Wednesdays @ Peachtree

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Men’s Ministries

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PRUMC Men of Impact

Our mission and purpose is to enable the men of PRUMC to grow as Disciples of Jesus Christ and equip them to make an “impact” for Christ where they live, work, and play.  Matthew 28:19

IMPACT: Innovative, Missional, Purposeful, Accountable, Collaborative, and Transformative

  • Innovative: We’re taking what Jesus taught us about disciple-making and bringing it into the 21st century.  2 Timothy 2:2
  • Missional: We encourage the faithful men of Christ to be the continuing voice, hands, and feet of Christ in the world.  Luke 4:18-19
  • Purposeful: Our love and enthusiasm for Christ gives us the determination and intentionality to love God and neighbor as ourselves.  Colossians 3:23
  • Accountable: Our ministry is founded on scripture, emulates the structure of early Methodism, and promotes holy living and outreach.  Proverbs 27:17
  • Collaborative: Our ministry comprises purposeful relationships that are empowered by the Holy Spirit to guide us as one mind and heart to fulfill the mission of the church.  John 14:26
  • Transformative: Our hope is a life transformed by the grace of God as the inner and outer life are aligned in right relationship with God, self, neighbor, and creation.  Galatians 2:20

Jesus extends the invitation for us to be “Fishers of Men,” in essence, we’re all called to be in the business of Disciple-Making.  How will you make an IMPACT?  Matthew 4:19

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Matt Westmoreland

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Events:  Men’s Breakfast with Matt Westmoreland

Men’s Breakfast with Matt Westmoreland
Thursday, February 8, 6:45 am, Heritage Hall

Member of PRUMC and Atlanta City Council Matt Westmoreland will deliver an uplifting and inspirational message.  Save the date!  Registration coming soon to prumc.org/events.

RSVP Coming Soon

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Fellowship, Bible Studies & Accountability Groups

Wednesday Morning Coffee  |  Wednesdays, 7:00 am, C105
Wednesday Morning Coffee is a casual mid-week gathering of men to encourage one another in the faith.  Each weekly fellowship discussion is topical and no preparation is necessary.  Come as you are.  For more information, contact Geoff Beakley at geoffb@prumc.org.

Wednesday Lunch  |  Wednesdays, 12:00 pm, Grace Hall
You’re invited to lunch and fellowship at the “Men’s Ministry’s Table.”  Come as you are and look for Geoff Beakley.  For more information, contact Geoff Beakley at geoffb@prumc.org.

Bible Study with Dr. Ken Boa  |  Fridays, 7:00 am, C106
A men’s Bible study that helps uncover the timeless wisdom of Christ and equips men to apply it to their daily lives.  No preparation necessary.  Come as you are.  For more information, contact Geoff Beakley at geoffb@prumc.org.

CLC Accountability Groups  |  CLC is a men’s organization that is commited to training Christian leaders. Groups are comprised of 12 men who follow a proven curriculum to grow as leaders for Christ in the church, at home, and in the community.  For more information about PRUMC’s CLC groups, please contact Geoff Beakley at geoffb@prumc.org.

Short Term & Long Term Bible Study
Studying God’s word can be transformative!  Challenge yourself to deepen your faith.  We offer many topics, course lengths, facilitators and class levels. Visit www.prumc.org/bible-study for complete details and registration, or or contact Geoff Beakley to discuss at geoffb@prumc.org.

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Outreach & Mission

In Matthew 4:19 Jesus extends the invitation for us to be “Fishers of Men.”  All disciples of Jesus Christ are in the business of disciple making, and we encourage you to consider forming an accountability group or Bible study of your own for the men of PRUMC.   Please contact Geoff Beakley to discuss the possibilities at geoffb@prumc.org.

Mission Trips
Please contact Anne French, our director of global missions at annef@prumc.org.

Local Outreach
Please contact Geoff Beakley at geoffb@prumc.org.

Trinity House
We support Trinity Community Ministries by hosting meals for men in recovery.  For more information, click here.  To learn more about hosting a dinner, contact Geoff Beakley at geoffb@prumc.org.

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  • John Ethridge is All In!

Annual Campaign

All In Annual Campaign
November 5-19, 2017

Join us in this final week of our annual campaign to support the ministries of this great church!  Your pledge strengthens the programs and builds the community of PRUMC.  Please prayerfully consider how you will shape our church in 2018.  Every promise builds our future and every pledge counts.  With your support in 2016, we were able to:

WELCOME 215 new members into our church family.

PARTNER with community churches to create an adult respite care program.  (Watch for the launch in early 2017.)

DELIVER 26,000 water filters to Kenyans in need, giving 130,000 more people access clean water.

OFFER 36 classes EACH Sunday for over 500 children, carefully nurturing the faith of our youngest ones.

These are just a few ways your generosity takes shape for the ages and stages of our congregation and community.  Will you be “all-in” with us?  You can now find information on the 2018 Church Budget, a schedule of giving opportunities, budgeting tools and an online pledge form on our All In web pages.  You can make your pledge online, through the PRUMC app, or by using the All-In pledge cards in the church kiosks.

If you have questions about your pledge, or would like to discuss options or concerns, please contact the Business Office at 404.240.8329 or giving@prumc.org.  Thank you for your continued support!  This year’s annual campaign will wrap up this Sunday, November 19 at our Harvest Sunday celebration – a time when we give thanks for our many blessings.  We hope you will join us for festival worship and be our guest for our traditional Thanksgiving luncheon.

 

Pledge Here

11.12.17 | We Are Thankful for the Church

Sanctuary Friends

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We Are Thankful For the Church
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast (coming soon)
Sermon Video

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On Sunday, we continued our fall stewardship series entitled “All In” by reflecting upon our gratitude for the church that has nurtured our faith.  We wrestled with the question, “Why should I join the church?”  That is a question many of our young people are asking today.  Certainly, our broken and hurting world needs the church and the grace of God it offers.

This week, let us reflect upon what the church has done for us and express our gratitude by being “all in” through the ministry of Peachtree Road.

  • The Longest Night

How Long, O Lord?

Yesterday we heard words of inspiration and encouragement from Matt Westmoreland during the worship services as he reflected upon the transformation in children’s learning we are witnessing as a result of our church’s partnership with Hollis STEM Academy: “Hope without truth is fantasy, but truth without hope is failure. It’s only in those moments when you are able to confront truth at its harshest and hope at its most powerful, that you believe dramatic change is possible.”

I thought of those words later in the day when I heard the news reports about a deadly mass shooting in a Texas church.  We wonder, “How long, O Lord?”  And we pray.  And we hope with a hope in the powerful name of Christ for a day when violence will be no more.

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11.05.17 | We Are Thankful for All the Saints

All Saints Day

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FEAST OF ALL SAINTS
We Are Thankful
For All the Saints
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast (coming soon)
Sermon Video

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On Sunday, we began our fall stewardship series entitled “All In” by reflecting upon our gratitude for our saints and the lessons they have taught us.  One of my “saints” was my grandfather who loved to garden.  He taught me about hard work and planting the right seeds in good soil.

The “Beatitudes” are the seeds Jesus encourages us to plant and nurture deep within our souls so that our lives may produce the good fruit that characterizes the life of a saint.  And the good news is that we who are baptized already are saints.

This week, practice gratitude by giving thanks to God for those saints in your life each and every day.

10.29.17 | The Greatest Commandment

Hugging

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The Greatest Commandment
Rev. Carolyn Stephens

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast (coming soon)
Sermon Video

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Archimedes, one of Greek’s leading mathematicians and scientist, after studying the principles of how a lever works said, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the world.”  What can we, who are followers of Christ, stand on to change our world as we know it today?  Love!  When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your minds.”  And then went on to say, “And the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If all our actions and responses are from a place of love, if love is the place on which we stand in how we treat each other, then indeed we will move the world.

  • Bill Britt and Sanctuary Windows

Bill Britt: Proud of Our Church

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October 27, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

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

Earlier this week, the “Carry the Torch” luncheon was held at the World Congress Center to raise awareness and funds to help address the problem of homelessness here in Atlanta.  Peachtree Road was recognized as one of two “Platinum Sponsors” of the event, and I saw members of our church throughout the room.  Jack Hardin, co-chair of the Regional Commission on the Homeless, spoke to the assembled crowd, and he later asked me to express his personal appreciation to you for all that you are doing to help make homelessness in our community “rare, temporary, and non-recurring.”

Most of us here at Peachtree Road care about those who are homeless, but we may not know how to help. Today, I want to offer three suggestions:

  • First, I encourage you to buy a ticket to see the newly-released movie “Same Kind of Different As Me.”  This true story of an art dealer from Fort Worth whose friendship with a homeless man named Denver changed his life and brought him fulfillment will inspire and encourage you to “carry the torch” in our community.  (We do have about 30 vouchers for the movie at the church that are available on a first-come-first-served basis. They expire November 5.)
  • Second, please join us in supporting our partnerships with agencies such as Action Ministries, Buckhead Christian Ministry, Covenant House, Jerusalem House, and Trinity Community Ministries as a volunteer or financial contributor.
  • Finally, contact our director of local outreach, Beth Spencer, to find our what you can do.

Please know how grateful I am for all that you have done to help to make a difference in the lives of thousands of men, women, and children in our community.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and set in motion the events that led to church reformation and the creation of the Protestant Church. Our celebration includes:

  • A community “Reformation Concert” on Saturday evening at 7:00 pm in our sanctuary – the concert will feature over 200 voices from 8 churches, and admission is free.
  • Sunday morning worship in our sanctuary — the services will begin with the signing of Martin Luther’s famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” and our associate minister Carolyn Stephens will be preaching.
  • The Inaugural Manfred E. Hoffmann Lecture — this event in Grace Hall will honor our long-time “Theologian in Residence” Manfred Hoffmann, and our guest lecturer is Jonathan Strom, a Lutheran scholar at Candler School of Theology.

Finally, let me share with you some highlights from last Monday’s Administrative Board meeting:

  • We introduced a new church app.  If you have not downloaded it yet, go to your app store, search for PRUMC, and click to get it. The church app will keep you connected to your church family and offer you convenient ways to watch past worship services, register for events, offer your prayer requests, and pledge and give to support our ministries.
  • Ann French updated us on the impact of our efforts to provide water filters to families in Kenya. Amazingly, the data shows a 90%  reduction in water-borne diseases; a 93% reduction in money spent to treat water-borne diseases; a 95% reduction in the number of days children are missing school; and a 96% reduction in number of days adults are missing work!
  • Beth Spencer let us know that a local company has created a “Go Fund Me” page for its employees to support Christmas Kindness. They also are inviting their corporate clients to participate and have pledged that whatever is given will be matched. In addition, the company has signed employees up to volunteer at Christmas Kindness. They are hoping to raise $20,000 for this ministry.

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!

Bill

 

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  • Disaster Relief Response

How We Are Responding

Part of PRUMC’s call to mission is to aid in long-term recovery efforts for disaster relief.  These past few months have seen incredible storm damage resulting in inhumane living conditions.  We are helping by teaming up with agencies to provide food, clean water, temporary shelter, hygiene and other critical needs.  Thank you PRUMC for your generous response to these critical needs.  To date, funds and items have been distributed in the following ways.

Puerto Rico – 5000 UZima water filters

UMCOR – $21,658 direct storm victim aid

BCM – $10,000 direct evacuee aid

SERV International – $5000 of UZima water filters

Florida – $4000 chain saws, batteries, lights

St. Thomas – $3000 UZima water filter back packs

If you would like to donate to PRUMC’s disaster relief efforts, click the button below and choose “OTHER” to designate  your gift.  Thank you.

Give Here

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From NBC News:  Puerto Ricans at Risk of Waterborne Disease Outbreaks in Wake of Hurricane Maria

 Waterborne illnesses are on the rise in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria — and health professionals fear the storm’s aftermath could unleash an epidemic on the devastated island.

The death toll from the storm rose to 51 on Tuesday, with the two latest victims dying of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease usually spread by contact with contaminated water, Puerto Rico Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario told The Associated Press.

Authorities are investigating an additional 74 suspected cases of the infection as well, he said, and at least one previous death was attributed to the disease.

“It’s going to be higher — it’s like a perfect storm for leptospirosis, ” said Llamara Padro-Milano, a nurse who returned last week from a relief trip to Puerto Rico with the American Federation of Teachers. “People are going to get sick and suffer.”

A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday that they had received a shipment of specimens from the U.S. territory and were currently analyzing them at their laboratory in Atlanta for signs of leptospira, the bacteria that causes the disease.

The disease is transmitted via exposure to the urine of infected animals, but humans are most commonly infected by coming in contact with contaminated water, especially through skin abrasions and the nose, mouth and eyes, according to World Health Organization.

On Thursday, a group of nurses with the union National Nurses United who participated with the trip slammed the federal government’s response to the hurricane in a news conference with Democratic lawmakers.

“Door to door the nurses assessed and found people who may die before food, water and medicine can reach them,” said Cathy Kennedy, vice president of the nurses’ union.

The group released a report Thursday that concluded “the response to the crisis in Puerto Rico from the U.S. federal government has been unacceptable for the wealthiest country in the world.”

The report called a series of measures to address the crisis, including expanding the use of air drops to provide relief supplies, additional personnel and financial resources, as well as an extension for filing disaster relief claims with FEMA.

The over 70 suspected incidents of leptospirosis in just a month would represent a major spike: A total of 729 cases of the disease were reported from 1990-2014 to the Puerto Rico Department of Health, according to a 2016 study in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases; of those cases, 78 were fatal. However, the study warned that leptospirosis was underreported or misdiagnosed as dengue.

The disease has a wide range of symptoms including high fever, headache, chills, vomiting and diarrhea, but some may have no symptoms at all, according to the CDC. Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics, but without treatment it can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and death, according to the CDC.

“People are forced to sleep on dirty mattresses,” Padro-Milano said. “If you have no place to wash your hands and you don’t have [hand sanitizer] how are you going to protect yourself?”

“The best that we can do was to teach people how to protect themselves the best way we knew how,” she said.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers who was in Puerto Rico earlier this month, said she was “alarmed” by conditions she saw on the ground, and that mudslides, a devastated infrastructure and destruction throughout the island had created a breeding ground for contamination.

Image: People collect mountain spring water, after Hurricane Maria hit the island, in Corozal
Alvin Baez / Reuters file
“I’ve never seen the effects of a disaster in the United States of America like this,” she said.

“You had dead animals and you had debris in streams,” she added, “so the sanitary conditions were terrible, and so you see a level of contamination as a result of this that’s terrible.”

She said the AFT union was coordinating with nonprofits and others to bring water filtration systems and purification devices to households and community-based groups in Puerto Rico through a project called Operation Agua.

Padro-Milano said nurses were encountering many cases of conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, because residents often did not have clean water to wash their hands. And mold from houses damaged by rain and floodwaters was contributing to respiratory conditions and diseases, she said.

A quarter of the island’s population still lacks access to running water as of Wednesday, according to authorities, but the areas that do have water are not evenly distributed.

While 87 percent of the metro area and 88 percent of the south have access to running water, only 46 percent of the north, 68 percent of the west and 77 percent of the east had access, according to a government website.

10.22.17 | A Life Worth Living

Jamie High Five

The Good Life Sermon Series
A Life Worth Living
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast (coming soon)
Sermon Video

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On Sunday, we explored the simple truth that the road we travel determines our destination.

We considered the prodigal son – how he thought the “good life” was “out there” and went in pursuit of it.  In his immaturity, he pursued a life of self-indulgence.  Later, he realized his error and decided to swallow his pride and return home.

We observed that the prodigal son took two steps to get on the right road toward home: repentance and courageously being vulnerable.  We learned to pray two prayers to help stay on the right road:

“Lord, help me to see trouble coming a long way off and give me the courage to act self-lessly today.”

The John Wesley Covenant Prayer:

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will.  Rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing.  Put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you and laid aside by you, exalted for you or brought low for you
Let me be full.  Let me be empty. Let me have all things. Let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, blessed and glorious God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours.  So be it.
Let this covenant made on earth be ratified in heaven.  Amen.

 

Weekly Announcements

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Sunday, November 19

Congregational Thanksgiving Luncheon
Sunday, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm,  Grace Hall
Details here.

Many Moods Tickets Available
Details here.

Dogwood Gift Shop Open
Sunday, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm, Lower Level Sanctuary
Details here.

Advent Workshop:  A Christmas Story
Sunday, November 19, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, Grace Hall
Details here.

ALL IN Annual Campaign
Join us to support the ministries of this great church.
Details here.

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Worship

Services & Guilds

December Sermon Series
A Christmas Story with Rev. Bill Britt
Sundays, December 3 – 24
8:45 & 11:15 am, Sanctuary
Details here.

New Worship Preview Service
Sunday, December 17, 11:15 am, Heritage Hall
Details here.

The Longest Night Prayer Service
Thursday, December 21, 7:00 pm, Moore Chapel
Details here.

Christmas Eve Worship Services
Sunday, December 24, 2017
11:15 am, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00 & 10:30 pm
Details here.

Music & Arts

Evening Childcare for PRUMC Christmas Concerts
Childcare available for ages 4 and younger.
Details here.

The Great Tree Lighting
Sunday, December 3, 5:30 pm, Sanctuary
Details here.

Christmas with The Georgia Boy Choir
December 15 & 16, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary
Details and tickets here.

Carols by Candlelight
Sunday, December 17, 5:30 pm, Sanctuary
Details here.

The Many Moods of Christmas
Sunday, December 10, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary
Details here.

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Serve

Local Outreach

Christmas Kindness Local Outreach
December 2 – 6, 2017
Details here.

Christmas Kindness Special Offering
Sunday, December 3, 8:45 & 11:15 am
Details here.

Christmas Kindness Open House
Sunday, December 3, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Harp Ctr
Details here.

Global Missions

Dogwood Gift Shop Open
Sundays, Mondays & Wednesdays
Details here.

E. Newton Trunk Show
Sun, Dec 3 and Wed, Dec 6, The Dogwood Shop
Details here.

Water for Kenya Forum with Bill & Chat Coble
Sunday, December 10, 10:00 am, Heritage Hall
Details here.

Water for Kenya Christmas Eve Offering
Sunday, December 24
Details here.

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Learn

Speakers & Forums

Water for Kenya Forum with Bill & Chat Coble
Sunday, December 10, 10:00 am, Heritage Hall
Details here.

