Because the Lord is Leading Us

June 3, 2022

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. As you read these words, the North Georgia Annual Conference is beginning its second day of meetings in Athens. This is the first time in three years we have been able to meet in person, and it is good to be together again. As the conference was called to order, we sang the words to Charles Wesley’s famous hymn “And Are We Yet Alive?”

And are we yet alive, and see each other’s face?
Glory and thanks to Jesus give for his almighty grace!

The hymn seems prescient as I reflected upon the words of third stanza:

What troubles have we seen, what mighty conflicts past,
fightings without, and fears within, since we assembled last!

If we were to list the troubles we’ve seen since the last time we got together, it might take a while! Worldwide health pandemic, disruptions to the supply chain, political divisions, economic inflation, war in Europe, denominational church conflicts…You name it, we’ve experienced it! Yet, Wesley also reminds us that, in spite of all we have gone through, our God continues to lead us:

Yet out of all the Lord hath brought us by his love;
and still he doth his help afford, and hides our life above.

I find strength in the singing those words and am hopeful about our future – not because we have a great plan for moving forward but because the Lord is leading us – “…and still he doth his help afford, and hides our life above.”

The big news for us this Annual Conference is that our associate minister Geoff Beakley will be ordained an elder in full connection tomorrow morning at the Service of Ordination and Commissioning set for 10:30 am at the Classic Center. This is the culmination of a long process for Geoff who heard his call to ministry as a member of Peachtree Road UMC in Disciple Bible Study several years ago. He responded to that call, earned his Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and completed a three-year residency in ministry requirement. He will be ordained tomorrow, and you may watch the service through the Livestream here.

I really am looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday, June 5, as we celebrate Pentecost and Founder’s Day here at Peachtree Road UMC. Both our faith and history will be on full display this weekend.

According to the author of the book of Acts, Jesus’ disciples and other followers were together in an upper room in Jerusalem, waiting. The Holy Spirit descended upon them, and it looked like tongues of fire alighting upon each of them. Then, they went out into the streets of Jerusalem to tell everyone about Jesus. The people heard the good news about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and 3,000 believed. They were never the same again, and the church was born. Pentecost is many things – fire, wind, ecstasy, and renewal. But, most of all, it is our celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit whose gift is that of understanding (a gift I would suggest is severely under-used in today’s world!). That’s one aspect of our celebration this Sunday. We will pray that what transformed them may transform us and, with us, the world for God and Christ. Prayerfully wait for the Spirit this weekend, and then join us on Sunday to breathe it in.

The second aspect of our celebration Sunday centers upon something that happened about 1900 years later. On June 7, 1925, the first public worship service of Peachtree Road Methodist Church was held in a partially completed chapel that had a roof and floor but no walls. (Even from its founding, Peachtree Road has been a church without walls, reaching out into the community to share the love, mercy, and grace of God with others.) And our church was born. I love history. I love the stories that come from our history. They remind us of our identity and inspire us to be the people we have been called to be. History is a great teacher, and I look forward to celebrating our history with you on Sunday. The color for the day is red, so please wear red to worship. The message is entitled “The Gift of Understanding.” I hope you are planning to be with us.

Doxology, our youth choir under the direction of Kathy Fletcher, is leaving tomorrow on its Canyon Tour. Twenty-five of our youth and their adult leaders are heading to Arizona where they will sing and lead worship in churches, retirement centers, and park centers (including singing “America the Beautiful” at the Grand Canyon Rim). They will return to Atlanta on Thursday, June 9. Please pray for traveling mercies and for God’s grace to flow through them.

Please note the following for your consideration:

 

  • Journeys of Paul Cruise – Jamie Jenkins and I will lead a group to visit many of the sites the Apostle Paul visited on his missionary journeys: Athens, Corinth, Philippi, Ephesus, Thessalonica, and others. The trip is set for October 23-31, 2023, and the unique feature of this cruise is that it will be a “United Methodist only” trip. We are joining with Adam Hamilton and members of Church of the Resurrection UMC in Kansas City, Davis Chappell and folks from Brentwood UMC in Nashville, Bishop Bill McAlilly and members of the Tennessee Annual Conference to sail on a chartered Azamara small ship to explore the life and journeys of Paul. Please add your name to the list by clicking here. You will receive more information as it becomes available.

 

  • Hospitality Ministry – as I mentioned two weeks ago in worship, one of our goals as we approach the fall is to ramp up our ministry of hospitality. We want to invite our neighbors to join us for worship and to welcome them with the warmth we all have experienced here at Peachtree Road UMC. As we look to enhance our ministry of hospitality, we want to add parking lot greeters and pew greeters to our teams of ushers and ambassadors. If you are interested in volunteering once a month to be a greeter, usher, ambassador or join one of our worship guilds and help us welcome folks to our campus on Sundays, please click here.

Finally, please take note of the upcoming event being hosted by the One Lamb Mental Wellness Initiative:

 

  • Reimagining Life: Fallout from COVID-19 – Wednesday, June 15, 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, in the Harp Student Center. Has the pandemic left you feeling empty or grieving the loss of a sense of meaning? Rev. Dr. Susan Anne Bennett will facilitate this interactive conversation about how you can reclaim your losses, gain emotional wellness, and develop a healthy spirituality from the pandemic experience. Lunch will be provided. You may register at prumconelamb@gmail.com.

Thank you for your faithfulness in so many ways to the ministry of Peachtree Road. See you Sunday and remember to wear red!

Grace and peace,

Bill

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