Our Pastor

Rev. Shari L. Rates

Believing we are all divinely purposed with gifts for the betterment of humanity, Shari Rates has centered her life mantra on the philosophy, “My Utmost for His Highest”.
Born on November 24, 1960 in New Haven, Connecticut, Shari was the second of two daughters born into a household of faith. As a “Preachers Kid” she learned much about the power of faith in her life, yet recognized early on, that there existed both an individual and corporate journey along this path.
Reared in the Atlanta area, Shari Rates matriculated at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in the area of Mass Communications. Shari has worked in the Atlanta area at WGNX-TV46, Erdas Inc., United Way for the Greater Atlanta Area, Spelman College, Emory University and the World Methodist Evangelism Institute.
After a five and a half year stint in the Republic of Palau where she worked with children and youth through the Peace Corps and a local government contract, Shari entered Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 1998. She earned the Master of Divinity degree in 2001.
Within her ministerial calling as an elder in the United Methodist tradition, she has served as a chaplain at Gwinnett Medical Center; as Minister of Children and Youth at Ousley UMC; Director of Programs at Stone Mountain First UMC; a participant on the Day One television series through the Hallmark Channel; Associate Pastor of Cascade UMC; Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for the North Georgia Conference; Senior Pastor of Jones Memorial UMC, and Senior Pastor of Rock Springs UMC. Currently, Pastor Rates serves as an Associate Pastor at Douglasville FUMC.
Believing, “to whom much is given, much is required”, Shari seeks to meet people where they are within their personal journey, and yet is sensitive to the higher calling that falls upon each life.
Shari has served on the North Georgia Conference’s Committee on Poverty; Chair of the Parish Life Ministry Team; Chair of the Griffin District Leadership Team, and as Chair of Small Membership Churches for the North Georgia Conference in the United Methodist Church which has over 900 churches. She has been a seminar participant through the World Methodist Evangelism Institute, a member of the Emmaus Spiritual Walk Community, a workshop presenter, guest speaker, and continues to serve in various leadership roles through church, social and scholastic settings.
Pastor Rates has traveled extensively throughout her lifetime, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Rim area.