Governor Nathan Deal - Georgia’s 82nd Governor (2011-2019)

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Deal: Interfaith Council will build upon criminal justice reform initiatives

April 25, 2014

Religious leaders to advise on challenges to re-entry in communities across the state

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the creation of the Governor’s Interfaith Council, comprised of religious leaders across Georgia, to expand upon recent criminal justice reforms. These advisers will work to identify areas in which faith-based ministries, private organizations and state agencies can partner to address prisoner re-entry.

“Faith communities and religious leaders are critical to ensuring the success of our criminal justice reform initiatives,” Deal said. “On any given day, their houses of worship minister to prisoners, give comfort to family members and provide assistance to returning citizens. These council members are on the front lines in Georgia communities, and their perspective and experience are invaluable. I’m grateful for their willingness to serve.”

Interfaith Council Members:


Dr. Bill Coates, Jr.

First Gainesville Baptist Church, Gainesville

Rev. Darrell D. Elligan

The True Light Baptist Church, Atlanta

Rev. Agnes Harvey

Rocky Head United Methodist Church, Stockbridge

Pastor Johnny Hunt

First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Woodstock

Rev. Rodney A. Lackey

Antioch Baptist Church, Gainesville

Pastor Tony Lowden

Lundy Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Macon

Rev. Clarence Moore

Good Shepherd Baptist Church, Columbus

Pastor Adrian S. Niles

Faithful Christian Worship Center, Gainesville

Rabbi Larry Schlesinger

Temple Beth Israel, Macon

Pastor Daniel Simmons

Mount Zion Baptist Church, Albany

Dr. E. Dewey Smith

The House of Hope, Decatur

Rev. Jacqueline Smith

Presiding Elder of AME Church, Valdosta/Albany district

Rev. Thurmond N. Tillman

First African Baptist Church, Savannah

Rev. Mr. Richard Tolcher

Prison and Jail Ministry, Archdiocese of Atlanta