December 8, 2023

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. Last week we made a good start to Advent, and I am grateful to all who had a hand in decorating our sanctuary for the season. The Chrismon tree is the most beautiful I have ever seen, and I understand there are over 8,000 lights on it – one for every member of Peachtree Road UMC! A delighted gasp went up from the congregation when the tree lights came on for the first time during the children’s choir program last Sunday evening. We’re off to a great start!

This week our church celebrated the outreach ministry Christmas Kindness as 645 volunteers from our church helped hundreds of persons shop for new warm coats, small home appliances, and toys for their children. This ministry started 17 years ago, and I am grateful to Beth Spencer and her team who worked to make this the best “Christmas Kindness” ever! Consider these facts:

  • Helped over 789 families which corresponds to over 2500 people.
  • Gave out 1,000 Christmas bags to:
  • Incarcerated men and women
  • Staff at the Murphy-Harpst Home
  • FL Stanton Elementary School
  • Hollis Academy
  • Widows with Hopeworks
  • Provided a carload of toys and Christmas decorations for the Henderson Settlement (KY) in Appalachia.

You may wonder how we identified those who received Christmas Kindness this year. They were suggested to us by our community partners:

AgapeCity of RefugeBeLoved Atlanta
Police Athletic LeagueBoys and Girls ClubTrinity/Big Bethel

Thank you to all who volunteered their time and to those who contributed to this amazing ministry. If you would like to contribute, it’s not too late. Please follow this link to give to Christmas Kindness.

As we approach the second week in Advent, I remind you that our theme is “Light Shines in the Darkness.” This week’s message is entitled “A Thrill of Hope.” Fear is the great nemesis of peace in our lives, and we constantly need to be reminded of the words of the angel: “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord…” Are you living in fear these days? Do you feel like there is no peace in your life? Then join us for worship this Sunday as we take in the hope that comes to us in this season.

We will sing three favorite carols (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, The First Noel, and O Little Town of Bethlehem), and the Chancel Choir’s anthem is Suo-gan, a traditional Welsh lullaby arranged by Barlow Bradford. I hope you will join us in person at 8:45 am, 10:00 am, or 11:15 am or online through the church website.

Special Opportunities for this Season:

  • Tuba Christmas and Sing-a-long – Today, December 8, at 12:00 noon, a band of professional tuba players will join our own Will Green on the front steps of our church for a performance of Christmas classics and sing-a-longs. This takes place in cities across the country each year, and this year they are performing here at Peachtree Road UMC. Please join us out front for great music and great fun as we celebrate the Christmas spirit.
  • Christmas with the Georgia Boy Choir – Today, Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9, at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary. Come hear all five levels of the Georgia Boy Choir, our ensemble in residence, as they perform sacred classics, traditional Christmas carols, and all your holiday favorites. You may purchase your tickets here.
  • Carols by Candlelight – Sunday, December 10, at 5:30 pm in the sanctuary. You are invited to join us as the Carols by Candlelight Choir and Doxology Youth Chorale lead us in a service of lessons and very familiar carols. The service closes with the lighting of candles as a symbol of our hope that “light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.” A reception will follow in Grace Hall.
  • Many Moods of Christmas – Sunday, December 17, at 7:30 pm in the sanctuary. Tickets for this classic Christmas concert are complimentary but may run out, so reserve your seat today – online here, at the Dogwood Shop, or in the church office.
  • Longest Night Service – for many, the holidays can be a difficult time. Our Longest Night Service, set for Thursday, December 21, at 7:00 pm in the Moore Chapel, is designed to help participants find comfort in the midst of grief. Rev. Jamie Jenkins will offer a message of hope.
  • Christmas Eve – there is nothing like Christmas Eve at Peachtree Road UMC! The sight of worshipers filling our beautiful sanctuary, children in their costumes leading us in a Christmas pageant, and lighted candles piercing the darkness giving us hope are just a few of the lasting images that come to my mind. You are invited to experience the glory of Christmas Eve at Peachtree Road UMC at 5 scheduled services:

11:15 am – First Communion of Christmas and Candlelight

4:00 pm – Children’s Pageant and Candlelight

6:00 pm – Children’s Pageant and Candlelight

8:00 pm – Lessons and Carols and Candlelight

10:30 pm – Festival Worship with Eucharist and Candlelight

Now, let me offer some information about several giving opportunities:

  • Christmas Eve Offering – once again, this year’s special offering on Christmas Eve will be used to purchase water filters for those living in the Makongeni region of Kenya. One $50 water filter can provide clean water to a family for up to 10 years. Please help us give the gift of hope as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. You may give now here or purchase a water filter gift card at the Dogwood Gift Shop.
  • Year-End Giving – due to your wonderful generosity, we are hopeful that we will be able to cover all our projected expenses for the current year. However, in order to do that, we need to finish well. Please do your best to fulfill your commitment to the operating budget and consider giving an extra gift in this season. Thank you for your help! You may give to fulfill your pledge online here.
  • Commit to the 2024 church budget  if you have not yet turned in a commitment card to support next year’s budget, we need to hear from you. Your generosity and commitment honor God and make the church’s ministry possible. All of our worship services, discipleship opportunities, and care for one another and the needs of our community happen because of the gifts you give. You may make your commitment through the church app or online here. We also have a gift for all who make a commitment as a token of our appreciation for your support. We will be delivering those in the new year to your home and also have them here at the church for those who live in high-rise and gated communities. Again, thank you for your commitment to Peachtree Road UMC.

Thank you for your faith, hope, and love. I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we begin preparing anew for the coming of Christ.

Grace and peace,