livingston Parish School System and continued her higher education at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA where she earned a Bachelor of Science in music, a Master of Education in administration and supervision, and a specialist degree in reading.
Before coming to Atlanta for seminary training, Joyce enjoyed retirement as an educator/administrator from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. She also served her community as a member of the Kiwanis Club, the American Heart Association and the Chamber of Commerce.
Early in her life, Reverend Gross sensed the call to ministry. Following the deaths of her husband of thirty years, Willie Gross, III and her sister, she accepted her call and began the United Methodist Church process for elders orders. Joyce was an active member of Roberts United Methodist Church where she was director of music and served as pianist and choir director. Additionally, she gave leadership in worship and music for the Annual W. T. Handy Convocation, New Orleans, LA and the 2001 session of the Louisiana Annual Conference. As a worshiper, she proclaims, “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of God’s kindness to me.” (Psalm 34:1)
Joyce’s seminary experience in Atlanta presented many opportunities to share her gifts and graces, especially her gift of music. She was inducted into Theta Phi National Honors Society and became the first Gammon seminarian to receive the Fellowship Seminarian Award. In May 2006, Joyce graduated with honors from Gammon Seminary at The Interdenominational Theological Center, where she received a Master of Divinity. Realizing that her call necessitated change, she transferred to the North Georgia United Methodist Conference in 2006. On June 11, 2007, at the North Georgia Annual Conference, Joyce was commissioned as a probationary elder and appointed associate pastor to Cascade United Methodist Church.
Pastor Gross is passionate about several areas of ministry. In 2006, she served as a PRN Chaplain at Southern Regional Medical Center, and was later invited to do a chaplain residency at the same facility. Pastoral care is one of her passions. She believes a major part of her ministry is to facilitate renewal, rebuilding, and restoration by being a presence and source of support to the Body of Christ (patients, families, congregations) in daily issues involving loss of hope, despair, sickness, death and dying, and bereavement. She confidently believes, “If I can help somebody…my living will not be in vain.”
Reverend Gross is a proud mother and grandmother. She has two sons: Marc and Chris Gross; a daughter, Marlena Gross Taylor; and four grandchildren: Marc and Imani Gross, and Daniel and Collin Taylor. Additionally, she is a golden life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Theta Phi National Honor Society.