Classes

Winter Studies Coming to PRUMC
Course details and registration coming soon.
Jan 4    Faithful by Adam Hamilton
Jan 4    Introduction to the Enneagram
Jan 7    Margin by Richard Swenson
Jan 21    John by Adam Hamilton
Feb 26    The Way by Adam Hamilton

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Give

Annual Campaign

ALL IN Annual Campaign
November 5 – 19, 2017
Details here.

Other Giving Opps

Christmas Kindness Local Outreach Offering
Sunday, December 3
Details here.

Water for Kenya Christmas Eve Offering
Sunday, December 24
Details here.

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Connect

Children & Families

Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant
Rehearsals:  December 17, 9:45 & 12:15 pm
Details here.

Kid’s Worship
Sunday, December 17, 11:15 am, The Loft
Details here.

Holiday Nursery Schedule
Details here.

Sunday Nursery Volunteers Needed
Details here.

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The Preschool

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Sports & Recreation

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Youth

Advent Outreach Project for Safehouse
Sunday, December 3, 10:00 am, Heritage Hall
Details here.

Middle School “Christmas Morning” Party
Sunday, December 10, 5:00 pm, Harp Center
Details here.

High School “Classy Christmas” Party
Saturday, December 16, 7:00 pm, Harp Center
Details here.

PRUMC High School Ski Trip
January 12 – 15, 2017
Details here.

Young Adults

Young Adult Christmas Party
Saturday, December 2, 7:00 pm, Moss Home
Details here.

Young Adult Christmas Brunch with Bill Curry
Sunday, December 17, 10:00 am, Hospitality Suite
Details here.

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Adults

Wednesday Seasoned Saints
12:00 pm lunch, 1:00 pm program, C104
Details here.

Adult T’ai Chi Classes
Thursdays, 1:00 pm, D316
Details here.

Holiday Lights of Hope at Hobgood Park
Thursday, December 7, 4:00 pm departure
Details here.

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Men

Wednesday Morning Coffee
Wednesdays, 7:00 am, C105
Details here.

Wednesday Lunch
Wednesdays, 12:00 pm, Grace Hall
Details here.

Men’s Breakfast with Matt Westmoreland
Thursday, February 8, 6:45 am, Heritage Hall
Details here.

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  • PRUMC...there's an app for that!

Download the New PRUMC App!

We are excited to announce the new PRUMC app and improved giving platform!  With the app, you will be able to easily access sermons, events, prayer requests, online giving and more – all on your mobile device.

Visit your phone’s app store, search “PRUMC” and download – or simply click the quick links below.  Be sure to “allow notifications” to receive updates and reminders. 

More features are in development so look forward to increased engagement in the coming months!

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  • Jamie High Five

This Sunday @ PRUMC

The Greatest Commandment
Rev. Carolyn Stephens

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

8:45 am
Traditional Worship  |  Carolyn Stephens

9:00 am
Chapel Communion  |  Julie Wright

11:15 am
Traditional Worship  |  Carolyn Stephens

5:00 pm
Sundays @ 5  |  Carolyn Stephens

On this day
Turkey Drive
Hoffmann Lecture Series

10.15.17 | Dealing with Depression

The Good Life Sermon Series
Dealing with Depression
Rev. Bill Britt

This past Sunday, our message focused upon the difficult topic of depression.

We observed that, in the church, we’re not very comfortable talking about mental illness. There seems to be a stigma about admitting you struggle with depression or any other mental illness. Occasionally, someone will say, “I’m a Christian; I’m not supposed to be depressed.” That’s nonsense. You might as well say, “I’m a Christian; I’m not supposed to have heart disease or diabetes or cancer.” The brain is an organ in the body, and it is just as susceptible to illness as any other organ.

The prophet Elijah knew something of the condition as we discovered in I Kings 19. He discovered the importance of taking care of himself and staying connected with God who especially is present in the silence of our lives.

You may know somebody who is depressed – someone who’s dealing with pain, disappointment, or loss. Ask them how they’re doing. Listen to them. Be with them. Pray for them. And, when the time is right, tell them, “You are not alone. God is in the silence.” And encourage them to get help. The “good life” in Christ is for everybody.

10.08.17 | Aging and Changing Roles

Bill Baptism

The Good Life Sermon Series
Aging and Changing Roles
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast
Sermon Video

Are you currently helping to care for your children or grandchildren and your aging parents? If so, you are a part of the “sandwich generation.” It can be a stressful place to live.

By both teaching and example, Jesus encourages us to live the good life in relationship with our parents. First, he encourages us to live out the 5th commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” Jesus also invites us to expand our definition of family and include others in our concern and care.

Someone has suggested there are three stages in life and each last approximately 25 to 30 years. The first stage is dominated by answering the question, “Where do you go to school?’ The second stage is dominated by answering the question, “Where do you work?” The third stage is spent answering the question, “What difference are you making in the world?” Those living in the third stage have the greatest resources of time, knowledge, and financial means they have ever had. Those in the third stage are invited to serve well.

2018 Annual Pledge Form

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Peachtree Road United Methodist Church
Click here to record your 2018 annual pledge.

10.01.17 | Divine Intimacy

Leslie Hugging

The Good Life Sermon Series
Divine Intimacy
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast
Sermon Video

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and wanted it to go to a deeper level, but the other person didn’t? Maybe you were in college and wanted the person you were dating to love you and spend the rest of your lives together, but he or she just wasn’t that into you. She respects you. He is polite to you. You remain good friends, but there is no deep sense of intimacy.

Now, imagine the one who wants the intimate relationship is God, and we are the ones who just aren’t that into God. We are polite to God, respectful, and nice. However, there is no intimacy. As a result, we are missing out on “the good life” and not experiencing all of our joy.

This week we are invited to take our cue from the woman we encounter in Luke 7:36-50 and experience intimacy with the Lord. She shows us to develop the kind of relationship that sustains us through all the times of our life.

An Evening with Dan Cathy

An Evening with Dan Cathy

Faithful Steward and Positive Influence with Dan T. Cathy
Tuesday, October 3, 6:00 pm, Grace Hall

Join us for a very special evening as we welcome Dan T. Cathy, CEO and Chairman of Chick-fil-A and the Chick-fil-A Foundation. At the heart of this successful leader is a humility and willingness to lead by example, endearing him to his colleagues and contemporaries. Mr. Cathy will share how experiences can lead to understanding and gratitude, generosity and purpose. We hope you can join us. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

RSVP Here

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Add to Calendar 10/03/2017 06:00 PM 10/03/2017 09:00 PM America/New_York Dan Cathy Join us for a very special evening as we welcome Dan T. Cathy, CEO and Chairman of Chick-fil-A and the Chick-fil-A Foundation. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church Peachtree Road United Methodist Church jillb@prumc.org false MM/DD/YYYY
  • Acolytes

Experience All Your Joy

September 29, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are doing well. I really am looking forward to Sunday’s worship services as we continue our fall series “The Good Life.” This week we will spend some time thinking together about the topic of “intimacy” Sociologists have discovered the search for intimacy is one of the primary searches of life. Ironically, in our day and time, a great many people run from intimate relationships. Some of those persons even attend churches. They might talk a lot, or they may talk very little. These persons will never allow you to go deep. They live life at the surface. They do not trust others easily. Many have been hurt and are unwilling to trust again. As a result, in the words of the poet Khalil Gibron, they “never experience all of their joy.” This Sunday I am going to talk about helping folks experience “all of their joy” in a message entitled “Divine Intimacy.” I encourage you to read the text for the sermon in advance – Luke 7:36-50.

Sunday also is World Communion Sunday. Christians from around the world will gather at the Lord’s Table to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Think about that for just a moment. As we extend our hands to receive the bread and drink from the cup, we are joining with Christians from around the world in partaking of the grace of God on this day. We here in Atlanta become a link in a chain that circles the globe. I hope you will make a special effort to be present as we feast at the Lord’s Table.

Of course, as has become our tradition on the first Sunday in October, we will offer a “Blessing of the Animals” service at 5:00 p.m. You are invited to bring your pets to the church for a fun time of worship. This service celebrates the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. We will gather in the sanctuary, sing praises to God, and approach the altar with our pets for an individual blessing of each animal. In the past, participants have brought their dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, fish, and birds to receive a blessing. You also may choose to bring photos of your pets if it is difficult for the animal to attend the service (it’s pretty difficult to load up a horse and bring it to church!). I hope you’ll take advantage of this community-wide service. And why not invite a friend to join in the fun?

Let me remind you of two opportunities coming up in the next few days:

Evening with Dan Cathy – we are delighted to welcome Dan Cathy, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Chick-fil-a, to Peachtree Road for an evening of inspiration this Tuesday, October 3, at 6:00 pm in Grace Hall. Dinner will be served at 6:00 pm, and Dan will speak at 7:00 pm. This event is a fund-raiser for our ministry with those living on the Westside. It is not too late to purchase a ticket. You may purchase a table or individual ticket by clicking on this link. I can’t wait to welcome Dan to Peachtree Road and hear his words of encouragement. Please join me for this event sponsored by our Men’s Ministry,

A Just Cause – we are a little over a week away from our first annual “Just Cause” Peachtree Road golf outing. This event, set for Monday, October 9, at the Druid Hills Country Club, will benefit “Our Westside Story,” our church’s ongoing revitalization project with our partners on the Westside. There are a few spots for individuals. If you are interested in participating, we would be delighted to have you join us. To register, please contact our tournament director Ryan Bush at ryan@hkgolfproductions.com.

Finally, let me remind you again of our upcoming Annual Charge Conference. On Tuesday, October 10, at 7:00 pm, our district superintendent Dr. Bernice Kirkland will be present to preside at our annual charge conference in Grace Hall. This year we will welcome the members of St. John UMC as they also participate in their charge conference at the same time. During this brief meeting, we will have the opportunity to share our reports and vote on new leaders for the coming year. You are invited to attend.

Please call on me if I can be of help to you. See you Sunday!

Bill

9.24.17 | Alchohol: Playing with Fire

Ministers in Sanctuary

During this season, we are considering “The Good Life” – those aspects that contribute to it or detract from it. This week, we spent some time thinking about the role alcohol plays in our culture. We asked the question, “Can Methodists drink?” Well, the answer to that question is the answer to another question: “Can Methodists dance?” And the answer is “Some can; some can’t!”

In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul encouraged followers of Christ “do not get drunk with wine…but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:15-20)

On the one hand, we affirmed that wine was used by Jesus as a metaphor for the abundant life; and, on the other hand, we acknowledged that temperance historically has been a major emphasis in the Methodist Church. (After all, Thomas Welch, the founder of Welch’s Grape Juice, was a Methodist!)

This message is not about judgment. This is a time for grace. If you think you may have a problem, seek help! Our faith offers an alternative to being drunk with wine – be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us hear the song of the ages, the one sung by that great cloud of witnesses, encouraging us to live “the good life.”

  • Bill at Pulpit

I Hope to See You

September 22, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you have had a good week. This Sunday we will continue our fall series entitled “The Good Life,” as we focus upon the topic “Alcohol: Playing with Fire.” During this season we are thinking about those aspects of our lives that either contribute to or hinder our experience of the “good life” in Jesus Christ. You and I know folks who struggle with addiction, and this Sunday we will listen for the voice of the Lord speaking to us through the scriptures as we seek to help all around us live healthy, whole lives.

In addition to the sermon, we will offer a forum at 10:00 am in the Moore Chapel entitled, Real Recovery Experience. We’ll learn how to recognize the signs of addiction and what recovery truly looks like. If you know of someone who has a family member struggling with addiction, please invite them to worship and the forum this week. This promises to an important discussion, and I encourage you to attend.

And one more note about Sunday — the Reinhardt University Concert Choir will be joining us for worship this Sunday for the 11:15 am service. The group from this Methodist-related school in Waleska, Georgia will offer pre-service music and also provide an anthem. So, I invite you to come early, find a seat, and enjoy the beautiful music.

The fall is in full swing, and I share with you several places where you can find me in the coming days:

Groundbreaking for the Murray Cottage — this Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm, we will celebrate the groundbreaking of a new parsonage for our church at 3201 West Shadowlawn Road. We are indebted to the Stuart and Eulene Murray Foundation for a generous naming gift and the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation for its generous gift to this project. These gifts make the construction of this new home possible, and the Murray Cottage will be used as a parsonage for one of our associate ministers. I will be there and invite you to join us for this brief ceremony in front of the property.

Evening with Dan Cathy — we are delighted to welcome Dan Cathy, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Chick-fil-a, to Peachtree Road for an evening of inspiration on Tuesday, October 3, at 6:00 pm in Grace Hall. Dinner will be served at 6:00 pm, and Dan will speak at 7:00 pm. This event is a fund-raiser for our ministry with those living on the Westside. You may purchase a table or individual ticket by clicking this link. I will be there and hope to see you.

Finally, let me mention three more events on the horizon:

Annual Charge Conference — On Tuesday, October 10, at 7:00 pm, our district superintendent Dr. Bernice Kirkland will be present to preside at our annual charge conference in Grace Hall. This year we will welcome the members of St. John UMC as they also participate in their charge conference at the same time. During this brief meeting, we will have the opportunity to share our reports and vote on new leaders and a couple of financial matters. You are welcome to attend.

First Annual Manfred E. Hoffmann Lecture — For the last twenty years, we have been blessed to have Dr. Manfred Hoffmann as our “Theologian in Residence.” Manfred taught us, cultivated a desire to learn in us, and inspired us to grow in our faith. His death earlier this year has touched us deeply. To honor his memory, we have created a lecture series in his name. The first lecture is occurring on Sunday evening, October 29, 2017, at 6:00 pm for dinner and the lecture. Manfred’s successor on the faculty at Candler School of Theology, Dr. Jonathan Strom, will deliver the address. This is an especially appropriate date as that week we celebrate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. And, as a Lutheran scholar, Dr. Strom is the perfect person to deliver this inaugural lecture. We also hope to have some Reformation artifacts from Candler School of Theology’s Pitt’s Library on display. I hope you will mark the date on your calendar and make your plans to join me as we honor Manfred Hoffmann and grow in our faith. You may reserve your place by following this link.

Civil Rights Heritage Tour — members of Peachtree Road are joining with other Methodists from our community to tour the civil rights sites from Atlanta to Alabama. I invite you to join me on Saturday, March 3, and Sunday, March 4 as we travel from Atlanta to Birmingham to Selma to Montgomery. Together, we will travel by bus to see the places where the history of the movement was lived out and hear from those who lived through the events – the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, “Bloody Sunday” on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and the site where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery. I would like for at least 25 from Peachtree Road to join me on this tour next year. If you are interested in joining us, please email Jane Ogle to let us know your interest and we will be in touch on next steps for registration.

I am grateful for you and your participation in the ministry of Peachtree Road. Please call on me when you need me. I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Bill

11.26 | How Will You Be Judged?

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How Will You Be Judged?
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

8:45 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

9:00 am
Chapel Communion  |  Jamie Jenkins

11:15 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

5:00 pm
Sundays @ 5  |  Diane Harry

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  • Elizabeth Byrd Hugging

Finding Peace

September 15, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you doing well. The remnants of Hurricane Irma moved through the metro area earlier this week, and the clean-up process continues. Thank you for your generous giving the last two weeks to relief efforts in Texas and here in the Southeast. Your giving through UMCOR and Buckhead Christian Ministry is providing help to thousands of folks devastated by the hurricanes. If you would like to give toward the relief efforts, you may do so here by selecting “Other” from the Give To drop down menu and typing “BCM – Hurricane Relief” into the Memo field. Also, if you have been affected by the storm and need your church’s help, please let us know.

The fall season got off to a great start last Sunday as we heard incredible music by our Chancel Choir, the Atlanta Brass Works, and soloist Jamie Barton; welcomed 14 new members into our church family; and began our fall programing emphasis on “The Good Life.”

At the close of last week’s services, I shared some exciting news about the future of our church. You may remember that on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we learned that a family in our church had issued a challenge to the congregation. If we could raise $2 million during 2017 toward the retirement of our debt, that family would match it. Also, if we could raise another $2 million by the end of 2018 toward the retirement of the debt, they would match that as well. Last Sunday I announced that we have received over $1 million toward this effort and also have received several pledges that will be paid in the next few weeks that will put us over the $2 million mark for the year. Last Sunday we celebrated God’s many blessings upon the ministry of Peachtree Road and looked forward to the future with great hope. If you were unable to be present, we missed you and hope you will join us this week.

This Sunday, we will continue our series with a message entitled “Finding Peace in Your Finances.” Certainly, one of the great stressors in life can be financial. Owing money can have a suffocating effect on relationships and often robs us of the peace we seek. In worship we will reflect upon Jesus’ parable of the talents as we seek financial peace in our lives. Speaking of financial peace, Bill O’Shields will offer a crash course on Dave Ramsey’s famous “Financial Peace University” to learn about budgeting, reducing debt, and planning for the future. Bill is an excellent facilitator and his forum will begin at 10:00 am in Heritage Hall. If you know of someone who is struggling in this area, invite them to come to church with you this Sunday.

Let me offer two updates on ongoing projects of the Trustees:

  • New Sound System – over the course of the last six weeks, we have been in transition from the old sound system in the sanctuary, chapel, and narthex to a brand new system. The work is nearly complete, and you should experience a marked improvement in the next week. Thank you for your patience. The purchase of the new system was made possible by the sale of right of way property on Peachtree Road in front of the parking lot across West Shadowlawn.
  • Murray Cottage – groundbreaking for the church’s new parsonage for one of our associate ministers is set to take place on Sunday, September 24, at 2:00 pm. The location is the site of the house the church owns across West Shadowlawn next to the church parking lot. You may see plans for the new house here. This project is being funded by a grant from the Dobbs Foundation, a naming gift from the Murray Foundation, and proceeds from the sale of the church right of way mentioned earlier. You are invited to join us for the groundbreaking a week from this Sunday.

Finally, I do want to remind you that the Dogwood Gift Shop is now open for the season. All of the proceeds from sales go toward Global Missions and help us make a difference in faraway places like Kenya, the nation of Georgia, and Nicaragua. You are invited to drop by the Dogwood Sunday and see all the new items available for purchase. Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Thank you for your support of Peachtree Road’s ministry. Your prayers on her behalf, your presence in worship, your generous gifts, and the offering of your time in service make all the difference in the world. I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon!

Bill

12.03 | Hope: Miracle on 34th Street

Advent Worship at Peacthree Road

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Hope:  Miracle on 34th Street
Sunday, December 3, 2017

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

8:45 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

9:00 am
Chapel Communion  |  Darren Hensley

11:15 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

5:30 pm
The Great Tree Lighting

On This Day

Great Tree Lighting
Sunday, December 3, 5:30 pm, Sanctuary
Join us to begin the Advent season with all of PRUMC’s Children’s and Youth Choirs.  We’ll enjoy favorite carols in a special program and light the great Chrismon Trees in the Sanctuary!  Cap off the eveing with hot cocoa, homemade cookies and live Christmas music from Ridgeview Charter School’s Jazz Ensemble.  Free and open to the public.

