Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I am grateful for all who worked to make last week’s Easter celebration a memorable day. The celebration actually began on Saturday morning when hundreds of children gathered for the church’s annual Easter Egg Hunt. For the first time in many Easter Egg Huntyears, the hunt returned to Bob and Becky Hill’s house, and they were gracious hosts to hundreds of children and their families. We had beautiful weather, and, as I watched the little ones scramble for eggs, I was overwhelmed with the realization that our church is richly blessed with children. Thanks to Martha Christopher and her team of volunteers for organizing this fun event.

Our celebration of the resurrection began early in the columbarium with our sunrise service. A large crowd gathered beneath a full moon, the Easter story was read from John’s Gospel, and we processed with our candles around the church to the chapel. It was a perfect way to begin our celebration. I appreciate the work of the Altar Guild, Flower Guild, Ushers, Handbell Choir, Chancel Choir, and Atlanta Brassworks. Because of their efforts, there’s no place like Peachtree Road on Easter! If you missed our Easter services and would like to view them online, you may do so anytime by clicking here.

Thank you for your generous contributions to our special offering for the house we are building in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. The house is nearing completion, and I am grateful for your gifts totaling over $35,000 toward the project. If you did not have an opportunity to give last Sunday, it is not too late. Please contribute by clicking here.

Sunday afternoon, someone I follow on Twitter retweeted the comments of a minister in Texas. He wrote: “My Easter sermon must have been powerful, because several folks told me it would last them until Christmas!” Well, I hope many of those who worshiped with us on Easter will not wait until Christmas to come back because we have some great opportunities coming up:

April 19 – Baby Recognition: at the 11:15 a.m. service in the sanctuary our United Methodist Women will help us recognize all the babies who were born in the last year and whose parents are members of the church. We will offer a blessing upon them and they will be our guests at a brunch.

April 26 – Confirmation Sunday: at both services in the sanctuary, we will confirm the faith of the 60+ sixth graders from this year’s Confirmation Class. This is a high moment in the life of our church each year as we welcome these students into the full membership of the church. I am grateful to Scott Whitehead and his team of adult and youth volunteers who lead the class.

May 3 – Music and Arts Sunday: We are not only blessed with lots of children and youth, but we also know the blessing of hearing beautiful music each Sunday. This year our worship leader for the service will be Dr. Don Saliers. Some of you may know him as the father of Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, others remember him as the liturgical consultant on our sanctuary construction, but I always will know him best as my professor of worship when I was a student at Candler School of Theology.

I’ll tell you what prompted me to invite Dr. Saliers to be with us. Several years ago, we hosted the Festival of Homiletics, a conference that attracts over 1500 preachers from across North America for a week of talking about the craft of preaching. When I heard those 1500 voices singing out on the opening hymn in our sanctuary, I thought to myself: “This is what this room was created for!” Dr. Saliers is a gifted musician and teacher, and I have asked him to teach us how to sing.

In addition to being with us on Music and Arts Sunday, he will lead two workshops designed to help us learn how we are shaped by what we sing (see below for further information). You will note that the first one is this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. I know it’s Master’s Sunday in Augusta, but the leaders will not tee off until around 2:00 p.m. Please join us this Sunday in the sanctuary as we develop our congregation as a “singing” church.

On a personal note, please lift my mother up in your prayers. She fell on the Monday after Easter and broke her hip. She had successful surgery Monday evening and we are hopeful for a full recovery. My mother’s name is Ann Britt and she lives in my hometown of Thomaston, Georgia. Thank you for your support of Peachtree Road’s ministry. Picking up from last Sunday, I remind you: “Jesus is on the loose!’

See you Sunday!

Bill