Connie Tuttle
I am an army brat. My father was a career military man. That makes me a ‘third culture kid’ that Wikipedia defines as:

A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.

Another defining characteristic of being an army brat is that I grew up in a church without the boundaries of denomination. Worship at the base chapel was determined by whatever chaplain was stationed at our base at any given time; that could mean high-Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal or… I came away with an amazing sense of what connects us as Christians and no experience of church hierarchy or doctrine.

I was deeply, vividly and unexpectedly called to ministry at age twenty-five. As a lesbian, feminist, single mother with a passion for social justice who left the church during the Viet Nam War and the civil rights movement my call left me stunned.


Having no idea what it meant to be called to ministry, I was brought to my knees. And eventually to Clifton Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. I found spiritual home in a community motivated by faith and active in social justice ministries, becoming involved with the ministries and tangential concerns of the church including anti-death penalty work, cooking weekly for our mentoring program for underprivileged neighborhood children, supporting the sanctuary movement of the Underground Railroad for political refugees from Nicaragua, and starting the first, year-round, homeless shelter.

Along the way I collected a hodge-podge of skills that prepared me for ministry: waiting tables, assistant to the producer of the Shakespeare Society of America, and cooking for a logging camp and dude ranch. I worked my way through college as a carpenter and painter and seminary by caring for the ill and dying.

I earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from Agnes Scott College and a M.Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary. After seminary I directed the Atlanta Hunger Walk and later worked as administrator for the Southern Prisoners’ Defense Committee, a non-profit, public interest law firm that did anti-death penalty work and prison reform.

I am the founding pastor of Circle of Grace. We held our first worship service December 19, 1993. The community ordained me to ministry, and we have been dancing and stumbling along ever since.

facebook linkedin