November 16, 2018

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are doing well. I really am looking forward to worship as we celebrate Harvest Sunday here at Peachtree Road. As our hymn for the day reminds us, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings…” Sociologists have discovered a direct correlation between joy and thanksgiving, but it doesn’t work the way you might think. Giving thanks precedes the joy! In other words, if you want to have more joy in your life, then you need to spend more time in thanksgiving. Therefore, as we approach Thanksgiving Day, I encourage you to take a moment and make a list of those blessings from the last year for which you are grateful. And, to help you get started, allow me to share part of my list with you.

I am thankful…

…for a thrilling day with Wendie watching Orcas and humpback whales in the Salish Sea
…for the opportunities to visit my mother and see her smiling face and courageous faith
…for a “Year of Prayer” that has deepened our faith and helped us grow in Christ
…for a Christmas Eve miracle: you gave over $270k to provide clean water in Rongai, Kenya
…for a Lenten season that stirred our compassion and raised $330k for our local ministry partners
…for the privilege of officiating at weddings and baptizing babies – two of my favorite things
…for the 30 “saints” we remembered two weeks ago on All Saints Sunday
…for an altar overflowing with 92 youth on Confirmation Sunday
…for lighted candles in a dark sanctuary on Christmas Eve
…for joyous singing in a sunlit sanctuary on Easter morning
…for a Needlepoint Guild and the gift of six beautiful pulpit chairs in the sanctuary
…for generous givers who are helping us reach our goal of being debt-free by December
…for 198 new members so far this year, 108 of whom have joined on profession of faith
…for an impactful Civil Rights Tour to Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma
…for the privilege of hearing members of our choir lead in worship at Westminster Abby
…for a Great Day of Service, Habitat volunteers, and those who serve in the name of Christ
…for mission teams that go where the need is great, offering clean water, shelter, and God’s love
…for the powerful voice of Timothy Miller singing “God Bless America” on Freedom Sunday
…for Disciple Bible Study groups and those who lead them
…for the talented church staff members who lead our congregation’s vital ministries
…for sunrises at the beach and a cool ocean breeze on a hot summer day
…for Lidia and Lucas (we couldn’t imagine how much fun grandchildren could be)
…for family time spent with Will and Sara, son-in-law Diogo, and new daughter-in-law Gina
…for the blessings experienced in 35 wonderful years of marriage to my wife Wendie
…for the daily opportunities to worship and serve with you at Peachtree Road UMC

For these and many other blessings, I am thankful!

I hope that will inspire you to make your own list. And while we’re on the subject of being thankful for the church, let me remind you of some wonderful opportunities in the near future:

  • Harvest Sunday Congregational Luncheon – come be our guest as we enjoy turkey, dressing, all of the fixings, and warm fellowship in Grace Hall from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm on Sunday
  • Advent Workshop – bring the whole family to Grace Hall on Sunday evening, November 18, from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm to help prepare for the upcoming season. The food, fellowship, fun, and crafts will put you in the mood for this wonderful time of preparing for Christmas. You may get more details and rsvp through the church app or website.
  • Sundays @ 5 this week – you are encouraged to join in the excitement of worship in the sanctuary Sunday morning and the Advent Workshop on Sunday evening, but there will be no Sundays @ 5 this week.
  • Christmas Kindness – join your fellow church members as we support many of our partner agencies in Atlanta to help provide warm coats, children’s toys, and household necessities to hundreds of families in need in this season. You can volunteer to serve as a host, wrap gifts, or provide snacks. There are spots still available. You may sign up through the church app or website.

Please know how thankful I am for you. Our thanksgiving leads to joy, and I pray that your joy may be full in this season. See you Sunday!