Two local pastors, Bill Coates of First Baptist Church of Gainesville and Rodney Lackey of Antioch Baptist Church in Gainesville, will serve on an interfaith council announced today by the governor’s office.
The council will advise officials on challenges prisoners face in re-entering society, building upon criminal justice reforms in the state.
The Governor’s Interfaith Council comprises religious leaders across the state, including mostly Protestant pastors, along with one Jewish rabbi.
"Faith communities and religious leaders are critical to ensuring the success of our criminal justice reform initiatives," Gov. Nathan Deal said. "On any given day, their houses of worship minister to prisoners, give comfort to family members and provide assistance to returning citizens. These council members are on the front lines in Georgia communities, and their perspective and experience are invaluable. I’m grateful for their willingness to serve."
Other members of the council include the following religious leaders:
- Darrell D. Elligan, The True Light Baptist Church, Atlanta
- Agnes Harvey, Rocky Head United Methodist Church, Stockbridge
- Johnny Hunt, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Woodstock
- Tony Lowden, Lundy Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Macon
- Clarence Moore, Good Shepherd Baptist Church, Columbus
- Adrian S. Niles, Mount Enon Baptist Church, Monroe
- Larry Schlesinger, Temple Beth Israel, Macon
- Daniel Simmons, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Albany
- E. Dewey Smith, The House of Hope, Decatur
- Jacqueline Smith, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Valdosta/Albany district
- Thurmond N. Tillman, First African Baptist Church, Savannah
- Richard Tolcher, Prison and Jail Ministry, Archdiocese of Atlanta