Bill Britt

God Is at Work
    I hope this note finds you doing well. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and I hope you will have a wonderful day with loved ones. As we come to the 244th anniversary of the founding of our nation, I want you to know that I am more hopeful than ever before about our future.
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    Return to the Essentials of Our Faith
      I hope this note finds you well. This Sunday is our annual Celebration of Freedom Sunday. While we will not be gathering in-person for the service, we will have the opportunity to sing patriotic hymns, hear inspirational music from our choir, and give thanks for our veterans through segments taken from last year’s celebration.
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      Give Thanks and Rejoice
      I hope this note finds you well. As I mentioned in the sermon last Sunday, it almost feels like we are living in the midst of a perfect storm. Three months ago, we were hit by a hurricane of a health crisis. Then, another storm appeared on the horizon and headed toward us in the form of an unprecedented economic and unemployment crisis.
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      Adapting to Change
        I hope this note finds you well. Earlier this week it hit me. The new decade of the 20’s is less than six months old and already we have dealt with more crises and strife than we would hope to encounter over the next 10 years! As a result, our ability to adapt to change and deal with adversity has been challenged like no time in my 39 years as a pastor.
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        Offer Your Presence and Compassion
        I hope this note finds you well. Let me begin with an apology to all who tuned in to watch last Sunday’s service on livestream at 11:15 am. There was a network error that caused the system to crash, and I understand viewing was impossible. I am grateful to our dedicated AV team who did record the service, and it is available in its entirety here. This is a critical time in the life of our community, and I encourage you to set aside about fifty minutes this weekend to watch the service, hear the beautiful music, join in the liturgy and prayer, and consider the message of the day. By the way, the network problem has been repaired, and we are ready for Sunday!
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        Innovative Ways to Further the Mission of Christ
          I hope this note finds you well. Earlier this week we welcomed some of the members of the church staff back onto campus after ten weeks of working remotely. New protocols have been instituted for the safety of all (hand sanitizing and temperature check upon entering the building and the wearing of a face mask is required), and folks are getting acclimated to these as well as “physical distancing” in meetings...
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          Reverence, Gracious Welcome, and Warm Hospitality
          I hope this note finds you well. With parts of the state reopening, many of you have been asking when Peachtree Road might open for in-person worship. Earlier this week, the Administrative Board met and received a report that addressed that question. Here are the highlights...
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          Convert Retreat Into Advance
            I hope you are doing well. Earlier this week I was doing some reading in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s excellent book entitled Leadership in Turbulent Times. In it she highlights the leadership styles of four American Presidents who led the country through difficult days: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson...
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            A Gift in Gratitude
              One of the most difficult aspects of the “shelter in place” order during this COVID-19 pandemic for me has been not being able to visit my mother. She lives in an assisted living facility in my hometown of Thomaston, and visitors are not allowed...
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              Look For the Helpers
              Many of you remember Fred Rogers who was known to generations simply as “Mr. Rogers.” He famously shared the advice his mother gave him in times of tragedy: “When I was a boy, I would see scary things in the news, and my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Those words have comforted families for years in the midst of tragedies. Well, I am pleased to report that not only can the people of Peachtree Road look for the helpers, they also take the next step and become helpers. For example…
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              God Has Called Us. There Is Work to Do.
                I hope you are well and staying safe in these unprecedented days. Several folks recently have asked me, “How is the church doing during these times?” Well, my sense is we are energized! Everywhere I turn, I see Peachtree Road folks engaged in the ministry of the church – dozens of volunteers are making congregational care calls each week, hundreds are taking advantage of online Bible studies, prayer groups, and spiritual enrichment opportunities, and many are reaching out to neighbors and those in our community who are hurting...
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                Find Moments of Beauty and Joy
                  I hope you are well and staying safe in these unprecedented days. Let me begin this week’s note by thanking so many of you for joining us online for an incredible Easter service last Sunday. We estimate that almost 9,000 people watched at least a part of our celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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                  Good Friday
                    I hope you are having a meaningful Good Friday. Words cannot express how much I am looking forward to our Easter celebration on Sunday. We all really need Easter this year more than ever! We need the message of hope in the midst of uncertainty that the Resurrection brings. On Sunday we will meet online to announce to the world, “God reigns!”