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  • Open with Power

PRUMC Opening at Noon

PRUMC has power and will open at noon today – Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

We should be back to a normal schedule by tomorrow and will be sending along highlights and updates in our regular Wednesday e-blast.

Thank you!

09.17.17 | Finding Peace in Your Finances

Bill Shaking Hands

In Sunday’s sermon, we observed that finances can be one of the greatest stressors in our lives. We considered two lessons on the subject from Jesus’ “Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25):

  1. Remember who God is — not harsh, judgmental, or demanding. Rather, God is generous and forgiving. God is a God of abundance.
  2. Remember who you are – you are a steward of the abundant resources of God.

When you feel the anxiety of financial stress, try this exercise: first, acknowledge to God your anxiety. Pray, “Lord, I am feeling vulnerable right now. Grant me strength and courage for the facing of this time.” Then, second, offer gratitude for something specific in your life: “Lord, I give you thanks for ___.” You will find your prayers of confession and gratitude will transform your anxiety into peace.

  • Sanctuary Ribbons

Everybody Wants to Live It

September 8, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you doing well. This Sunday marks “Fall Kick-off” here at Peachtree Road. We are set to enjoy special music by internationally acclaimed singer Jamie Barton that promises to stir your spirit. She will sing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” At both the 8:45 am and 11:15 am services in the sanctuary, we will welcome new members to Peachtree Road as a part of a special joining day. In addition, you are invited to enjoy a hearty breakfast and warm fellowship in Grace Hall from 9:00 am until 11:00 am. We also have an exciting announcement to make at the close of services this week. You will not want to miss hearing the good news as we kick-off the fall.

Our theme for this season is “The Good Life.” In his introductory note to one of the Bible’s most-beloved hymns (I Corinthians 13), the Apostle Paul called it “the more excellent way.” Through the centuries, songs have been composed and books have been written to depict it. The “good life” – everybody wants to live it.

During the coming weeks, we are going to focus upon living well. We will discuss what the Bible says about it and learn how to avoid that which robs us of it. A number of forums have been planned to give us handles of hope and help in living the good life. Here is a preview of what is to come:

September 10 | Genesis 35:9-15 | Integrity: Know Who You Are
September 17 | Luke 19:1-10 | Finding Peace in Your Finances
September 24 | Ephesians 5:15-20 | Alcohol: Playing with Fire
October 1 | I Kings 19:1-11 | Dealing with Depression
October 8 | John 19:25-27 | Aging and Changing Roles
October 15 | Luke 7:36-50 | Divine Intimacy
October 22 | John 10:7-10 | A Life Worth Living

We will begin the series by considering integrity. Some of you are familiar with Ron Greer’s book on integrity entitled If You Know Who You Are, You’ll Know What To Do. I think Ron phrases it perfectly because, in our culture, it is so easy to forget who you are, wander off your path, and answer to a different name. On Sunday we will take a look at the lives of Jacob (who became Israel) and Simon (who became Peter). We will consider how they claimed who God called them to be and experienced what we are calling “the good life.” It will be a good day as at Peachtree Road.

Thank you for your faithfulness in so many ways to the ministry of Peachtree Road. We are set for a wonderful fall season and I hope you will find your place with us!

See you Sunday!

Bill

  • Weather Updates

Weather Schedule Updates

Friday, September 8, 2017
Weather forecast is clear through Sunday.  Check back Sunday evening for delays or closings.

  • Flood Assistance

Harvey Relief

Thanks to your generosity, PRUMC has sent donations in excess of $9,000 as well as $5000 worth of Uzima water filters to support UMCOR’s hurricane relief efforts.  These funds and filters will help those whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Harvey.  PRUMC will continue to receive donations toward sending a team and supplies to Houston in the near future.  Donate here, or contact Anne French at annef@prumc.org.

 

Other Ways to Give

  • Please enter your donation amount.

If you would prefer to mail your gift, please make your check or money order out to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and mail to:

Peachtree Road United Methodist Church
Attn: Business Office
3180 Peachtree Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30305

PRUMC’s Business Office staff members would be delighted to discuss your giving options or take your gift over the phone.

To reach our Business Office call:

Cecelia O’Flinn at 404.240.8230,
or
Jennifer Baltimore at 404.240.8329.

Does your employer (or your spouse’s employer) have a matching gift program? If so, you can ask your company to match your support for PRUMC. You can double or even triple the value of your donation simply by notifying your employer of your gift.

You may need to provide PRUMC’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) on the form.
That number is 58-0655363.

To make a gift using publicly traded equities, please give your brokerage firm the following information:

Recipients Account Number:   7848 7248
Recipients Tax ID Number:   58-0655363
Brokerage Firm:   Stifel
Brokerage Firm DTC:   0793

Brokerage Firm Contact:
Richard V. McGalliard
mcgalliardr@stifel.com
404.231.6514

PRUMC Contact:
Jennifer Baltimore
Financial Controller

jenniferb@prumc.org
404.240.8329

For year-end tax and gift planning, please note that transfers can sometimes be delayed because of the holiday season. We recommend submitting transfer instructions to your brokerage firm at least two weeks before the end of the year.  Please provide donor names on all transfers.

Legacy giving (also called planned giving) is the act of coordinating your personal, financial, and estate planning goals with your interest in making lifetime and testamentary charitable gifts.  Most planned gifts allow you to continue receiving the benefits of these assets during your lifetime, after which only the remaining value is transferred to a charity.

Testamentary gifts can involve as little as an addendum (bequest) to your will or making a beneficiary designation in a retirement account, trust, or insurance policy.  For more information, please contact your financial and legal advisors or Jennifer Baltimore, Financial Controller at 404-240-8329.

Please remember PRUMC when formulating your estate plans so your legacy of support can help sustain our mission in the future. Also, let us know if you have already created a legacy gift so that we can add your name to our donor list.

A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving program that allows you to combine the most favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to support your favorite causes.

DAF Direct enables you to recommend grants to PRUMC directly from your DAF (as long as your DAF’s sponsoring organization is participating).

We gladly accept donations of personal property such as cars, boats, furniture and collections. Please contact Jennifer Baltimore, Financial Controller 404.240.8329 if you are interested in making a large item donation.

At various times of the year, we also collect diapers and other baby needs as well as school supplies and clothing.
We also gratefully accept packaged food items such as:

  • Cold cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Jellies/jams
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Rice, grits, pasta
  • Canned meats: stew, tuna, salmon, chicken, pork and beans
  • Green canned goods: spinach, turnip greens, and English peas
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Non-fat dry milk

Shop with AmazonSmile
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support PRUMC every time you shop online, at no cost to you. When you shop at www.amazon.com/smile , you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.

Find Us at Amazon Smile

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Kroger Community Rewards
Make Your Kroger Purchases Count by Supporting Peachtree Road UMC with the Community Rewards Program! Register online at krogercommunityrewards.com.  Enter NPO#37551

Kroger Community Rewards

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Georgia Gives Day
Georgia Gives Day is a day of giving specifically for nonprofits in Georgia. The sixth annual Georgia Gives Day will be Thursday, November 16, 2017.  Use the link below to make your donation to Peachtree Road UMC on this day.

PRUMC @ GA Gives

If you have questions about making a contribution, please contact:

Jennifer Baltimore
Financial Controller
404.240.8329

PRUMC is committed to respecting the privacy of donors.  The information you provide when you make a gift will be used by PRUMC for the purpose of correctly allocating, crediting, and acknowledging your gift.

We will not trade, share or sell your personal information to any third party, although on rare occasions, PRUMC may be legally required to disclose information.

We subscribe and adhere to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Donor Bill of Rights.

09.10.17 | Fall Kickoff: Know Who You Are

Fall Kickoff

In Sunday’s sermon, we spent some time thinking about the importance of knowing who you are. As Ron Greer has observed in his book on integrity, “If you know who you are, you’ll know what to do.” We get into trouble when we forget who we are.

  • The Bible tells us who we are – In Matthew 16, Simon was given a new name (Peter) and told that he was a piece of the “Rock of Ages.” That is who we are as well. Remember that.
  • Jesus also gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven – the point of this commission is to unlock heaven’s gates and unleash God’s goodness on earth.

Invitation: In the midst of a tense political climate, episodes of ugly racism and bigotry, and terrible tragedies such as earthquakes and hurricanes, those of us in the church remember who we are and respond by unleashing God’s goodness on earth.

09.03.17 | Get Behind Me

Julie Preaching

Peter was one of Jesus’ most faithful disciples, yet sometimes he still got it wrong.  In Sunday’s scripture, we hear how Peter went from being called the rock on which Jesus would build his church, to a stumbling block when he can’t handle the idea of Jesus facing suffering and death.  We are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus, even when we’re facing fear, pain, or uncertainty.  Just like Peter, Jesus forgives us when we get it wrong, but we can still put forth our best efforts to be disciples and make disciples by sharing the love of Christ and telling others about our faith.  It’s not always easy, but with the strength of Christ we can do hard things.

08.27.17 | Heaven

Bill in Sanctuary

Wesleyan Series
Heaven: The Beginning of Eternity
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

In Sunday’s sermon, we spent some time thinking about heaven and focused upon two words — hope and home.

  • Hope — there is a future aspect of heaven with which we are all familiar (“When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be…”). However, there also is a present aspect to heaven (“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”) We literally pray for heaven to come upon earth, and there are times when our prayers are answered and we catch glimpses of it — in times of worship and especially in times of harmony and joy with others. In these days of cultural upheaval, let us pray more fervently and lean more intentionally into this present aspect.
  • Home — heaven is a place that has been prepared for each of us. It is our eternal home, and each of us has a homing device that calls us home. St. Augustine’s  words from his Confessions could be translated: “Our hearts are homeless and homesick until they find their home in You.”

Invitation: A place in heaven is prepared for you; there is plenty of room; have you made your reservation?

  • Dan Cathy at PRUMC

An Evening with Dan Cathy

Faithful Steward and Positive Influence with Dan T. Cathy
6:00 pm – Gathering
6:30 pm – Dinner served
7:00 pm – Dan T. Cathy, speaker

Join us for a very special evening as we welcome Dan T. Cathy, CEO and Chairman of Chick-fil-A and the Chick-fil-A Foundation. At the heart of this successful leader is a humility and willingness to lead by example, endearing him to his colleagues and contemporaries. Mr. Cathy will share how experiences can lead to understanding and gratitude, generosity and purpose. We hope you can join us. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

This event is a fundraiser for Our Westside Story – “Where Hope Meets Opportunity.”

RSVP Here

12.10 | Peace: How Christmas Changed the Grinch

Advent Worship at Peacthree Road

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Peace:  How Christmas Changed the Grinch
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

8:45 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

9:00 am
Chapel Communion  |  Julie Wright

11:15 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

7:00 pm
The Many Moods of Christmas

On This Day

The Many Moods of Christmas
Sunday, December 10, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary
PRUMC Chancel Choir, Georgia Boy Choir, soloists, orchestra
Scott  Atchison, conductor

The PRUMC Chancel Choir, soloists and orchestra present their Christmas classic featuring Handel’s Messiah. Carols from the gallery will be sung by the Georgia Boy Choir before the concert.  This concert will open your hearts and souls to the miraculous story of Jesus’ birth.  Tickets are complimentary but necessary for seating.  Childcare available for ages 4 and younger by reservation only.  E-mail eveningchildcare@prumc.org to reserve by Wednesday, December 6.

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08.20.17 | Sanctifying Grace: The Heart of it All

Sunday Worship Photos

Sanctifying Grace:  The Heart of It All
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast
Sermon Video

 

We live in a world of instant gratification. As a result, we pray to God for the perfect marriage, the perfect job, and the perfect church. However, we often are left disappointed because God is the original “fixer-upper.” God’s grace works in us to restore us to the luster God intended. In response, to the work of God’s grace in us, we are called to participate in the renovation of our lives:

  • The demolition phase — remove those things from our lives that hinder the light of Christ from shining upon us
  • The restoration phase — engage in those spiritual disciplines that will nurture the seeds of God’s grace planted in us (worship, prayer, study, fasting, and service

Invitation: Look through the attached “Every Member in Ministry” commitment card and find at least one area of the church’s ministry in which to participate. When a critical mass of those in the church come together, speak with one voice, and radiate the love of Christ, attitudes and lives in our world will change. This is why God raised up the people called Methodists. So, let us “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us.” Amen.

08.13.17 | Justifying Grace: The Turning Point

Sunday Worship

Justifying Grace:  The Turning Point
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast
Sermon Video

 

 

There are two parts to the equation in any relationship: an offer and a response. Justifying grace empowers us respond to God’s offer of love, forgiveness, and a relationship with God in two ways:

  • Repentance — John Wesley described repentance as “a change of heart from all sin to all holiness.” What hinders you and distracts you from fully experiencing God’s love and grace?
  • Faith — Wesley called faith “an unshaken assent to all that God hath revealed in Scripture.” Belief is a conscious decision to accept that the scriptures are true.

Invitation: We live in a broken world in which there is a gap between God’s intent and reality. Christ has come to close that gap and fulfill our prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Therefore, we in the church must speak out against racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and violence. Especially those of us who are white must call our world to repent and believe the Gospel.

08.06.17 | Prevenient Grace: The Power to Begin

Sunday Worship

Prevenient Grace:  The Power to Begin
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast
Sermon Video

We all have a hunger deep inside us that can only be filled by a relationship with God. In our scripture reading (John 1:43-51), we learn two lessons:

  • God’s grace is prevenient. It comes to us before we ever do anything to earn it or deserve it. Our past failures do not disqualify us from being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
  • When we accept God’s grace, we experience a purpose and meaning in life that empowers us to make a new beginning

Invitation: Once you have experienced the prevenient grace of God in your own life, be willing to share that grace with others who are hungering for that which will satisfy them and fill their soul..

  • Bill in Sanctuary

Stay Connected

September 1, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, I hope you are doing well. This holiday traditionally marks the end of summer and the beginning of the fall routine at Peachtree Road. I am aware that some of you may be reading these words as you make your tailgate preparations as you attend your favorite school’s opening football game. And still others of you are in the mountains or at the beach enjoying one more weekend away from the city. Please know we look forward to seeing you back in your place here at Peachtree Road very soon.

Last Sunday was a great day as we celebrated “Sunday Funday” here at Peachtree Road. Our elementary children participated in Promotion Sunday as they moved up a grade in Sunday School; the youth rolled out the new program year with an open house in the student center; and Grace Hall was buzzing with excitement as adults signed up for ministry and spiritual growth opportunities and enjoyed a delicious barbeque luncheon. By the way, did you get your Peachtree Road t-shirt last week? If not, please plan to pick one up next Sunday, September 10, at our Fall Kickoff. I am grateful to Mimi Brunson and her team for organizing such a wonderful way to bring the summer to a close. I also hope you have had an opportunity to read through the fall brochure that was mailed out last week. Jill Barnes and our communications team did a fantastic job of putting this beautiful offering together. This fall, we will be focusing upon “The Good Life” here at Peachtree Road, and we want you to be included in the ministry of the church.

I am away this weekend doing some study and writing for the next year. I am grateful for this time and especially appreciate the input many of you gave me a few weeks back concerning the spiritual questions and struggles you have and would like to hear addressed in messages next year. I am excited about what the Lord has in store for us in the coming months.

This Sunday promises to be a good day of worship as Julie Schendel preaches and we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. If you are away from Peachtree Road, I remind you that you can worship online at 11:15 am or later in the week through the church website. Either way, stay connected to your church family.

Thank you for your response last week to the flood victims from Hurricane Harvey. Your giving through the United Methodist Council on Relief (UMCOR) helps make a difference. The communities in the path of the storm still are in the emergency phase, and in this phase local emergency responders and community officials control the response. They will let us know what they need and when they need it, but right now the best responses are prayer for the people living in the devastated areas and gifts to UMCOR (Select U.S. Disaster Reponse, Advance #901670). You may also make a check payable to Peachtree Road and marked for UMCOR, or you may give online through the church website by selecting “Other” in the drop down menu and writing UMCOR in the memo line. In addition to our UMCOR designations, PRUMC is sending $5,000 to provide UZima water filters to the Houston community so they can access clean, healthy water. Thank you for your help.

Finally, let me remind you that next Sunday, September 10, will be a special joining day. If you are new to Peachtree Road or even if you have been attending for a while and have not joined yet, next Sunday would be a good day to formalize your relationship with the church and get involved. Please contact Mimi Brunson about this opportunity. This is an exciting time to be a part of this great church.

Please keep the ministry of Peachtree Road in your prayers in the coming days and call on me if you need me. I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday online.

Bill

07.30.17 | Blessed Assurance

Sunday Worship

In Psalm 121, the writer admits that his help is from the Lord God, who makes heaven and earth. The writer tells of God’s protective care, and of God’s faithfulness even in the face of evil, and that God will always watch over God’s own.

Today, we, too, can trust this same God to be with us when the storms of life come. Whatever we face in life, whatever comes our way, we can take hope in the truth and the reality that God is with us. God is faithful.

07.23.17 | Make a Joyful Noise

Sunday Worship

Psalm 100 is filled with joy and thanksgiving. Yet some days it’s a little hard to find that joy on our own. This Psalm reminds us of the importance of belonging to God and of belonging to each other so that we may help one another find joy. We are invited into an active relationship with God through several phrases: make a joyful noise, worship the Lord, come into his presence, know that the Lord is God, enter his gates with thanksgiving, give thanks, and bless his name. Let us find our belonging by actively being the church together with God.

NGCUMM Igniting Faith Retreat at PRUMC

Ignite

NGCUMM Igniting Faith Retreat at PRUMC
Friday, September 29, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday, September 30, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

All men are invited to an exciting weekend retreat filled with meaningful worship and passionate music.  Guests and speakers include Rev. Donald Reed, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and Robin Cole, Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl linebacker from the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Activities include a fish fry, worship, workshops and  a BBQ lunch.  Optional service opportunities and a golf outing will be offered as well.  $50 includes breakfasts and lunches.  For more information, contact Geoff Beakley at geoffb@prumc.org.

