November 15, 2019
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope this note finds you doing well. Let me express my appreciation to those who attended last Sunday’s forum in the Sanctuary with Dr. Tom Long. He began his lecture by reminding us of the Apostle Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa when he was on trial:
“And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors.” (Acts 26:6)
Paul claimed that he was not on trial for sedition or for disturbing the peace but for living out his hope in Christ. I was grateful for Tom’s reminder that the world in which we live is “not real.” In fact, “reality” is found in the life of the church because of the hope we have in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tom encouraged us to live into this new reality with confidence and boldness just as the Apostle Paul did. That’s a good word for all of us, especially as we reflect upon another tragic incident yesterday – this time at a school in California. We pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” And then we live as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, working to bring God’s peace and good will to all, just as it already is in heaven. This is what it means to be the church!
And, speaking of church, I really am looking forward to worshiping with you Sunday as we continue our series entitled “We Are Thankful…” This week we will acknowledge our gratitude “…for the Church.” The Church is Christ’s Body in the world, and it is through the Church that we worship and serve Christ. In our worship at Peachtree Road two words stand out to me – reverence and intimacy. The beautiful architecture, magnificent music, and movement of the service stir within our souls an awesome awareness that God is with us. At the same time, the warmth and friendliness of this congregation provide the fellowship and intimacy our hearts crave. Lots of churches I know provide one of those two (a sense of reverence or a connection through fellowship and intimacy); however, we are blessed to experience both here at Peachtree Road. I hope you will be present Sunday as we express our gratitude for our community of faith.
Let me offer three quick reminders about opportunities for this week:
- The Missions Market is this Sunday, November 17, in Grace Hall from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. You will not want to miss the opportunity to see your church friends and shop at our 10th Christmas Missions Market. This event promises to be filled with fun and fellowship, and all proceeds will benefit our global and local outreach ministries. You’ll have an opportunity to purchase from some of our amazing artisan vendors as well as favorite gourmet foods from treasured Peachtree Road chefs. Please plan on kicking off the holiday season with friends, shopping, and good cheer!
- This Sunday also is Commitment Sunday at Peachtree Road. We are asking all of our members and those visitors who consider Peachtree Road to be their church family to return their annual stewardship commitment card. We timed this to coincide with this weekend’s focus on gratitude for the church, because our financial commitments are one tangible expression of our thanksgiving to God for all of God’s many blessings, as well as an act of worship and devotion to God. Each year I challenge you to consider tithing (giving your first 10% to God) or to take a step towards this by increasing your pledge and giving a proportion of your income. Wendie and I have been tithers throughout our marriage, and I highly recommend this spiritual practice to you and your family. Please turn in your pledge card by this Sunday in worship or online through the church app or website. Thank you for your support.
- Peachtree Road’s Annual Charge Conference is set for next Tuesday, November 19, at 7:00 pm at Northside UMC. You are invited to attend as we join with members from other churches in our district to celebrate God’s blessings in the last year.
Finally, I wanted to make you aware of a special opportunity offered to members of Peachtree Road by Candler School of Theology – a course entitled “Approaches to Criminal Justice Ministry.” As a part of Candler’s Courses in the community program, this 11 week study will examine what it means to do criminal justice work as ministry. Participants will consider the present state of crime, punishment, and incarceration in America, evaluating it from a theological perspective. The class will be taught by Candler professor Dr. Liz Bounds on Wednesday evenings at Peachtree Road from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm from January 15 until April 1. The course is open to a limited number of Candler students and Peachtree Road members. Lay participants take part in the class lectures and discussions but are not required to complete written assignments or exams. Registration closes on December 8, so please contact Rev. Elizabeth Byrd to express interest. This is an incredible opportunity, and I hope some of you will participate.
Thank you for your support of Peachtree Road through your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. I believe God has called us to be the church for just such a time as this. Let’s be the church. May Christ’s light shine through us…and know this: his light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it!