Programs and Services

Our services are customized for children and adults, and incorporate spiritual activities in all programs. Adult artists are the target population for the spiritual retreats, spiritual formation groups and instruction. Arts education and formal classes are available for students of all ages. Workshops, seminars, book clubs, small groups, conferences and short courses are customized to meet the needs of busy adults. All artists are encouraged to perform or present their works through various media such as concerts, recitals, theatrical productions, exhibits, audio and video recordings,  storytelling, books, e-books, and more.

History Alive


The mission of the History Alive program is “to love and nurture youth helping them reach their full God-given potential.” We accomplish this mission in the context of a caring, affirming, and supportive environments. The purpose of the program is to communicate the history of African Americans in Washtenaw County by empowering youth to reenact it through the Arts. Area youth working with ATAMI adult volunteers interview and research the histories of two to three local African American history makers (“giants”). They translate the history into artistic interpretations, for youth to dramatize and present to the community. These efforts educate youth about African American history, while providing training in drama, reader’s theater, music and dance. In addition, the program stimulates character development and promotes literacy skills in participants. Community members will learn about significant historical contributions of African Americans makers celebrated during the program.

ATAMI History Alive 2015 Girls singing with mics

The program is geared toward youth in 5th through 12th grades. Sessions are conducted every Saturday from 1:00-4:30 pm at New Christian Love Fellowship International, 1601 Stamford Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48198. Click here to register your child(ren). For more information call 734-961-8310 or email Circle2015

Arts Education:  Youth will receive training in acting, reader’s theater, dance, instrumental and vocal music in small groups based on their interest and ability. Some will learn the use of technology for performance and program publicity. For example, participants trained in videography will create a video journal of the program and present an edited version for presentation at the final performance. All students are encouraged to use social media (Twitter, Instagram) to communicate their reflections about the experience.


History Lessons:  In small groups, participants learn about events from the histories of two African Americans from Washtenaw County, Michigan.  Participants then interpret these events either through dance, drama, song, or reader’s theater. Instructors are paired with youth participants to develop scripts, choreography and songs. Youth are encouraged to add their own creativity to the production. The giants visit the program, share their stories and field questions from the youth.

Character Development:  Each of the sessions includes an interactive character development exercise that teaches participants to positively interact with and care for each other. Character traits like peace, patience, kindness, forgiveness, trust, self-discipline, dependability, respectfulness, team building, and integrity. When these traits are practiced by students and instructors the educational experience is enhanced and facilitates effective class management. Our 3 year outcomes confirm the effectiveness of character development sessions. Students firm strong bonds and have had very few negative interactions among our students. When conflicts arise, students have used peaceable resolutions.

Leadership Development & “Finishing” Classes
Youth learn leadership development skills such as emotional intelligence, personality types, spiritual gifts, talent assessment, etc. In the historic music company, Motown, every artist had to go through finishing school to learn to present themselves intelligently in public, maintaining the Motown high levels of discipline and professionalism. Likewise, History Alive students engage in finishing classes where they learn etiquette, appropriate dress for various settings, grooming, etc.

Project Leadership: Leadership of the History Alive Project represents volunteers and artists who reflect several generations, from Boomers to Millennials, even the youth participants are encouraged to create and contribute to the production.  Young leaders include board members, site administrators, artists and production teams/trainers for equipment, social media and performance.


Instructional Arts Classes & Workshops

ATAMI offers instructional courses and workshops with a two-fold aim, 1) to enhance the artistic skills of the artist and, 2) encourage the relationship between the artist and the Creator. Every class session includes 15 minutes of Christian spiritual formation exercises (Fruit of the Spirit, Character Building, Prayer and the Artist, Worshiping God through the arts, worshiping the gift giver and not the gift, etc.)

