Rev. Curtiss DeMars-Johnson has been with Greenbelt Community Church since September, 2020. GCC welcomes Rev. DeMars-Johnson as an interim pastor during a time of reflection and revitalization, while we prepare to search for a called, or settled pastor.
Rev. DeMars-Johnson has served as an interim and settled pastor across the Midwest and Western United States, including Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado. Prior to coming to Greenbelt, he was at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Charlotte, Michigan, where one parishioner wrote “any church would be lucky to have Curt as their pastor. He came into our situation and took the time needed to figure out just who we are. He then helped us figure out who we are.”
Born and educated in Minnesota graduating from the University of Minnesota and the United Theological Seminary in Saint Paul, Rev. DeMars-Johnson has been active in spiritual, justice, peace, and ecological issues for decades. He shares his views on justice, “We all are created by God to have lives of dignity, purpose and potential. Justice occurs when people are allowed and encouraged to find self-expression that is honored respectfully in a society with many diverse viewpoints. Diversity is a blessing from God to us.”
Rev. DeMars-Johnson also taught elementary and middle school students. “It’s a spectacular experience to work alongside young learners and do what It takes to get kids, who were failing in the system, to engage in learning.” In 2002, he wrote a textbook Igniting Your Genius: The Startling Fusion of Creativity, Curiosity, Intellect, Passion, and Awe about the blessings of engaging people and experiences with students.
Rev. DeMars-Johnson believes “life is more enjoyable when we remain curious and engage with others. We can do this by asking unasked questions and practice listening deep for their responses and questions. Learning the art of seeing what people are saying and not saying communicates clues” He used this technique with students and found the most common response from students was, ‘I don’t know because nobody ever asked me about that before.’ What happened next was real engagement with students.”
In this time of COVID, Sunday worship services at Greenbelt Community Church are continuing to be virtual only, broadcast via Zoom and on Facebook Live. Rev. DeMars-Johnson is using Zoom to meet church members and members of the community for now.