May 24, 2024

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. Let me be the first to wish you a happy Aldersgate Day. On this date 286 years ago, John Wesley had an experience that would forever impact his life and the Methodist movement he founded. He had returned to England from his time in the colony of Georgia and, by his own admission, was having a crisis of faith. Then, on the evening of May 24, 1738, Wesley attended a meeting of Moravian Christians that was taking place on Aldersgate Street in London. When he arrived, a layperson was reading from Martin Luther’s preface to his commentary on the New Testament book of Romans. Wesley later wrote these words in his personal journal:

“…while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Wesley later looked upon this moment of inspiration as the time in his life when the Holy Spirit gave him both a gift of assurance of God’s love and the courage to live boldly for Christ. It was a defining moment in the life of John Wesley and the reform movement he championed that came to be known as “Methodism.” In recent days, I have been praying for the Holy Spirit to come upon those of us who are Methodists, the spiritual descendants of John Wesley, in a similar way. I hope you will join me in that prayer.

I also want to invite you to worship at Peachtree Road UMC this Sunday. Of course, this is Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial beginning of the summer season. However, this Sunday is more than that. It also is a time when we pause to reflect and give thanks for those who have given their lives to ensure the freedoms we enjoy in this country. During Sunday’s worship services, our congregation will pause for a time of silence to remember as a wreath is placed at the altar. 

Our congregation will also celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion on Sunday at all services. As you approach the altar, I pray that you will sense the presence of Christ, who hosts us at his Table, and the presence of all the saints. We are not alone. We are a part of Christ’s church and a transforming mission in the world.

Our associate minister Rev. Geoff Beakley will be preaching this Sunday, and his message is entitled “Redeemed and Sent.” In preparation for worship, I encourage you to read Isaiah 6:1-8 and consider these words:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” – Isiah 6:8

Consider how you might respond to God’s redeeming grace in your life. How do you express your gratitude to God? The congregation will sing some great hymns of the church (“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” and “Blessed Assurance”) and hear our Chancel Choir offer Edward Bairstow’s arrangement of “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” It will be a good service, and I hope you will make your plans to worship in person (8:45 am, 10:00 am, or 11:15 am) or online through the church website.

Looking Forward to June:

  • Founder’s Day (June 2) – on June 7, 1925, the first public worship service of Peachtree Road Methodist Church was held in a partially completed chapel. From those humble beginnings, our church has grown to become one of the largest in Methodism, with an influence felt around the world. I hope you will make your plans to participate in the celebration of Peachtree Road UMC’s 99th birthday. Our luncheon will be catered by the Varsity and will feature all your favorites: hotdogs, chili dogs, hamburgers, chiliburgers, cheeseburgers, onion rings, French fries, Coca-colas, Frosted Oranges, and birthday cupcakes.
  • Honoring Julie Wright (June 9) – our associate minister Julie Wright will be retiring this year after 10 years as our director of senior adult ministries. Her last Sunday with us will be June 9, and we will honor her in the worship services on that day. A reception will follow the 11:15 am service in Grace Hall, and I hope you will join us as we express our appreciation to Julie. 
  • Father’s Day (June 16) – as we have done in recent years, we will recognize the oldest father present and the newest father present at each service. I have been thinking about the “good men” (my dad, pastors, coaches, and teachers) who have been influential in my life. Join us for worship as we remember and give thanks.
  • Celebration of Freedom (June 23) – as is our tradition, we will sing patriotic hymns, honor our veterans, pray for our nation and world, and give thanks for God’s many blessings. The service will close with the prayerful singing of “God Bless America.” To cap off the morning’s celebration, we will join together for a fellowship luncheon featuring fried chicken and all the fixings in Grace Hall. This is a Sunday you will not want to miss!

Finally, have you ever considered being a part of the choir for Celebration of Freedom Sunday? Then consider this note as your invitation to don a robe and join the Chancel Choir on Sunday, June 23 to sing some of our favorite patriotic hymns from the choir loft. It is a great opportunity to raise your voice in praise to God and be a part of the joy of this day. There will be only one rehearsal (Thursday, June 20) – come early for refreshments at 6:30 pm with the rehearsal from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. If you have questions or would like to sing in the chorus, contact Ruth Sommerville at Come join our family of singers and lovers of music!

If you are traveling this weekend, please travel safely, and we look forward to seeing you when you get back to the city.

Grace and peace,