Dear Peachtree Road Family,

You probably have heard the old story. A man was walking along a deserted beach as the tide was going out. In the distance he could see a young boy standing near the shoreline. As he drew nearer, he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up, and throwing it into the water. Finally, the man was close enough to realize the boy was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach and throwing them back into the water. The man stood there watching for a few moments and then observed, “There are literally thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly save them all.” The boy just bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean, and said, “Made a difference to that one.”

Habitat HomeIn a similar way, I see the people of Peachtree Road looking beyond the magnitude of problems in the world and making a difference in individual’s lives. For example, last week members of our church participated in the dedication of a house our church helped build in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. It is the 43rd Habitat house our church has built in the last 25 years, and it certainly will make a difference in the life of Wanda Boykin and her family. Wanda is a hair stylist and has dreamed of providing a home for her children for a long time. She has a daughter who is in college at Georgia State and three sons – the oldest is a freshman in high school, the middle son is in the 7th grade, and her youngest son is in the 5th grade. Because of the support of our members (both financially and through volunteer labor during its construction) Wanda’s dream has become a reality.

Earlier this week I received a very heartfelt “thank you” note from Larrie Del Martin, the retiring director of Habitat for Humanity here in Atlanta. She wanted me to convey to you how grateful she is for Peachtree Road’s enthusiastic support of that ministry. I, too, am grateful for your support of Habitat and so many other ministries of our church – know that your efforts are both appreciated and make a difference in people’s lives!

Last Sunday we were privileged to have Dr. Don Saliers, Theologian in Residence and William R. Cannon distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship, Emeritus at Candler School of Theology, with us. Dr. Saliers presented a forum on singing in worship entitled “Singing to God with the Whole Church.” It was a fascinating presentation in which he talked about the importance of singing and how it connects us with God’s people stretching back 4000 years.

I can think of no better person than Don Saliers to lead us on this subject – if you were unable to be present for last week’s forum, please watch it here. Don will be with us again on Sunday, April 26 for a second forum entitled “The United Methodist Hymnal: Our Theology of Hymns.” Then, he will lead us in worship on Music and Arts Sunday, May 3, and help us incorporate what we have learned in our worship. It promises to be a powerful Sunday of offering up a joyful noise to the Lord! I hope you will mark these dates on your calendar and join us as we learn to lift our voices to God.

Of course, this Sunday is Baby Day here at Peachtree Road. Babies born to church members between March 1, 2014 and February 28, 2015 will be honored at the 11:15 a.m. service. Their names will be called, a certificate from the United Methodist Woman will be presented to each family, and a prayer of blessing will be offered upon them by our congregation. This is a special moment in the life of our church, and I hope you will be present to help us bless these families.

I do warn you the halls of our elementary and youth education wings will be fairly quiet this Sunday. Our 3rd through 5th graders will join students from other United Methodist churches to experience “Scream Weekend,” a 3-day spiritual life retreat at Sharp Top Cove in Jasper, Georgia, for elementary children that will feature fellowship, fun, and worship experiences that are designed to help our children grow in their relationship with Christ. Also, our youth will be attending separate retreats for boy and girls (the girls are going to Camp Skyline and the boys are going to Burge Plantation). This is a time for our youth to relax, have fun, and grow closer to Christ and one another. I am most grateful to the adult leaders who give of their time to support and mentor our children and youth. Please join me in lifting them up in your prayers.

Our message this Sunday will focus upon the disciples’ response to Easter – they “disbelieved for joy.” You talk about mixed emotions! Have you ever had something happen to you that was just too good to be true? Well, that’s the feeling the disciples had. On Sunday we will talk about how we can look at life from a different perspective – through the lens of Easter. I hope to see you in worship. If you can’t be present at the church, please remember to worship with us online (live or later in the week).

Finally, I wanted to let you know that Sunday, June 7 will be a special day in the life of our church – it will be the 90th anniversary of the founding of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. Just imagine, our church will be celebrating 90 years of ministry here in the Buckhead community, and we are making preparations to celebrate.

Again, thank you for the difference you are making in our community and around the world. Each act of kindness in the name of Christ brings light and hope to someone. Keep it up!

Bill

PS – I found the card Larrie Del used to write her note to be inspirational and share it with you here:

Larrie Del Note