Rev. Connie Tuttle

My father was a career military man and I was raised as an ‘army brat’. One of the things that means is that I grew up in a church without the boundaries of denomination. Our worship 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.  It is a gift I bring to Circle of Grace (that can be both blessing and curse).

I felt deeply and vividly called to ministry at age twenty-five. The process brought me to Clifton Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  I was active in their program for underprivileged neighborhood children.  As an ordained elder I supported our declaration of sanctuary and participation in the Underground Railroad for political refugees from Nicaragua.  During that time we began our Night Hospitality program (a night shelter for sick and aging men that operates 365 day a year), the first year round shelter in the city of Atlanta.

In addition, over the years I acquired a hodge-podge of skills ranging from assistant to the producer of the Shakespeare Society of America to cooking on a dude ranch to waiting tables at the Little 5 Points Pub.  I worked my way through college as a carpenter and painter. During seminary I cared for the ill and dying as a personal care assistant.

I earned a degree in Religious Studies from Agnes Scott College in 1983.  Graduating in 1986 from Columbia Theological Seminary (Presbyterian) in Decatur, Georgia, with an M. Div.  The focus of my studies was both feminist and liberation theology.

 As an open lesbian I was not eligible to be a minister in the Presbyterian Church (PCUS).  For the next two years I directed the Atlanta Hunger Walk.  After that, I was 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 now a pastoral counselor and have been in practice for over twenty-six years. My memoir, A Gracious Heresy, is near completion.

I am the founding pastor of Circle of Grace, a Christian feminist worshipping community. 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.