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                    Holy Week Hope and Gratitude
                      As I write these words, we are merely hours away from Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. Normally, this is one of our favorite Sundays of the year here at Peachtree Road – the grand procession led by our favorite donkey “Jerusalem,” the children waving their palm branches as they enter the sanctuary, and the beautiful music offered by the choirs. But, this is not a normal time. Due to the current health crisis, we all are “sheltered in place” and practicing “social distancing.” Therefore, there will be no gathering together this Sunday – no donkey, no waving of palm branches, and no shouts of “Hosanna!”
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                      Moving Through These Days
                        As we continue to move through these days of the COVID 19 pandemic, I pray that you and your family are well and taking the necessary precautions to stay safe. Please know that your ministers are praying daily for you and want to hear from you if you have a need.
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                        A Space for Something New
                          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?
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                          Important Worship Update for Sunday
                            ...over the course of the last 24 hours, things have changed rapidly. I have just met with our staff leadership team, and, after consulting with other ministers in the Buckhead community, healthcare officials, and others, we have made the decision to suspend live worship services this Sunday and offer worship online only. We will reevaluate the situation each week, but I anticipate this could be our plan for the rest of the month.
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                            Impactful Opportunities for Prayer and Service
                              On Sunday we are delighted to welcome Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson to Peachtree Road as she preaches at the 11:15 am worship service in the sanctuary. Bishop Sue has been the episcopal leader of the North Georgia Conference since 2016, and I look forward to introducing her to you on Sunday morning as she preaches on “God’s Extreme Lenten Makeover.” I will be preaching at the 8:45 am service, and those who usually worship at The Road will be invited to join us at the 11:15 am service in the sanctuary.
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                              A Closer Walk with God
                                This Sunday marks the first Sunday in Lent, and I believe this season comes at a most welcome time. During these forty days, we have the opportunity to slow down, reflect, pray, and breathe. I encourage you to do just that. And I also encourage you to refrain from judging or criticizing others. Let’s take the time to breathe and pray and seek God’s guidance for living the life he intended us to live. Our theme for this season is “The Journey.”
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                                Prayers, Opportunities and Faithful Ministry
                                  For the last week Jamie Jenkins and I have been leading a group of 34 on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We are having an amazing time walking in the footsteps of Jesus and already have visited the site of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, renewed our own baptisms as we stood at the Jordan River, ascended the mountain where Jesus was tempted, and thrilled in places where he taught, preached, and healed in Galilee. Our journey will lead us finally to the holy city of Jerusalem. There we will walk the road Jesus traveled as he carried his cross, and take communion at the Garden Tomb where we will celebrate his resurrection from the dead. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers during these days.
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                                  Our Mental and Spiritual Health
                                    We are pleased to welcome Rev. Larry Adams as our preacher for this Sunday, February 16. He will be preaching in the morning services on the topic “Enemies of the Mind: Anxiety.” Many of you know Larry as the founding director of Peachtree Road’s Pastoral Counseling Center, a “straight-shooter,” and a man with a compassionate heart for the people of this community.
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                                    Opportunities for Spiritual Growth and Learning
                                      Last Sunday was Youth Sunday here at Peachtree Road, and our students led us well in worship – their enthusiasm was contagious, and eleven seniors offered inspirational testimonies of how their faith has grown through their participation in this ministry. Each year I hear from young couples who decide to join the church because of this service. They comment, “I want my child to grow up to be like those youth!” It was a wonderful morning! If you were unable to be present and would like to contribute to the special offering for our youth ministry, you may give here. Thank you for your support.
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                                      Be a Source of Healing and Hope
                                        This Sunday promises to be another good day here at Peachtree Road. It is Youth Sunday, and our students will be leading us in worship. They will be present in great number, and several will speak to us about their faith. I am grateful to our youth director Chris Mucha and his associates Grace Nadeau and Ryan Holder for their leadership. They, along with a host of volunteers, do an amazing job to help our middle and high school students grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your support of our students. 
