May 3, 2019

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. At the end of this note I want to give you a brief update on the ruling by the Judicial Council late last week. First, as you read these words, I am traveling home from Turkey with a great group from Peachtree Road as we bring our “Journeys of Paul” trip to a close. It has been an eventful pilgrimage as we have seen the places where the Christian Church was birthed in Europe and Asia and began to thrive in the first century. We have felt inspired as we visited the island of Patmos where the book of Revelation was penned, Ephesus where many believe the Gospel of John was written, as well as the ancient cities of Thessalonica and Philippi. I look forward to sharing more about this trip with you in the coming weeks.

Sunday already is on my mind, and I hope you are planning to be present as we celebrate Confirmation Sunday here at Peachtree Road. Over the course of the last nine months, approximately 75 sixth graders have participated in this spiritual formation class. They attended a retreat at Camp Glisson in the early fall, have been meeting weekly as a class to explore their faith, and have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. I am grateful to Grace Nadeau for her leadership with this outstanding group. She has been assisted by teachers Mary Pillow Cornett, David Cunningham, and Daris McCullough, and youth leaders, Adeline Allen, Catherine Crawford, Griffin Daniel, Tyler Hubbard, Anna Pannell, Jessie Pannell, George Pope, Sarah Pope, Henry Sullivan, Sadye Sumter, Charlotte Taylor, and May Lebby Thompson.

In recent weeks, each member of the class and his or her parents has been meeting with me and other members of our clergy and youth staff to talk about confirmation and their spiritual growth. On Sunday morning during the sanctuary worship services, many of these sixth graders will approach the altar of the church, make a profession of faith in Christ, and become full members of Peachtree Road. We will receive our new members at both the 8:45 am and 11:15 am services in the sanctuary, and I hope you will join me in welcoming them.

The title for this Sunday’s message is “Adopted By God,” and I will be preaching on those familiar words from I Peter:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – I Peter 2:9

This letter was written to encourage new Christians to claim their identity and live into that identity. I look forward to reflecting upon the impact of this passage on our church with you.

Worship promises to be special throughout the month of May as we look forward to these Sundays of celebration:

  • On May 12, we will celebrate both Mother’s Day and Music and Arts Sunday at Peachtree Road. The sermon that day will focus upon the practical parenting teaching of Susanna Wesley, the “mother of Methodism.” Once again on this Sunday, we will receive an offering for Wesley Woods to provide support for senior adults in North Georgia who have outlived their financial resources. And, for this special day, our talented choirs and musicians will thrill our hearts with great music. This is a day you will not want to miss.
  • On May 19, we will recognize our graduating high school seniors in the sanctuary at the 11:15 am service. This always is a high moment as we recognize our graduates, hear them as they share their plans for the future, and offer them our prayerful support in the coming days. Please help us celebrate with them and their families.
  • On May 26, our associate minister Rev. Carolyn Stephens will be preaching at the morning services in the sanctuary. Since that is Memorial Day weekend, we will not offer The Road service in Heritage Hall or Sundays @ 5 in the Moore Chapel. Please join your friends in the sanctuary for worship as we celebrate the end of the school year and welcome summer.

Finally, let me share with you a quick update on what is going on in the United Methodist Church. Last week, the Judicial Council (the UMC version of the United States Supreme Court) met to consider the plan approved by a majority of delegates to the special called General Conference earlier this year. While some thought the Judicial Council might throw out the entire plan, its decision leaves the church with work to do. Part of the plan was deemed to be constitutional while several other parts were pronounced unconstitutional. We now move into a time of uncertainty as church leaders work to develop a plan that will be workable for all concerned. I have been invited to participate in that conversation later this month and look forward to working with others to strengthen our over-arching commitment to being an inclusive church that places a strong emphasis on our Wesleyan theology rooted in scripture and informed by tradition, reason, and experience. I want you to know that I am hopeful and optimistic that a plan will be approved in May of 2020 that will provide a roadmap toward a more vital and faithful Methodist Church in the future. I will keep you informed. Please continue to remember the Church in your prayers – that we might make wise decisions and make them in a way that is pleasing to the Spirit of Christ.

That’s it for now. I have a plane to catch! I am grateful for your support of Peachtree Road in so many ways and look forward to being back with you Sunday.

Bill