March 20, 2020
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope this note finds you well. These are extraordinary times and I pray that you and your family are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe. I am keenly aware that many are experiencing a great deal of stress at this time – some of it has to do with the anxiety that comes with the disruption of our lives during these days of “quarantine” and “social distancing” and a great deal of it has to do with the economic downturn that is a result of the shutdown of our economy. How are you coping in this uncertain time?
Earlier this week someone mentioned to me that he is so grateful for the messages offered from our pulpit last month as we focused upon maximizing mental health. He said it seemed like God knew what we needed and was preparing us for these days. It is in times like these that we lean upon our faith. I have found that when I am struggling with stress, anxiety, and even valleys of depression, the Lord especially is near. Last night after a videoconference church meeting, I stayed on the computer and listened again to Ron Greer’s sermon from February 23 on the 9 faith-based activities to maximize mental health. Maybe you remember them:
- Forgive the past but remember the lessons you learned from your mistakes
- Deal with your emotions before you file them away
- Live with gratitude
- Be generous with your time, compassion, and kindness
- Get more Sabbath into your life
- Live with resiliency
- Find your community – life is best lived in relationship with others
- Discover your purpose – in this season of your life, in this time, in this moment
- Be true to the person God created you to be
I hope you find that to be helpful. If you would like to go back and review the entire sermon or listen to the ones preached by Jamie Jenkins or Larry Adams, you may find them on our church website under “archived sermons.” I want you to know that the Lord is with you, and though we are physically apart in this time, we as a church family will get through this together.
Concerning the ministry of the church, let me make you aware of where we are:
Our staff is working remotely during these days. Also, for the most part, all of our meetings and communication are being handled through video conferencing. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but this old dog has learned more about “Zoom meetings” the last week than I ever dreamed there was to know. In fact, our Administrative Board is set to meet by videoconference this upcoming Monday evening. Your church staff is here to help you, so please do not hesitate to call upon us if you have a need.
I am extremely proud of the way our ministers and staff are discovering new ways to move forward with the ministry of the church. Let me put it this way: “The church has left the building!” is not just a saying. Even though our building is shut down, Bible studies, prayer vigils, Christian formation gatherings, and outreach to others are still happening in alternative ways. You may remember the old saying; “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Some Sunday School classes are meeting by video conference as are most of our Bible studies. In addition, last night our youth ministry leadership team launched a comprehensive online program with videoconference studies, digital prayer gatherings, and online fellowship opportunities. We are preparing to send out resources for families with children as well. In addition, since many of us are reading 5 chapters a week from the Gospel of John, we are offering a reflection on the 5 chapters of the week. Here is a list of just some of the resources we are making available:
Worship this Sunday – for the foreseeable future, we will be offering online worship from the sanctuary on Sundays at 11:15 am. I believe we all are looking for some order in the midst of the chaos of our lives right now, and, for me, worship brings that order to my life. I hope you and your family will join us for worship through the live stream this Sunday at 11:15 am. Last week, I was heartened to learn that nearly 3,000 of us were worshiping together at Peachtree Road in that way. I look forward to being with you again this Sunday. Join us here.
Giving – your generous giving in the past has enabled Peachtree Road to offer the love, mercy, and grace of Christ to folks throughout our community and around the world in some extraordinary ways. Some of you give online already, but most of us express our gratitude to God through the giving of our gifts when we attend worship. Unfortunately, right now that isn’t possible. So I want to encourage you to consider automating your monthly or weekly giving online or through automatic bill pay. You also can support the ministry of Peachtree Road anytime by giving through the church app or website or sending your check to the church at the following address:
Peachtree Road UMC
3180 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, Ga 30305
If you have questions about how to set this up, please contact our COO Raymond Reynolds at RaymondR@prumc.org. I hope you will continue to make giving a part of the way you stay engaged, as it is so critical during this emergency health crisis.
Lenten Offering – we will continue to receive gifts to the Lenten Offering to be used to support the agencies and ministries in the Greater Atlanta area with whom we partner. They need our help now more than ever. You may give online here.
Finally, in the midst of the current healthy crisis, you may have missed the news about the scheduled United Methodist General Conference in Minneapolis. Not surprisingly, it is being postponed until a later date. I don’t know any further details. That story broke late Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier this week, someone who had invited me to speak at a camp meeting in the summer emailed me to update me on their plans. At the close of the email, she added this line: “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” I hope that in these days of quarantine and social distancing you will find the space you need for something new and good to emerge in your life.
Grace and peace!