April 23, 2021
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope you are well. Our hearts are heavy this week as we grieve the death of Don Harp, our Senior Minister Emeritus. Don was appointed to Peachtree Road in 1988, fell in love with the people of this community, and caught a vision of what this church could become. Through his tireless work and larger-than-life personality, he strived to make that vision a reality. Today, every facet of this great church’s ministry bears the mark of his faith, hope, and love. A graveside service is set for this Sunday, April 25, in Inman, Georgia, and we will celebrate his life here at Peachtree Road with a memorial service on Saturday, May 15, at 11:00 am. Please remember Mary Ellen, Robin, Allen, and their family in your prayers in the coming days.
As more and more persons are vaccinated, healthcare officials suggest we are inching closer to “herd immunity” and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are not out of the woods yet, but our staff is making plans to gradually bring us back to what we are calling “hybrid normalcy.” Here are some key dates to keep in mind as we head that way:
- We will begin offering 2 services every Sunday (8:30 am and 11:15 am) on May 9, with no pre-registration (except for those who need childcare).
- At the beginning of June, we will recalibrate all classrooms for physical distancing based on 3 feet instead of 6 feet. This will enable many of our Sunday School classes to meet in person.
- On the first three Sundays in June, we will offer a series of messages entitled “Leaving the Ark.” Inspired by Noah who left the ark after 1 year and 10 days to embark upon a new world, we will ask ourselves, “What have I learned in the last year? What new resources and discoveries do I bring with me? What do I have a new appreciation for or new perspective of that maybe I used to take for granted? How can I begin anew with intentionality?” We will listen to Noah and other biblical characters who endured disorienting circumstances and adversity to discover sources of hope and help.
- On June 27, we hope to welcome back the full choir and a full congregation as we celebrate “Freedom Sunday” at Peachtree Road.
- “Fall Kick-off” is set for September 12, the Sunday after Labor Day, and we look forward to fully embracing the new “hybrid normalcy” of our ministry at Peachtree Road.
Your health and safety is our top priority, and we will continue to monitor any new spikes in hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus. Therefore, all of these plans are subject to change. You can do your part by getting vaccinated to help keep yourself and others safe and healthy. If you need help finding a vaccination clinic, please go to our website. Please pray for our church as we navigate these days.
I really am looking forward to Sunday as we celebrate “Good Shepherd Sunday” at Peachtree Road. The message will focus upon that most beloved Old Testament poem – the 23rd Psalm. Have you experienced a recent loss in your life? Do you find yourself in the midst of grief? Many of us know the truth of the psalmist’s words, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” The valleys seem inevitable. However, I do not want you to miss that word “through.” Sunday we will spend a few moments together considering how the Lord enables us to turn the “thoughs” into “throughs.” I hope you will join us either online at 11:15 am or in-person by registering this week for worship in the sanctuary.
On Sunday we will have a special Confirmation Service in the sanctuary at 10:00 am for our sixth graders who are making a profession of faith in Christ and joining the church. I am grateful to Chris Mucha and his team in student ministries for the leadership they have provided our youth over the course of the last year. This class has participated in this journey completely online, and I am grateful for its dedication in difficult times. The service is open to members of the Confirmation Class and their family only, but I do invite you to pray for them as they make this step of faith. If you would like to watch the service online, please tune in at 10:00 am through the church’s website.
- Sponsor a Child – many of you know about our ministry in the nation of Georgia and the impact it makes on the lives of children. During the 11:15 am worship service you will hear from Lynn Banks as she shares how you are helping break the cycle of generational poverty in that country. Your sponsorship of $365 will sustain a child for an entire year through access to food, medical care, and education. Your gift will change the direction of a child’s life! I encourage you to watch the podcast with Lynn on our website and plan to participate in this year’s “Sponsor a Child” emphasis. You may give online here or make your check payable to Peachtree Road UMC and mark it for “Sponsor a Child.” Thank you for your generosity.
- Red Cross Blood Drive – you can help the Red Cross maintain the vital blood supply during this time of critical need by giving blood next Tuesday, April 27, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm at the Harp Student Center here at Peachtree Road. Donations are by appointment only, masks, physical distancing, and temperature checks are required. All donations are tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Visit here to make your appointment, or contact email@example.com with questions.
Thank you for your prayerful and generous support of the ministry of this great church. Please call on me if I may be of help to you.
Grace and peace,