September 23, 2022

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. Let me begin this week’s note by sharing the heart-breaking news with you that our associate minister Julie Wright’s daughter Chelsea died yesterday afternoon. Over the years, people have asked me: “Which is more difficult – losing a loved one suddenly or losing him or her after a long illness?” I have always answered, “They are equally difficult, but nothing compares to the death of a child.” Julie’s faith is strong. However, she desperately needs the love and support of her church family in these days. Please pray for Julie and her husband Tal, Chelsea’s husband Todd Benson, and their precious three young children who have lost their mother far too soon. We often proclaim that there are things that happen outside the will of God, but nothing happens outside the love of God. Let us envelope Julie and her family in God’s love. I know that you will.

Last Sunday was a wonderful day as we worshiped together in great number and spirit. Some of the highlights included: 

  • Presenting Bibles to our third graders and then hearing Sallie Cox, one of our third graders, read the scripture lesson 
  •  Hearing a word of testimony from Cody Wilson as he shared his faith as a husband, father, and dedicated member of Peachtree Road UMC, quoting the words of Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
  • Welcoming the children back into the sanctuary for the Children’s Message – the first time they’ve come forward in over 30 months!
  • Hearing the inspirational music of Kinnara as they presented “The Path of Miracles” in our sanctuary Sunday evening

 It was a good day! This upcoming Sunday we will continue our series of messages entitled “Bring Back the Table.” Our associate minister Josh Miles will be preaching at the 8:45 am and 11:15 am services in the sanctuary, and his wife Emily Rivers Miles, a former intern here at Peachtree Road UMC and graduate of Emory’s Candler School of Theology, will be preaching at the 10:00 am service in the Moore Chapel. They will be preaching from Psalm 23 and focusing upon the psalmist’s words “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” I encourage you to be present for worship at one of the services or online through the church’s website.

I remind you that we continue to offer a Mid-Week Worship Service each Wednesday at 12:00 noon in the Moore Chapel. These thirty-minute services afford participants a time of spiritual refreshment as we sing, pray, and listen for the voice of the Lord speaking to us. You are invited to come as you are, and I encourage you to bring someone with you who might find this a helpful time in his or her life. These services also are available online.

Earlier I mentioned that we gave out Bibles to third graders on Sunday. I was with a Bishop friend recently, and he told me that when he was a third grader his home church decided that they would wait and give Bibles to children when they reached the 8th grade. Then, when he was in the eighth grade, they decided to wait and give out Bibles as a graduation gift to high school seniors. Then, when he was a high school senior, they decided to go back to giving out the Bibles to third graders. So, he never received a Bible from his home church. Apparently, he had told that story countless times over the years as a way of encouraging churches in his conferences to invest in the lives of children by giving them a Bible. Then, one day at Annual Conference, a member of his home church (which is in another state than the one he serves as a bishop) showed up, asked for a moment of personal privilege, and announced: “The word has gotten back to us that the Bishop has been telling folks for years that he never got a Bible from us. Well, we’re tired of him telling that story, and I am here to present him with his very own Bible from our church. Bishop, we respectfully request that you stop telling that story!” I am so glad we give out Bibles at Peachtree Road. In fact, we not only give them out to third graders, but we also give them to all 6th graders who have completed the Confirmation Class and adults who join the church. It is our way of acknowledging the beginning of a new walk with Christ through this church. I hope every one of you has a Bible, is reading it daily, is meditating upon its lessons, and is applying it to your life. If you would like to grow in your faith through study with others, I do encourage you go to our website, note the opportunities for study, and join a group. You will be blessed and will become a blessing to others!

Opportunities on the Horizon:

  • Blessing of the Animals – Sunday, October 2, at 5:00 p.m. You are invited to bring your pets to the church for a fun time of worship. This service celebrates the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. We will gather in the sanctuary, sing praises to God, and approach the altar with our pets for an individual blessing of each animal. In the past, participants have brought their dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, fish, and birds to receive a blessing. You also may choose to bring photos of your pets if it is difficult for the animal to attend the service (it’s pretty difficult to load up a horse and bring it to church!). I hope you’ll take advantage of this community-wide service and invite a friend to join in the fun.
  • World Mental Health Day – Monday, October 10. Our very own One Lamb Initiative is emphasizing this day by offering you the opportunity to give $10 (or more) to organizations working in the mental health space. This year you can honor “10.10 — World Mental Health Day” by giving $10, $110, or even $1,010 to our One Lamb Initiative. This important and timely ministry offers programming and resources to promote mental wellness including education, supportive programming, and more. Whatever amount feels right for you, your generosity will help others heal. Click here to give and mark your gift “One Lamb”. You also may find mental health educational resources, connection, and hope on Peachtree Road UMC’s One Lamb Initiative webpage.

These are great days at Peachtree Road. Thank you for your service to Christ through this great church. If I may be of help to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

Grace and peace,