RSVP Here

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Add to Calendar 09/29/2017 06:00 AM 09/30/2017 06:00 PM America/New_York NGCUMM Igniting Faith Retreat at PRUMC All men are invited to an exciting weekend retreat filled with meaningful worship and passionate music. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church Peachtree Road United Methodist Church geoffb@prumc.org false MM/DD/YYYY

12.17 | Joy: It’s a Wonderful Life

Advent Worship at Peacthree Road

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Joy:  It’s a Wonderful Life
Sunday, December 17, 2017

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

8:45 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

9:00 am
Chapel Communion  |  Leslie Watkins

11:15 am
Traditional Worship  |  Bill Britt

11:15 am
New Traditions |  Julie Schendel

5:30 pm
Carols by Candlelight

On This Day

Carols by Candlelight
Sunday, December 17, 5:30 pm, Sanctuary
Carols by Candlelight Choir, Chamber Singers, Doxology Chorale and Peachtree Carillon.
Scott Atchison, Nicole Marane, Kathy Fletcher, conductors

Journey through Lessons and Carols from Advent to the celebration of Christmas, concluding with singing of carols by candlelight.  For those who are traveling at Christmas and wish to celebrate with loved ones here at home, this service is a meaningful and joyous way to celebrate Jesus’ birth.  All are welcome!  Childcare available for ages 4 and younger by reservation only.  Please e-mail eveningchildcare@prumc.org by Wednesday, December 13.

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  • Chris Gabriel

Illuminate Our Way

August 25, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you have had a good week. Monday was an exciting day as we experienced a solar eclipse in our part of the world for the first time in over 35 years. I have enjoyed seeing pictures of many of you on social media as you celebrated this astronomical phenomenon.

What will you remember most about the moments when the moon passed between the earth and the sun — the darkening of the sky, the drop in temperature, or the stillness of the moment? In answer to that question, I heard someone say, “It was the moment the sun came out of the shadow of the moon and light began to return to the earth.” I like that, and that is a good metaphor for what our faith teaches us about life. We go through times when shadows are cast all around us and it is difficult to see our way forward; however, our faith reminds us that the light of Christ shines in the darkness and illuminates our way. I hope you will remember that in these days.

I really am looking forward to Sunday. We are bringing our series of messages entitled “Wesley’s Message for Today” to a close. We have been talking about John Wesley’s teaching to the early Methodists concerning the grace of God, and this week we turn our attention to one final message: “Heaven: The Beginning of Eternity.” We will sing about heaven and focus for a few minutes upon Wesley’s teaching on heaven and eternal life. It will be a good day.

In fact, we are calling this week “Sun-day Fun-day.” In the education department, our children are celebrating “Promotion Sunday” and moving up to the next age level in Sunday School, and our church family is invited to a barbeque luncheon in Grace Hall from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. I hope you will come and enjoy a day of worship, fellowship, and a meal at the church as our guest this Sunday!

On another note, many of you have asked me what our church can do in the wake of the events that took place in Charlottesville a couple of weeks ago. Several United Methodist pastors from the Atlanta community got together earlier this week for lunch with Bishop Woodie White, and he invited us to take a civil rights heritage tour together. Our goal is to take 100 United Methodists (including members of Ben Hill, Cascade, Columbia Drive, Decatur First, Northside, Peachtree Road, and St. John) on a 2-day tour from Atlanta to Alabama to see the historic landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement. This will be an opportunity to hear from guides who were a there in 1965, see the sites, and meet the people who had a hand in changing history. The tour is set for March 3-4, 2018, and I am hoping a number of us from Peachtree Road will participate as we work toward that more perfect union envisioned by our founders. I look forward to sharing more details very soon.

Finally, let me remind you of two notes from last Sunday:

Chris Gabriel offered a ministry moment in which he passionately encouraged members of Peachtree Road to prayerfully consider participating in Disciple Bible Study this fall. He offered one of the best testimonies I have ever heard, and I want to share it with you here. If you are interested in signing up for Disciple, please do so online today. You’ll be glad you did.

We had a good response to the invitation for Every Member in Ministry last week and would like to include you in the work of Peachtree Road. Please use this link to find at least one area of our church’s ministry in which you would like to participate and sign up today. If every member of our church participates, we can provide a critical mass that can change our city.

Thank you for your support in so many ways. I look forward to seeing you Sunday for a “fun day!”

Bill

The Many Moods of Christmas

PRUMC Christmas Music Many Moods of Christmas

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The Many Moods of Christmas Concert

The Many Moods of Christmas
Sunday, December 10, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

PRUMC Chancel Choir, soloists, orchestra
Scott Atchison, conductor

The PRUMC Chancel Choir, soloists and orchestra present their Christmas classic featuring Handel’s Messiah.  Carols from the gallery will be sung by the Georgia Boy Choir before the concert.  This concert will open your hearts and souls to the miraculous story of Jesus’ birth.

Tickets are complimentary but necessary for seating.   Tickets will be available beginning Sunday, November 19, 2017.  Childcare available for ages 4 and younger by reservation only.  Email eveningchildcare@prumc.org to reserve.

Dessert reception sponsored by the PRUMC Friends of Music in Grace Hall following the concert.

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New Worship Preview Service

New Worship Preview Service

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New Worship Preview Service

New Worship Preview Service
Sunday, December 17, 11:15 am, Heritage Hall
Celebrate a family Christmas with favorite carols and meaningful message.  Rev. Julie Schendel and the PRUMC Worship Band will lead our final “preview” service of 2017.  Plan on joining us each week in 2018 as we bring a current, comfortable worship experience to Heritage Hall.

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  • Bill Praying

Lean Into God’s Vision

August 18, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you doing well. Last Sunday was an inspiring day in worship. From the hymns we sang to the prayers we prayed to the new members we welcomed to our reflection upon the scriptures, I sensed the presence of the Lord in our midst. At the close of the message, I offered some words about the heart-wrenching events we witnessed through the media over the weekend in Charlottesville. Earlier this week I shared a pastoral statement on our website that I include here:

We live in a broken world. The events of last weekend in Charlottesville have demonstrated that clearly. Every Sunday we pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Yet, there is a gap between God’s vision of “peace and good will to all people” and the world in which we live. The church cannot be silent in these times. Racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and violence have no place in our society and must be confronted – especially by those of us who are white. By our words and deeds, let us lean more forcefully into God’s preferred future for us. Let us repent of our sins, pray that God will give us grace to believe the Gospel we have inherited, and work side-by-side for peace. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since writing those words, I have been thinking of ways in which we can in fact “lean more forcefully into God’s preferred future for us.” I have been asking myself, “How can we best confront the racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and violence in our world? What prayers of repentance do we need to pray? Where are there opportunities for us to work side-by-side with others to model peace and harmony in our world?” I invite you to consider those questions in your own life and pray for your church leaders as we seek the Lord’s guidance to the answers for Peachtree Road. In the meantime, please reflect upon these words from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21. I am grateful for your support.

We’ve been talking about grace in our services this month. Our theme for the series is “Wesley’s Message for Today.” As we have discovered, John Wesley’s message to the early Methodists is just as timely for us today as it was 300 years ago. We already have learned that God’s grace is prevenient – it is offered to us before we ever do anything to earn it or deserve it. God’s grace also is justifying – it enables us to respond to God and makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God. This week in worship, we will discover that God’s grace also is sanctifying – it enables us to grow spiritual roots that run deep in the soil of our faith so that our lives are nurtured and we produce the fruit of the Spirit. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday in worship as we continue to learn what it means to grow in God’s grace.

Speaking of learning, each year at this time, I am reminded of the value of education in our lives. With all of our schools now in full swing, we want to encourage students and teachers in these early days of the new school year. This Sunday we will take time in our worship services to offer a blessing upon all students and teachers. If you are a teacher, school administrator, coach or student (elementary, middle, high, college, or grad school), please be present so we can pray for you.

Also on Sunday, at the close of the worship services, each of us will have an opportunity to become a part of our “Every Member in Ministry” emphasis. One of the ways we live out our faith here at Peachtree Road is by engaging in at least one area of ministry. And, as the title states, our goal is to have every member in ministry. There are a variety of opportunities for involvement from teaching to joining our hospitality team to helping with local projects or signing up for a global mission trip. There literally is an opportunity for every member of the church to find a place to serve. You can sign up this Sunday and present your commitment card as you leave worship. If you will not be present on Sunday, you may go online today and sign up to be one of our servant-leaders. Thank you for being “all in” at Peachtree Road.

Finally, I wanted to let you know about an upcoming deadline for next year’s Wesley Heritage Tour. Wendie and I are looking forward to going taking a group from Peachtree Road to England July 24-August 2, 2018 to explore the land where Methodism began. The trip is now less than a year away, and those who register by August 24 will save $125 per person. As an added bonus, we will have the opportunity to hear our own Peachtree Road Chancel Choir sing as the choir in residence at Westminster Abbey. You may contact Jamie Jenkins or pick up a brochure at the church for more information. We would love to share this time together. Come travel with us to England next year.

Thank you for your prayers for the ministry of Peachtree Road, your presence in worship, your generous gifts through the offering plate, and your service in the name of Christ. See you Sunday!

Bill

The Longest Night Service

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The Longest Night Prayer Service

The Longest Night Prayer Service
Thursday, December 21, 7:00 pm, Moore Chapel
All are welcome to join us for a reflective candlelight service on the longest night of the year.  Experience the hope that God intended through the coming of Christ.  Rev. Larry Adams preaching.

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Christmas with the Georgia Boy Choir

Christmas with the Georgia Boy Choir

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Christmas with The Georgia Boy Choir

Christmas with the Georgia Boy Choir
Friday & Saturday, December 15 & 16, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

David R. White, conductor

Our Ensemble in Residence since 2014, this concert is has quickly become a PRUMC and Atlanta family tradition!  The concert features all five levels of the Georgia Boy Choir, along with a professional orchestra, performing your favorite carols and songs to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.  Don’t miss Atlanta’s largest performance of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with audience participation!

Tickets available at www.georgiaboychoir.org

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  • The Dogwood Gift Shop

The Dogwood Gift Shop Opens for Fall!

The Dogwood Gift Shop
Open Now through December 17

Sundays, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm

Mondays, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 6:30 pm

The Dogwood Gift Shop brings gifts from local and global artisans to the heart of Buckhead.  This fall, we will offer a great new selection of Christian books and gifts, jewelry, beautiful pieces for your home like original art, pottery, handcrafts, and textiles, and whimsical toys and other items for children.  All proceeds benefit PRUMC missions, so come see our exciting new inventory and give the gift that gives twice!

12.24 | Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Worship at Peachtree Road

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Christmas Eve Worship Services
Sunday, December 24, 2017

Come join us and be filled with the glorious spirit of the season.  Celebrate the birth of our Savior with heavenly choirs and the proclamation of great news.  Be awed by the magnificence of this night and humbled by it’s significance.  All are welcome to come and rejoice!

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

11:15 am
Christmas Service of Holy Communion
A celebration of the Eucharist.

4:00 pm
Family Candlelight & Christmas Pageant
Children’s choirs and Christmas pageant with nativity characters.

6:00 pm
Family Candlelight & Christmas Pageant
Children’s choirs and Christmas pageant with nativity characters.

8:00 pm
Festival of Lessons & Carols
PRUMC Chancel Choir and Brass herald in this most Holy Night.

10:30 pm
Festival Choral Eucharist
PRUMC Chancel Choir and Brass with a celebration of the Eucharist.

All services will be webcast live here.  Complimentary childcare will be available at 4:00 & 6:00 pm services for ages 3 and under.  Our Christmas Eve offering will provide clean water to the Rongai region of Kenya.  You may make a gift through the PRUMC app, or online here.

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Carols by Candlelight

Advent Worship at Peacthree Road

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Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight
Sunday, December 17, 5:30 pm, Sanctuary

Carols by Candlelight Singers
Chamber Singers
Doxology Ensemble
Peachtree Carillon
Scott Atchison, Nicole Marane, Kathy Fletcher, conductors

Journey through Lessons and Carols from Advent to the celebration of Christmas, concluding with singing of carols by candlelight.  For those who are traveling at Christmas and wish to celebrate with loved ones here at home, this service is a meaningful and joyous way to celebrate Jesus’ birth.  All are welcome!  Invite a friend:  it may be the best gift you give.  Enjoy discounts at participating Buckhead restaurants following the service.  Childcare available for ages 4 and younger by reservation only.  Please e-mail eveningchildcare@prumc.org.

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Eve of the Nativity of our Lord

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Christmas Eve Worship Services

Christmas Eve Worship Services
Sunday, December 24, 2017

Come join us and be filled with the glorious spirit of the season.  Celebrate the birth of our Savior with heavenly choirs and the proclamation of great news.  Be awed by the magnificence of this night and humbled by it’s significance.  All are welcome to come and rejoice!

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

11:15 am
Christmas Service of Holy Communion
A celebration of the Eucharist.

4:00 pm
Family Candlelight & Christmas Pageant
Children’s choirs and Christmas pageant with nativity characters.

6:00 pm
Family Candlelight & Christmas Pageant
Children’s choirs and Christmas pageant with nativity characters.

8:00 pm
Festival of Lessons & Carols
PRUMC Chancel Choir and Brass herald in this most Holy Night.

10:30 pm
Festival Choral Eucharist
PRUMC Chancel Choir and Brass with a celebration of the Eucharist.

All services will be webcast live here.

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Forums and Speakers Announcements

Understanding Church Finances

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Water for Kenya Forum with Bill & Chat Coble

Water for Kenya Forum with Bill & Chat Coble
Sunday, December 10, Heritage Hall

PRUMC members and missionaries Bill and Chat Coble return for a special forum on PRUMC’s success providing clean water in Kenya.  They will speak on the value of the UZima filter, the health statistics of the people you have helped and the long-term effects of this life-saving work.

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Understanding Church Finances

Educational Travel

Where in the World is Wesley?! U.K. Tour
July 24 – August 2, 2018

Discover the world of John Wesley on an exciting adventure “across the pond” next summer. Bill and Wendie Britt and Jamie Jenkins will lead a group throughout jolly Old England, from bustling London to the quaint countryside, July 24 – August 2, 2018.

With stops in York, Epworth, Bath, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Gloucester, Oxford and London, this trip is an excellent comprehensive tour of England. With each stop, our group will explore the region and learn fun facts about the life of Methodism’s founding father John Wesley. At the same time, the PRUMC choir will have the privilege of singing at the great Westminster Abbey! We will join them in the revered tradition of Evensong on July 31.

Say “O.K.” to the U.K and join us! Two optional extensions are offered and early registration discounts are available. For more information, email Jamie Jenkins at jamiej@prumc.org. Tally-ho!

All are welcome to learn about Wesley, the early Methodists and the sites on this tour in a fall series offered by Jamie on Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm from September 7 – October 5.

Tour Details Here
  • Jack Mitchener

Jack Mitchener Organ Recital

Jack Mitchener Organ Recital
PRUMC Artist in Residence and Assistant Organist
Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

Jack joined the PRUMC Music Ministry in July 2017 as the new Artist-in-Residence and Assistant Organist.  Jack is the primary musician for the 9:00 am Communion Service.  He is also Professor of Organ, University Organist, Chairman of the Keyboard Department in the Townsend School of Music, and Director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music at Mercer University in Macon.

$15 suggested concert donation/$5 suggested for students.

 

  • Bill Hugging Baptism

What We Do Matters

August 11, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you have had a good week. With schools beginning to open and summer coming to a close, I have seen more and more of you back at church. It’s good to be together again! I am looking forward to Sunday as we continue our series “Wesley’s Message for Today.” Last week, we considered John Wesley’s teaching concerning “prevenient grace.” We observed that there is a hunger within each of us that only can be satisfied by a relationship with God. Wesley reminded us that God offers God’s love, mercy, and grace even before any of us can do anything to earn it or deserve it. Therefore, our past failures do not disqualify us from being Christ’s disciples. And being a Christian disciple gives our lives meaning and purpose. That is really good news! We closed last week’s service with the chorus “Fill my cup, Lord” echoing in our ears.

This week we will build on this understanding of God’s grace and spend a few minutes thinking about justifying grace as the turning point in our lives. Our key verses for the message are Ephesians 2:8-10:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Lots of people wonder (though they probably wouldn’t ask the question out loud): “What’s the least I can do to be saved?” Together we’ll wrestle with that question and explore Wesley’s teaching about how God’s grace works in our lives, and I’ll offer two good responses you can make to God’s amazing grace. It will be a good day.

I do want to make you aware of two opportunities for the coming week:

School of Congregational Development — the North Georgia Conference, Candler School of Theology, and Gammon Theological Seminary are co-hosting this event being held here at Peachtree Road. Over 500 clergy and laity from across our denomination are coming to Atlanta for three days of worship, fellowship, and learning best practices in ministry from some outstanding leaders. Our members have a unique opportunity to participate, and I offer you a special invitation to attend the keynote address that will be offered on Thursday, August 17, at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary by Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber. Nadia is a Lutheran priest and the author of the bestselling book Accidental Saints. She will speak and share about the ministry of her church (she is the founding pastor of Church for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado) to the least, the last, and the lost. She is a very provocative speaker, and you will be challenged and inspired by her at the same time. This is a rare opportunity to hear this outstanding prophet in our world today.

“Why God? Weekend” — Our youth in grades 7-12 are participating in a special “back-to-school” retreat next weekend here at the church entitled “Why God?” They will gather at the Student Center Friday, August 18, through Sunday, August 20 for a time of fun, fellowship, and wrestling with faith questions such as “Why is there evil in the world? Can science and faith coexist? How am I supposed to know God is real? Do we have a purpose in life?” I am grateful to Chris Mucha and our youth staff for organizing and leading this important time and hope you will encourage those in the church who have youth in these grades to register and get on board. These are exciting days in youth ministry.

Finally, I would ask that you remember the families of Robert Hill and Georgia Harris in your prayers. Georgia died just a few weeks before her 103rd birthday and had been a member of Peachtree Road for over 60 years. Robert was born and raised in this church and battled cancer until his death earlier this week at age 51. I invite you especially to remember his parents, Bob and Becky Hill. We will honor Robert’s life tomorrow at 11:00 am in the sanctuary, and Georgia’s memorial service will follow at 2:00 pm in the chapel.

What we do here matters. It makes a difference. Thank you for your prayers on behalf of the church, your presence in worship and Sunday School, your gifts in support of the ministries of this church, and your faithful, encouraging service in the name of Christ to those who are in need. I am grateful for you.

See you Sunday!

