“I believe that God’s imprint is on each of us, and the spark of the divine is in all of God’s creation. We are The Divine’s handiwork.”
You may know little of PRUMC Carolyn Stephens, other than her beautiful accent that soothes us into prayers each week. The Jamaican-born movie enthusiast and beach lover joined the team in June 2017 and is enjoying getting to know our church and its people. This week, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight Carolyn and hope you enjoy learning some “fun facts” on her background, interests, and aspirations!
The youngest of seven children, Carolyn grew up in Montego Bay, just a quick walk from the sea, which she visited frequently. Her childhood was full of running, swimming, and playing on the beach—a very typical Jamaican childhood. “In Jamaica,” she says, “we play a lot of sports. In the schools, all students are divided into ‘houses,’ and the houses compete once a year in giant Sports Day competitions.” These competitions, volleyball, church, and a generally active lifestyle rounded out her formative years.
Growing up in a tropical paradise was idyllic not just because of the scenery. According to Carolyn, Jamaicans are as warm and friendly as the stereotype we Americans believe. And, they love meeting new people, traits that have led Carolyn down the path that she has taken.
Her wide view of the world further developed when she worked for Air Jamaica as a supervisor a few years after leaving college. Over her six-and-a-half-year tenure in the airline, she discovered some of her favorite cities included Montreal and London; however, she settled here in Atlanta and attended Georgia State University. Carolyn originally planned to go to law school, but a chance e-mail about finding your passion made her question her plans. She realized that if she could do anything, she wanted to “teach the Word of God.” So, she abandoned her law school interest and made a U-turn into seminary. After graduating from Emory, she served as senior pastor at 10th Street United Methodist Church, an associate at Cannon UMC in Snellville, and most recently, senior pastor at Brookhaven UMC.
Here at Peachtree Road, one thing she hopes to do is to help our congregation delve further into our relationship with God. Carolyn is passionate about guiding others to go deeper in their spiritual lives, education, empowering girls, and embracing diversity. “I believe that God’s imprint is on each of us, and the spark of the divine is in all of God’s creation. We are The Divine’s handiwork,” she says.
Want to know even more about Carolyn? Check out our “Top 10” list below:
- One of her long-term goals is to one day to become the prime minister of Jamaica.
- She listens to a wide range of music—you might hear Classical music coming from her office, but she also loves old-school Bob Marley reggae, jazz, soul, and some indie musicians. Aretha Franklin shares space with Alabama Shakes on her playlists.
- Carolyn loves blockbuster movies. “If I ever go broke, it will be because I spent all my money at the movie theater!” She is a huge Star Trek fan and also follows Marvel and DC comics.
- When not at PRUMC, she takes spin class, cooks, and enjoys climbing Stone Mountain. She also ran her first 5K last year—the Brookhaven Bolt! She doesn’t have any pets currently, but wants a German Sheppard.
- Her favorite sports are volleyball, swimming, sprint, and soccer (“the REAL football,” she says with a knowing look)!
- Many of Carolyn’s family members have settled in the U.S., Canada, and England, and she has 24 nieces and nephews.
- Recently, she read “The Captivating Presence,” by Albert Day, and “Spirituality of Imperfection,” by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum. She also loves the author Tom Clancy.
- Her favorite Bible passages include Luke 4:18-20 and Daniel 11:32.
- She likes almost all kinds of food, including, of course, Jamaican!
- As much as she loves Atlanta, she admits, “The white sand beaches of Jamaica call me every day!”