April 13, 2018
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope you are having a great week. As you read this note, Wendie and I are on our way back from a few days away after our son’s wedding. Our son Will and his wife Gina Kim were married in our sanctuary last Saturday evening in a beautiful ceremony. This has been good a good week for us to catch our breath following a busy Lenten season and this family wedding. We are looking forward to being in worship with you this Sunday.
Our Easter celebration will continue this Sunday as we turn our attention to Luke’s account of the “Walk to Emmaus” – Luke 24:13-35. This story is rich in lessons for our faith, but I want us to spend a few minutes on this third Sunday of Easter thinking about a phrase uttered by one of the disciples: “But we had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel.” That haunting phrase rings true, doesn’t it? It rings true because, while there is so much in this life that is beautiful, inspiring, fulfilling, there also is disappointment, heartbreak, and failure. Too often we gloss over these and never really learn how to faithfully deal with loss. On Sunday, I look forward to wrestling with this important lesson with you.
We also will welcome the youth choirs from the First United Methodist Church in Athens and Peachtree Road to our services this Sunday in the sanctuary. Kathy Fletcher has organized a Youth Choir Festival here at Peachtree Road for the Wesleyan Youth Choir and our own Doxology Youth Choir. They will join together on Saturday for a time of collaboration and fun and then sing at the morning services. I am grateful to Kathy for arranging this festival and to Janis Maxwell from Athens. I had the privilege of baptizing many of the members of the Athens choir and look forward to seeing them here in Atlanta. I hope you will be present to greet them and offer them a warm welcome to Peachtree Road.
Easter Sunday served as a reminder to me of how tight our parking situation can be on Sunday mornings. I heard stories of many folks circling the lots searching for a space as the day progressed. As a courtesy to our older members, we are reserving the Green Parking Lot 1 (located behind Grace Hall and between the Rollins Administration Building and the Evelyn Gordy Rankin Children’s Building) for their use on Sunday mornings. We encourage others to use lots further from the building so those who may have mobility issues have closer proximity. I am grateful for your cooperation.
One of the goals that I set for our staff for 2018 is to “up our game” as it pertains to congregational care. I remember the days when hospitals notified us when members of our churches became their patients or when hospitals openly shared their daily census report with church pastors; however, those days are long gone with the Hipaa personal privacy laws. Sometimes our members enter and leave the hospital, have surgery, experience a death in the family, or have another concern without us ever knowing. As I have said to our ministerial staff, this ought not be! Therefore, we are working to formalize some of the informal networks in our church. Going forward, this will include tracking weekly attendance in Sunday School. When a person is absent from Sunday School four weeks in a row, we will be following up on him or her to make sure they are doing well. Please know that we are making congregational care an important priority for our time. You can help by calling or emailing us at the church when you know of a pastoral concern. Thank you for helping us build a strong network of caring.
Finally, let me make you aware of a mission opportunity. Many of you know about our church’s work in the nation of Georgia. We provide for the physical, emotional, and spiritual support for over 300 children in that country. I especially am grateful to Lynn Banks and Gary Schneeberg for their dedication to this ministry and coordinating our church’s efforts. Our “Sponsor a Child” emphasis will be held here at Peachtree Road on April 29 and May 6. You are invited to go to Grace Hall on one of those Sundays, hear the stories from those who have shepherded this ministry, and view the photographs of the children who need your help. I encourage you to get on board and make the commitment to sponsor a child in Georgia this year. Your support of $330 per child provides a year’s supply of nutritional meals, warm clothes, shoes, medical examinations, medicines, and basic essentials for those living in this remote rural region we have served for nearly 20 years. Thank you for helping make all the difference in a little one’s life.
I am grateful for you and all you do for the cause of Christ through Peachtree Road. Know that I am praying for you in these days.
PS – What are you praying for this season? Please keep the church and its ministry in your daily prayers. At the end of the year, we will look back and see what God has done!