Bill

  • 2017-2018 Music Season

2017-2018 Concert Season

Music has the ability to profoundly touch our hearts and souls. The PRUMC 2017-2018 Concert Series is an excellent way to enrich your life through the energy and beauty expressed through a live performance.  There are many ways to keep the arts alive at Peachtree Road and in our community:

  • Download a pdf of our series brochure and be sure to join us as we celebrate the arts throughout the year!
  • Join the “Fifth Section” team of greeters, ushers and front of house volunteers to create a warm, memorable experience for our concert goers.
  • Stay connected to the Music Ministry to get the latest news and announcements.  Like our Facebook page, sign up for our monthly newsletter, or feel free to call us at 404.240.8212 any time.

Thank you for your continued support.  This year promises to bring the finest in music-making!

  • Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
February 14, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

The Imposition of Ashes & Litany of Penitence
The PRUMC Chancel Choir & Chamber Singers
Music by Fleming and Byrd
Scott H. Atchison, conductor

  • Georgia Boy Choir

Georgia Boy Choir Festival Finale Concert

Georgia Boy Choir Festival Finale Concert
Saturday, February 16, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

David R. White, conductor

PRUMC hosts the Ninth Annual Georgia Boy Choir Festival drawing more than 250 young men from across the United States together for a day and a half of music making.  The Festival culminates with a Grand Finale Concert featuring all five levels of GBC, local guest participants and visiting choirs.

Tickets at www.georgiaboychoir.org

 

  • Rose Window

The Power to Begin

August 4, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. Wendie and I spent some time away last week in a cooler climate (very refreshing), but it is good to be back in Atlanta with you. Many of our local schools have started, and it’s time for us to gear up for the fall here at Peachtree Road.

On Sunday, we are kicking off a new series in worship designed to help you grow in your faith: John Wesley’s Theology for Today. We are Methodists and have inherited a rich tradition of scriptural holiness that has fueled spiritual renewal for nearly three centuries. I continue to find Wesley’s teaching to be a source of both inspiration and guidance and look forward to exploring with you his foundational ideas on how God’s grace works in our lives.

So, for the next four weeks, we will be considering the following:

August 6 | John 1:43-51 | Prevenient Grace: The Power to Begin
August 13 | Acts 11:25-34 | Justifying Grace: The Turning Point
August 20 | Philippians 2:12-13 | Sanctifying Grace: The Heart of It All
August 27 | Luke 24:50-53 | Heaven: The Beginning of Eternity

This Sunday’s message is entitled “Prevenient Grace: The Power to Begin.” Imagine a situation in which a person is hopelessly lost at sea. The person is filled with despair. There is nothing this person can do – the situation is hopeless. However, Wesley would want us to know that God breaks through into the hopelessness and offers hope and help. Are you struggling with despair in your own life? Do you know someone who feels like there is nothing he or she can do to overcome the hopelessness? This week’s message will come as an encouraging word – in the midst of our struggles, our Lord comes to us and offers us his grace and the power to make a new beginning. I hope you will join us for worship this week as we begin this important series of messages on grace and hope.

This Sunday also is Young Adult Sunday at Peachtree Road. We are blessed with a vibrant group of young professionals who actively participate in the ministry of our church. On Sunday we will have the opportunity to hear a word of testimony from two of them (Kirk Moss at 8:45 am and Mason Brannon at 11:15 am). Several others will assist in serving the Sacrament of Holy Communion this Sunday as we celebrate the ministry of young adults. If you are new to the community and have not found your place of connection yet, I encourage you to consider the young adult ministry at Peachtree Road. I am grateful to our associate minister Leslie Watkins for her leadership in coordinating this vital ministry.

Finally, let me mention two opportunities for growth in the coming weeks:

Disciple Bible Study – Many of you already have been a part of Disciple, but there is a new study out that is designed for those with a very busy schedule – Disciple Fast Track. Instead of the marathon run of 34 weeks of study with 2.5 hours each week of class time, the course has been streamlined – 12 weeks studying the Old Testament in the fall and 12 weeks in the spring studying the New Testament. Also, the class time has been shortened to 1.5 hours. If you have not taken Disciple before because of the time commitment, I would suggest you strongly consider Disciple Fast Track. And, even if you have participated in Disciple before, why not take a refresher course beginning this fall. To register, follow this link.

School of Congregational Development – The North Georgia Conference, Candler School of Theology, and Gammon Theological Seminary are hosting the School of Congregational Development here at Peachtree Road Thursday, August 17, through Saturday, August 19. The theme for this year’s school is “At the Lord’s Table,” and over 500 clergy and lay leaders from across the country have registered to attend. The sessions will include a number of plenary sessions and workshops designed to enrich the spiritual life of the local church. I wanted you to know about this event and to be in prayer for all who will participate. To learn more about the school, please follow this link.

Thank you for all you are doing through the ministry of Peachtree Road. I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we begin thinking about “John Wesley’s Message for Today.”

Bill

  • Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf
Thursday, February 22, 2018, 10:00 am

Nicole Marane, organ
John Lemley, narrator
John Lawless, percussion

This unique and delightful concert for all ages tells the classic tale of young Peter through orchestral instruments that represent each of the characters.  Both as an incredible learning experience and church and community outreach, we invite local schools and our PRUMC preschool families. This event is open to the public and for more information, visit www.prumc.org/music.

 

  • Bill Shaking Hands

Blessed Assurance

July 28, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you doing well. Let me begin this note with a couple of congregational concerns. First, as announced last Sunday in worship, Mildred Wright, one of our oldest members at age 100, died. Her memorial service is set for Monday afternoon at 2:00 pm in the chapel. I invite you to remember her daughter Martha Carlock and family in your prayers. Also, the mother of Martha Christopher, our director of Children and Family Ministries, died peacefully yesterday afternoon after a long illness. Funeral arrangements have not been made yet. This has been a difficult week for these two greatly-loved member families, and I hope you will pray for them to experience the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit in their time of grief.

It has been lively at the church this week as we have been preparing for the start of the new school year. It may be hard to believe, but the Atlanta Public Schools are set to being this next week. Other schools in the community open in a couple of weeks, and the Peachtree Road Preschool year will begin shortly after that. Where did the summer go?

If you have been traveling this summer, you have been missed. We all know how it is when folks get together for a family reunion. Invariably, someone is not able to make it, and we lament that it’s just not the same when everybody isn’t there.  I certainly look forward to seeing everyone back at church during the month of August. I will be issuing a call in the early weeks of August to solicit help in some much-needed areas: recording and follow-up on worship attendance, pew shepherds during worship services on Sunday morning, and 30 hospitality teams to serve as the welcome committee for Fall Kick-off Sunday in September. Please be prepared to say “yes” when I issue the invitation.

As for this Sunday, we are set to bring our “Summer in the City” series to a close. During this month of July, we have been focusing upon some of our favorite psalms from the Old Testament. The singing has been lively, the fellowship has been warm and welcoming, and the messages have been inspirational. I have really appreciated the preaching of Julie Schendel and Carolyn Stephens these last three Sundays.

This week, Carolyn will be preaching on Psalm 121. You know the way it begins:

I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Biblical scholars believe this psalm was used by the ancient Israelites as they set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They understood life is full of many dangers – from physical like disease, accident, war, and natural disasters to economic like recession, depression, unemployment, under-employment, suffocating debt, and theft to spiritual like doubt, sin, evil, and extremism. Therefore, at the beginning of a journey of faith, there is no more appropriate question to ask than, “…from where will my help come?”

Of course, you and I believe with the psalmist: “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” That’s the message Carolyn will be proclaiming this Sunday in worship, and I hope you will be present to sing and pray and meditate upon the blessed assurance that comes from faith in God. Special music this week will be offered by Jeanne Brown.

Wendie and I will miss being with you this week. Sunday is our wedding anniversary, and we will be out of town. It will mark the second Sunday we have not been present in worship at Peachtree Road this year, and it’s just not the same when we’re not with you. We look forward to being back next week. Call me if you need me.

Bill

  • Eastman School of Music

Rising Stars! Eastman Organists’ Recital

Rising Stars!  Eastman Organists’ Recital
February 27, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

We enter our third year of collaboration with the Eastman School of Music, the premier music school in the U.S. for organists.  We are proud to present Ivan Bosnar and Jacob Taylor, candidates for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance.  Come hear these extraordinary musicians!

$15 suggested concert donation/$5 suggested for students.

 

  • Stations of the Cross

Passion of the Christ: The Musical Stations of the Cross

Passion of the Christ: The Musical Stations of the Cross
Sunday, March 18, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

Scott H. Atchison, gallery organ
Zachary Fritsch-Hemenway, chancel organ
John Lemley, narration
Schola, antiphons

With origins dating back to the Middle Ages, the Stations of the Cross refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion.   Now a Lenten devotion, the object of the stations is to help the Christian faithful make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ.  Take this spiritual Journey with us and find the sacred in Gregorian chant, organ improvisation, the spoken word and candlelight.

$15 suggested concert donation/$5 suggested for students.

 

  • Bill Leslie Carolyn Singing

Make A Joyful Noise

July 21, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you have had a good week.

Sunday promises to be another great day in worship as we continue our “Summer in the City” services. Julie Schendel will be preaching this week as we continue to focus upon “Summer Psalms.” This Sunday we turn our attention to one of the most-beloved biblical passages of all time — Psalm 100. No doubt you have quoted this psalm of praise on numerous occasions:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

The psalmist encourages us to sing praises to God. Did you know that science has discovered a connection between singing and better health and well-being? Seriously, neurological studies have shown that when you sing, your brain releases endorphins and oxytocins, hormones that work together to relax your brain and relieve stress and anxiety. And here’s the best part: you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards! Just make a joyful “noise!” Amazing. So, one of the best things you can do for your own mental health is to show up at Peachtree Road on Sunday mornings, pick up a hymnal or put on a choir robe, and sing praises to God! It’s certainly worth considering.

Speaking of singing, not only will you have the opportunity to sing some of my favorite hymns (To God Be the Glory, ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, and Revive Us Again) and hear the Chancel Choir, but we also will be blessed by the singing of our own Amy Little as a soloist. Do you need something to encourage you and get you seeing life from a new perspective? Then join us as we “come into His presence with singing” this Sunday.

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your generous giving to Wesley Woods as a part of the Mother’s Day Offering. To date, your offering of $25,685 represents the largest amount contributed by one church in our Annual Conference, and I am grateful. If you were in the sanctuary that Sunday, you heard incredibly moving testimonies of how Wesley Woods makes a difference in the lives of older adults living in our communities (even some from our own church). They spoke of how Wesley Woods has given them a sense of belonging that helps to overcome the loneliness so many experience at this stage of life and provides meaning to their lives. If you have not had an opportunity to contribute yet, you may do so through the month of August by giving online.

Finally, I am pleased to announce the addition of two new persons to our church staff:

Bob Brinson, who joined Peachtree Road on Palm Sunday one year ago, is our new preferred caterer. If you have not had a chance to sample Chef Bob’s cooking the last two weeks, I invite you to drop by Grace Hall on a Sunday morning and enjoy the delicious breakfast he has prepared.

Deb Knott is our new events coordinator. She started last week and is the one you will want to talk with about scheduling the use of our church space.

I look forward to having you meet these two. We welcome them to the Peachtree Road family.

As you travel in these last days of summer, I encourage you to stay connected to your church family by worshiping online or viewing the service later in the week. Thank you for your support in so many ways.

See you Sunday as we worship together and make a joyful noise!

Bill

Fall Bible Studies 2017

Disciple

Bible Study is one of the greatest ways we grow in our discipleship with Christ and in our relationships with one another. This year there is something for everyone! I’ve often heard, “I can’t go to Bible study, I don’t know enough about the Bible.” Fear not…whether you’ve never really read the Bible or you’ve been taking classes for years, spending time studying God’s word can be transformative: increase your knowledge, develop the discipline of a daily or weekly routine, and learn more about God and one another. Sign up today for a short-term study to get your feet wet, or for a 36-week disciple class to dive right in! – Julie Schendel

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Register Here

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Disciple Courses

Disciple Sunday School
Remember Who You Are

Sundays, starting September 10, 10:00 am, B118

Lynn Henkel

This study intensive Sunday School class works through Disciple 3—Remember Who You Are. Class is ongoing but newcomers are welcome at the start of each new study.

Click here to register.

Disciple 1
Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study

Sundays, starting August 27, 6:00 pm, C104
Jeff Upshaw & Les Watters

Mondays, starting August 28, 6:30 pm, C106
Troy Nottingham & Jo Hodges

Whether you’ve never read the Bible or have studied it often and want to dive deeper, this 36 week class is a great way to develop the discipline of studying the Bible and using that knowledge to help you grow in your faith journey.

Click here to register.

Disciple 1
Fast Track

Sundays, starting August 27, 6:00 pm, B118

Mack Barnes & Shawn Perkins

For those whose schedules won’t quite allow 36 weeks of study in a row, try the Fast Track version for an abbreviated study with 12 weeks in the Fall for the Old Testament, a break for the winter holidays, and 12 weeks beginning in January for the New Testament. This is a great way to get your feet wet with Disciple.

Click here to register.

Disciple 2
Into the Word, Into the World

Mondays, starting August 28, 6:30 pm, C102
Gary Schneeberg & Leigh Beakley

Tuesdays, starting September 5, 6:30 pm, C102
Ross Daniel & Lynn Banks

33 weeks focusing on Genesis, Exodus, Luke, and Acts, Disciple 2 teaches participants the transforming power of scripture and Bible study skills that take students deeper into the Word. Disciple 1 is a prerequisite to help you get the most out of this course.

Click here to register.

Disciple 3
Remember Who You Are

Sundays, starting August 27, 6:00 pm, C101

Alex Barfield, Sloan Dobrin, & Ben Saylor

Study the major and minor Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament Letters of Paul. This 32-week course will allow participants to discover the connection between memory and identity as the people of God. Disciple 1 is a prerequisite for the course, but Disciple 2 is not required.

Click here to register.

Jesus in the Gospels

Sundays, starting August 27, 6:00 pm, C106

Ed Hamlin

A 36 week Disciple favorite that connects the teachings of Jesus with the Judaic texts of the Old Testament. Discover Jesus in a new light by learning more about his roots in Judaism and how it all connects with Christianity. Participants must have completed Disciple 1 previously to get the most out of class.

Click here to register.

Invitation to the New Testament

Wednesdays, starting September 13, 6:00 pm, C104

Geoff Beakley

This 8-week short-term Disciple study looks at how the early church took ownership of and was shaped by the story of Jesus. Participants will discover how to develop as disciples and create communities of faith just like they did in the early church.

Click here to register.

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Topical Courses

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace

Sundays, starting September 24, 6:00 pm, C208

Bill O’Shields, CPA and Chris Blackman, CPA & CFP

A 9-week, money-management course taught on DVD by America’s most trusted financial guru, Dave Ramsey. Dave and his teaching team will walk you through the basics of budgeting, dumping debt, planning for the future and much more.

***  Sign up and order your class materials HERE.

GriefShare

Tuesdays, starting September 19, 6:30 pm, C105

Carol Thurman & Lindley Small

If you’ve lost a spouse, child, family member, or friend, it may be hard for you to feel optimistic about the future right now. You’ve probably found there are not many people who understand the deep hurt you feel. This can be a confusing time when you feel isolated and have many questions about things you’ve never faced before. Grief Share meets weekly to help you face these challenges and move toward rebuilding your life.

Click here to register.

Journey Together
Exploring the Psalms

Wednesdays, starting September 6, 10:30 am, C104

Julie Wright

Throughout the Psalms, we encounter a beautiful spectrum of words used by the writers to demonstrate how God’s word impacts everything around us. The word of God is not merely something tied to some ephemeral spiritual realm. Rather, its purpose is to transform our daily lives and the ways in which we interact in the real world.

Click here to register.

Deep Waters
Knowing Our Neighbors: Building Bridges in a Volatile World

Wednesdays, starting September 13, 6:30 pm, C208

Julie Schendel

Join Deep Waters this fall for a forum series aimed at gaining a better understanding around how/what contemporary issues and movements are affecting those of other faiths. Drawing upon the expertise and experiences of Jewish and Muslim speakers, Candler and Emory faculty, and other experts in the field, the course will provide members with insights to analyze current events and issues as they relate to other religions and sociopolitical issues. We’ll explore ways we as Christians can promote tolerance, understanding, and peace, as well as inter-faith dialogue with our neighbors in the Atlanta community.

Click here to register.

Marriage Enrichment

Wednesdays, starting November 1, 6:30 pm, C207

Bill Britt

A 3-week marriage enrichment class helping couples grow (not fall) in love, make the relationship a priority, and avoid the pitfalls that rob the relationship of joy. Open to engaged couples, newlyweds, and long-term married couples.

Click here to register.

What is the Bible?

Thursdays, starting September 7, 9:00 am, C104

Julie Schendel

A study on Rob Bell’s newest book “What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.” Take a deeper look at the Bible you know and love, and discover how it’s more revealing, revolutionary, and relevant than we ever imagined.

Click here to register.

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Short Term

Celebration of Discipline

Mondays, starting September 11, 8:30 am, C106

Carolyn Stephens

This 12-week study focuses on Richard Foster’s classic book “Celebration of Discipline.” Discover ways to become a stronger disciple of Christ through the inward, outward, and corporate disciplines such as fasting, simplicity, and celebration.

Click here to register.

The Religion Next Door
Exploring the Role of Christianity in the South

Mondays, starting September 11, 6:30 pm, C104

Darren Hensley

How can people of shared faith express such different and sometimes opposing outlooks on the issues of the day?  How does religion inform these views?  Using the Letters of Paul and insights from Southern literary figures, this five-week study will consider how religion affects everything from our social interactions, political views, and values to our perceptions, self-understanding, and identity.  Recalling our traditions and experiences, and through intentional self-reflection and discernment, we will examine ways to engage some of our most difficult cultural questions while claiming meaningful, faithful responses to them.

Click here to register.

The Road Back to You

Mondays, starting September 25, 9:30 am, C204

Leslie Watkins

A dynamic 5-week study on the ancient personality test, the Enneagram. Working through Ian Morgan Cron’s book “The Road Back to You” and the accompanying workbook, discover more about yourself and others as you learn about personality traits, driving factors, and how to reach your healthiest self.

Click here to register.

Margin
Relieving Overload

Tuesdays, starting September 12, 6:15 pm, C104

Ken Yarbrough

A 6-week study on the book by Richard Swenson. “Margin” is a class for people who buy a book on how to handle stress, then don’t have time to read it.  It is a practical guide and discussion of how to add reserves to your life and family.  Emotional reserves.  Physical reserves.  Financial reserves. Time reserves.  And most importantly, spiritual reserves.  If you yearn for relief from the pain and pressure of overload, “Margin” will teach you how to find relief.

Click here to register.

