Welcome from the Director: A Global Vision with a Local Focus

The Alonzo and Althea Edmiston Center for Christian Endurance Studies offers the opportunity to learn about Christianity from its longstanding historical perspective as a distinct cultural minority.  The Center was born from conversations between urban, rural, and global Christian leaders who find much in common from their position on the margins of their societies.

On one hand, there’s great commonality in that whether we are Latino or African American, Iranian or German, Chinese or Egyptian, we share the same great Biblical story spanning Genesis to Revelation – that God created, keeps, and will gather a people for himself.  We share the same promise that no matter what cultural trials we may face, God will empower us to endure.

In this, there’s a deep bond.


On the other hand, there’s great creativity and diversity in how each community practically lives its endurance. These differences are often determined by a community's historical, cultural, and political context.

In this, there’s much wisdom to be shared.

Our goal is to form students who understand there's power in powerlessness, and strength and wisdom on the margins. As you explore our resources, work, and opportunities, I hope you'll find renewed strength to endure.


Karen Ellis

K.A. Ellis


About the Center

It’s popular today to focus on the Church’s historical failures. However, the Edmiston community mines history and the contemporary world to learn from the Church’s moments of endurance and faithfulness. We’re committed to the covenantal story of God from every nation, tongue, and tribe; we’re curious how God moves through forgotten and overlooked believers in the hard places.

Strategically positioned in Atlanta at the nexus of many cultures, Christians of all ethnicities gather at the Edmiston Center around God’s Word to seek solutions and strategies for Christian living. We target issues of endurance, discipleship, evangelism, crisis as opportunity, Kingdom advance, justice, and unity in today’s shifting cultural environments.

We believe that the whole counsel of Scripture is sufficient to sustain the people of God in our past, present, and future.

We strive to preserve an atmosphere of Christian unity across geographic and cultural lines, while still gleaning practical wisdom for Christian life from the many facets of His Kingdom.



The Edmiston Center exists to deepen Christian understanding of how God has moved, is moving, and has promised to move among the nations through the unique and distinct cultural minority called the Church.


The Edmiston Center presents diverse historical and contemporary perspectives of Christian life on society’s margins through the eyes of the local and global Church.

The Center offers specialized lectures, workshops, and courses rooted in the ongoing story of God’s people from all nations, forming students and our local community members around the shared practices that model and promote Kingdom advance, whole-life Gospel transformation, and Christian endurance.

Edmiston family photo

About Alonzo and Althea Edmiston

Alonzo and Althea Edmiston were well acquainted with Christian endurance on society’s margins.

Over one-hundred years ago, both Edmistons were born in the segregated American south. She was a graduate of Fisk University, and he, a graduate of Stillman College. Only one generation removed from American slavery, the two married in 1904 and were commissioned by the Presbyterian Church to serve in Africa’s Congo Free State.

As they ministered, they experienced persecution for their faith from their surrounding culture. At the same time, they witnessed incredible spiritual transformation among the thousands they served.

The Edmistons tapped into the truth that the people of God around the world are practically and spiritually connected. As part of the twentieth century’s first African American mission team, they endured hostility to establish faith-work projects and day schools. In the process, they ransomed scores of young children from the barbaric rubber trade. Althea is credited with developing the first written grammar for the local language, translating Scripture, schoolbooks, hymns, and more.

The Edmistons served faithfully in Congo until Althea succumbed to sleeping sickness and malaria in 1937. Alonzo continued his global vision and local focus until his death in Alabama, in 1954.

We are honored to encourage students, community leaders, and laypeople to walk in the Edmiston legacy of an interwoven local and global Church that endures - and flourishes - in places where Christianity faces hardship.

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