June 21, 2024

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. This Sunday is our annual Celebration of Freedom service, and we will be singing patriotic hymns, hearing inspirational music from our Freedom Sunday volunteer choir, and honoring our veterans. For many, that moment in the service when the veterans march down the aisle to the expressed appreciation of our congregation is one of the highlights of the year at Peachtree Road UMC.

Almost none of our marching veterans are from World War II. We will be honoring the life of Homer Rice today, and I believe he may have been our last World War II veteran. Earlier this month we marked the 80th anniversary of D-Day and paid tribute to those who sacrificed so much. This Sunday we will honor all who have willingly put on a military uniform and served our country. If you know a veteran who does not have a church home, please invite him or her to this service, and we will invite them to participate in this meaningful time.

Here are a few important notes about Freedom Sunday at Peachtree Road:

  • I will be preaching on the topic “The Vision Still Waits…” You and I know that our nation was founded upon a vision that has guided us for nearly 250 years: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” We will reflect upon these words from the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and consider words from the prophet Habakkuk when it comes to living into a vision. I encourage you to read Habakkuk 2:1-5 in preparation for the message.
  • The service will conclude with a prayer for our nation as William Green leads us in singing “God Bless America.” This will be a most inspirational service, and I hope you are planning to be present. Wear your patriotic colors and invite someone to come with you! There is a place for everyone at Peachtree Road UMC.
  • You also are invited to stay for a fellowship luncheon in Grace Hall with your church friends. I invite you to come to worship and stay for a delicious meal featuring fried chicken, potato salad, tomato and cucumber salad, and peach cobbler. You are invited to be our guest for this complimentary lunch. We will be serving lunch from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm, and I hope to see you there.

And, while we’re on the topic of patriotic celebrations, I want to invite you to join us in front of the church on Thursday, July 4, for our “Party on Peachtree” from 6:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. The elite runners start in front of Lenox Square (women at 6:50 am and men at 7:00 am) and sprint past the church within 5 minutes. We will gather out front to enjoy a time of fellowship as we cheer on the 60,000 participants as they sprint/jog/walk past our church as a part of the Peachtree Road Race. The church bells will be ringing, and the large American flag will be flying! Come spend the early hours of the holiday with your church family.

Have you heard about the “Doves of Peachtree Road UMC” exhibit? As a part of our year-long celebration of our 100th anniversary, we will install a magnificent work of art in the sanctuary in November that will capture the spirit of our people and our centennial. Watch the video linked here and visit www.prumc.org/doves to learn more about the project and how you can become a sponsor.

Finally, let me close with a personal note. Last Saturday, at the close of the North Georgia Annual Conference, Bishop Dease “fixed” the clergy appointments for the coming year, and Wendie and I were assigned to come back to Peachtree Road UMC for a 17th year. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for your support over these years. We have been through a lot together (the Great Recession, a worldwide pandemic, the loss of loved ones, and political storms that have rocked our denomination), and God has been with us every step of the way. I am thankful for each and every one of you and look forward to working with you in the days to come to fulfill the vision Christ has given us.

I hope to see you in worship this Sunday at either 8:45 am, 10:00 am, or 11:15 am. However, if you are out of town or traveling, please worship with us by livestream at www.prumc.org. Either way, I look forward to worshiping with you as we celebrate our freedom and pray for God to bless our land.

Grace and peace,