The Courage to Live Boldly for Christ

May 20, 2022

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. You may not be aware, but next Tuesday is an important date in the history of the Methodist movement. On that date 284 years ago, John Wesley had what is known as his “Aldersgate Street” experience. He had returned to England from his time in the colony of Georgia and, by his own admission, was having a crisis of faith. Then, on the evening of May 24, 1738, Wesley attended a meeting of Moravian Christians that was taking place on Aldersgate Street in London. When he arrived, a layperson was reading from Martin Luther’s preface to his commentary on the New Testament book of Romans. Wesley penned these words in his personal journal:

“…while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Wesley later looked upon this moment of inspiration as the time in his life when the Holy Spirit gave him both a gift of assurance of God’s love and the courage to live boldly for Christ. It was a defining moment in the life of John Wesley and the reform movement he championed that came to be known as “Methodism.” In recent days, I have been praying for the Holy Spirit to come upon those of us who are Methodists, the spiritual descendants of John Wesley, in a similar way. I hope you will join me in that prayer for our church.

I really am looking forward to Sunday. We will be talking about the conversion of Lydia – the first woman baptized on European soil. My affection for this story stems from a couple of places. First, a personal reason — my granddaughter is named Lidia. Second, several years ago Wendie and I joined with a group of folks from Peachtree Road UMC on a “journeys of Paul” tour, and we visited the ancient city of Philippi and the place where Lydia was baptized. On Sunday we will consider the role the Holy Spirit played in this woman’s conversion and her response to this new relationship with Christ. I think you will find Lydia a very relatable character, and I hope to see you in worship (You can read her story here: Acts 16:11-15). If you are unable to be present, please join us online through the Livestream of the service here.

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the ministry of Music and Arts here at Peachtree Road UMC. Please note these upcoming offerings through the music ministry of this great church:

  • Doxology Youth Choir Concert – Sunday, May 22, 10:00 am, Grace Hall. Doxology is nearly set for its summer tour to the Grand Canyon, and you are invited to a special pre-tour concert as they offer the songs of America including some favorite jazz standards.
  • Celebration of Freedom Volunteer Festival Chorus — Sunday, June 26, at 8:45 am and 11:15 am. Do you enjoy singing patriotic music with others? Then come join the Freedom Sunday Choir and help us celebrate our country’s birthday Peachtree Road UMC style. Please contact Ruth Sommerville at ruths@prumc.org or 404.240.8212 to sign up or get more details.
  • The Elizabeth B. Stephens International Organ Competition Finalist Recitals — Friday, June 17. This international competition was founded by the family of the late Elizabeth B. Stephens, who was a great supporter of the arts at Peachtree Road UMC and throughout the city of Atlanta. Six talented young organists have been chosen from more than 70 applicants from around the world to come to our sanctuary to perform. You are invited to attend the finalist recitals and enjoy the astounding talents of these young organists.

Finally, as we bring Mental Health Awareness month to a close, let me make you aware of an upcoming event being hosted by the One Lamb Mental Wellness Initiative:

  • Reimagining Life: Fallout from COVID-19 – Wednesday, June 15, 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, in the Harp Student Center. Has the pandemic left you feeling empty or grieving the loss of a sense of meaning? Rev. Dr. Susan Anne Bennett will facilitate this interactive conversation about how you can reclaim your losses, gain emotional wellness, and develop a healthy spirituality from the pandemic experience. Lunch will be provided. You may register at prumconelamb@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support of Peachtree Road UMC. I am grateful for all you do to help our church be a beacon of light to the community.

Grace and peace,

Bill

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