October 27, 2023

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. As you read these words, I am with a large group on a “Journeys of Paul Tour” in Turkey and Greece. We are retracing the footsteps of the Apostle Paul and are visiting the cities that Paul visited on his second and third missionary journeys and to whom he wrote many of his New Testament letters. We have joined with a larger group of United Methodists from around the country from Brentwood UMC in Nashville, Trinity UMC in Birmingham, and Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. I’ll share a little more about this journey at the close of this note. We will return on Monday.

On Sunday, our associate minister Josh Miles will be preaching a message entitled “Practicing Your Faith,” and I encourage you to read Matthew 22:34-46 in preparation. This is an important Sunday for Josh. Not only will he be preaching this sermon as part of his application to the Board of Ministry for ordination at next year’s Annual Conference, but he also will be baptizing his daughter Daisy at the 11:15 am service. I hope you will make a special effort to be present to support him and welcome his and Emily’s family to Peachtree Road UMC. Our services are at 8:45 am in the sanctuary, 10:00 am in the chapel, and 11:15 am in the sanctuary. If you are unable to worship in person, please join us online at www.prumc.org.

I want to thank those of you who already have turned in your financial commitment card. This is a sign of your faith in Christ and love for Peachtree Road UMC. Our Finance Committee is very grateful. If you have not yet made a commitment, please do so this week. We are looking to adopt a preliminary budget at the November Administrative Board meeting, and it is important for us to hear from you as soon as possible. For your convenience, you may make your pledge online by using the following link: www.prumc.org. Thank you in advance for your commitment.

Speaking of financial giving, thank you for your commitment to outreach in general and to Wesley Woods in particular. Many of you contributed to the Mother’s Day Offering to provide support for the ministry of this geriatric care facility, and last week Peachtree Road UMC was recognized at a luncheon hosted by Wesley Woods as the leading contributor this past year with a record offering of over $52,000! Thank you for your generosity. Our gift was added to those of other United Methodist Churches to total $395,000 – a record year for the Mother’s Day Offering. The senior adults of Wesley Woods are grateful for your support.

Opportunities in the coming weeks:

  • Take a Tour of Peachtree Road UMC – Sunday, October 29, 10:00 am, beginning in Heritage Hall. Whether you are new to Peachtree Road UMC or have been here a while but still trying to find your way around, join Brittany Charron for a tour of the church campus and a brief overview of the church’s ministries and offerings. For more information, contact Brittany at brittanyc@prumc.org.
  • Exploring Membership in Peachtree Road UMC – Sunday, November 12, 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 our director of evangelism and hospitality Brittany Charron (brittanyc@prumc.org) for more information or to sign up. 

Finally, let me share with you what’s been happening on our Journeys of Paul Tour.

We arrived last Saturday afternoon and spent time on Sunday in the city of Istanbul, the ancient city known as Constantinople. This was the seat of the Roman Empire when Christianity became the official state religion. This city, which stands at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, was the site of important early church councils at which Christian doctrine was established (including our belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ) as well as important church architecture (Hagia Sophia). On Monday, we visited the architectural site of the ancient city of Philippi and held a renewal of our baptismal vows at the river outside of town where Lydia was baptized, becoming the first convert to Christianity on European soil. On Tuesday, we were in Thessaloniki where Paul started a church and to whom he later wrote two letters. On Wednesday, we visited Meteora and the monasteries that trace their origins to 9th and 10th-century monks who first visited the area. On Thursday, we were in Ephesus in Turkey, where Paul stopped and spent more than two years on his second missionary journey. The ruins of this ancient city are amazing! Today we are in Santorini, and tomorrow we will be in Corinth where Paul spent eighteen months. Our journey will conclude on Sunday with a visit to Athens, stand on Mars Hill where Paul defended the faith, and ascend the Acropolis where we will gaze upon the Parthenon, just as Paul did nearly 2000 years ago.

It has been an amazing journey! However, the best part has been on board the cruise ship as we have joined with other United Methodists from across the country. We have joined together for lectures on the life of Paul, enjoyed meals together, and talked about our common faith in Christ and hopes for the future. We have discovered that we don’t all think alike, but we do love alike. And that is enough. I look forward to being back to Atlanta on Monday evening and joining with you in worship, fellowship, and ministry in the coming days.

Please continue to pray for peace in the Middle East. One of our hosts on this tour is from Bethlehem and was in Jerusalem when Hamas attacked the Israeli communities on October 7. She was responsible for getting Americans out of Israel and safely home. I also talked with a person who lost a co-worker in the attack. Hearing the emotion in their voices brings the tragic events of these days close to home. Let us pray to the Lord for peace.

As always, thank you for your commitment to the ministry of Peachtree Road UMC. Your prayers are heard, your presence is inspiring to others, your gifts are making a difference, and your service shines the light of Christ in our community.

Grace and peace,