Beginning Piano

PI101 Beginning Piano 

Ann Arbor Classes

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Equipment: 61 key keyboard (the student must bring keyboard to each lesson)

Ypsilanti Classes

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Equipment: 61 key keyboard (the student must bring keyboard to each lesson)

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Course description

The purpose of these lessons is to enhance the developing student’s skills in the areas of piano.  This class is designed for students with no prior training, but who would like to pursue the skills required to play piano.  Students, ages 8-12 years are especially elevated in their skills when engaging in private lessons.

When learning how to play piano, students can expect to learn hand, eye, and foot coordination.  Sight reading notation on the printed page will be acquired.  Students will obtain the very basics of learning how to play with left hand and right hand together and developing that into a more advance coordination using both hands and feet when appropriate.  The rudiments of music such as the various elements of musical notations will be emphasized.  Students will learn the quarter note, half note, whole note, eighth note, and sixteenth note and other advanced notations depending on how far they pursue their lessons.  Therefore, learning how to count music in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 will be included in this rudiment training as well.

Creative Writing Workshop

WR201 Creative Writing Workshop

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Instructors: Ms. Debbie Taylor, MA and Karen A. Simpson, MA, MS

Workshop description
This class will feature an introduction to creative writing and exposure to various forms including novels, short stories and picture books. Each class will include a spiritual exercise, presentation, writing practice and peer critique. If you would like to generate

WORD Alive! Workshop

WORD Alive! Workshop

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Instructor: Min. Debby Mitchell, DMin.

Workshop description
Scripture reading is an essential element of most Christian worship services. God prescribed the public reading of scripture and Christ Himself practiced it. Reading scripture is not solely for tradition nor meant to be a perfunctory exercise in worship. The Lord established four purposes for the public reading of scripture to the congregation that they may hear, learn, fear the Lord and obey His commandments (Deuteronomy 31:11,12). The public reading of scripture should increase the listener’s understanding of God and His commandments (Nehemiah 8:8).

This 6-hour workshop teaches how to bring scriptures alive for public reading. Using techniques of oral interpretation and biblical interpretation, students will learn to use their voice, body and love for the scriptures to turn basic reaching of scripture into an exciting experience that glorifies God and nourishes His people.  The workshop is taught in two sessions with homework and practice time between sessions.

ATAMI Christian Writers

Each month ATAMI Christian Writers submit their essays, book chapters, blogs and devotions for group critique and feedback. Writing assignments and spiritual exercises are core to the monthly experience. We present a scripture and theme for journaling throughout each month. Writers also contribute to the ATAMI blog on our website.

Meeting times: Every third Saturday of each month
Meeting location: Christian Love Fellowship Ministries International, 1601 Stamford Rd., Ypsilanti, MI 48198
Annual Chapter Dues:   $20.00

Mission, Vision, Values

Guiding Scripture: “Write therefore the things which you have seen and the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things.” Revelation 1:19 NASB

Our Mission

The mission of the ATAMI Writers Group is to motive aspiring Christian writers to use their God-given gifts and talents to produce and publish materials that will glorify God and nourish His people, evangelize the world for Christ, and build the Kingdom of God.

We believe that the only way to accomplish our mission is through an abiding relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

Our Vision

To stimulate Christian writers to engage in personal spiritual formation in order to produce works of art that glorify God and nourish His people.

To promote Christian writers by encouraging outreach to the world.
To market and distribute materials created by Christian writers.
To promote youth outreach.
To provide training, information and resources that facilitate getting works published.
To maintain the fundamentals of the ATAMI Writers Group.

Our Values

We value . . .

  • Ongoing spiritual formation
  • A loving and supportive environment where members provide constructive feedback in love
  • Sowing into the lives of others
  • Inclusiveness of all Christian writers
  • Openness to Christians who desire and aspire to write
  • Growth and development of our members (skills, product development marketing and management)
  • An environment that promotes openness and sharing
  • Networking with others to mutually accomplish God-given visions


Life of the Beloved
For Christian artists in particular, having an identity grounded in God’s love is paramount to producing works of art that glorify Him. This one-day guided retreat uses the book Life in the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen as a framework. The retreat enables participants to confirm their identity in Christ and as an artist while deepening their relationship with God.

