October 26, 2018

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I want to begin today’s note by letting you know how proud I am of our church.

Earlier this week, Peachtree Road hosted the Leading Edge conference to which the pastors of the 100 largest churches in United Methodism were invited. These pastors spent the better part of three days discussing a range of topics unique to churches our size, sharing best practices with one another, and hearing from leaders in their fields as they considered current trends in the church. This group is convened by Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, and has been meeting annually for the last ten years. It has enriched my ministry through the years, and I especially am proud of the hospitality shown by our church. My colleagues from around the country experienced true Southern hospitality and what makes being a part of Peachtree Road and living in Atlanta fun. (We even taught them how to order when the man behind the counter at the Varsity asks, “What’ll ya have?”) Our own Bill Curry spoke at dinner on Monday evening, and he inspired all of us in our work.

It is on occasions such as this that I am reminded of just how blessed we are here at Peachtree Road. In July a group of us had the opportunity to travel to England and hear the Chancel Choir as it served as the choir in residence for a week at Westminster Abbey. Many of you have heard me say that hearing our choir singing in that ancient cathedral was an emotional experience for me. However, the emotional part was realizing how privileged we are to hear this beautiful music every Sunday at Peachtree Road. Sometimes you don’t really appreciate what you have until you see it through the eyes of others. We are truly blessed!

Speaking of beautiful music at Peachtree Road, we are honored to host a performance by Chanticleer in our sanctuary on Tuesday, October 30, at 7:00 pm. This event is sponsored by the Friends of Music and features an ensemble that is directed by William Fred Scott, former Artistic Director with the Atlanta Opera and Associate Conductor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. This is their signature concert of the year, and, if you love beautiful music sung in a beautiful place, you will not want to miss this event. Tickets are available here and at the door.

On Sunday we will conclude our “Fruitful” sermon series as we focus upon the fruit of “self-control.” As I have reflected upon the fruit of the Spirit in this season (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), I have realized the importance of the Apostle Paul’s words following his list:

“…There is no law against such things.”

The implication is that we are free to practice these in our daily lives. Therefore, we can choose to live these out, to practice them, and to exercise them so they become even stronger within us. I look forward to sharing this final message with you in this series and encourage you to join us for worship this week.

I also want to express my gratitude to you for your generosity in several ways:

  • United Methodist Children’s Home Offering – last month you gave $21,906 to support the work of foster parents who provide home to thousands of Georgia’s homeless children
  • Hurricane Relief – you have given $16,721 to support the victims of hurricanes Florence and Michael here in the Southeast. Specifically, your contributions have provided clean water through the purchase of hundreds of water filters and “boots-on-the-ground” relief efforts through the United Methodist Council on Relief
  • Wesley Woods – Peachtree Road has received the “Million Thanks Award” as the first church to give over $1 million cumulatively to the “Mothers Day Offering” in support of charitable giving for seniors living at Wesley Woods
  • All In! – several hundred of you already have made a pledge toward the 2019 operating budget and we are grateful. If you have yet to make a pledge, please do so this week through the church app, on the website, or at church this Sunday
  • Debt Retirement – if you have been waiting to make a gift to help the church become debt free, now is the time to do it. Your gift just might put us over the top as we are now about $50,000 away!

Finally, as we approach Election Day in our country, many of you asked me to share the words of John Wesley I quoted last Sunday. He wrote in his journal on October 6, 1774, that he had just addressed a group of Methodists who were preparing to go to the polls and vote, and this is what he told them:

  • To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
  • To speak no evil of the person they voted against
  • To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side”

Sounds like really good advice to me! Let us not only take these words to heart and strive to live them out in the coming days but also call upon others to live with respect for one another.

These are exciting days. You are making a difference both here in Atlanta and around the world. Thank you for all you are doing! I look forward to seeing you Sunday. If you can’t make it to the church, I hope you will join us online at 11:15 a.m. here.

See you Sunday!