The History of SWEEAC
For over thirty years, SWEEAC has worked conscientiously to alleviate poverty by providing food, clothing, health and beauty products, school supplies, assistance with life skills enhancement, health screening and referrals to other agencies for services it cannot provide.
The historical soil in which the Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center had its planting is fertile with the faith that played a major role in the process. The seeds were planted for the agency when Park Renshaw, a representative from the Atlanta Christian Council, connected with the pastors in the Adamsville community for the purpose of exploring mutual problems and concerns within the community.
The churches were passionately concerned and overwhelmed by the number of requests coming from people within the southwest Atlanta community regarding hunger, unemployment and challenges by children at-risk. With the lack of funding because of inadequate educational opportunities and financial resources, these leaders felt more could be done for those in need by pooling resources and reaching across denominational boundaries.
The first meeting took place in 1983 at the Chapel of Christian Love, then pastored by Dr. James Milner. Dr. Milner was appointed the convener of the group. His appointment was quite appropriate, especially since he was the first to open his church to establish the organization. The cluster started well, but later interest in the organization began to diminish.
Faith continued to be at work when in early 1985, the churches in the Adamsville Community began meeting with the churches in the Ben Hill Community at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church. The combined members grew under new representatives from the Atlanta Christian Council with the strength and leadership of Sister Marie Sullivan and the Reverend Thomas Walters. The combined members expanded shortly thereafter, to include the churches in the Cascade community. In 1988, the organization voted to call itself the ABC Churches (the Adamsville, Ben Hill and Cascade Churches), and subsequently formed an official governing board.
The Center was on the third floor of the St. Mark AME Church where Rev. Nathaniel Hercules served as senior pastor.
As support increased with spiritual faith and guidance, the name of the organization was changed again to the Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center (SWEEAC). Rev Frances Bryant served as the first Center Director. Mrs. Vivian Moreland followed her. During Mrs. Moreland’s leadership, the Center worked to be on the cutting edge of providing emergency service to people in need within the community.
With the coming together and organizations of Sister Marie Sullivan, Reverend Dr. Nathaniel Hercules, Dr. Thomas Walters, and Reverend Dr. David L. Wallace, Sr. these persons all served as founding members of SWEEAC with the Rev. Dr. David Wallace as the first board chair. Other board chairs included: Deacon Raymond Lundy, Mr. John Walker, Dr. Gwendolyn Garrison, Mrs. Thedda Edwards, Deacon Douglas Gray, Mr. Rudy Goodwine, Dr. Thomas Walters (current board chair).
Mrs. Ernesta Ingram is our current Executive Director and with the assistance of a cadre of volunteers, they are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Center. SWEEAC is currently housed at the lower lever of the West Hunter Street Baptist Church. The Center is supported with volunteers, monetary, and in-kind gifts from businesses and several religious bodies. It is the support that we receive from the community that allows us to continue to provide and assist those in need in our Atlanta communities.
"To show great love for God and our neighbor we need not do great things.
It is how much love we put in the doing that makes our offering something beautiful for God."
- Mother Theresa