Glenn members Anne Michael and Edward Sustman are part of a small, but mighty and growing group - the Glenn Next Community. Our member spotlight today profiles them and their commitment to this young adult ministry at Glenn. As well as some little known facts about them - did you know they are both architects and have quite a few impressive international and local Atlanta landmarks on their resumes?
What attracted you to Glenn and its community? How long have you been members?
Edward – Well, for the first 18 years or so, I didn’t really have much choice since my family came regularly to Glenn since before I was born. But after returning to Atlanta following graduate school there was really one choice in my mind for where I would attend church...luckily Anne Michael liked it as much as I do!
Out of our three worship services, which one is home to you and why?
Anne Michael – Edward and I both really enjoy the 11 o’clock service. It is the service Edward attended with his family when he was growing up, and having grown up in a Presbyterian church myself, we like the Christian traditions that we learned as children that continue to be a part of this service. As a child, I was very involved with music, so the traditional hymns are important to me and are now the only time of the week that I get to sing.
You both are very involved in the Glenn Next Community of Young Adults. How did that group begin? In what ways does it foster your spiritual growth?
About 8 years ago we had a large contingent of recent graduates, Candler graduate students, Emory Med students, young couples/professionals who did not yet have children and didn’t feel like there was a Sunday School class that was geared toward fellowship in that demographic (which was then under 35 and went by the name “35 Below”). Since then, some original members graduated and moved elsewhere, some have started families, but we have gained greater and greater participation and ultimately expanded and rebranded as the Glenn Next Community. You will find members of our group at any of the 3 services and we have our own Sunday School class, but since not everyone can always attend, we have rounded out our group fellowship with social gatherings & service events. For Edward and I it has been a community with a diverse group of people who genuinely care for one another, learning about the Christian faith, and about helping others.
Glenn’s congregation ranges from babies and young families to empty nesters to members in their 90’s. It is an intergenerational church, and it is beautiful to see connections formed across those life stages. Have either of you had a surprising or unexpected relationship form with someone(s) not in your life stage or age range?
Well there is really nothing quite as humbling as someone reminding you that she took care of you in the nursery before you could even walk. No matter where I think I might be headed in life Glenn is always there to remind me where I came from. Having spent so much of my childhood at Glenn, it is really rewarding to give back as an adult through things like the board of Trustees, Good Neighbor Day, Snack in a Backpack or ushering on Sunday mornings.
Tell us about your career life – you both are architects, correct? How did you choose that field and what kind of projects have you worked on in Atlanta?
Edward - Yes, we are both architects, but from the start we have worked on very different project types. I work for a global firm, called Gensler and manage retail projects both abroad and across the US for national and international retailers. I’ve done close to a dozen stores in China as well as stores in Japan, Kuwait, and across the UK in addition to projects in 13 states. Recently I have started working with Jeni’s Ice Cream. I have been looking at a few new locations in Atlanta with them and have their first store in Washington DC opening later this year.
Anne Michael - I am a Project Manager for a local firm, called Smith Dalia Architects that does a variety of projects in Atlanta and across the Southeast. In Atlanta, I worked on Inman Quarter in Inman Park, and will be working on the renovation of the Candler Mansion on Briarcliff. I’m currently renovating the historic Excelsior Mill (formerly the Masquerade), across from Ponce City Market, which will become office and retail space.
Thanks, Anne Michael and Edward, for sharing a little about yourselves and what makes Glenn home for you.