rev. Dalton Rushing

Senior Pastor


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Dalton Rushing serves as Pastor (and Chief Troublemaker) at North Decatur United Methodist Church. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Dalton holds degrees from Memphis University School, Birmingham-Southern College (BA in Political Science and Writing), and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University (Master of Divinity). In 2013, he was ordained as an elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves as a member of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District Committee on Ordained Ministry, an ordination candidacy mentor, an associate secretary of the annual conference, and a teaching supervisor for the Contextual Education program at the Candler School of Theology. In 2015, he was elected a clergy delegate to the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the UMC.


Dalton’s wife Stacey is also an ordained elder, serving as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in midtown Atlanta. They have two daughters, Emmaline and Annie, who keep them busy and happy. Dalton’s hobbies include gardening and writing, and he makes the best barbecue in all the world. You can contact Dalton at dalton@ndumc.org, follow him on Twitter at @herevrush, read his blog, listen to his podcast, or find him on Facebook at facebook.com/dalton.rushing.

Rev. Angelo Mante

Deacon in Residence


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As our Deacon in Residence, Angelo Mante helps to connect our church with opportunities to serve in our community. His primary clergy appointment is to The United Methodist Children's Home in Decatur, where he works with young adults in foster care and families at risk of homelessness. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Angelo moved to Atlanta in 2009 to pursue graduate studies at Candler School of Theology and then, after graduating in 2012, decided to plant roots in Georgia. In 2016, he was commissioned as a provision deacon in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.


Angelo is married to the wonderful Marie Mante, who, remarkably, has put up with his shenanigans for over a decade! Angelo and Marie have four children – Sophia, Naomi, Vincent, and Simone. Angelo has served in a variety of ministry contexts, both in the local church and community. When not engaged in ministry, Angelo is likely having an epic wrestling match in the living room with his children, enjoying the outdoors, catching up on a Netflix series, or watching a game. 

Gyllian Bell

Co-Director of Children's Ministries


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Gyllian Bell serves as Co-Director of Children's Ministries at North Decatur United Methodist Church. Originally from Rochester, New York, Gyllian holds degrees from Niagara University (BA in Elementary Education, K-6 and Special Education, K-12) and St. John Fisher College (MA in Educational Administration).

Before joining North Decatur UMC, Gyllian taught in Brooklyn, NY, Herndon, VA, and Rochester, NY at a variety of grade levels and subjects. She has been a member of North Decatur UMC since August 2015 when her family relocated to the area.

Gyllian's husband Brian works in the Information Technology field in Marietta, and her three children Ethan (8), Olivia (6) and Leah (4) keep her very busy during the day. She is in her third year of homeschooling, and is very passionate about education and growing the faith of little ones. Gyllian's easy laugh, love of life and learning capture kiddos attention right away. Gyllian's hobbies include reading, crossfitting, and spending as much time at playgrounds as possible. You can reach her at gyllian@ndumc.org or friend her on facebook/gyllian.bell.

Alina Crews

Office and Communications Manager


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Alina joined North Decatur In April 2014 after working in nonprofit communications and fundraising, including eight years at the United Methodist Children’s Home. A life-long United Methodist, Alina grew up in Roswell UMC and is now a member of Eastside UMC. Alina earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Furman University – where she met her husband, Jeff – and Masters of Divinity from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Alina and Jeff have two sons, Charlie and Caleb. When she’s not in the NDUMC office, you’ll probably find Alina building wooden train tracks with Charlie or getting lost in a book.


Janet Cooper Faust

Minister of Visitation


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Janet Cooper Faust and her son Nicholas came to the North Decatur UMC family in 1996. After experiencing life abroad and working for many years in the corporate sector, Janet chose to return home to metro Atlanta to put down roots and care for her family in the city of Decatur. Here she has enjoyed some of the most fulfilling moments in life, including watching her son be confirmed as a fully acknowledged member of North Decatur United Methodist Church and, several years later, watching him earn his college degree from Emory University. Retired from her 17 year administrative position at North Decatur, Janet now serves as Minister of Visitation where she has been blessed with the opportunity to bring the love of the North Decatur church family to those unable to be with us in person due to illness or incapacity.

