Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


‘Mission Accomplished’ For Southside Parish

Published February 15, 2007

The parishioners of St John the Evangelist Church are still buzzing over a mission many called “remarkable.” During late January, Deacon Glenn Harmon and his wife Linda brought the word of God to life for this parish of over 600 families.

Beginning on Jan. 22, the Harmons brought Scripture and song to the faithful at St John’s. About 150 people came each of the four nights—a pleasing turnout, according to pastor Father Edward J. Thein.

The pastor said it was “a larger turnout than I had expected although I had no previous missions here on which to gauge my estimate.”

Father Thein has been pastor of St John’s for about 18 months. Prior to coming to the southern deanery, he served at Holy Family Church in Marietta for 10 years. It was there that he discovered Harmon ministries. “I had two successful missions (with the Harmons) at my previous parish and have heard other pastors’ recommendations.”

The Harmons have been giving parish missions full time since July 1992. They hail from Lake Charles, La., and Deacon Harmon gave up a lucrative business career to be about the business of Jesus. He says that his parish missions help people better connect God and the Catholic faith in their everyday lives.

Fran Thorpe, social ministry director at St John’s, agrees with him. “It was beautiful and moving, especially the parts where he gives testimony. I really got a lot out of that.”

Deacon Harmon does his own music and brings his own equipment to the missions. In over 250 parish missions in 13 years, the Harmons have never charged a fee for their work.

“We decided 13 years ago that we would never charge a stipend or fee to give a mission. I cannot imagine Jesus charging for what he said or did. We simply take a love offering,” Deacon Harmon said.

The mission included revitalization in many areas of the Catholic faith, including a night focusing on the sacrament of reconciliation. Linda Harmon conducted “mini-missions” after each day’s 8:30 a.m. Mass, which was especially valuable to the older members of the parish.

The full mission ran 90 minutes. After each night’s presentation, fellowship and refreshments were hosted by various church organizations, including the Legion of Mary, the Liturgy Board, the Ladies of Peter Claver Court 340, and the Parish Council.

In planning the mission, Father Thein thought of many opportunities to involve everyone. Childcare was provided for young couples so that they could fully enjoy Deacon Harmon’s message. Father Thein said, “There were upwards of 15 children nightly and many new faces each evening.”

The Harmons wrapped up their visit on Jan. 25. And while one might say that it was just another day in the life of Deacon Harmon and his wife Linda, they hope it was life-changing for those who took part.

Says social ministry director Thorpe, “It gave me a lot to think about. … No, I won’t see things the same way.”