Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope this note finds you doing well. The North Georgia Conference came to a close yesterday afternoon, and it was a good week of renewing acquaintances with friends and colleagues, worshiping with United Methodists from across the state, and conducting the business of the church. Our church was well represented, and I once again came to the realization of just how blessed we are here at Peachtree Road.
You would have been so proud of our chancel choir as it offered the music for the Service of Remembrance on Wednesday afternoon. It was a privilege and a joy for our church to offer the leadership for that service as we remembered ministers, ministers’ spouses, and lay delegates of the North Georgia Annual Conference who have died within the last year. So many of my friends came up later to tell me it was the best memorial service at Annual Conference in their ministry. The length and depth and breadth of our ministry set the pace for churches in North Georgia and beyond, and I am grateful for you!
This Sunday, I will be preaching a message entitled: “The Good Man.” We will spend some time considering Simon Peter’s confession about Jesus:
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
That is an incredible affirmation of faith. Of course, Peter did not always live up to those words, and that’s really what I want to talk about Sunday – what it means to grow in God’s love and grace and fully realize the potential each of us has. I encourage you to read our scripture lesson (Matthew 16:13-20) in preparation for this week’s worship.
On Sunday we also will be celebrating Father’s Day, and we look forward to recognizing the oldest father present and the newest father present at each service. I have been thinking about the “good men” in my life (my dad, pastors, coaches, and teachers) who have been influential and inspirations in my life. As we worship together, we will have an opportunity to remember, give thanks, and rejoice.
At the close of the Annual Conference on Thursday afternoon, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson “fixed” the ministerial appointments, and, as expected our clergy staff is being returned to Peachtree Road for another year. Julie Schendel, Carolyn Stephens, Leslie Watkins, Julie Wright, and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve with you another year. In addition, we are pleased to welcome Elizabeth Byrd and Geoff Beakley as new associate ministers on our staff. They are not new to Peachtree Road (Elizabeth has been our “ministry intern” and Geoff has been our “student pastor” for the last year). However, now that they have graduated from theology school, they are ready for full-time ministry. Elizabeth will be helping us with new spiritual initiatives and we share Geoff with Georgia Tech as their director of the Wesley Foundation. I look forward to officially welcoming them this Sunday.
Of course, next Sunday (June 24) is our annual Celebration of Freedom Sunday. This is one of the most anticipated services of the year, and once again we will be singing patriotic hymns, honoring our veterans, and praying for our nation. I will be preaching on the topic “One Nation, Under God,” and we will reflect upon the story of God’s covenant with Israel in the days of King David. The service will conclude with Timothy Miller leading us in singing “God Bless America.” I hope you are planning to be present and encourage you to invite someone to come with you!
Finally, on a personal note, Wendie and I are grateful to be appointed to serve with you here at Peachtree Road for an eleventh year. As I wrote earlier, this is an outstanding church, and we count it a privilege to serve with such wonderful staff and laity in this community. Thank you for your support in so many ways – prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness! We are blessed.
See you Sunday!