Gratitude, Fellowship, and Outreach

Last Sunday was a great day at Peachtree Road UMC as we celebrated All Saints Sunday. We called the names of 39 members of our church who have preceded us into death; approached the altar to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and welcomed 23 new persons into our membership. Hearing the Great Organ as we sang “For All the Saints” and Tom Walker playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes was just what I needed last week. It indeed was a great day!

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An Extra Special Sunday

We begin this Sunday with our celebration of All Saints Sunday. Years ago, my homiletics professor Dr. Fred Craddock preached a sermon entitled “When the Roll Is Called Down Here.” His sermon is the inspiration for Sunday’s message as we give thanks for our saints. We will call the names of members of our church who have preceded us into death, light a candle in their memory, and ring the church bell. Following the reading of the names, Tom Crawford will play “Going Home” and “Amazing Grace!” on the bagpipes.

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Moving Fearlessly to the Future

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. Let me begin with a couple of words of gratitude:

  • First, for the Men’s Ministry of Peachtree Road UMC who prepared the delicious barbeque for our luncheon last Sunday. When the 11:15 am service ended, I waited at the sanctuary doors nearest the street to greet folks leaving, but everyone exiting the sanctuary turned right and seemed to make a beeline for Grace Hall. I found myself standing alone in the narthex…and I don’t blame them a bit! The food was delicious, and the fellowship around the tables was most enjoyable. It was a very good event!
  • Second, thank you to Jay Christopher and his team of Ambassadors as well as our audio-visual and property management teams for their support of last Monday evening’s town hall meeting with Mayor Andre Dickens. We had over 600 persons crowded into Grace Hall (yes, the fire marshal was there and folks were turned away) for a community conversation with the Mayor. I was very proud of our church and pray that the good ideas shared that night will lead to a brighter future for our community.

Thank you to all who attended these events and your support of this great church!

On Sunday we will bring our sermon series entitled “Greater Than” to a close. We have been thinking this month about how Christ has enabled us to experience a life greater than we could have imagined. This week’s message is “Possibility Is Greater Than Status Quo.” Sometimes fear of the future causes us to cling so tightly to the present that we find ourselves paralyzed. On Sunday we’ll think about how Christ can move us forward into a new day, and I hope to see you at one of our services – 8:45 am, 10:00 am, or 11:15 am. If you are unable to join us in person, please worship online here.

I am grateful to all who have turned in a commitment card in support of the 2023 operating budget. Your generous giving is critical to the success of our church’s ministries, and I appreciate all who have turned in a commitment card. If you have not yet turned in a card, we would love to hear from you this week. If you are in a Sunday School class, your commitment will be counted to the tabulation of the Parson’s Cup. This award goes to the Sunday School Class with the highest percentage of commitments to next year’s church budget. The competition will run through the end of the year and will be awarded in early January. For your convenience, you may pledge through the church app or online here.

Opportunities for Outreach

  • Cascade Thanksgiving Giveaway – we are teaming up with Cascade UMC on their annual Thanksgiving project to provide food for over 1400 low-income families. Cascade has been feeding those in need for over 20 years, and through our partnership with this great church we have an opportunity work side-by-side together. If you are interested in being a part of this wonderful holiday project, please contact Beth Spencer (beths@prumc.org).
  • Christmas Kindness – registration is open for Harp’s Christmas Kindness. Volunteer for this beloved tradition providing Christmas gifts to the community in a dignified and festive manner. Our clients are surrounded by the care of loving volunteers, who help them select and wrap their gifts. This Christmas outreach event will take place December 2-7. You may sign up online here.

Have you voted yet? I voted earlier this week in the Mid-term Election. I hit the polling center at a perfect time, walked right in, voted, and was out in less than five minutes. I remind you of John Wesley’s reflection on his counsel to the early Methodists: “Vote for the person they judged most worthy; to speak no evil of the person they voted against; and to take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” Nearly 250 years later, those are still pretty good words to live by! Peachtree Road UMC will be a polling site, and I strongly encourage you to vote in your precinct on or before Tuesday, November 8!

The Centennial Committee is preparing for the church’s 100th anniversary in 2025, and has commemorative ornaments for sale. To see these lovely ornaments or order one, please click here.

Finally, are you interested in becoming a member of Peachtree Road UMC? — please join us this Sunday, November 6, at 12:30 pm in the Hospitality Suite for “Tea with the Clergy.” At this luncheon meeting, you will have the opportunity to meet with several members of our clergy staff, hear about the ministry of this great church, ask questions, and even have an opportunity to join at the end of the session. Please contact Elizabeth Byrd (elizabethb@prumc.org) for more information or to sign up.

Thank you for your commitment to the ministry of Peachtree Road UMC. It is both an honor and a privilege to be your pastor.

Grace and peace,

Bill

We Serve a God of Abundance!

I really am looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. It is Commitment Sunday here at Peachtree Road UMC, and we will have an opportunity to renew our commitment to Christ through this great church. Our children’s choirs will be singing, and at the close of the service, you will have an opportunity to bring your commitment card to the altar to pray and offer yourself to Christ in a time of dedication.

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Words to Build a Life On

I really am looking forward to Sunday as we continue our series of messages entitled “Greater Than.” This month we are considering the question, “How has my relationship with Jesus made my life greater?” Over the course of the last 15 years, I have had the joy of watching Jesus make life greater here at Peachtree Road UMC. I have seen lives transformed as you have allowed the light of Christ to shine through you into our hurting world. It is our relationship with Jesus that gives meaning and purpose and satisfaction to life. That’s what we’re talking about this month.

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The Presence of Christ, The Power of the Holy Spirit

It’s hard to believe, but we have begun the last quarter of the year. Where has 2022 gone? This year our church has been focused upon the words of Jesus from his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers…” Our church’s ministry initiatives have been designed with the goal of bringing the peace of Christ to those around us.

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Laughter is Good Medicine

As you read these words, Wendie and I are on our way back to Atlanta from a trip with our daughter, son-in-law, and two of our grandchildren to Italy. We had a great time exploring Rome, where we visited the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, Florence, where we stood in awe of Michelangelo’s sculpture of the shepherd boy David preparing to defeat the giant Goliath, and Milan, where we viewed Leonardo DaVinci’s mural of the Last Supper. We enjoyed great food and family time together with much laughter. It has been a good week, and we are glad to be returning home.

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A New Walk With Christ

Let me begin this week’s note by sharing the heart-breaking news with you that our associate minister Julie Wright’s daughter Chelsea died yesterday afternoon. Over the years, people have asked me: “Which is more difficult – losing a loved one suddenly or losing him or her after a long illness?” I have always answered, “They are equally difficult, but nothing compares to the death of a child.”

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Thriving, Reflecting and Inviting

Let me begin this week’s note with the news that one of our members, Jane Murray, celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday afternoon in the Hospitality Suite. Jane is doing very well and stays connected with our church family online. Happy birthday, Jane! You are a treasure.

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It Is Time…

I hope you are well. My message to you today is this: “It is time.” The pandemic has ebbed. The summer is over. If you have been away from church, it is time to press the reset button on your spiritual life and come back to Peachtree Road UMC. Sunday marks “Fall Kick-off,” and I want to suggest five good reasons to make attendance this week a priority:

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