CASCADE MIDTOWN UPDATES

Cascade Midtown FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

(A Proposed Satellite Campus of Cascade UMC)

*This list will be updated as more information becomes available

Summary: In 2021, we began re-imagining ministry in a world forever changed by a global pandemic. As a result, new opportunities began to emerge including the opportunity to launch a satellite location of Cascade UMC. The information below outlines the vision and proposal of what could become Cascade Midtown. We encourage you to view the entire video presentation above that discusses the vision for this potential new mission opportunity.

What is the vision for Cascade Midtown? The vision for Cascade Midtown, a satellite campus of Cascade UMC, is to form a diverse community around discipleship, service, and social justice in the East Midtown, Old Fourth Ward community of Atlanta.

Is Cascade UMC moving permanently and only to Midtown? No. Upon approval of the Charge Conference and affirmation by the North Georgia Annual Conference, we will have two locations from which to do ministry. Our 3144 Cascade Rd. location would remain our main campus and Cascade Midtown would be our satellite campus.

Why is a satellite church like this needed in this area? We believe this gives us a new opportunity to reach new people in a new place to extend the mission of the church, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. With the understanding that a social justice-driven church is a Christ-driven church, in Old Fourth Ward/East Midtown, there is a great opportunity for dynamic missional engagement through a vibrant Church community. Specifically, as Cascade has well-established ministry roots within the city and beyond, this will allow an expansion of our impact in an area that is a microcosm of the larger Atlanta story, with gentrification and racial tensions brushing up against art, passion, and innovation. The area codes of 30308 & 30309 have experienced significant displacement over the past decade. Shifting demographics and decreasing affordability bring many legacy residents to a difficult crossroads. As Midtown and Old Fourth Ward continue to grow, there is a need for a vital ministry that enables this community to experience the power of Christ.

How are we approaching ministry in this area and what is the anticipated impact that Cascade can have in East Midtown? We have done extensive, data and relational-driven research on our target areas of 30308 and 30309. We are approaching this new campus through the lens of intersectionality, in which marginalization and lack of access are compounded by certain overlapping identities across the categories of race, class, and gender. We believe this framework will allow us to design programs, projects, and worship in a way that addresses the whole person. Our impact will focus primarily on: RACIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE To create spaces of refuge and healing for those marginalized while offering opportunities for cross-cultural exchange across an interdenominational, interfaith network of church covenant partners. AFFORDABLE HOUSING To leverage our resources to help fill Atlanta’s housing gap in order that all people—regardless of socioeconomic status–have access to an affordable place to live. GENDER JUSTICE To facilitate honest dialogue around gender-based violence in order to form open channels of support and trauma-informed worship spaces for women who have experienced or are experiencing abuse.

Where will Cascade Midtown be located? The address is: 458 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 Cascade Midtown will occur as the result of a merger of Grace United Methodist Church into Cascade UMC. As a result of this, the campus at 458 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 will be the location of Cascade Midtown.

Are we purchasing this property? No. In 2016, the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church relocated from New York to Atlanta and purchased the campus from Grace UMC. The campus was renovated and an agreement was reached between GBGM and Grace for the congregational presence to remain active in ministry at the location.

If approved, would Cascade have the same agreement with GBGM as Grace? Yes. There is a 99-year renewable lease agreement between Grace and GBGM. Upon approval by the Charge Conference, affirmation of the North Georgia Conference, and completion of the merger, the agreement would shift to Cascade. This would give Cascade Midtown the same rights to use the property for worship, ministry, programming, etc. to keep a strong congregational presence in the area. This agreement has also been thoroughly reviewed by Cascade’s General Counsel and Board of Trustees.

When would Cascade Midtown launch? The official launch would occur after the North Georgia Annual Conference in June 2022. After the vote to merge, we will begin more in-depth planning and community building. Renovations to our 3144 campus are expected to begin in June or July. At that time, the goal is to launch our worship experience and ministry programs at our Midtown location.

Will we continue worshipping at both campuses after our 3144 renovations? Yes. We will have worship at both locations at different times.

What pastoral and staff support will be provided at our Midtown campus? There will be an appointed associate pastor from Cascade whose responsibility will be to provide ministry and programmatic oversight at our Midtown location. Other program staff will be added as needed, but due to technology, we are able to centralize our operations at both campuses. Cascade Midtown will serve as an extension site for programming, worship, community building, and missional engagement.

What are the operational costs involved? Because GBGM owns the property, there is no cost associated with facility usage. Our main costs will include programming and the ministries that we engage in such as food distributions, support groups, etc. We will be assessing these costs as we begin ministry initiatives to better determine our short and long-term needs.

What support is the North Georgia Conference giving to this effort? In August of 2020, the North Georgia Annual Conference approved a new committee, the Barnes Evaluation and Administration Team, with the task of distributing funds from the sale of closed church property in an equitable, accountable manner to fund ministry initiatives across all eight districts. The Barnes Fund has been established to support new initiatives like Cascade Midtown. We fully anticipate applying for a Barnes Fund Grant to assist with program-ming and other innovative ministry opportunities that emerge.

Will this merger require a vote of our Charge Conference? Yes. Our District Superintendent will call a Charge Conference during the first quarter to vote on the merger. As with all Charge Conferences, all Cascade members are invited to attend. The voting members of the Charge Conference, the basic governing body of each United Methodist local church, are the members of our Executive Board. Ongoing communications to keep the membership informed will continue as this process unfolds.

What is the level of leadership support for this? The Bishop and Cabinet of The North Georgia Conference, as well as the General Board of Global Ministries, support Cascade Midtown.

How can I assist with Cascade Midtown? In the coming months, there will be more tangible ways to assist. For now, we are asking that you remain prayerful, patient, and positive as we walk by faith into this new mission and sea-son as a Cascade church family.