April 28, 2023

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. Last week was a wonderful day here at Peachtree Road UMC as we welcomed 58 members of the Confirmation Class into the full membership of the church. We also celebrated The Preschool at Peachtree Road UMC’s 70th anniversary, heard a wonderful testimony from Westminster senior Storey Abernathy concerning the impact The Preschool has had on his life, and listened as the preschool children in attendance shared songs of praise they have learned with us. It was a wonderful day, and I am grateful to those on the youth and preschool teams who made the day possible. 

This Sunday promises to be another great day in worship. At the 11:15 am service in the sanctuary, we will celebrate the ministry of acolytes. They are our students who lead the procession at the beginning of worship each week and bring the cross and light of Christ into our services; they fill the font with water each week before we baptize children; and they process the Gospel and add a sense of holy awe and reverence to our worship on festival Sundays. You may not know this, but acolytes also lead the procession in the sanctuary and chapel for weddings. They are a dedicated group, and I am grateful for them and their team captains. 

Some of you remember the late Douglas Forsyth, a long-time member of the church who wrote poetry. One Sunday after watching the acolytes carry out their duties, he was inspired to pen these words:
Bearers of the Message Garbed in white,chained crosses resting on their chests,hoods hanging loosely down their backs,and waists sashed with rope,cuffed khakis and penny loafers almost unnoticed below their vestments,acolytes now gather at the rear of the nave,sotto voco parlance at play, teen idiom,gentle sparring, smiling, being themselves… until the marshal signals to line up,hold up the candles, raise high the Cross, lift the Sacred Scripture.Now, as if ennobled, they step out on the first soaring note of the processional,invested suddenly with a ceremonial air beyond their years,bearing anticipation with the message they now carry,and advance with reverence and precision so naturalit catches our breath.
It catches our breath, indeed. This week we will honor our acolytes, recognize Betty Lee Kennedy for her many years of service as a coordinator of acolytes, and officially name the acolyte ministry the “Betty Lee Kennedy Acolyte Guild.” 
In addition, this Sunday at the 11:15 am service, we will recognize our graduating seniors, hear from them as they share their plans for the future, and offer a blessing upon them. The message for the day is “Our Good Shepherd,” and we will focus upon the fact that sheep follow the shepherd because they know the shepherd’s voice. In preparation for Sunday, I invite you to read John 10:1-10. We will be singing familiar hymns (“Come, thou Almighty King” and “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”) and hear beautiful music from the Chancel Choir. I hope you will make your plans to join us in person. If you cannot be here, our services will be livestreamed through the church website here
Let me take this opportunity to alert you to several upcoming opportunities:

Resiliency: Responding to Life’s Deeper Challenges – the One Lamb initiative is sponsoring a forum with pastoral counselor Ron Greer this Sunday, April 30, at 10:00 am in Heritage Hall. How do you respond to the stress-filled times of your life? Ron will discuss the pillars of resiliency that can enable you to cope in these times and then help you discover how these ordeals possibly can strengthen you for the challenges ahead. This forum is open to all.

The Missionary Journeys of Paul Class – we have over 70 folks from Peachtree Road UMC going on the Journeys of Paul cruise this upcoming October (and it’s still not too late to sign up if you would like to join us!). Jamie Jenkins will be leading a class on the 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys of Paul on Tuesdays in May at 6:30 pm in room C106. These sessions will focus upon Paul’s ministry in Philippi, Thessalonica, Ephesus, Athens, and Corinth as recorded in Acts 16-20. You can participate in person or via Zoom Meeting 844 1967 0798. Passcode: 952356. For more information, contact Jamie Jenkins at jamiej@prumc.org.

I hope you will mark your calendar for next Sunday, May 7, and make your plans to celebrate Music and Arts Sunday here at Peachtree Road UMC. Our church is known for “heavenly music,” and musicians will be spread throughout the sanctuary as we highlight their talents and contributions to our worship. The Atlanta Brassworks, Peachtree Carillon, our children’s choirs (Cherub Choir, Covenant Choir, Celebration Singers), Doxology Youth Choir, and Chancel Choir will share music with us. You are invited to attend and lend your voice as we celebrate the gift of music in our church. Following worship, you are invited to a luncheon in Grace Hall. The menu will feature pasta primavera, grilled chicken, mixed green salad, garlic bread, and tiramisu.  $10/adults, $5/children under 12, $40/family max. Please mark your calendar and join your friends from Peachtree Road UMC next Sunday. 

Finally, please include the members of our Kenya Mission Team in your prayers. They left yesterday, and this is the first team we have been able to send to distribute water filters since prior to the pandemic in 2019. Lift them up as they minister on our behalf.
I am grateful for you and all you do for the cause of Christ through this great church. Please call on me if I may be of help to you in any way. See you Sunday!

Grace and peace,