Spiritual Formation Groups

Spiritual formation groups are designed to help participants grow in their personal relationship with Christ by focusing on spiritual disciplines and practices. Each session consists of readings, worship, discussions and spiritual exercises.  Groups meet weekly for 90-minute and each term consists of  8-week session.


Cheryl 'Che' Crawford

Ms. Crawford has spent over 35 years in active music ministry and music education beginning to play by ear at age five, making her debut at the age of eight, playing for the children’s at the New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, in Detroit Michigan, under the leadership of then Pastor, the late Samuel L. Whitney.

As a young girl, her parents ensured that Cheryl receive formal training in piano and voice under the teaching of two phenomenal women, the late Mrs. Betty Saunders, of Detroit, and the late Mrs. Muriel Gilbert, of Milan, Michigan, with strong focus on theory, technique, application, and performance, which encompassed all genres of music. Cheryl also plays a variety of other instruments, including the Hammond organs, saxophone, stringed instruments, and percussion. Appreciative of all kinds of music, she is a devoted fan of jazz and all styles of Christian music, with emphasis on praise and worship.

In young adulthood, Cheryl embraced her passion for worship under the mentoring and leadership of the late Apostle Robert A. Hill, Founder of Christian Love Fellowship Ministries International, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It was at this time, that she realized her God given gift to exhort and incite a spirit of praise and worship within the church, and has since, been recognized as a true worshiper of the Almighty God. She has written many songs and organized a number of choral ensembles, choirs, and praise and worship teams, and has been a member of several bands in her lifetime.

A former preschool teacher, Cheryl regularly incorporated music in her thematic lessons and as a part of the daily learning experience. Cheryl has spent many years giving private piano and voice lessons, and was once the music teacher at Genesis Christian Academy for several years.

John Hudson, MA

Mr. John Hudson is a native of northeast Mississippi.  He has had a passion for all types of music since he was 5 years old. At the age of 12, he began taking formal piano lessons. After learning how to play piano fluently, he began to play for various choirs his local church.  John has continued in the music ministry since his youth. He has played for numerous churches and gospel groups throughout Washtenaw County.

The enjoyment and passion for music that developed in John’s childhood grew even greater as graduated from Starkville High School in Mississippi in 1982.  That same year, he enrolled as a music major at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. While at Rust College, Mr. Hudson studied under some of the nation’s most renowned musical composers and scholars. Rust Alumni include Leontyne Price and Anita Ward.  As a member of the popular Rust College A Cappella Choir, he toured across the United States and parts of Canada.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in music in 1987, John began his career as a certified music teacher in the Ann Arbor Public School District in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He teaches students from elementary through high school vocal and instrumental music. Mr. Hudson also conducts private piano, voice and guitar lessons for students of all ages.

In 2005, Mr. Hudson completed a master’s degree in teaching from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan.  John maintains his K-12 teaching certification in all music and K-8 certification in all subjects by completing relevant academic courses at Eastern Michigan University in 2011.

When he is not working with staff and young people, Mr. Hudson enjoys bowling, playing basketball, hiking, camping and working out.

Rev. Debby Mitchell, DMin.

See About The Founder

Karen L. Simpson, MA, MS

Ms. Simpson is the author of the award-winning novel, ACT OF GRACE (Plenary Publishing March 2011). She is an expert quilter and historian. She received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry, M.A. in Foreign Language and International Trade and M.S. in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University.

Debbie Taylor, MA

Mrs. Taylor is a picture book author and magazine writer. She received numerous awards for her first published picture book, Sweet Music in Harlem, including the Children’s Book Council (CCBC) Choices, 2005, the Bank Street College of Education, “Outstanding Merit” Best Children’s Books, 2005 and International Reading Association, Children’s Book Award Notable, 2005.  Her stories have been published in children’s literary magazines including Spider, Cricket, Pockets and New Moon Magazine.

She attended Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University and Ohio Dominican College and holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing.