Being Blessed

March 18, 2022

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. As I write these words, I am preparing to return to Atlanta from the Holy Land with our group from Peachtree Road UMC. We have spent the last 10 days following in the footsteps of Jesus from his birth in Bethlehem to his baptism in the Jordan River to his ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing in Galilee to his arrest, trial, and execution in Jerusalem. We even experienced a rare day of snow as we toured the Old City of Jerusalem! Yesterday we completed our journey as we worshiped together in the garden tomb and celebrated Christ’s resurrection from the dead. I look forward to being back in Atlanta this weekend and worshiping with you at Peachtree Road UMC.

In many ways, our group’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land mirrors our entire congregation’s journey through the season of Lent. The theme for this year is “Following Jesus,” and on the first two Sundays in Lent, we focused upon Jesus’ baptism and experience in the wilderness. This week we turn our attention to his teaching in Galilee in general and specifically the Sermon on the Mount. Last Saturday, I found myself in the pastoral setting of the Mount of the Beatitudes, looking down upon the Sea of Galilee, and reflecting upon what it means to be called “blessed” by Jesus. I look forward to talking with you about “being blessed” on Sunday and encourage you to read Matthew 5:1-16 in preparation. I hope to see you in person for one of our services: 8:45 am, 10:00 am, or 11:15 am. If you are unable to make it, please worship online through Livestream.

The entire world’s attention is focused upon the senseless war taking place in Ukraine. Many are asking, “What can I do?” You can help in two ways:

Pray for the people of Ukraine and its leaders, the people of Russia and its leaders, and for God’s peace to reign on earth, as it does in heaven. You are invited to a special prayer service on Sunday, March 27, at 5:00 pm in the Moore Chapel. Together we will lift our voices to God as we offer prayers of intercession for our brothers and sisters in those nations.

Give financial support to our partner United Methodist churches in Kyiv and Lviv that are sheltering and feeding people in those war-torn towns as well as support for those at the border who are caring for the millions of refugees the war has created. You may make your check payable to Peachtree Road UMC and mark it for “Disaster Relief: Ukraine.” You also may give online here. Thank you for your support.

During this season, many of you are participating in the John Wesley Great Experiment:

  • Pray daily for 30 minutes during this season
  • Be present for worship each Sunday in Lent
  • Give the Lord 10% of the money you make during these six weeks
  • Perform at least one act of kindness for others each week until Easter

I offer the following suggestions as two concrete ways you can live out parts of this experiment:

Season of Service – each year, during the season of Lent, we are pleased to offer meaningful opportunities for persons of all ages and abilities to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others. Just like the ripples on a pond created when a stone hits the water, your service will have a far-reaching impact on our community. Join us once again to help others in a Season of Service. For more information, click here.

Lenten Offering – our special offering this season is designated for some of our ministry partners here in the Greater Atlanta community. As you can imagine, these helping agencies have been hit hard during the last two years (at a time when the need is even greater than ever before). Your giving will help a child have food to eat; a veteran struggling with addiction to find hope and help; and a single parent trying to raise a family to have a place to call home. I challenge each of you to give a gift of $100 or more to the offering this year. Please join us in supporting our vision of a better Atlanta. You may give online through the church app or the website here. Thank you for your generous support. Together, we are changing lives!

Finally, let me offer a word about an upcoming event you may find helpful. A Conversation about Depression is scheduled for Sunday, March 27, at 5:30 pm in the Hospitality Suite. Jamie and Lena Jenkins will lead a conversation about depression in the hope that participants will learn to recognize the signs of depression in themselves and others, know when and how to ask for professional help, and discover some tools for taking care of themselves and others who are struggling with anxiety and depression. Please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to learn and grow in the area of mental health.

Well, that’s it for this week. I have a plane to catch! I hope to see you this Sunday at Peachtree Road UMC as we worship together.

Grace and peace,

Bill

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