November 19, 2021
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope you are well. As you read these words, I am returning from the overnight “Executive Sleep-Out” to benefit Covenant House of Georgia. I joined with other pastors, rabbis, and business leaders to sleep outside on the Covenant House campus last night to raise awareness and funds to support this local agency with whom our church partners to help homeless youth. This ministry seeks to provide young adults with shelter and a network of support to give them the resources they need to thrive in life. Though sleeping was difficult as the temperature dropped into the 30’s, I am keenly aware it was only for one night. For hundreds of young people in our community, that is not the case. I am thankful for this wonderful ministry and for your generous support of our efforts to help young adults who have few options in life.
Speaking of being thankful, Thanksgiving Day is less than a week away, and I really am looking forward to worshiping with you this weekend as we celebrate Harvest Sundayhere at Peachtree Road. It will be a special day as we sing, pray, welcome new members, and count our many blessings. A luncheon will be served in Grace Hall after worship, and I hope you will plan to join your friends at Peachtree Road for warm fellowship and a delicious meal of turkey, dressing, and all the fixings. ($10 for adults, $5 for children under 12 years of age, and $40 maximum for a family)
Over the course of the next week, I also hope you will take time to make a gratitude listof things for which you are thankful from the last year. To help prime the pump, let me share with you some things for which I am thankful.
I am thankful…
- for “Operation Warp Speed” that made a COVID-19 vaccine available to all in record time
- for the World Series Champion Atlanta Braves who united our city in a remarkable season
- for successful cataract surgery that has me seeing without corrective lenses for the first time since I was in the second grade
- for long walks on a sandy beach, bringing hope and inspiration
- for the privilege of teaching at the Bay View Association on Lake Michigan last summer
- for the opportunity to provide COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and blood drives on our campus
- for our initiatives in racial reconciliation and mental health that bring healing and wholeness
- for a spring “Season of Service” and a “Lenten Offering” of $220,000 to assist our partners
- for the privilege of officiating at weddings and baptizing babies – cautiously and distanced!
- for the 33 “saints” we remembered three weeks ago on All Saints Sunday
- for “Zoom” Bible studies, prayer groups, and counseling sessions that kept us connected
- for a staff that graciously did more with less in facilitating our ministry in a trying year
- for our new campus on the Westside of Midtown that is reaching new people for Christ
- for the excitement of spend-the-night parties with our grandchildren…and quiet days after
- for the daily opportunities to worship and serve with you at Peachtree Road UMC
I hope that will inspire you to make your own list. And while we’re on the subject of being thankful for the church, let me remind you of some wonderful opportunities in the near future:
- Advent Workshop – on Sunday, November 21, families will have the opportunity to enjoy fellowship, good food, lots of fun, and crafts galore as we prepare for the Advent season. You are invited to bring your family to Grace Hall from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Also, we encourage you to bring kid-themed wrapping paper to donate to Christmas Kindness. You may register for the workshop here.
- Thanksgiving Giveaway – we are teaming up with Cascade UMC on their annual Thanksgiving project to provide food for over 1400 low-income families. Cascade has been feeding those in need for over 20 years, and through our partnership with this great church, we have an opportunity to work side-by-side together. If you are interested in being a part of this wonderful holiday project, please contact Beth Spencer (email@example.com).
- Annual Commitment to the Church’s Operating Budget – this is the week to fill out your estimate of giving card for next year. I hope you will fill out your estimate of giving and bring it to church this Sunday, November 21, mail it to the church business office, or pledge online through the church website or app. At the close of Sunday’s worship services, we will have an opportunity to offer ourselves in renewed commitment to Christ through our presence and gifts. We need to hear from every member this year because every member’s gift is vital to the work of Peachtree Road. With your support, we can continue to bring the light of Christ to our world. I hope to see you Sunday!
Finally, I know a number of you are grieving the loss of a loved one in this season. The holidays are especially difficult when you sit down to a family feast and sense the emptiness of a chair at the table. Ron Greer has written a helpful article on grief entitled “The Empty Chair” that I commend to you and share a link to it here. I pray that even in the midst of your grief that you will sense the comforting presence of God.Please know how thankful I am for you. Our thanksgiving leads to joy, and I pray that your joy may be full in this season.
Grace and peace,