Wesley and the Early Methodists

Thursdays, starting September 7, 6:30 pm, B118

Jamie Jenkins

This 4-week study focuses on John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Discussion will revolve around the early Methodist Movement in England, as well as the historical sights that helped shape John Wesley and the birth of our denomination.

Click here to register.

Moses

Thursdays, starting September 21, 7:00 pm, C104

Deidra Harrell

This 6-week study focuses on Adam Hamilton’s newest book “Moses.” It doesn’t get much more dramatic: rescued baby, parting the Red Sea, leading his people out of Egypt…Moses’ life was one challenge after the next, but although he resisted God’s calling, by the end of his life he successfully fulfilled the role he was given. We’ll take a look at historical information, archaeological data, and biblical text, all while gaining a better understanding of Moses’ significance in our lives today and how we, too, can turn our reluctance into boldness.

Click here to register.

Falling Upward

Fridays, starting October 13, 10:00 am, C104

Claire Bowen

This 3-week study focuses on Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.” In the first half of life, we are naturally and rightly preoccupied with establishing our identity. But, those concerns will not serve us as we grow older and begin to embark on a further journey.  Rohr offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life’s mysteries: how our failings can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth.

Click here to register.

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Women

More Than Sparrows

Wednesdays, starting August 30, 9:30 am, H105-106

Sarah Crossman Sullivan

We are surrounded by love, kindness, compassion, opportunity, and hope. Yet in these blessings, fear, worry, doubt, and neglect seep in. Join us as we study scripture on how to cloak ourselves and each other in God’s love. We’ll study the Gospel of John.

Click here to register.

Morning Light
Conversations with God

Wednesdays, starting September 20, 10:00 am, B118

Gloria Gilley

Join this group to respond to biblical passages through though provoking questions as you experience a closer walk with Christ.

Click here to register.

Morning Light
All Things New

Wednesdays, starting September 20, 10:00 am, C208

Nancy Bell

Learn more about Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth and how God’s church can thrive in any and every circumstance.

Click here to register.

Morning Light
The Armor of God

Wednesdays, starting September 20, 10:00 am, C205

Bonnie Copeland

Join this class to use scripture to create an action plan to put on God’s armor to protect against daily battles we all face.

Click here to register.

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  • Lenten Banner

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday
March 29, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

Choral Eucharist
The PRUMC Chancel Choir
Music by Handel and Lotti
Scott H. Atchison, conductor

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Scott Conducting

Summer in the City Series
Make a Joyful Noise  |  Psalm 100

Worship Bulletin PDF
11:15 am Live Webcast

8:45 am
Traditional Worship  |  Julie Schendel

9:00 am
Chapel Communion  |  Geoff Beakley

11:15 am
Traditional Worship  |  Julie Schendel

5:00 pm
Sundays @ 5  |  Julie Schendel

 

 

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On this day
Happenings

  • Easter Cross of Flowers

Easter Day

Easter Day
April 1, 2018, Sanctuary

8:15 am Easter Worship
9:45 am Easter Worship
11:15 am Easter Worship

The Resurrection of the Lord
Music by Near and Dirksen
The PRUMC Chancel Choir
The Atlanta Brassworks
The Peachtree Carillon

Media

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Catch great moments from Sunday's worship here!

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Sermon Podcast – Coming Soon
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Coming Soon

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Catch great moments from Sunday's worship here!

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The Lord is my Shepherd
Rev. Bill Britt

The reading of the 23rd Psalm is one of the most beloved passages in the entire Bible. I believe its power comes from the hope and comfort it communicates to us as we walk through life’s valleys.
Two observations:

  • “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”The psalmist understood that the valleys of life are a given. Life isn’t just enjoying yourself in green pastures, sitting at a feast at the family table, or overflowing cups of blessings. The valleys in life are inevitable.
  • The psalmist understood that the valley is not a destination. Rather, it is a passageway that we walk through.
    The interesting difference between “though” and “through” is the letter “r,” which in American Sign Language is represented by crossing your fingers. Of course, this sign predates ASL by many centuries. Early Christians used the sign in times of persecution to identify themselves as people of the cross – followers of Christ. We are invited to remember that it is Christ who is with us as we venture into life’s valleys, and it is Christ who enables us to move through them.

You probably know someone who is struggling in a valley this week. Look for a way to offer them an encouraging word. They are not alone. Christ is with them. That word might make all the difference to them.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Catch great moments from Sunday's worship here!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Catch great moments from Sunday's worship here!

Father’s Day

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Catch great moments from Sunday's worship here!

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pentecost

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Rivers of Living Water
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

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See A Witness, Hear A Witness, Be A Witness
Rev. Julie Schendel

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Graduate Sunday

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We Have an Advocate
Rev. Bill Britt

We are in the season of transitions – graduations, weddings, confirmations, etc.  With each of these, the old passes away and something new begins. And that can be a source of anxiety for many, and Jesus understood that. While preparing his disciples for his own departure, Jesus said: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever…” (John 14:16)

  • The Advocate the Father sends is one who walks alongside us as a counselor. Do you have someone like that in your life?
  • Jesus doesn’t just send us an Advocate. He sends us the Advocate – the Holy Spirit who brings to us an abundant life.
  • There is nothing you can say or do to prevent God from loving you.

This week, look for ways to declutter your life and create more room for the Holy Spirit to fill your soul. Exercise your spiritual muscles through worship, prayer, study, and service. You have an Advocate!

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother’s Day

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You Never Walk Alone
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Doxology Sunday

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Celebrate Life

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Day

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Fear and Great Joy
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday

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When Death Draws Near… Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

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When You’re Caught in a Nightmare… Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

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When You’re Haunted by Your Past… Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

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When Life Doesn’t Turn Out As You Had Hoped… Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

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When You Don’t Know What To Do Next… Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

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When Temptation Comes Your Way… Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

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Do You Hear What I Hear?
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

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Working Together As The Church
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

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Reset Your Life – Develop A Holy Attitude
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

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Reset Your Life – Following Jesus
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

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Reset Your Life – Find Your Life’s Purpose
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, Janaury 8, 2017

Baptism of the Lord

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Plug in to the Spirit
Rev. Bill Britt

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Epiphany Sunday

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Long for the Right Things
Rev. Julie Schendel

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Christmas Eve, 2016

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Rewind

  • Blessing of the Animals!

The Blessing of the Animals!

Blessing of the Animals
Sunday, October 1, 5:00 pm, Sanctuary
4:30 pm | Gathering on the Front Lawn
5:00 pm | Procession and Blessing in Sanctuary
Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis and love for all creatures on a beautiful fall day.  We will gather with our furry friends on the front lawn for lemonade (and water), and then process into the Sanctuary for our special service and pet blessing.  All God’s creatures are invited to receive a blessing from our ministers.

  • The Blessing of the Animals
  • The Blessing of the Animals
  • The Blessing of the Animals
  • Three Choirs Festival

Three Choirs Festival

Three Choirs Festival
Thursday, April 5, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

Georgia State University Singers, Deanna Joseph, conductor
University of Georgia Hodgson Singers, Dan Bara, conductor
Emory University Concert Choir, Eric Nelson, conductor

In its eighth year, this Festival has become a concert series favorite! These talented singers, from three very different schools, come together for a collaborative, diverse and inspiring musical exchange.  A stirring, combined performance of Susan La Barr’s setting of the poem Grace Before Sleep, provides a tender, thoughtful ending to this concert.

$15 suggested concert donation/$5 suggested for students.

  • Bill in Sanctuary

Blessed is the One

July 14, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you have had a good week. Let me begin this note by sharing with you the news that Dr. Spencer Brewer died at home earlier this week. Spencer joined Peachtree Road as a member of the Confirmation Class in 1936, and has been a faithful member for over 80 years. He was a gifted doctor, a vital member of the Timothy Sunday School Class where he led the singing each Sunday, and was one of the most joyful men I have ever known. A memorial service for Spencer will be held this Saturday, July 15, at 11:00 am in the Moore Chapel. Please remember his wife Nancy and their family in your prayers.

Sunday promises to be another great day in worship as we continue “Summer in the City.” Carolyn Stephens will be preaching for the first time as our new associate minister, and I hope you will make a special effort to come and hear her and get to know her and her passion for the church. We will continue our sermon series “Summer Psalms.” This week Carolyn will be encouraging us with words from Psalm 32, which is about the joy of forgiveness. :

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Carolyn’s message is entitled “Blessed Is the One…” You and I know how the burden of a broken relationship can weigh us down. The psalmist reminds us that there is forgiveness in the Lord:

“Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:6-7)

These words are good news we all need to hear. I hope to see you Sunday as we sing, pray, and reflect together.

As we move through the summer months, I want to solicit your help. Now is the time that I begin my planning for sermons in the coming year. We are blessed when we gather at Peachtree Road for worship with space that is designed to remind us that we are in the presence of God. Just entering the sanctuary or chapel fills us with a sense of awe and reverence. And the music we hear stirs our souls and draws us together. We also want the messages you hear to be helpful and relevant to your life. Therefore, I want to request that you take a moment to let me know your answers to the following questions:

What are you searching for most in life?
What is your greatest fear?
What are you struggling with right now – relationships, finances, or a health concern?
What is your most important faith question?

If you could take some time in the next couple of weeks to answer these and send the answers to the email address prumc@prumc.org, I would be grateful. I have set aside a few days around Labor Day to work on worship themes for 2018. Thank you in advance for your help.

Speaking of the future, let me encourage you to “save the date” for an upcoming event here at Peachtree Road. For the last twenty years, we have been blessed to have Dr. Manfred Hoffmann as our “Theologian in Residence.” Manfred taught us, cultivated a desire to learn in us, and inspired us to grow in our faith. His death has touched us deeply. To honor his memory, we have created a lecture series in his name. The first lecture is occurring this fall on Sunday, October 29, 2017, at 6:00 pm for dinner and the lecture. I am pleased to announce that Manfred’s successor on the Candler School of Theology faculty, Dr. Jonathan Strom, will be delivering the address. We believe it is especially appropriate to hold this first lecture the week of the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. And, as a Lutheran scholar, Dr. Strom is the perfect person to deliver this inaugural lecture, and I hope you will mark the date on your calendar and make your plans to join us as we honor Manfred Hoffmann and grow in our faith.

I know many of you are traveling this summer. In fact, Wendie and I have just returned from four days at the beach! If you are unable to worship in person at Peachtree Road, I encourage you to stay connected to your church family by worshiping online or viewing the service later in the week through the church’s website. Thank you for your support in so many ways.

See you Sunday for Summer in the City!

Bill

  • Coro Vocati

Coro Vocati

Coro Vocati
Sunday, April 22, 2018, 3:00 pm, Moore Chapel

This ensemble of professional singers presents their spring and fall concerts annually at PRUMC.  Don’t miss the unique musical journey that only Coro Vocati can provide!

$15 suggested concert donation/$5 suggested for students.  For more information, visit www.corovocati.com.

07.09.17 | My Stronghold

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” Voltaire’s quote seems to perfectly sum up Psalm 27 as we’re reminded that even in the midst of our enemies, we can sing praises to God.  Instead of turning to weapons, or walls, or words to protect us, let us remember to turn to the Lord as our light and our salvation.  Throughout our lives we will have both darkness and light within us, often at the same time. Yet it is the one we give strength to that eventually wins.  So let us spend some time in the Psalms, letting their words become familiar to us, so that we may recall them in times of need, crying out to the Lord in fear or in praise.  And let us choose light over dark, love over anger, and Christ over everything else.

  • Bill in Sanctuary

I See the Goodness of the Lord

July 7, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

The days of the summer are here, and I know many of you are enjoying time away with loved ones. While you may be away enjoying cooler climates on the weekends, I do want to keep you up with what is taking place at your church.

First, let me take a moment to look ahead. I really am looking forward to Sunday’s worship service. Of course, July means “Summer in the City” here at Peachtree Road. During this month, you are encouraged to dress “comfortably” for worship. Our services are more casual, and lemonade and cookies are served each week in front of the church at the close of worship. We also sing more during these services. In the bulletin we label them “Hymns We Love to Sing.” Now, I cannot deny it – I picked out the hymns we’re singing this week, and, yes, they are some of my favorites: “Love, Mercy, and Grace” (which was #153 in the old Cokesbury Hymnal) and “There’s Within My Heart a Melody.” I’m not planning on needing a hymnal this week! Our soloist for Sunday is Will Green and he will be singing “They Holy City” by Michael Maybrick.

Julie Schendel will be preaching this week as we continue our sermon series “Summer Psalms.” This week we will consider words from Psalm 27. I like the way the psalmist begins this song of triumph:

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

And I love the way it ends:

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Julie’s message is entitled “My Stronghold.” I believe this message could be just the tonic many of us need this week as we face trials and tribulations in our lives. In preparation for Sunday, I would encourage you to read the words over, let them sink into your spirit, and memorize several of the lines that really speak to you.

At the close of the 11:15 am service, we will commission the team members who are leaving for Nicaragua next week on the Family Mission Trip. I am grateful for these who have heard the call of the Lord, “Who will go for me and whom shall I send?” They have responded, “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” It will be a joy to send them off with God’s blessing on Sunday. I hope to see you Sunday as we sing, pray, and reflect together.

Next, looking back, last Tuesday we held our annual Party on Peachtree in front of the church. A good number of our members gathered from 7:00 am until 9:30 am to cheer on the 55,000 runners who ran in the Peachtree Road Race. I am grateful for those who helped organize this event. It was warm out there, but the heat and humidity did not dampen the enthusiasm of our members as they handed out bottles of water, cheered, and offered encouragement to race participants. I heard many of the runners express appreciation for the presence of our congregation out front, and you provided a good witness for the spirit of generosity of this church. Thank you for your participation. It was a good morning.

Finally, I want to encourage you to begin thinking about the fall and opportunities to engage in Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with others at Peachtree Road. We will be offering a number of classes (both short-term and long-term) beginning in September (including Disciple Fast Track – a shorter version of the popular Disciple Bible Study series for folks who already have a very busy schedule). Look for more details in the very near future.

I know many of you are traveling this summer. If you are unable to worship in person at Peachtree Road, I encourage you to stay connected to your church family by worshiping online at 11:15 am or watching the service later in the week.

See you Sunday for Summer in the City!

Bill

  • Westminster Abbey

Pilgrimage to England Preview Concert

Pilgrimage to England Preview Concert
PRUMC Chancel Choir
Sunday, June 3, 2018, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

Scott Atchison, conductor

The renowned PRUMC Chancel Choir has been invited by the famed Westminster Abbey to sing daily services from July 30 through August 5, 2018. Come hear the music that will be performed in that historic space.

$10 tickets will be available here in 2018.

07.02.17 | The Lord is My Shepherd

Mimi Brunson

The reading of the 23rd Psalm is one of the most beloved passages in the entire Bible. I believe its power comes from the hope and comfort it communicates to us as we walk through life’s valleys.
Two observations:

  • “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”The psalmist understood that the valleys of life are a given. Life isn’t just enjoying yourself in green pastures, sitting at a feast at the family table, or overflowing cups of blessings. The valleys in life are inevitable.
  • The psalmist understood that the valley is not a destination. Rather, it is a passageway that we walk through.
    The interesting difference between “though” and “through” is the letter “r,” which in American Sign Language is represented by crossing your fingers. Of course, this sign predates ASL by many centuries. Early Christians used the sign in times of persecution to identify themselves as people of the cross – followers of Christ. We are invited to remember that it is Christ who is with us as we venture into life’s valleys, and it is Christ who enables us to move through them.

You probably know someone who is struggling in a valley this week. Look for a way to offer them an encouraging word. They are not alone. Christ is with them. That word might make all the difference to them.

  • Organ Pedals

Atlanta Summer Organ Festival

Atlanta Summer Organ Festival with Hector Olivera
Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 7:30 pm, Sanctuary

The Atlanta Summer Organ Festival was established in 1995 to help increase classical music performances in the summer and PRUMC joined as a host in 2002. To this day, the festival continues the tradition of offering a series of wonderful venues for both established and talented rising your organists.  Most famous for his prodigious technical proficiency and charismatic stage presence, Mr. Olivera’s amazing effect on audiences has made many of the most sophisticated and demanding organ aficionados claim that Maestro Hector Olivera is “one of the greatest organists in the world today.”

$15 suggested donation. Dessert reception following.

  • Bill and Carolyn

A Good Day at Peachtree Road

June 30, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

Last Sunday was a remarkable day here at Peachtree Road, and I am so grateful to all who had a hand in its planning and coordination. The annual “Celebration of Freedom” service is a favorite of many in our congregation, but I thought this year’s was especially meaningful.

I am grateful to Nicole Marane, the Atlanta Brassworks, and the members of the volunteer choir for the wonderful music offered on Sunday. We were delighted to welcome an outstanding number of new members to Peachtree Road, and I hope you will make an effort to get to know them. We also were delighted to welcome our new associate minister Rev. Carolyn Stephens to our church family, and I am confident she will have a great impact on our ministry. And, once again, we were blessed to have Timothy Miller close our services by leading us in singing a prayer for our nation: “God Bless America.”

For many, the most emotional moment came when our veterans marched into the sanctuary during the singing of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” We are grateful for their service to our country, and the tribute you offered them Sunday was most appropriate. Each year I am moved by the fact that there are persons who no longer are with us for this tribute. I really missed seeing some of our veterans who have been a significant part of the parade in years past — including Nolan Bell in his dress uniform, leading the procession. We are grateful for each of these men and women. I appreciate the leadership provided in the service by our members Jennifer Evans (US Navy E6) and Ken Carroll (US Navy Lt. Colonel). It was a good day at Peachtree Road.

This Sunday promises to be a good day as well as we kick-off our Summer in the City sermon series. This year’s theme is “Summer Psalms.” We will be focusing upon a different psalm each week as we join together in singing some of our favorite, familiar hymns. You are encouraged to come casually dressed and enjoy lemonade and cookies out front immediately following the services.

July 2  |  Psalm 23  |  The Lord is my shepherd  |  Bill Britt
July 9  |  Psalm 27  |  The Lord is my light and my salvation…  |   Julie Schendel
July 16  |  Psalm 32  |  Blessed is the one...  |  Carolyn Stephens
July 23  |  Psalm 100 |  Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth  |  Julie Schendel
July 30  |  Psalm 121  |  I lift up my eyes to the mountains…  |  Carolyn Stephens

Also, this Sunday we will be introducing Rev. Geoff Beakley as our student pastor here at Peachtree Road. Many of you already know Geoff and his wife Leigh. Geoff is currently a full-time student at Candler School of Theology and will be serving with us part-time working in the ministry areas of worship, pastoral care, men’s discipleship, and scouting. I hope you will be present Sunday to welcome him formally to our ministerial staff.

