February 23, 2024

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. As you read these words, I am on my way back from a conference attended by the senior ministers of the largest churches in our denomination. It has been a good time of comparing notes, sharing best practices, and encouraging one another. I come away grateful that, like our congregation at Peachtree Road UMC, the members of so many of these churches are praying for spiritual renewal – renewal of our churches, communities, and nation. Please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to move in us and through us during these days. 

Last week we began the Lenten season under the theme of “Rekindling the Fires of Our Faith.” I reminded you that my grandmother knew that she could not grow orchids. She could not make the plant sprout and push its roots deep into the soil, nor could she make the plant blossom and bloom. However, she knew that in her greenhouse she could provide them with the right environment that would enable growth to happen – the amount of light and an ideal temperature and humidity. As a result, she had beautiful orchids to share with others. There is a lesson for us in my grandmother’s greenhouse. Try as hard as we might, we cannot make a person grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. However, we can provide the right atmosphere that enables the Holy Spirit to work in us to bring spiritual growth. The ideal environment for spiritual growth is what we’re talking about in this season. We began with the affirmation that “Jesus Christ is Lord!” On Sunday we will think for a few minutes about “Taking the Bible Seriously.”

Do you ever read a story in the Bible and find yourself doubting whether that really happened or not? Do you ever hear others talk about ignoring certain passages and thinking, “You’re heading down a slippery slope!” Well, on Sunday, I want us to think for a few minutes about the Bible and its relevance for our lives. In preparation for the message, I invite you to read and reflect upon II Timothy 3:16-17. And, while we’re on the subject of reading the Bible, I hope you’re keeping up with your daily readings as we read through the Bible in one year. If you are missing out, please sign up for them here

On Sunday we also will be celebrating 25 years of our ministry known as Georgia to Georgia and giving you the opportunity to once again sponsor a child in that country. Over the years, your generosity has provided over 1 million hot meals, 7,000 medical check-ups, over 5,000 coats and boots, and so much more for children. Let’s keep it going! For only $1/day, you can change a child’s life in the country of Georgia forever. To sponsor a child, sign up Sunday in Grace Hall, or learn more here. I do encourage you to watch this video showing the heartwarming progress of these precious children through Sponsor a Child. Thank you! 

Members of the teams who have been traveling to the country of Georgia to minister to children in that region will serve as hosts and hostesses for us at Sunday’s fellowship meal in Grace Hall. A delicious brunch featuring eggs, bacon, French toast, sausage, hash browns, and biscuits will be offered complimentary. So, come and enjoy brunch with your friends at Peachtree Road UMC this Sunday.

Here are two helpful and spiritually enriching upcoming events:

  • A Walk Through the Dark Prayer Workshop — Saturday, February 24, 10:00 am, at the Harp Student Center. You are invited to participate in an informal workshop designed to help you have a meaningful encounter with God through prayer. The workshop will be led by Rev. Dr. Susan Anne Bennett and Rev. Josh Miles. You may register here
  • Forum on the current conflict in the Middle East — Wednesday, February 28, at 6:30 pm in Grace Hall. The Deep Waters Class is sponsoring this forum which will feature experts in the field. You will hear about the history of the people living in that land, the events that have led to the current conflict, and the status of past peace initiatives. I am pleased to announce that Rabbi Peter Berg, from the Temple here in Atlanta, and Dr. Fahed Abu Akel, a Palestinian Christian minister living here in Atlanta, will serve as panelists, and Dr. Deanna Ferree Womack, Assistant Professor of Religions and Multifaith Relations at Candler School of Theology at Emory University will be our moderator. I am hopeful that this conversation will inform us as we pray for peace in our world and for the people of this region. You are invited to register for the forum here. There is no charge. 

Have you signed up yet for the Season of Service? You may click here to view the projects and their corresponding dates. From baking cookies to building a Habitat for Humanity home, there is something for everyone. We have meaningful outreach opportunities in which folks of all ages and stages of life can participate. Please sign up and experience the blessing of giving.

You are invited to the dedication of the church’s new parsonage on Sunday, March 10, at 5:00 pm. The new home we have been building at 3210 West Shadowlawn (right across the street from the soccer field) is nearly complete and will be dedicated on that date. We are grateful that the home is already paid for, and our associate minister Josh Miles, and his family will be moving into the home later in March. You are invited to the dedication and open house that is to follow. 

Finally, are you new to Peachtree Road UMC and looking for ways to connect? Here are two opportunities to help you navigate this large church and find new connections:

  • Take a Tour of Peachtree Road’s Facilities – Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 am. Meet your guide in Heritage Hall for a tour of the campus and a brief overview of the church’s ministries and offerings. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Byrd at elizabethb@prumc.org
  • Explore Membership in Peachtree Road UMC — Sunday, March 10, at 12:30 pm in the Hospitality Suite. At this month’s “Tea with the Clergy” luncheon, you will have the opportunity to meet with several members of our clergy staff, hear about the ministry of this great church, ask questions, and even have an opportunity to join at the end of the session. Please contact Elizabeth Byrd at elizabethb@prumc.org for more information or to sign up.  

I hope to see you Sunday as we journey together through the season of Lent.

Grace and peace,