Staff @ St. John UMC
Dr. Hannah Garrett-Johnson, senior pastor
I received my Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University as well as an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a juris doctor from Tulane University School of Law. I practiced law in Mobile, Alabama, for more than seven years, very much enjoying it – but God had other ideas about what I should be doing with my life! I am an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church and have pastored a number of churches in both the Alabama-West Florida and North Georgia Conferences.
I enjoy gourmet cooking, music, reading, sports of all kinds, exercising, and good conversation. I like good coffee, dark chocolate, and shoes!
george b. butler, jr., minister of music
George Butler began piano lessons at an early age at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with Ilona Voorm, a protégé of Bela Bartok and head of piano pedagogy at the Conservatory. Butler took up the cello at age twelve and soon was a recognized soloist and session player in the Cincinnati area. At age 17 he was the only instrumentalist in the state of Ohio selected to perform with a national youth symphony under the direction of maestro Leopold Stokowski at Carnegie Hall.
As a young person, he grew up singing the great hymns of the Church as well as lively Gospel music. He was asked, at the age of nineteen, to form and direct a choir for young people at the church and then a year later was appointed director of the church’s adult choir as well as worship leader. From then on his interest in choral music blossomed. While in college he was able to perform in many of the masterworks of choral music with the Cincinnati Symphony as a member of the Conservatory’s Chorale and Chamber Singers.
As a cello major at the Cincinnati Conservatory Butler was principal cellist of the renowned Philharmonia Orchestra and was coached in chamber music by the grammy award winning LaSalle String Quartet. After graduation though, his focus became leading music in the church including festivals, national conventions and professional gatherings. After a 30-plus year career in church music, he returned to his classical music roots in 1999 here in Atlanta, becoming the cellist of the Kazanetti String Quartet. George has been a faculty member of The Lovett School since 2001, and Minister of Music at the Grace United Methodist Church from 2000-2006. He has continued to be active on the choral music scene around Atlanta as a performer and consultant.
deborah ulrich, organist & diaconal minister
Deborah received the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Wesleyan College, and the Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, with further organ study at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She is a consecrated Diaconal Minister in the United Methodist Church, and has served in various leadership positions at the conference, state, regional and national levels.
tiffany d. stout, children's ministry Director
Tiffany is from a small, rural town in Indiana called French Lick. She and her husband, Jason, moved to Atlanta in 1996. The rolling tree-filled hills of Sandy Springs, reminiscent of her childhood home, seemed a perfect place to raise a family. The Stouts have five children, Madeline, Nora, Owen, Paul and Quentin. St John has been her family’s place of worship since they moved to Sandy Springs. God answered her yearning here at St John—a yearning for engagement for her family, a place where she can grow her faith, a place to serve the community and an excellent place for her children to meet God as they began their journey with Him. Tiffany began serving as Children’s Ministry Director at St John in 2016. Her “job” is a huge joy, a way for her to help children know God and recognize His love for them, help nurture them individually and love others through serving opportunities, or just hanging out and having fun together. It’s not work, it’s love, and she is quite grateful to get to love here at St John.
By the way, Tiffany is a huge fan of IU, Jane Austen and sheep, but her favorites are Jesus and her family.
Lawrence (Larry) E. Collins, financial administrator
I am a native of Atlanta and have lived in the metro area all of my life. I graduated from Georgia State University with degrees in Secondary Education and Accounting. My early accounting experience came from managing a Christian Bookstore and as a Church Administrator. After working with a CPA firm for more than 10 years, I began my professional accounting career working for one of my favorite clients. Over the course of the last 25+ years I have worked with industry leaders in employment services, medical communications and nonprofit causes.
In 2017 I partially retired and am very grateful to use my gifts, talents and abilities to service our Lord at St. John. When I am not at St. John, My wife, Patti, and I are involved with our home church, Lawrenceville First United Methodist, visiting our 14 grandkids, hiking, kayaking and vacationing at the beach.
Oscar A. Jones, Jr., office administrator
I am a native of South Carolina, grew up in a small mill town (Fort Mill, SC) and went to college at Clemson University, graduating as an electrical engineer. While at Clemson, I was the editor of the school magazine, the Chronicle. My engineering career path led me from a company that designed factories, to a company that made equipment for power distribution in factories, to working as a project engineer at a factory (Austell Boxboard in Austell, GA.) While working as engineer, I began teaching electronics and technology at a local post high school college that eventually became Herzing College. Realizing my love of teaching, I left the engineering job and taught at that college for almost 15 years.
After retiring from teaching, I began working as the Office Administrator at Covenant Presbyterian Church. I worked there for eight years. When I heard about this position at St. John, I felt an immediate connection, that I could continue to serve others, and am grateful to be able continue my service to the Lord at St. John. When not at St. John, I use my music abilities (I play the trumpet) to perform for various functions at Holy Spirit Prep Lower School. My wife Linda and I are very involved with our home church, Covenant Presbyterian, visiting our 3 grandsons, and reading.
brooks ray, director of student ministries
I was either born in the gym or born at the church. Or I may have been born in the gym at the church. I was very blessed in my younger years in having the opportunity of experiencing a thriving Youth Group. I had one of the best teachers I’ve ever had as my Youth Pastor. Mark Hall and the members of Casting Crowns helped develop me into the man I am today. When the opportunity of paying it forward at St. John opened up, I took a leap of faith and trusted God would provide the wisdom and knowledge to be the best Director of Student Ministries as I could be. I went to school thinking I was going to become a teacher one day, but couldn’t get behind all of the content that was expected of the kids. Teaching about how God can do the impossible is definitely something I am able to get behind.