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                                        Be Led by the Spirit of Christ
                                          Now is the time for us to look forward, and Sunday promises to be a good day to be at Peachtree Road. This week marks the conclusion of our January series of messages entitled “Beyond Us vs. Them.” This month we have been taking on the controversial issues that tend to divide us and looking for common ground. By now, I hope you know my motivation. If we in the church aren’t willing to talk about difficult social issues like abortion, the death penalty, and immigration, we are giving up the opportunity to be a moral voice in our community and allowing others to shape the way others and our children think. My belief is we can do better. We can set an example for others not only by having these conversations but also by moving beyond them to find common ground. 
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                                          Immigration, Intercessory Prayer, and Intention
                                            Today is the beginning of the holiday weekend marking the 91st birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I know some of you will be taking advantage of the long weekend to spend time away with family and friends. However, if you are in town, I hope you will join us for worship on Sunday as we continue our series on “Beyond Us vs. Them.” Each week we are considering a different controversial topic and looking for common ground in the midst of conflict.
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                                            TOGETHER we will do better, set the example, fulfill God’s will on earth
                                              First, I want to remind you that on Sunday we will continue our series of messages entitled “Beyond Us vs. Them.” We live in a divided world. In fact, noted Australian author and missional church movement leader Alan Hirsch suggests we are more polarized today than at anytime since pre-World War II Europe. And, unfortunately, Christians are not immune to the divisiveness. We worship together and read the same scriptures, but we sometimes come to different conclusions about how to live a holy life. We argue and we judge and we fight among ourselves while the world watches. It’s not a pretty sight. How can we move beyond the issues that divide us and find the unity Christ prayed for us to have? That’s the question with which we are wrestling in these messages.
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                                              Grateful Blessings and a New Decade
                                                Happy New Year! I hope this note finds you well. January is that unique month of the year when you look back upon the year that has just ended and look forward to the future at the same time.
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                                                Approaching the End of the Year
                                                  Our Christmas Eve celebration at Peachtree Road certainly was exhilarating. I am grateful to the members of the Altar Guild and Flower Guild for all of their efforts to make our sanctuary the most beautiful room in Atlanta that night. I also want to express my appreciation to our dedicated musicians who offered music that stirred our souls. Nearly 6,000 persons attended one of our five services last Tuesday. I am grateful to our usher teams who warmly welcomed them and helped them find seats and to our Acolytes who led our processions and added to the sense of awe and reverence we experience in our worship. There really is nothing like Christmas Eve at Peachtree Road!
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                                                  Light Shines in the Darkness
                                                    Our Advent journey is coming to a close, and throughout this season the heartbeat of Peachtree Road has never been more evident. We have gathered for special services of worship and then scattered out into the community in outreach and mission.
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                                                    Opportunities to Celebrate and Give Thanks
                                                      I hope you are planning to join us for worship this Sunday as we continue our series entitled “Looking for Jesus.” This week on our journey through Advent we will encounter Anna and Simeon, two persons of great faith who waited all their lives to experience the fulfillment of their hopes in Christ.
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                                                      Walk with the Wise Men
                                                        This week our journey through Advent leads us to an encounter with the wise men. Their spiritual yearning brought them to Judea even though they had never heard of Jesus. I wonder how many come our way looking for Jesus? And do we welcome them and include them? I look forward to thinking with you about the wise men this Sunday.
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                                                        We Are Abundantly Blessed
                                                          This Sunday we begin the season by acknowledging that not everyone greeted the news of the coming of Christ with joy. King Herod was frightened and all those around him were filled with fear. Does the presence of Christ sometimes frighten you? We’ll talk about that on Sunday.
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                                                          I Am Thankful
                                                            I really am looking forward to worship as we celebrate Harvest Sunday here at Peachtree Road. As our hymn for the day reminds us, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings…” I do want to encourage you to take some time this next week to make a list of God’s blessings in your life from the last year for which you are grateful.
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                                                            Be the 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.
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                                                              Our God Is a God of Hope
                                                                In our worship services, we will continue our sermon series entitled “We Are Thankful…” This week we will acknowledge our gratitude “…in All Circumstances.” Please note that the message is not “we are not thankful FOR all circumstances.” We’ll think more about that on Sunday. 
