Prior to founding The Gathering ATL on December 31, 2017, Reverend Shanan E. Jones served as the Executive Pastor of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. In this capacity, Reverend Jones was “Chief of Staff,” responsible for overseeing all of Ebenezer’s day-to day operations. He also served as Press Secretary to Ebenezer’s Senior Pastor, Reverend Raphael G. Warnock, Ph.D. A public relations professional for more than 20 years, Reverend Jones was previously Assistant Pastor for Community Affairs and Public Relations for “America’s Freedom Church.”
While serving on the pastoral staff in 2006, Reverend Jones was instrumental in organizing several outreach initiatives, such as Ebenezer’s: “Freedom Caravan,” a large scale effort to return Hurricane Katrina Survivors home to New Orleans to participate in local, as well as statewide elections; and “Cutting Thru Crisis,” which is the Church’s special outreach to African American men and boys in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward (this annual event gives them the opportunity to engage in critical issues targeting their individual and collective lives, while the Church provides free haircuts on its site from the city’s top barbers).
While attending college in Boston, he was employed with the Massachusetts legislature as a Press Secretary for four years. During that time, Reverend Jones honed his public relations skills by working for two committees -- Education & Federal and Financial Assistance. He simultaneously handled press relations for each of the eight members of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus; one of his important assignments was to coordinate various press efforts for visiting dignitaries to the legislature, including heads of state. In the 1990’s, Reverend Jones also worked as an Advance Aide for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, managing New England official visits of national party leaders such as former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Senator Ted Kennedy, and Senator John Kerry.
Following graduation, he took staff writing positions with The Cambridge Chronicle and The Somerville Journal. In 1998, Reverend Jones joined his elder brother, the Reverend Conrad B. Tillard (branded the “National Hip-Hop Minister”), in founding a social, political organization entitled, “A Movement for CHHANGE” (Conscious Hip-Hop Advancement Necessary for Global Empowerment). As the organization’s Press Secretary and Chief of Staff, one of Reverend Jones’ most memorable public relations assignments was “The National Hip-Hop Day of Peace,” Death Row recording artist Tupac Shakur’s official New York Memorial Service. This event resulted in a massive media turnout and a signed peace treaty between east and west coast Hip-Hop artists.
On January 21, 2000, Reverend Jones was licensed to preach the Gospel at the historic Eliot Congregational Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts before moving back to Atlanta. In August of 2000, Reverend Jones was not only hired as the Pastor for Public Relations/Political Liaison to the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and its Bishop, but also re-licensed as a Baptist Minister by this house of worship on January 23, 2001. Reverend Jones also served faithfully as the Executive Pastor of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church from April of 2006 until December 31, 2017. He was instrumental in building important political, as well as national and international business, relationships for thousands of members and national acclaimed pastors for several years. Reverend Jones coordinated official trips of countless heads of state, international governmental representatives, senators, congresspersons, governors, and mayors who traveled to this Church as guests.
Following the November 8, 2016 vote to establish the City of South Fulton, Reverend Jones announced his candidacy for the office of City Council in District 3. He promises to bring to government his same work ethic of being a pastoral public servant who will always remain people-centered. In fact, his campaign slogan is: “People Over Politics in South Fulton.”
Living out his full calling in the emergent areas of religion, business, and social justice, Reverend Jones and his wife Kattya V. Jones jointly own Images International Public Relations, LLC, a full service consulting firm that specializes in faith-based, as well as community relations-focused, strategic communications.
Reverend Jones received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism/Public Relations with a concentration in strategic political communication from Boston’s Northeastern University in 1998. A graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center’s Morehouse School of Religion, he holds the Masters of Divinity degree with a concentration in Missiology, as well as the Master of Arts degree in Christian Education. He and Kattya reside in the (New) City of South Fulton with their Cane Corso, Mateo.