Love, Gratitude, and Joy

November 5, 2021

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. Are you going to the parade today to celebrate the Braves winning the World Series? I am still trying to catch up on my sleep, but this run to a championship has been so much fun to watch! A great deal has been said and written about this team and how they turned their season around after August 1, but I was caught off-guard by the post-game interviews in which player after player commented about how much they love each other. I guess I’ve heard teammates say it before, but somehow this seemed different, a real thing. Jeff Passan, a writer for ESPN, wrote the following:

“All they could talk about afterward, as the confetti stuck to their heads and bubbly soaked their clothes and cigars dangled from their lips, was love. They’re here because of it, they say…Almost every day, (third-base coach Ron) Washington would read Braves players a quote, an idea, a belief, something to get them to think, and on August 20, as the seedling’s roots matured, Washington wrote a word on a piece of paper: LOVE. As does much of what Washington says, it stuck, ‘Love embodies accountability,’ Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson says. ‘It embodies sacrifice. We pull for each other. We truly care for each other.’ …The word became a mantra. Their guiding principle crystallized: When things are going well, spread the love, and when things aren’t spread the love then, too.”

But this is something we in the church have known since the beginning:

“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 disciple, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

Thank you, Braves, for everything this year!

Last Sunday we made a good beginning to a new three-week series entitled “Gracious Living.” Each week we are considering how gratitude unlocks a spirit of generosity in our lives and leads us to a life of joy. I encouraged you to begin making a gratitude list every Friday using the letters TGIF and asking yourself: “What am I trusting in? What am I grateful for? What is inspiring me? How am I growing in my faith?” Asking yourself these questions will help you recognize the blessings of your life and free your soul from the culture of perceived scarcity that permeates our society. When you factor God into the equation, there is always enough!

This Sunday is All Saints Sunday, and we will be expressing our gratitude for those persons who have loved us and mentored us in the faith. As a part of our worship, we will honor members of Peachtree Road UMC who have preceded us into death within the last year by calling their names, ringing a bell, lighting candles, and standing in their memory:

Barbara Andrews
Eugenia Bain
Andy Beard
Nancy Blanchard
Howard Busbey
Caroline Clotfelter
Richard Conway
LaFon Dees
Phillip Dreger, Sr.
Darrol Fry
Geoffrey Gill
Bill Ham
Don Harp
Charles Hatcher
Bill Josey
Beau Kennedy
Elizabeth Kirschner
George Lumpkin
Carson McElheney
Rebecca Moon
Dick Morris
Cecil Morrison
Malcolm Morrison
Rachel Murdock
Eliza Paris
Penny Parker
Ron Pfohl
Marsha Powell
Carolyn Richardson
John Skogstad
Glen Stow
Terry Sullivan
Elizabeth Wrigley

In addition, we will have an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Those in the sanctuary will receive individual pre-packaged elements while those worshiping online are encouraged to prepare their own bread and wine prior to the service. You also will have an opportunity to remember your saints and give thanks to God for them in these moments of worship. I hope you will join me in worship this week either in person or online at 8:45 am, 10:00 am, or 11:15 am.

Our All Saints celebration continues Sunday evening with a Choral Evensong service in the sanctuary at 5:00 pm. This beautiful service of sung prayers will feature soul-stirring music by the Peachtree Road Chancel Choir and the Georgia Boy Choir. Both the music and text will help you to remember the saints on this day. Please join us in the sanctuary or online for this beautiful service.

By now you have seen some of the testimonies associated with our campaign entitled “Blessed.” During this season, we are reflecting upon the blessings from God we have experienced and considering ways we can bless the lives of others. Making a commitment to support the operating budget of the church is one important way we renew our covenant with Christ and bless the lives of others. During these next couple of weeks, I invite you to do four things:

 

  • Listen to the testimonies of some of your fellow members about the ministry of Peachtree Road found on our website
  • Make a list of some of the blessings of life you have experienced and offer your gratitude to God
  • Prayerfully consider making a pledge or recurring gift to the 2022 operating budget through the church app, website, or commitment card at the church – every commitment contributes to spreading God’s love, no matter the amount!
  • Plan to attend worship on Sunday, November 21, as we celebrate Harvest Sunday and consecrate our lives to God

 

Thank you for your faithfulness and generosity to the ministry of this great church. Two upcoming ministry opportunities:

 

  • William Cope Moyers Event – on Sunday, November 14, our church’s One Lamb Initiative is proud to sponsor an evening with William Cope Moyers, vice president of public affairs and community relations for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He has played a key role in the creation of the newly formed Addiction Alliance of Georgia – a partnership between Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and Emory Healthcare that aims to advance addiction-related clinical care, education and research. On this special evening, Moyers will share his personal story of the devastation that addiction brought to his life and the peace that came with his decision to remain in recovery. Please plan on joining us for this compelling event as part of our emphasis on the importance of mental health. You may register here.
  • Covenant House Sleep Out – many of you know that Covenant House is one of the local agencies with whom our church partners to help homeless youth. This ministry seeks to provide young adults with shelter and a network of support to give them the resources they need to thrive in life. In an effort to help raise awareness and funds to support this ministry, I will be sleeping outside with other pastors, rabbis, and business executives from our community on Thursday, November 18. To support my effort, you may give here, through the church’s website, or make your check out to Peachtree Road UMC and mark for “Covenant House Sleep-Out.” Thank you for your support.

Finally, I remind you that this Sunday marks the return of Eastern Standard Time. Please set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed and then join us Sunday for a day of remembering and paying our respects.

Let us continue to love one another with the love of Christ.

Grace and peace,

Bill

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