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                                                                Cultivate a Grateful Heart
                                                                  We begin our series this Sunday with the message “We Are Thankful…for All the Saints.” We will be giving special thanks for those members of Peachtree Road who have preceded us into death within the last year. We will stand in their memory, ring a bell, and light candles, as their names are called. Following the reading of the names, Tom Crawford will play “Going Home” and “Amazing Grace!” on the bagpipes. You will be encouraged to write down the names of your own personal saints and bring them to the altar as we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Know this: when we partake of the bread and cup, we are celebrating our connection with all the saints through Jesus Christ. This service is one of the most special of the year, and I hope you will be in attendance.
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                                                                  Our Covenant with Christ
                                                                    Let me begin with an encouragement to be in worship this week as we bring our fall series entitled “Blessed!” to a close. Each week we have been considering the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and this week we will reflect the eighth beatitude
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                                                                    “All In” at Peachtree Road
                                                                      On Sunday we will consider what it means to be peacemakers and what we need to do to bring peace into our world. I look forward to sharing this message with you.
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                                                                      A Pure Heart Sees God
                                                                        You have heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Well, according to Jesus, so is God. All we need to do is keep the heart pure. And, if you’re like me, that’s where we run into trouble. So, this Sunday we will spend some time talking about keeping our heart pure so we can experience the blessing of seeing God.
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                                                                        A Relationship with God
                                                                          Of course, as has become our tradition on the first Sunday in October, we will offer a “Blessing of the Animals” service 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.
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                                                                          Faithful Disciples
                                                                            About 2500 United Methodists from across the country are gathered at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas to prayerfully consider the church’s future.
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                                                                            Walk with Christ
                                                                              I am so glad we give out Bibles at Peachtree Road. In fact, we not only give them out to 3rd graders, this year we began the practice of also giving out study Bibles to students who have completed the 6th grade Confirmation Class and all adult members 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 his or her 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!
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                                                                              You Are Loved by God
                                                                                Depression is an illness, and it has many facets. Like diabetes, many kinds of depression are treatable. In addition to spiritual care, medications and therapy are common ways to manage illnesses such as chronic depression. But, like diabetes, there are other symptoms that only can be managed. That’s where the church can help. At the very least, our churches ought to be safe places where every member has permission to be open and honest about his or her struggles. We need to be a refuge for the hurting, a community connected to one another, and engaged servants who actively take a role in suicide prevention. Finally, I share with you the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Let us take this role seriously.
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                                                                                Fall Kick Off at Peachtree Road
                                                                                  During the coming weeks, we will focus upon learning to trust in God’s coming kingdom, even when our lives are difficult. Our text for the season is Matthew 12:1-12, that section of the New Testament that is known as the Beatitudes. Each week we will focus upon one of the beatitudes and discover inspiration and hope in the knowledge that God is at work in our lives and in our world.
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                                                                                  Your Place at Peachtree Road
                                                                                    Last Sunday was a great day as we celebrated Promotion Sunday here at Peachtree Road. Our elementary children and youth moved up a grade in Sunday School; the youth hosted an open house for students and parents in the student center; and the church hallways were buzzing with excitement as folks came back to church after a long, hot summer. I hope you have had an opportunity to sign up for “Every Member in Ministry” here at Peachtree Road. We want to include you in the ministry of this vital church.
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                                                                                    The Faith We Inherited
                                                                                      Benjamin Franklin once observed in a letter he wrote to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” John Wesley, the father of Methodism, would have agreed with Franklin and encouraged others to think about their own death and how, even in dying, they might bear witness to their faith. On Sunday, we will spend some time thinking about heaven, eternal life, and the faith we have inherited from our Wesleyan ancestors.
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                                                                                      Led to God’s Blessings
                                                                                        Now, you and I know there is a gap between that for which we pray and the world in which we live. We live in a broken world, but, in the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus, the One we worship and serve is able to do “abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” I hope you will remember that and continue praying for God’s love, mercy, and grace to move in us and through us to make our world more like the kingdom of God.
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