S I N C E 1 9 0 9

We believe our Mission, moving forward, is to plant and to nurture Spirit-filled relationships in God through Christ-centered Prayer, Fellowship, Discipleship, Worship, and Service.

Our Leadership Team

The staff and leadership here at Young Harris Church of Athens is comprised of men and women who love, care and pray for every single person in the church. If you have any questions for any of our staff, feel free to reach out and email them or call our church office to speak with them. You can contact the church office at

  • Rev. Dr. Luis Ortiz - Senior Pastor

    Pastor Luis was born and raised in Ohio.  One of his most memorable employments there was being the private chef for Don King, the Boxing Promoter.  He accepted Christ in 1984 shortly before moving to Georgia. In 1990, he accepted the call to ministry.  Pastor Luis received his Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Piedmont College.  Then received his Master of Divinity with a concentration in Biblical Studies at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta.   He has served as Senior Pastor in all his appointments. Pastor Luis was ordained as Full Connectional Elder in the North Georgia Conference in 2015. He received his doctorate degree from Regent university in Christian Leadership and Renewal.

  • Assistant Pastor Reverend Angela Baza - Hispanic Ministries Pastor

    Rev. Baza is from Peru.  She has lived in Athens for 22 years, enjoying family and friends.  She loves being part of the Methodist church because she has an opportunity to join families and friends, sharing and learning from each other. Testifying who we are within the body of Christ. 


  • Daniel Self -Director of Music

    Daniel is a performing arts professional with the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department specializing in community theatre and music direction. In his work with ACCLS he serves as the program leader for Athens Creative Theatre where he coordinates both educational and performance programs for the citizens of Athens and the surrounding areas. Daniel is thrilled to be serving as the director of music at Young Harris where he can continue to bring his passion for collaborative music making to the members of the music department.

  • Alyssa Cagle - Accompanist

    Pianist Alyssa Cagle is an incoming master’s student in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Georgia’s Hodgson School of Music where she also holds an assistantship in Aural Skills and Music Theory. A student of Dr. Grace Huang, Alyssa regularly performs in recitals and masterclasses and is a prizewinner of the 2022 Fletcher and Nell Morris Piano Competition at Samford University and the 2021 Robert G. Edge Piano Competition at UGA. Recent appearances include Hodgson Hall, Ramsey Hall, and Edge Hall at UGA; the Piedmont University Conservatory of Music; Canton Arts Center; and the Falany Performing Arts Center at Reinhardt University. Alyssa frequently collaborates with other instrumentalists, vocalists, and choirs, and is in demand as a collaborate pianist in both classical and sacred settings. Alyssa additionally teaches private lessons, maintains an active involvement in MTNA, and has presented at the GMTA State Conference and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Alyssa’s primary teachers include Dr. Grace Huang and Marissa Woodall. Alyssa is a summa cum laude and highest honors graduate with degrees in Biology and Music from the University of Georgia’s Morehead Honors College. 

  • Karen Harpole - Church Administrator

  • Heather Hogan- Youth Director


  • Blaine Jenkins-  Children's Director


  • Alex Barlowe - Audio/Video Director


  • Brittany M. Bone - Media/ Communications Director

Our Beliefs

This congregation has been, is, and believes she is being sent out to cultivate, nurture, and harvest with God for His Glory!  We are called to share the Love of God with anyone and everyone!  We believe that this is our task: to Grow with God by making disciples of Jesus Christ, to care for people, to be God's witness to people, and to serve God and God's people accordingly.  We believe we are being sent into the world to do this.  We believe Athens is the starting place that we do this, but we believe God is not calling us only to Athens, but, instead to both Athens and beyond  We believe Young Harris Church of Athens to be our home, our base, from where God is sending us out in ministry and mission.  We love this congregation, but it is not the end all, be all.  It is God's and not ours to hold.