At the Cathedral of St. Philip on Peachtree Road, soon-to-be governor Brian Kemp and his family attended a private prayer service Monday morning. Later that day, he would become the state's top official and make a promise to fight for all Georgians – “not just the ones that voted for [him.]”
But in the cavernous cathedral, Kemp was just another parishioner receiving words of encouragement.
“Grant, Almighty God, that all who profess good faith in the common good be united in your truth, live together in your love and reveal your glory in the world.” Thus began the prayers of the people delivered by Dr. Benny Tate, senior pastor of Rock Springs Church in Milner.
Before being sworn in later in the afternoon, the Athens Republican heard from Tate, other pastors, bishops and a rabbi. 16 clergy members participated in the service and set the mood for the day.
The cathedral’s choir sang the text of Psalm 100, whose reminder to come before the presence of the Lord with song reverberated from the ceiling.
And Sam Candler, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip left the worshippers and governor-elect with a message to serve others.
“We go forth with various roles,” Candler intoned. “Some of us to be servers and leaders… some of us to be citizens and elected officials and one of us to be the next governor of the state of Georgia. Be with each of us in our various roles.”
Later that afternoon Kemp’s family played certain roles in his swearing-in at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. Oldest daughter Jarrett delivered the invocation to watch over members of the military, statewide officials and her father, the new governor.
“I pray especially for my dad, mom and sisters as we begin this incredible journey,” she said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to serve.”
Kemp’s wife Marty and the pair’s other daughters, Lucy and Amy Porter, joined him on stage.
Cheers erupted from the crowd that filled most of Georgia Tech’s basketball arena as Kemp took the oath of office to become the 83rd Governor of Georgia.
Everyone from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to Republican U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson to former University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley watched the swearing-in of Kemp, new Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and the other statewide officers.
In his first speech to Georgians as governor, Kemp reiterated some of his campaign’s focus areas like education, and made a pledge to unify the state following a tight and prolonged contest with Democrat Stacey Abrams.
“Elections can simply rip us apart,” he said. “But after visiting all 159 counties I can tell you this: we have so much in common.”
As governor, Kemp said he would work to serve all Georgians, not just the ones that voted for him.
Kemp’s final public activity of the day took place at Liberty Plaza outside the state capitol.
The new governor and first lady participated in a review of military troops, complete with a demonstration of helicopters and a 19-gun salute that echoed through the downtown streets.
Afterwards, the Kemps were reunited with outgoing Governor Nathan Deal and his wife Sandra before exiting out the back of the capitol.
A bagpiper’s tune cut through the crisp air as the Deals walked down the steps one final time before leaving in a black SUV.
Brian Kemp retreated into the warmth of the capitol, ready for a new day as the new governor.