May 13, 2022
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope you are well. In recent days, several of you have reached out to ask about the news concerning the launch of a new Methodist denomination, the Global Methodist Church, earlier this month. Specifically, folks want to know if Peachtree Road UMC is planning to join the new denomination. The short answer is “No.” Peachtree Road Methodist Church was founded nearly 100 years ago by the North Georgia Annual Conference with the charge to reach this community for Christ. This Annual Conference is our home, and this is where we will remain.
There are churches in our state (mostly small, rural congregations, but some larger county seat churches) planning to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church in the coming year, and I am hearing two primary reasons for it.
- First, they express frustration that the social issues facing the church have distracted them from their primary mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. By disaffiliating, they believe they will be freed from these distractions. Honestly, it is my experience that when a church is spiritually healthy and has effective leadership, nothing can distract them from fulfilling their mission or rob them of their joy in serving Christ.
- Second, others claim that they don’t want to be a part of a denomination where pastors and bishops do not adhere to the Book of Discipline. As a person who appreciates order in the church, I share this concern. I, too, expect those who have entered into the covenant to adhere to it. However, rather than allow the disobedience of others to be a reason to leave the denomination, this should be a time to come together at the center, engage others who think differently, reason with one another, and work toward becoming the fruitful church we are called to be. Christ prayed that the church might be one just as the Father and Son are one. I believe we should strive to live into that prayer.
Certainly, I also believe this is a time for reform in the church and am hoping the General Conference scheduled for 2024 will make the changes needed. I learned a long time ago that the Holy Spirit is like electricity. In order for the Spirit to flow efficiently in us and through us, there needs to be maximum contact and minimum resistance. I am praying every day for the Holy Spirit to stir up a revival within the people called United Methodists that we might exude holiness of heart and life. In the meantime, please join me in being faithful to Christ’s command to love one another, and do not get distracted.
Speaking of loving one another, that will be our focus this Sunday in worship as we consider Christ’s words:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34-35
These are among the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples before his crucifixion. Last words are important, and we will consider the significance of these words of Jesus for us.
Sunday also is Graduate Recognition Day here at Peachtree Road UMC. We have set aside time at the close of our 11:15 am worship service in the sanctuary to recognize and honor our high school graduating seniors. I hope that you will join us as they share their plans for the coming year, and we offer a prayer of blessing upon them. If you cannot be present, please worship online through the church website here.
Thank you to those who gave last week to the special offering for Wesley Woods. As you can imagine, some folks come to the last years of their life and discover that their financial resources are not sufficient. Your gift enables Wesley Woods to provide both the physical care and peace of mind to these seniors. I am grateful for your generous support of this offering. Also, if you were unable to give last week, it is not too late to participate in the offering. Please make your check payable to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and mark it for Wesley Woods or give through the church app or online through the church website here. Thank you for helping us lead the way in supporting others.
Let me offer a quick explanation about the “Called Charge Conference” that is set for Monday, May 23, at 6:30 pm. The reason the church Board of Trustees has recommended that the church be incorporated is so that we might be registered with the state and have a state identification number. This will make it simpler for the church to receive gifts from private foundations. As it stands now, that sometimes is a very complicated process. This has nothing to do with the church setting itself up to be independent. This will take place as an item of business in our regular Administrative Board meeting.
Finally, during this month of Mental Health Awareness, let me mention an opportunity for this week:
- One Lamb Presents: Twenty/20 with Taylor Wesley – Sunday, May 15, 5:30 pm. After her own personal struggles with mental health, Taylor Wesley began an open conversation about mental health and believes that the ability to heal and move forward comes through personal connection. This event is especially for young adults, and you may register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support of Peachtree Road UMC with your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. We are grateful.
Grace and peace,