February 3, 2023

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. Last week we wrapped up our Sunday morning messages focusing upon mental health. The One Lamb Initiative on Mental Health here at Peachtree Road UMC sponsored a number of events during the month including a conversation with Jane Pauley, a “Family to Family” class designed to help those with loved ones struggling with mental illness, and a forum on the causes and treatments for depression entitled “Brain on Fire.”

There is so much we have learned the last few weeks that can help remove the stigma attached to mental illness. Here are some of my chief learnings during this emphasis:

  • According to a recent poll conducted by the Springtide Research Institute, 47% of the young people between the ages of 13 and 35 who were surveyed report that they are moderately or extremely depressed. On the other hand, 76% of young people who claim to participate in a faith community affirm that they are flourishing in their mental health.
  • Help does not come from within. It is not a matter of developing a positive outlook on life or putting on a “happy face.”
  • Help comes from family and friends – no judgment, just support in the form of compassion and empathy.
  • Help comes from medical professionals. When you have a mental illness, trained professionals know how to help you pick up the pieces and can teach you the coping skills you need.
  • Help comes through a vital relationship with Jesus Christ.

Though our series of Sunday morning messages on mental health is over, our emphasis on this important subject will continue. Two more opportunities are upcoming up in the next two weeks.

  • Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Addiction – on Monday, February 6, 12:00 pm, Hospitality Suite, Dr. Nancy Rank will offer an informative session on a subject that affects millions of Americans each year – the abuse and addiction to alcohol and drugs. How do you know if a loved one is abusing alcohol? How do you know if a loved one has developed an addiction to drugs? Why do some people get addicted and others do not? Does all addiction begin with abuse? These are the questions Dr. Rank will be addressing, and you are given a special invitation to attend. Please RSVP to reservations@1lamb.org. Thank you.
  • Seen and Loved – on Sunday, February 12, at 10:00 am in the sanctuary, international speaker, mental health consultant, and local counselor Dr. Chinwé Williams will offer a message of inspiration and motivation for helping young people feel seen and loved through the power of connection. This forum is an event jointly sponsored by The One Lamb Initiative and Peachtree Road UMC Youth Ministry and is open to all members.

Please see the link on the Peachtree Road UMC website to The One Lamb Initiative and other opportunities for growth and learning.

I am looking forward to Sunday as we gather around the Lord’s Table to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion at all services. The message will remind you that you are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” We will sing familiar hymns (“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” and “Trust and Obey”), hear a beautiful anthem by the Chancel Choir (“Hallelujah, Mount of Olives”), and reflect upon Jesus’ words from his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16). I hope you will join us in person or online through our website.

Opportunities to Serve at Peachtree Road UMC:

  • Invitation to Join the Chancel Choir – our church is blessed each week in worship by music that warms the heart and stirs the soul. Do you like to sing? Well, this is your invitation to come and be a part of the Chancel Choir! Our choir is a diverse group of adults of all ages, musical experiences, and vocations, giving the best of their talents to the glory of God. Choir membership is a flexible commitment, including rehearsals on Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm in the church’s music suite. Come find your place in the Chancel Choir! Please contact Ruth Sommerville (ruths@prumc.org) for more information and to get connected.
  • Habitat for Humanity Build – come and be a part of construction of our 52nd home in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. Our 2023 home recipient will be the family of LaQuita Boulware, an assistant manager at a senior living facility. LaQuita is passionate about caring for others and her sweet daughter Jurnee. She will be working side-by-side with the Peachtree Road UMC team each Saturday for 10 weeks from February 18 – April 22. We are grateful to also partner with St. Benedict’s Catholic Church for this build and encourage you to sign up for this rewarding outreach project. Remember, no experience is needed! Others will be present to teach you everything you need to know. You may sign up here.

If you love music, please mark Thursday, February 9, at 7:00 pm on your calendar. Our church is hosting the “Three Choirs Festival” in the sanctuary that will feature the Georgia State University Singers, the Emory University Concert Choir, and the Morehouse College Glee Club. Come and enjoy the inspiring music from each of these prestigious programs. There is a suggested $15 donation for the concert ($5 for students). Come and enjoy the music in our beautiful sanctuary.

Finally, let me invite you to consider joining me this fall on a “Journeys of Paul Cruise” to Turkey and Greece. Jamie Jenkins and I will be leading a trip tracing Paul’s 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys this fall (October 20-30), and registration is open! We have been allocated 65 cabins aboard the Azamara Onward for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the land of Paul with other United Methodists, and we still have a few cabins available. The online brochure is here. For more information, please contact Jamie Jenkins at jamiej@prumc.org

I look forward to Sunday as we sing and pray and listen for the voice of God together and then gather around the Lord’s Table. I’ll see you there!

Grace and peace,