By Mackenzie N. Morgan
Clergy from throughout Rockdale County flocked to the Pastors Table forum hosted by Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Chairman Oz Nesbitt, Sr. on Feb. 24 at Coaxum’s restaurant in Conyers.
The event, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary, brought together local leaders and clergy to dine and discuss the future trajectory of Rockdale. Pastors and politicians sat side by side to participate in strategic planning while enjoying a Southern buffet of baked and fried chicken, grilled salmon, green beans, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, garden salad and sweet potato muffins.
Nesbitt thanked the pastors for attending the meeting, emphasizing the importance and influence of the faith community on civic engagement and local government.
“It is so important that government reaches out to our local clergy. You really can’t keep church and state separate. We have to have this partnership and a cohesive relationship of getting things done in Rockdale County and we rely heavily on our clergy and our churches…No one gets anything done by themselves,” said Nesbitt.
Attendees received a copy of the county’s 69-page magazine-style “Envision Rockdale Strategic Plan for Rockdale County 2020-2024.” They also were encouraged to share with their congregations the importance of participating in the 2020 Census. In mid-March households across the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the census, which can be done online, by phone or mail.
Several leaders of Rockdale County brought greetings to the crowd including State Rep. Vernon Jones, Fire Chief Dan Morgan, Magistrate Judge Phinia Aten, Post 1 Commissioner Sherri Washington, newly-elected Conyers City Councilwoman Valyncia Smith and Rockdale County Board of Elections Director Cynthia Willingham.
Willingham invited pastors to schedule on-site demonstrations of the new voting machines for their congregations. She said that her office will continue offering demonstrations to the public and that the next scheduled demonstration will be held on Thursday, March 5, 6 to 8 p.m. at Commissioner Sherri Washington’s office, 1261 Commercial Drive SW, Suite B, Conyers.
“Regardless of how they vote, we want our citizens to vote and to know how to use the new voting equipment,” said Willingham.
Willingham encouraged everyone to download the Georgia Secretary of State’s app to easily access 2020 election information including registration status and locations, sample ballots and find out who your officials are