Finally, let me remind you about our “Party on Peachtree” Tuesday morning, July 4. Please join us in front of the church from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. as we cheer on the 70,000 participants in this year’s Peachtree Road Race. If you are running the race, swing by and let us greet you and encourage you. This is a fun event and all are invited to be a part of it.

Thank you for your prayerful support of Peachtree Road and its ministry in this community. These are exciting times as we continue to grow into the dream God has for us. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with you!

Bill

06.25.17 | The Heart of America

During this time of the year, we pause to give thanks to God for the blessings of life, honor our veterans, and pray for our nation. As we pray for America, we are encouraged to pray for the heart of our nation to be consistent with the heart of Moses:

  • Moses was a man of deep humility and compassion (Numbers 12:3). Our time is a time for humility and compassion. The waters ahead are deep and uncharted. We do not need arrogance or pride. We need quiet humility. May America’s heart be filled with humility and compassion.
  • Moses never gave up. In spite of opposition to his leadership and discouragement (Numbers 11:10-16), he persevered – standing up for righteousness, standing up for truth, and resting in the assurance that God was at his side. Our Lord is looking for people who will not grow weary in doing good.In the words of Winston Churchill, I feel we are walking with destiny. All of our past experiences have been preparing us for this hour and this time. God is with us. God encourages us. God leads us. With this in mind, we are ready to pray for our nation and world.

Too Wonderful!

June 16, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you doing well. The North Georgia Conference came to a close yesterday afternoon, and it was a good week of renewing acquaintances with friends and colleagues, worshiping with United Methodists from across the state, and conducting the business of the church. Our church was well represented, and I once again came to the realization of just how blessed we are here at Peachtree Road. The highlight of the Annual Conference was the ordination of Leslie Watkins on Wednesday night. The length and depth and breadth of our ministry set the pace for churches in North Georgia and beyond. I am grateful for you!

This Sunday, I will be preaching a message asking the question: “Is Anything Too Wonderful for the Lord?” Those words are a quote from Genesis 18 and were asked following the proclamation to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child in their old age – they both were in their 90’s! At the announcement, Sarah laughed. There are times when you and I, too, break into laughter at the suggestion of something that seems ridiculously far-fetched. Well, as Abraham and Sarah learned, there is nothing that is too wonderful for the Lord. And that’s what I want us to think about this Sunday in worship.

Speaking of Sunday, I am sure you are aware it is Father’s Day. Did you know that the roots of Father’s Day have ties to the Methodist Church? In 1908, a Methodist church in West Virginia sponsored the nation’s first event in honor of fathers. The next year in Spokane, Washington, Sonora Smart Dodd (who was raised with five siblings by her widower dad) heard a sermon honoring mothers and wanted to do something similar for fathers. Dodd worked tirelessly to inspire Spokane to observe its first citywide Father’s Day in 1910. The observance spread nationwide, and the celebration continues this Sunday, June 19. I look forward to joining with you as we give thanks for the men in our lives who have inspired our faith.

Thank you for helping us send Matt Nelson off well. He preached a marvelous sermon last Sunday. (If you were unable to be in the sanctuary, I hope you will follow the link and listen to his thoughtful message inviting us to a “divine dance.”) I do encourage you to pray for Matt, Anne, Caleb, and Sarah as they prepare for their work at Hickory Flat UMC. We will miss them! We do look forward to welcoming our new associate ministers Carolyn Stephens and Geoff Beakley on June 25. They will be introduced at the morning worship services.

Of course, next Sunday (June 25) is our annual Celebration of Freedom Sunday. This is one of the most anticipated services of the year, and once again we will be singing patriotic hymns, honoring our veterans, and praying for our nation. I will be preaching on the topic “The Heart of America,” and we will reflect upon values found in the life of Moses that are at the core of who we are called to be as a nation. The service will conclude with Timothy Miller leading us in singing “God Bless America.” I hope you are planning to be present and encourage you to invite someone to come with you!

Finally, on a personal note, Wendie and I are grateful to be appointed to serve with you here at Peachtree Road for a tenth year. As I wrote earlier, this is an outstanding church, and we count it a privilege to serve with such wonderful staff and laity in this community. Thank you for your support in so many ways – prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness! We are blessed.

See you Sunday!

Bill

06.18.17 | Is Anything Too Wonderful for the Lord?

Is Anything Too Wonderful for the Lord?
Rev. Bill Britt

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Our scripture lesson for the day invites us to consider an encounter between Abraham and Sarah and the Lord in which the Lord promised them Sarah would bear Abraham a son and they would become the ancestors of many nations (Genesis 18:1-15).

Two observations:

  • Abraham and Sarah responded to the Lord’s promise with laughter (after all, they both were in their 90’s!). The Lord asked, “Why did you laugh? Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?” Abraham and Sarah appear to be very faithful and pious, but could it be that their laughter reveals that, while they believe in the Lord, they don’t really believe in his promise to them? They are not “all in.” What about you?
  • The Lord told Abraham and Sarah that he would visit them again the next year, and by then Sarah will have given birth to a son. If the Lord were to visit you this time next year, what new blessing would he find in your life?

I hope you will be “all in” with the Lord and that the gift of hope will overflow in your life, enabling you to be a blessing to others.

  • Bill in Sanctuary

Who We Are

June 9, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are doing well. I want to begin this week’s note by letting you know about the death of one of our oldest members – Georgia Harris. Had she lived one more month, Georgia would have been 102! This saint of the church has finished her race; she has kept the faith; and we are grateful for what she has meant to Peachtree Road. May Georgia rest in peace and rise in glory!

This Sunday, our associate minister Matt Nelson will preach his final sermon here at Peachtree Road at the 8:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services. He, his wife Anne, and their children Caleb and Sarah are preparing to move after Annual Conference to Hickory Flat UMC in Canton where Matt will be the senior minister. We are grateful for the tie that has bound us together with the Nelsons the last two years. A reception will be held immediately following both services, and I hope you will take the opportunity to personally speak to them and wish them well. It will be a good Sunday.

Speaking of Annual Conference, the 151st Session of the North Georgia Annual Conference is set for next week at the Classic Center in Athens. Peachtree Road will be well-represented. Matt Nelson, Julie Schendel, Leslie Watkins, Julie Wright, and I will serve as clergy delegates from our church while Merritt Bond, Claire Bowen, Susan Rinkowski, Grace Sanders, and Josh Stephens will serve as our lay delegates. Others present from Peachtree Road will include Tom Cook (Conference Chancellor), Katie Cook (Administrative Assistant for the Atlanta-Roswell District), Caleb Nelson and Clara Watkins (youth delegates at-large), Jamie Jenkins, Lindsay Geist, Mace Hall, and Darren Hensley who are clergy members of the North Georgia Annual Conference whose charge conference affiliation is Peachtree Road.

There are three important matters I commend to you for your prayers:

First, I invite you to pray for Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson as she presides over our Annual Conference for the first time. She has expressed her hope that this week delegates will catch a glimpse of what Bishop Robert Schnase describes in his book Seven Levers: “Imagine gathering lay and clergy from all the congregations together in one place to reconfirm who we are, what we do, and why it matters. Imagine high-quality worship, preaching, teaching, and service that clarify our common mission, connect us with one another, stimulate best practices, renew our spirits, and help us rededicate ourselves to Christ and to the people God calls us to serve.” Please pray for her as she leads.

Second, on Wednesday, June 14, Leslie Watkins will be ordained as a full-connection Deacon at the Service of Ordination and Commissioning. Leslie is our associate minister and provides leadership with our young adults and creation care team. The ordination service is a high and holy moment in the life of the Annual Conference. If you would like to watch online, the service will be broadcast on the Conference website at 7:30 p.m. I encourage you to offer a prayer for Leslie and her family on that special day.

Then, on Thursday, June 15, at 4:00 p.m., Bishop Haupert-Johnson will fix the appointments for ministers for the coming year. At that time, she will announce that Rev. Carolyn Stephens and Rev. Geoff Beakley will be coming to Peachtree Road as our new associate ministers. We look forward to welcoming Carolyn and Geoff on June 25 at the morning services.

It promises to be a good week.

Finally, I hope by now you have received the “Financial Update” newsletter that was mailed out earlier this week. It is a very informative piece, and I am grateful for all who had a hand in putting it together. Our Finance Committee wants to keep you informed concerning these important matters and to clearly communicate our plans for funding all of the vital ministries of the church. Please read it over and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions to improve our support for the ministry of Peachtree Road.

Thank you for your commitment to Christ and the ministry of Peachtree Road. I am grateful for your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Please call on me when you need me.

Bill

06.11.17 | The Dance

Bill Baby Baptism

Richard Rohr describes the mystery of Trinity as The Divine Dance between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, creating new life and transforming the world. God as Trinity is evidence of God’s character and nature as relational community. Being made in God’s image, we are called to be in relationship, we are called to dance, with God and others in life for transformation.

A few key ideas to remember:

  • “Mystery isn’t something that you cannot understand – it is something you can endlessly understand! There is no point at which you can say ‘I’ve got it.’ Always and forever, mystery gets you!” – The Divine Dance
  • Our tendency is to avoid or protect for the purpose of safety and protection. This indicates a root of fear & brokenness as threat. At the root of God’s being is love, grace, and goodness. Remember those relationships that have changed you.
  • Allow the Trinity to be a way of life rather than an idea or just theology – move from information to transformation.

As we go into the world this week, be in relationship. Courageously engage others looking for where God is at work. In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, let’s dance!

06.04.17 | Rivers of Living Water

Leslie Baptismal

The work of the Holy Spirit is more inward than outward – the Spirit transforms us from within so we can thrive in the midst of outward struggles. Jesus suggests the Holy Spirit flows out of the believer’s heart like “rivers of living water.”  John 7:37-39

Two observations about the work of the Holy Spirit within us:

  • The Spirit helps us remember we are the children of God. Sometimes we become distracted or busy and forget, but the Spirit is there to remind us.
  • The Spirit inspires us not just to remember but also to act. Humble people, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and full of courage can do great things.

Homework: reflect upon the gifts and abilities God has given you and look for ways to make a difference in the lives of others this week – the life of a child, a youth, a co-worker, a family member, or someone struggling in his or her life. May God bless you as you serve.

  • Bill Confirmation of Faith

May We Be Transformed

June 2, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well as we begin the month of June. Wendie and I have just returned from several days at the beach. It was good to be away, but I really am looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. This week we are celebrating both Pentecost and Founder’s Day, and that means that our history as a faith and church will be front and center on Sunday.

According to the author of the book of Acts, Jesus’ disciples and other followers were together in an upper room in Jerusalem, waiting. The Holy Spirit descended upon them, and it looked like tongues of fire lighting upon each of them. Then, they went out into the streets of Jerusalem to tell everyone they encountered about Jesus. The people heard the good news about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and 3,000 believed. They were never the same again, and the church was born. Pentecost is many things – fire, wind, ecstasy, and renewal. But, most of all, it is our celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit whose gift is that of understanding (a gift I would suggest is severely under-used in today’s world!). That’s one aspect of our celebration this Sunday. We will pray that what transformed them may transform us, and with us the world for God and Christ. Prayerfully wait for the Spirit this weekend, and then join us on Sunday to breathe it in.

The second aspect of our celebration this week centers upon something that happened about 1900 years later. On June 7, 1925, the first public worship service of Peachtree Road Methodist Church was held in a partially completed chapel that had a roof and floor but no walls. (Even from its founding, Peachtree Road has been a church without walls, reaching out into the community to share the love, mercy, and grace of God with others.) And our church was born. I love history. I love the stories that come from our history. They remind us of our identity and inspire us to be the people we have been called to be. History is a great teacher, and I look forward to celebrating our history with you on Sunday. The color for the day is red, so please wear something red to worship. The message is entitled “Rivers of Living Water.” I hope you are planning to be with us.

I want to encourage you to join me in prayer this weekend:

  • Last week 29 Coptic Christians were on a pilgrimage to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Egypt when their bus was stopped by armed members of ISIS. When the pilgrims refused to renounce their faith in Christ, they were executed. Please pray for persecuted Christians everywhere and for God’s peace to reign on earth.
  • Our mission team to the nation of Georgia arrived safely earlier this week and is busy sharing God’s love and grace with hundreds of children supported by our church. Please pray for these missionaries of our church.
  • Doxology, our youth choir under the direction of Kathy Fletcher, is on tour in Tennessee. They are singing and leading worship in numerous settings. Pray for traveling mercies and for God’s grace to flow through them.

Finally, as we begin the summer months, let me share with you a lighthearted parable written years ago by a church treasurer:

Now it came to pass that as the time of vacation drew near, a certain member of the church bethought him of cool streams where fish were abundant, and his children thought of sandy beaches by the sea, and his wife thought of the mountains. And this church member lifted up his eyes unto the hills and spoke, saying, “Lo, the hot days come and even now are at hand. My work lieth heavy upon me. Come, let us depart to the North Country, where fishes do bite and cool winds bring refreshment and pleasant scenes await.” His wife responded, “Thou speakest wisely. Yet three, nay even four things we must do ‘ere we go.” The husband said, “Three things I can think of: that we ask our neighbor to minister to our flowers and mail, our dog be boarded, and our porch light timer set; but no other thing cometh to mind.” He wife responded, “The fourth is like unto the other three, but greater than them all. Even this: that thou dig into thy purse and pay the church pledge in order that the Lord’s work be not hindered, the good name of the congregation preserved, and the hearts of the treasurer and finance committee be made glad, and that it may be well with thee. For verily I say unto thee: thou hast more money now than thou shalt have when thou wilt return.” The husband replied, “Verily, thou art noble and wise among all people.” He did pay his pledge for the summer, and he seemed to enjoy his vacation all the more. And the church treasurer and its finance committee rejoiced exceedingly, saying, “Of a truth, there are those who care for the good of the church. Praise the Lord!” And it was so.

Thank you for your faithfulness in so many ways to the ministry of Peachtree Road. See you Sunday and remember to wear red!

Bill

05.28.17 | See a Witness, Hear a Witness

The Many Moods of Christmas

See a Witness, Heart a Witness, Be a Witness
Rev. Julie Schendel

As Jesus ascended into heaven, he reminded his disciples that they had witnessed the scripture being fulfilled in his death and resurrection. Now that we have heard the story, let us be witnesses of these thing as well.

  • Everyone loves a good story, and the story of Jesus’ life and resurrection is one of the greatest ever lived.
  • We are the next generation of disciples, and it is our task to share the message of Christ with others so that the story may continue.

This week, grow in your discipleship by being a witness of the greatest story ever lived: share with a friend why you love PRUMC, invite someone to worship with you, or express the love of God to all you meet.

  • Bill Shaking Hands

Stay Connected

May 26, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well as we approach Memorial Day weekend. In keeping with the reason for this holiday, during Sunday’s worship services, our congregation will pause to remember those who have given their lives in service to our country by placing a wreath at the altar in their memory. Wendie and I will be away this weekend, and Julie Schendel will be preaching at the services on Sunday. I hope you are planning to be present.

Of course, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer, and many of you use this holiday as vacation time. If you are unable to be at church Sunday, I encourage you to do as we will do and participate in the service online at 11:15 a.m. You also may “make up” by worshiping later in the week when the service is available on the church’s website. Either way, I hope you will keep worship at the forefront of your spiritual life during the summer season and stay connected to your friends at Peachtree Road.

Speaking of worship, let me remind you of some special upcoming services:

Founder’s Day (June 4) – On June 7, 1925, at 11:00 a.m., the first public worship service of Peachtree Road Methodist Church was held in a partially completed chapel that had a roof and floor but no walls. (That’s a pretty good metaphor for what Peachtree Road has always been – “a church without walls!”) Bishop UVW Darlington was the preacher for the service. The church had organized in May with 19 founding members and on June 7, 20 new members joined, more than doubling the membership to 39. From those humble beginnings our church has grown to become one of the largest in Methodism with an influence felt around the world. We will take the time to celebrate on that day (which also happens to be Pentecost, the birthday of the Church), and I hope you will make your plans to be with us.

Farewell to the Nelsons (June 11) – At the close of Annual Conference this year, Bishop Haupert-Johnson officially will announce what we already know: our associate minister Matt Nelson will become the senior minister of Hickory Flat UMC in Canton, Georgia. Sunday, June 11, will be his last Sunday with us, and I have asked Matt to preach at the morning services in the sanctuary. For the last two years, he has given good leadership to our church. I hope that you will be present on this Sunday as we honor Matt, Ann, Caleb, and Sarah and express our love and appreciation for Matt’s ministry with us. A reception will be held in Grace Hall at the conclusion of each service.

Welcome to Carolyn Stephens and Geoff Beakley (June 25) – As is always the case, when one minister leaves, another is appointed in her or his place. It’s the Methodist way. I am looking forward to having Carolyn Stephens and Geoff Beakley join our ministerial team on June 25. Carolyn and Geoff will be welcome additions to our church, and you will enjoy getting to know them through their preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and leadership. I encourage you to be present as we officially welcome them to Peachtree Road.

Celebration of Freedom (June 25) – Many of you tell me each year as you leave worship that this is one of your favorite Sundays of the year. As usual, we will join together for a wonderful celebration of God and country as we sing patriotic hymns, honor our veterans, pray for our nation and world, and give thanks for God’s many blessings. And, yes, Timothy Miller will be with us again this year to sing “God Bless America.” This is a Sunday you will not want to miss.

Finally, I would like to enlist your prayers on behalf of some who are traveling during these days:

Mission Team to nation of Georgia – many of you know of our vital mission with hundreds of children living in the country of Georgia (many thanks to Lynn Banks for her passion for this ministry). Earlier this year, a record number of you signed up for our “Sponsor a Child” opportunity that directly impacts this ministry, and we are grateful. Last Sunday we commissioned a team that will be in Georgia May 26 through June 11.

High School Mission Trip to Nicaragua – one of the comments we hear year in and year out on Youth Sunday is the difference the summer mission trips make in the spiritual formation of our students. 51 of our high school students are leaving this June 11 for Nicaragua where they will be working for one week in construction and meeting families with whom we have been partnering for a number of years. I am grateful to Chris Mucha, our director of youth and their families, and all who will help make this year’s mission a success.

Thank you for keeping these in your prayers.

As we move into the days of summer, we find many reasons to remember, give thanks, and celebrate. I hope that when you are in town you will be in your place in worship. When you are traveling, worship online and stay connected to your church family. And, please, do not hesitate to call me if you need me.

