During a congregational meeting on Octoe 22, 2023, the congregation of Grace Presbyterian Church unanimoulsy voted to elect Rev. Caroline Kelly as the new installed pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church.
Caroline is a lifelong Presbyterian and a native Southerner, raised with a passion for UVA basketball, sweet tea, and social justice. She is a graduate of Davidson College and Wake Forest University School of Law. After practicing law in Atlanta, Caroline attended Columbia Theological Seminary and began a second career as a Presbyterian minister at Central Presbyterian in downtown Atlanta. Since then, Caroline has served as solo pastor in two Presbyterian churches: First Presbyterian (Cumberland, MD) and The Presbyterian Church (Danville, KY).
Caroline has a proven commitment to social justice. At Central Presbyterian (Atlanta), Caroline supported the mission ministry of the church, including three non-profits housed in the church: an outreach center supporting people working to overcome homelessness, a men’s winter night shelter, and a child development center. In addition, she was deeply involved in advocacy, both within the church (supporting the full inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community) and through the Presbytery at the Georgia legislature (public policy impacting vulnerable communities).
At First Presbyterian in Cumberland, she helped the congregation strengthen its relationship with the local community, engaging in partnerships that addressed poverty and substance use disorder. She also helped create a culture of welcome for the LGBTQ+ community in a town where there were few welcoming churches.
At her most recent church in Danville, she helped the congregation deal with conflict that erupted over the decision to remove a Confederate monument from its property, which then broadened into a conversation about the church’s identity and mission. She also helped shepherd the church through the pandemic, finding ways to keep people connected even when they could not be together in the same physical space.
Caroline brings to Grace Presbyterian a deep faith, extensive ministerial experience in a diversity of settings, a strong commitment to pastoral care, and an interest in creating participatory worship that engages people of all ages and backgrounds in an encounter with God. Caroline is also an accomplished singer, as the Pastor Nominating Committee learned when she spontaneously broke into a song during a Zoom interview.
Caroline is married to Jim Mooney, an Atlanta native, who spent most of his career as a landscape contractor before becoming a truck driver.
Jim is a Triumph motorcycle aficionado, a history buff and a keen listener. Caroline and Jim are the parents of two young adults, Kevin and Olivia, who live and work in Atlanta. Together, they enjoy biking, gardening, and cooking. Caroline and Jim share their home with a loveable dog named Lux, who can’t wait to bark “Roll Tide!”