Emily Howard

Director of SAND Preschool


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Emily Howard is the Director of SAND - the School At North Decatur. She came to us in 2011 as a teacher and has 14 years experience teaching preschool. Emily grew up in Atlanta but spent some time as an organic farmer and instructor at UMN in New Mexico. Emily has a B.A. in English and in History and loves the Reggio Emilia approach to education. Her own creativity, coupled with an enthusiasm for a Reggio-inspired approach to teaching, provides an exciting foundation for the programs at SAND. In her spare time, Emily quilts, raises chickens and loves gardening. 

Alfred Kelley

Facilities Manager


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Alfred has been a member of the North Decatur staff since October 1980. Alfred grew up in the city of Lithonia, Georgia along with seven other siblings. He has previously served as youth minister at The Druid Hills Church of God in Christ in Lithonia, and now serves as an assoiate minister and worship leader at The Temple of Faith Church of God in Christ in East Atlanta. He enjoys sharing the good news of Jesus Christ by giving of his Time, Talents and Treasures.

Sandra goins kirton

Director of Worship and Arts Ministry


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As the Director of Worship and Arts, Sandra serves as Organist and Director of our Chancel Choir, Men’s Chorus, Contemporary Ensemble, and Handbell Choir. The Worship & Arts ministry seeks to support and create opportunities for using creative gifts in Worship for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. Sandra Kirton has served as accompanist for several local, district, conference, and jurisdictional events and was recently selected to serve as Organist and as one of six House Musicians at the 2012 United Methodist Church General Conference in Tampa, Florida. Sandra is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Fellowship of United Methodist in Music and Worship Arts. She has previously served as Director of Music at several Atlanta-area United Methodist churches and most recently served at St. Mark’s UMC in Brooklyn, New York where her husband, the late Rev. Dr. F. Allan Kirton (former GBGM Staff Member) was Senior Pastor. She welcomes all who wish to share their creative gifts in Worship. 

Jim Mynatt

Church Administrator


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Jim has a background as a banker, having retired from SunTrust Bank, Atlanta as a Senior Vice President in 2005 after 38.5 years. He graduated from Mercer University in Macon with a BS degree and a science concentration in 1964, served two years as an Army Artillery Officer and teacher in the Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and began his career at Trust Company of Georgia (SunTrust) in 1966. Specialties included, lending, credit approval and administration, management, and affordable housing investments and financing. Jim received his MBA in Finance from Georgia State University in 1970. He is married to a fine Methodist girl, Cindy Mynatt, and they have lived happily together for 51 years. Cindy and Jim have two grown sons, Coley and Scott Mynatt, two wonderful daughter-in-laws, Kim and Stephanie Mynatt and six grandchildren, including the youngest who are triplets. Jim also has a twin brother. Jim was originally raised a Baptist until he saw the light 51 years ago and became a Methodist; he has since been a member of Peachtree Road and Oak Grove UMCs. He has served in numerous lay and leadership positions: church counter, church usher, finance committee member, Finance Chairperson, Treasurer of the Oak Grove Building Committee, Trustee of the Oak Grove UMC Foundation, and lay member to the UMC Annual Conference. You can contact Jim at jim@ndumc.org or friend him on Facebook.

Christina Schmitt

Co-Director of Children's Ministries


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Christina Schmitt is a current student at Candler School of Theology pursuing her Masters of Divinity. She grew up in Johns Creek, GA, where she attended Johns Creek United Methodist Church. She moved to Birmingham in 2012 to study Religion and Sociology at Samford University. While living in Birmingham, she was very involved in Church of the Reconciler, a United Methodist church that focuses on working with the low income and homeless population in their community. She is excited to be back in Georgia and work with the Children's Ministry team at NDUMC.

