Dr. Joseph Emmett Henderson, 85, a veteran of World War II and a Baptist pastor of three churches, went to be with his Lord and Savior on February 19th, 2013. A native of Georgia, Dr. Henderson was married to the former Margaret Mann for 67 years.
During World War II, Dr. Henderson served in the Navy, specifically in the Philippines where he was stationed at the Guiuan J. S. Naval Base located on the island of Samar. After his discharge from the Navy, he enrolled at the University of Georgia, graduating with a Bachelor of Commercial Science degree with honors in 1950. He then enrolled in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Upon graduating from Seminary in 1953, Emmett was called to pastor Norcross First Baptist Church. During this time, he earned his Master of Theology degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. Following his Norcross pastorate, he served as pastor of Sylvan Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta. Then, in 1972, he was called as pastor of Cornelia First Baptist.
While pastoring in Atlanta, Emmett enrolled in the doctor of theology degree program at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He completed the doctoral project in Cornelia, which centered on community ministries of the local church. This began one of his most important accomplishments – Camp Agape, a ministry of love and support to children throughout Habersham County who suffered from financial, spiritual and familial needs. In 1975, he resigned from Cornelia to accept the position of Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns.
During this time, Emmett was a leading voice on moral issues and church related legislation in Georgia. He helped raised the state’s legal drinking age and also helped enact an amendment to the State Constitution prohibiting the taxation of church and denominational properties. This resulted in millions of dollars of savings to churches in Georgia.
Emmett and his son, Jeff, also developed a ministry called P.A.C.T. (Parents and Church Together), which saw thousands of parents and youth commit to living an alcohol-drug free lives for Christ. After retiring from the Georgia Council of Moral and Civic Concerns, Emmett became a member of the staff of the Georgia Baptist Convention and served as the first director of the Ethics and Public Affairs Department.
Dr. Henderson is survived by his wife Margaret, four children, Kathy Carroll of Suwanee, Joe and Jane Henderson of Pinehurst, North Carolina, Jeff and Wendy Henderson of Suwanee, and John and Amy Henderson of Buford. He is also survived by his cherished grandchildren, Karen Carroll, Kevin, Emilie, Kellie and Lauren Henderson, Jesse and Cole Henderson.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 26th, at Johns Creek Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Monday, February 25th, at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Agape Hospice, Gwinnett Church and Johns Creek Baptist Church. Online condolences may be expressed at www.crowellbrothers.com. Arrangements by Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home, 5051 Peachtree Ind. Blvd., Peachtree Corners, GA 30092, (770) 448-5757.
-Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home