Holy Innocents’ is a community where the best of the Episcopal tradition is honored, and creativity, innovation, diversity, and inclusion are embraced.
We seek to extend the hospitality of Christ to all, whether in our buildings or through the web, in the hope that each person’s spiritual journey can flourish from individual faith into communal compassion and action. Home to Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, our campus serves on many levels as an engaging, ever-renewing forum for people of all ages to gather, pray, celebrate, mourn, converse, reflect, learn, and teach.
Membership at Holy Innocents’ is based on desire. If you are baptized (or desire to be baptized), intend to make this parish your principal community of worship, and you will support the ministries of the parish, you may be recorded as a member of the parish. We offer several opportunities throughout the year when new members are welcomed at dinner and on Sunday mornings. We also offer opportunities for adult Confirmation, Reception and Reaffirmation. For more information on membership contact Marva Shelton.
In 1872, as Atlanta had begun to recover from the devastation of the Civil War, signs of prosperity, which would become the hallmark of its future, became evident. The railroad became the source of an eventual booming economy. Growth also brought challenges. The women widowed and the children orphaned by the war were struggling – and Episcopalians responded with great concern. In 1872 the Rev. W.B. Elliott, rector of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, designated the church's Easter offering to found a mission Sunday school for “the poor of the northern suburb.” With the help of a gift of land by Mrs. Richard Peters and building funds by Mrs. George Walker, the little Mission of Holy Innocents' had its beginning at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Juniper Streets with the erection of a chapel-classroom.
Services were held and classes began; the little mission was off to a good start. But in 1878 a tornado demolished the structure and Holy Innocents' moved from home to home. Once again in 1886 Mrs. Peters came to the rescue of Holy Innocents' with the gift of an abandoned warehouse at West Peachtree and 16th to serve as temporary quarters before a new chapel, at the corner of 16th Street and Spring Street, could be built in 1896. In this new location the mission grew slowly. Young clergy from the Diocese offered their services. Deaconess Wood taught the children and raised money for the mission. Holy Innocents' Mission experienced many good years.
Prosperity, growth and expansion continued in the City of Atlanta. This affected the little mission once again and offered another challenge. In 1954 the mission finally closed its doors once more; it stood directly in the path of a new expressway being built to alleviate Atlanta 's growing traffic problem. The spirit did not lie dormant for long. In November of 1954 in response to a need for ministry in the Sandy Springs area the little mission moved to this burgeoning suburb of Atlanta.
Over the years, Holy Innocents' has continued its tradition of outreach to the local and world community. Holy Innocents’ founded a very successful English for Successful Living program; has helped the poor in Haiti and helped fund churches there; has helped rebuild the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast; has sponsored two new parishes in the greater Atlanta community (Church of the Atonement to the southeast and Sts. Peter and Paul to the northwest); has built several Habitat homes; and has been a prime sponsor of the Sandy Springs Community Action Center, just to name a few. Holy Innocents’ has continued and grown its tradition of scholarship, both to parishioners and students. And our tradition of liturgy and spiritual growth is as strong as ever. The future at Holy Innocents’ promises to be very exciting.
Rectors who have served at Holy Innocents
- The Reverend James B. Vaught, January 9 1956- January 13, 1957
- The Reverend Hugh Saussy, Jr., June 1, 1957 – January 22, 1967
- The Reverend Robert G. Oliver, July 15, 1968 – August 15, 1971
- The Reverend Robert H. Johnson, April 10, 1972 – January 29, 1989
- The Reverend Joe Reynolds, July 1, 1990 – February 2000
- The Reverend David A. Galloway, August 2001 – February 2007
- The Reverend Michael R. Sullivan, August 2009 - October 2016