Emmanuel "chops" smith

The Table Music Leader


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Emmanuel "Chops" Smith is a pianist and vocalist who has been performing professionally since he was 15 years old. He has been playing piano since age 3 and has been trained in classical, jazz, and contemporary music. Chops has performed at various events in music such as the Atlanta Jazz Festival Youth Workshop, the Upward Bound Leadership Conference, 21st Century Leader's Inauguration, and at venues all over the southeast and Atlanta, including Phillips Arena, Spivey Hall, The Rialto Center of the Performing Arts, Dante's Down the Hatch, The Margaret Mitchell House, The Georgian Terrace Hotel, The Georgia Aquarium, Churchill Grounds, The Velvet Note and others. "Chops" Smith has had the pleasure and privilege to perform with many musical artists including Andrea Bocelli, Curtis Fields, Derryl Rivers, and Phil Davis to name a few. Currently, "Chops" is studying Jazz Studies at Georgia State University under the rigorous direction of Kevin Bales and Dr. Gordon Vernick. He currently performs with the Georgia State University Jazz Band and other bands based in Atlanta including his own band, CHOPS.

Linda Stephan

Pastoral Resident


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Linda hails from the northern shores and sandy dunes of Lake Michigan, and comes from a decade-long career as a public radio reporter/host. She is now seeking ordination in the United Methodist Church and attends Candler School of Theology. As a journalist, Linda mediated some of her community's most complex conversations, and made sure the community's most vulnerable citizens had a voice in mainstream media. As a minister of the church, she continues to listen deeply to people's stories, and to find ways to link each person’s greatest passions to the community’s deepest needs (a big nod to theologian Frederick Buechner here). Linda has two grown foster daughters, loves any activity that gets her outdoors, and is scared to death of driving in Atlanta traffic.

Hillary Taylor

Pastoral Resident


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Hillary Taylor is a Masters of Divinity student at Candler School of Theology. A native of Columbia, SC, she attended Furman University in Greenville, SC and studied psychology and poverty studies. After graduating college, she served as a young adult missionary with Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and Miami, Florida. She is passionate about creating community and helping people find their purpose and identity in the life of the church...especially when it comes to service with people experiencing homelessness, addiction/recovery, persistent mental health issues, and re-entry. When she is not in church, she enjoys hiking, running, singing, reading, writing, and hunting with her family. 

Tyler Ward

Director of Discipleship Ministries and Youth Ministries


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Tyler wears two “hats” at North Decatur UMC. As the Director of Discipleship Ministries, he assists the design of our discipleship process. This congregation-wide task entails an additional specific focus on small group formation and new membership classes. As the Director of Youth Ministries, Tyler provides oversight and coaching to our incredible adult leaders (AKA “Youth Advisors”), who make our Youth Ministries possible. Our Youth Ministries was revitalized in July 2015, and has been excelling as we attempt fun, yet bold, means of supporting and empowering our youth.


Tyler is United Methodist to his core, originating from both Illinois and Kansas. In June 2015, he graduated with a BA in Religious Studies from North Central College (Chicago, IL). During his undergrad years he also worked with Rockford Urban Ministries and Urban Village Church (Wicker Park). In July 2015, Tyler moved to Atlanta as a student at Emory University: Candler School of Theology, where he is pursuing a Masters of Divinity. He is an avid hiker, a dedicated (though goes at his own pace) runner, and loves meeting for conversation over a cup of coffee. Reach out to him at tyler@ndumc.org.


Lynnette Woods

Director of Finance


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Lynnette joined the staff of NUDMC in November 2011. She has been working in church finance for 30 years. Born and raised in the Midwest, she has called the Atlanta area home since 1987. Lynnette has three children, two sons and a daughter. Her daughter, Hannah, is a teacher at SAND here at NDUMC. Lynnette is currently seeking a dual degree in Business Administration and Sign Language interpreting at GSU Perimeter College. When not working or going to school, you will most likely find Lynnette enjoying a book with a good cup of tea or coffee, hanging with one of her kids, or catching up on her favorite shows on Netflix.