Bill

05.21.17 | We Have an Advocate

Acolytes in Hall

Graduate Sunday
We Have an Advocate
Rev. Bill Britt

We are in the season of transitions – graduations, weddings, confirmations, etc.  With each of these, the old passes away and something new begins. And that can be a source of anxiety for many, and Jesus understood that. While preparing his disciples for his own departure, Jesus said: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever…” (John 14:16)

  • The Advocate the Father sends is one who walks alongside us as a counselor. Do you have someone like that in your life?
  • Jesus doesn’t just send us an Advocate. He sends us the Advocate – the Holy Spirit who brings to us an abundant life.
  • There is nothing you can say or do to prevent God from loving you.

This week, look for ways to declutter your life and create more room for the Holy Spirit to fill your soul. Exercise your spiritual muscles through worship, prayer, study, and service. You have an Advocate!

  • Wesley Woods Speaker

We Have an Advocate

May 19, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are doing well. I want to begin this week’s note by letting you know about the deaths of two of our oldest members – Dan Yates and Ruth Hoover. Dan was 99 and Ruth may have been our oldest member at 102. These saints of the church have finished the race; they have kept the faith; and we are grateful for what they have meant to Peachtree Road. May they rest in peace and rise in glory!

Many of you were present last Sunday for our Mother’s Day worship services. If you were here, you heard Rev. and Mrs. Lewis Davis and Mr. Joe Giordano, residents of the Wesley Woods retirement community, share how Wesley Woods plays a vital role in the quality of their lives. Then, we received a special offering to benefit the benevolent fund of this ministry as they provide financial assistance to some who have outlived their resources. (I invite you to follow this link to see the Channel 46 news report from Sunday.) Also, if you have not had an opportunity to give toward the special offering, I invite you to contribute online. I am grateful for your generosity.

This upcoming Sunday promises to be a great day here at Peachtree Road as we celebrate Senior Recognition Day. At the 11:15 a.m. service in the sanctuary, our high school graduates and their families will be our special guests as we celebrate with them this significant milestone in their lives. It is always a joy when the seniors come to the pulpit, introduce themselves, and tell us what their plans are for the next year. Their parents, grandparents, and loved ones beam with pride, and we as a congregation rejoice with them. The message for the day is entitled “We Have an Advocate,” and we will reflect upon Jesus’s words from John 14 concerning the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In essence, Jesus says to his disciples, “I’ve got your back!” We’ll spend a few minutes talking about what that means and the impact of those words on our lives. I hope you will be with us for worship this week.

Last Monday our Administrative Board met, and I wanted to give you a quick recap from the meeting:

In financial news, Brad Milsaps, chair of the Finance Committee, gave a year-to-date report on the church’s budget. John Ethridge, Lay Leader, and Raymond Reynolds, Chief Operations Officer, reported that roughly half of the funds needed for this year’s outreach budget have been given already or will come in through special giving by the end of the year. We believe we are in very good shape for 2017. Four goals are guiding the Finance Committee’s work for this year:

  • As stewards of the church’s resources, we want to create a church budget that is both strategic in fulfilling our mission and sustainable
  • We want to be transparent in communicating the causes we support and the partnerships in the community that we value
  • We want to clearly communicate the impact of our church through the ministries of worship, congregational care and development, outreach, and witness into the community
  • We want to address possible donor fatigue among our members by reducing the number of special offerings throughout the year

As a result, a detailed financial report is being prepared to go out to all members by the first of June, and the number of special giving requests for the rest of the year has been cut to four. In addition, the church has designed a roadmap that will enable Peachtree Road to be completely debt-free no later than the end of 2018. They also offered a preview of an effort entitled “All the Good…All the Ways…” that is envisioned to be a year-round stewardship emphasis that will fully fund our church’s ministry in 2018 and beyond. They promise to share more details with us in the coming weeks.

In other reports…

  • Matt Nelson and Julie Schendel reported the findings of the Worship Task Force and announced the New Traditions contemporary service will be suspended for the season of summer with the goal of bringing it back as a new and stronger service in the fall
  • Chris Mucha, Director of our Ministry with Youth and their Families, reported on last weekend’s well-attended Youth Ministry Summit
  • Raymond Reynolds reported on the sale of the church right-of-way in front of the parking lot on the corner Peachtree Road and West Shadowlawn. The sale has enabled the church to purchase a new sound system for the sanctuary and chapel and complete funding for the new parsonage to be known as the “Murray Cottage”
  • Adam Pannell recognized Matt Nelson, Associate Minister, as he prepares to leave Peachtree Road and become the senior pastor of Hickory Flat UMC in June

It was a helpful and very informative meeting, and I am grateful for the leadership of our Administrative Board members.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that Elizabeth Byrd will be joining us again this summer as our Candler School of Theology intern. Elizabeth worked with us last summer, and we are excited to welcome her back. Elizabeth begins this weekend and will be sharing her gifts in the areas of preaching, leading worship, teaching, pastoral care, and outreach. In addition, she will be working with our youth ministry team on their mission trips to Appalachia and Nicaragua. We look forward to welcoming Elizabeth back to Peachtree Road.

Thank you for your faith in Christ and your support of Peachtree Road – your daily prayers for her ministry, regular presence in worship, generous giving, and acts of kindness and service in her name are deeply appreciated.

See you Sunday!

Bill

  • Mother & Daughter

Mother’s Day & Methodism

May 12, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. Of course, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. I understand that 20.7 billion dollars will be spent honoring mothers this holiday weekend – gifts, flowers, cards, and meals. It’s amazing what this day of recognition has become, especially when you consider how it all started.

Ann Reeves Jarvis was a member of Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. She taught Sunday School, organized other women in her church to work for better sanitation in her community, volunteered at the local hospital, and worked to support young mothers. After the Civil War, she helped organize something she called “Mothers Friendship Day” picnics. These were designed to bring people together from both the Union and the Confederacy for a meal. Ann Jarvis died in 1905, and three years later, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, organized a day at the church to honor her mother and other women who had done so much for the community. She ordered white carnations (her mother’s favorite flower) for every woman in the church. The event was so well-received that she began to work to establish a holiday to honor mothers everywhere. Then, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson did just that – he signed a proclamation making the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day in America. It all began a little over 100 years ago in a small Methodist Church in West Virginia. And now you know the rest of the story! I like the fact Mother’s Day started in a Methodist Church. And, I like the fact that it started as a way of honoring a woman who made a difference in the lives of others. I hope you’ll join us at one of our worship services in the sanctuary as we honor all women who have made a difference in our lives.

As has become our tradition, we will receive the Wesley Woods Mother’s Day Offering this Sunday as well. Wesley Woods is a ministry started by Methodists in the North Georgia Conference to provide for the needs of the elderly in our communities through residential services as well as health care, rehabilitation, nursing home care, and specialized care for persons suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. People certainly are living longer than ever before, and many are outliving their financial resources. Sunday morning we will hear a word of testimony from some residents of Wesley Woods as they share with us the difference this ministry makes in their lives and their fellow residents. I hope you will join me in welcoming them to Peachtree Road.

Through the years, Peachtree Road has given more than any other church to this ministry. I hope you will help us to continue to lead the way by giving generously when the offering plate is passed. You may make your check payable to Peachtree Road UMC and mark it for Wesley Woods, place your cash offering in the envelope provided in your worship bulletin, or give online through the church’s website. Thank you in advance for your generosity toward this offering.

I did want to share good news with you today that two of our members graduated earlier this week from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Andrea DeWalt, associate director of the Pastoral Counseling Service here at Peachtree Road, received her Master of Religion and Public Life degree. We have been blessed through the years to have access to gifted pastoral theologians like Larry Adams and Ron Greer, and I am so grateful that Andrea has added a solid theological foundation to enable her to help us even more effectively. Also, Grace Southworth, our assistant director of student ministries, received her Master of Divinity degree. She is a very important part of our youth staff team, and her enthusiasm for this ministry is contagious. When you see Andrea or Grace on campus, congratulate them on their achievements!

Finally, I wanted to encourage you to invite others to come and be a part of Peachtree Road. Every week I run into new people at church who have recently moved to town or are going through a difficult time. They are here because someone invited them and encouraged them to come. This is a particularly good time for newcomers to come to Peachtree Road because we are offering a Second Sunday Snapshot opportunity this Sunday, May 14, at 10:00 am in the Hospitality Suite. All who are looking for ways to connect with others and grow deeper in their faith are invited. A light breakfast will be served. For more information, please contact Mimi Brunson.

Peachtree Road is an amazing community in which to worship, grow, serve, and share. I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday and then serving with you throughout the upcoming days.

Bill

05.14.17 | You Never Walk Alone

Sanctuary Handshake

Mother’s Day
You Never Walk Alone
Rev. Bill Britt

 

 

The two extremes of emotion that folks tend to experience most on Mother’s Day are gratitude for those who have loved us and shaped our lives and anxiety from the fear of losing those persons. Jesus understood that fear and counseled his disciples: “Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in me…” (John 14:1)

In this passage, Jesus invites his disciples to overcome their feelings of anxiety and loneliness by believing in him. We’ve applied that lesson with our children. When a child has separation anxiety, we comfort them, reassure them, and help them learn to trust the ones charged with caring for them. In a similar way, Christ invites his disciples to trust in him for he will watch out for them and eventually bring them to him.

This week, take it upon yourself to look for the anxious, lonely people around you. Offer them a hug, an encouraging word, and the love of God.

  • Bill Promotion Sunday

We Indeed Are Blessed!

May 5, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are doing well. I also hope you realize just how blessed we are here at Peachtree Road. This past Sunday, we celebrated as members of this year’s Confirmation Class came forward to profess their faith in Christ and join the church. We confirmed 88 students last Sunday – that’s a lot of sixth-graders! Please join me in offering a prayer for these youth as they take the next step in their faith journey.

You and I know the presence of children and youth is one important indicator of a vital congregation. Another indicator is a church filled with people who are dedicated to helping children and youth grow spiritually. Many of the members of this year’s class were baptized at the altar of this sanctuary, received their Bibles as third graders at that same altar, and were mentored by a host of adults from their time in the nursery through preschool, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, as well as the Confirmation Class. Sunday not only was a day on which we confirmed the faith of these sixth graders but also a time we reaffirmed our own faith and rededicated ourselves to making disciples of Jesus Christ. We indeed are blessed!

Earlier this week we welcomed Chris Mucha, our new Youth Director. Chris is an exceptional leader, loves Christ, and is committed to helping youth and their families grow as Christian disciples. He hit the ground running and is an outstanding addition to our staff team. He and his wife Ashley have a ten-year-old son Dayton, and I look forward to you meeting them on Sunday. Please pray for the Muchas as they begin this new chapter of their lives here at Peachtree Road.

I really am looking forward to this Sunday’s worship services in the sanctuary. They are designed to help us celebrate Music and Arts here at Peachtree Road. Our preacher for the services will be Rev. Barbara Day Miller, Associate Dean Emerita of Worship and Music and Associate Professor Emerita in the Practice of Liturgy and Music at Candler School of Theology. I have known Barbara for many years and served with her in the planning of worship at Annual Conference for several years. She has helped us design a service of worship this Sunday at Peachtree Road that will incorporate music and praise from our children, youth, and adult choirs as well as congregational singing that will make you think you’re already in heaven. Breakfast will be served from 9:00 am until 11:00 am in Grace Hall. Many of the professional artists in our congregation will be displaying their works, and you are invited to spend some time with them. In addition, you are invited to participate in a silent auction of Mary Carpenter’s “live” Easter paintings in Grace Hall with the proceeds benefiting Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. I hope you will join us this Sunday.

Finally, Wendie and I invite you to travel to England with us in the summer of 2018 to explore our Methodist heritage – July 24-August 2. Our Chancel Choir has the honor of being the Choir in Residence at Westminster Abbey the first week in August next year, and this tour will coincide with their time in London. So, in addition to visiting the sites of significance to our history, we will have the opportunity to hear our church’s choir sing in a cathedral that is steeped in more than a thousand years of history and has been called the “parish church of the world.” We hope you will consider joining us and other members of our church family on this pilgrimage to the land of Wesley. For more information, please contact Jamie Jenkins.

I am excited about the impact our church’s ministry continues to have in our community and around the world. Come, be a part of the ministry and invite others to come with you. Thank you for all you do in the name of Christ. I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we sing and celebrate!

Bill

04.30.17

Confirmation

Remember Who You Are
Rev. Bill Britt

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video – Coming soon

Sunday Photo Gallery

Sermon Podcast – Coming soon
Sermon Video – Coming soon

 

 

These can seem like difficult days in which to live as a Christian. The author of I Peter offers words of encouragement for us (I Peter 2:2-9).

  • You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people. Think about that – you are chosen by God to live in relationship with God
  • It’s easy to get distracted and forget who you are – forgetting gets us in all kinds of trouble
  • John Wesley gave the early Methodists three general rules to help them keep their relationship with God fresh – “do no harm, do good, and attend upon all the ordinances of God”

Begin each day this week with a prayer that resets your life and helps you remember who you are and whose you are. Claim your identity and live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

  • Bill Preaching

Into His Marvelous Light

April 28, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. This Sunday promises to be a special day at Peachtree Road as we celebrate Confirmation Sunday. Over the course of the last nine months, over 80 sixth graders have participated in this spiritual formation class. They attended a retreat at Camp Glisson in the early fall, have been meeting weekly since then, and have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. I am grateful to Mia Dunkel, Mary Fletcher Higdon, Daris McCullough, Ellen Marbut, and Scott and Tasha Whitehead for their leadership with this outstanding group.

In recent weeks, each member of the class and their parents have been meeting with me and other members of our clergy and youth staff to talk about confirmation and their spiritual growth. On Sunday morning during the sanctuary worship services, we will celebrate with them as they make a profession of faith in Christ and join the church. I hope you will join us.

The title for this Sunday’s message is “Remember Who You Are,” and I will be preaching on those familiar words from I Peter:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – I Peter 2:9

This letter was written to encourage new Christians to claim their identity and live into that identity. I look forward to reflecting upon the impact of this passage on our church with you.

In recent weeks, a number of folks have relayed to me how much the teaching of Dr. Manfred Hoffmann meant to them. For nearly 20 years, Manfred was our “Theologian in Residence” here at Peachtree Road, and his courses on the Bible, theology, and Christian history helped many of us grow in our faith. I am pleased to announce that Peachtree Road is establishing a lecture series in his memory. The inaugural Manfred E. Hoffmann Lecture is set for Sunday evening, October 29, 2017, here at the church. The date is especially significant. It is Reformation Sunday and commemorates the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany. I especially am delighted that Dr. Jonathan Strom, Professor of Church History and Associate Dean of the Faculty and Academic Affairs at Candler School of Theology, has accepted our invitation to offer the inaugural lecture. Dr. Strom is a Lutheran scholar and fills the position Dr. Hoffmann held for many years on the Candler faculty. If you would like to make a contribution to support the annual lecture series, please make your check payable to Peachtree Road and mark it in memory of Manfred Hoffmann or give through the church website.

I am grateful for your support of Peachtree Road in so many ways and look forward to seeing you Sunday. If I may be of help to you in any way, please do not hesitate to call on me.

Bill
  • Easter Worship

Mountaintop Days

April 21, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are having a great week. We now are living in the season of the year known as Easter. That’s right. Our celebration in the church of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ continues for 50 days.

Last Sunday was one of those mountaintop days here at Peachtree Road. When I got home from the Easter morning services, Wendie had a feast prepared for extended family (I think close to 30 people were in the house at one time!). After Sunday dinner, I sat down in a comfortable chair and fell asleep – right there in front of company! I was tired, but it was a good kind of tired. In fact, it is the kind of tired I hope every one of you get to experience. In the Bible, this kind of tired is referred to as “joy.” Do you know anybody who needs to experience joy? Invite them to Peachtree Road!

Speaking of inviting people to Peachtree Road, I do want to encourage you to attend worship this Sunday. It’s going to be a little different than our usual services – the Doxology Youth Choir is leading us in worship through their presentation of “Celebrate Life!” Through the talented youth of our church, at both the 8:45 am and 11:15 am services in the sanctuary, we will be led through a musical presentation of Jesus’ life, culminating in his resurrection from the dead. They have worked hard to prepare, and I am looking forward to this experience in worship.

In closing, thank you for your generous contributions to last Sunday’s special offering for Habitat for Humanity. We were honored to have Uriel Daniel and her children (the recipients of this year’s house) with us for the 11:15 am Easter celebration. The house is now complete, and I am grateful for your gifts totaling over $33,700 toward the project. If you did not have an opportunity to give last Sunday, it is not too late. You may contribute by clicking here.

Daniels

You may note that the above photo of the Daniels is taken in front of “The New Jerusalem” window in our sanctuary. This window is significant to us here at Peachtree Road because it depicts the vision from the book of Revelation of the city of God with the New Jerusalem, the Tree of Life, the rainbow and the people of God, and the cityscape of Atlanta. If you look closely, below the recognizable skyline of Atlanta, you will see the church building of Peachtree Road and, to its left, homes our church has built in cooperation with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Therefore, the mission of our church to reach out to those in need is always present in the sanctuary as we worship.

Thank you for your participation in a wonderful Easter celebration and for your support of this great church’s ministry!

Bill

04.23.17 | Celebrate Life

Doxology Sunday

Doxology Sunday
Celebrate Life

Worship Bulletin PDF
Worship Service Video

Sunday Photo Gallery

 

 

Sunday’s worship services were led by our Doxology Youth Choir for the very first time! Their presentation of “Celebrate Life!” led us through a musical representation of Jesus’ life and resurrection. Their work was moving and uplifting and reminded us how fortunate we are to have this talented young generation at Peachtree Road.

04.16.17 | Easter Day: Fear and Great Joy

Jay Christopher Shaking Hands

Easter Day
Fear and Great Joy
Rev. Bill Britt

 

 

Matthew’s story of the Resurrection of Jesus contains several unique elements (Matthew 28:1-10):

  • An earthquake changed the spiritual landscape of the world forever
  • An angel representing the presence of God rolled the stone away and sat on the stone in a demonstration of God’s power
  • The response of the women to the empty tomb was one of “fear and great joy” at the same time

Easter invites us to consider the earthquakes that occur in our lives, where we see God showing up, and the times we are missing out on “great joy” because we are paralyzed by fear. Each morning when you get up, recite the words of the “Apostles’ Creed” and claim the power of God in your life.

Christmas Kindness

Christmas Kindness

Christmas Kindness
December 2 – 6

Christmas Kindness is a PRUMC ministry that offers a dignified way for Atlantans in need to share the joy of Christmas. You can volunteer to help select warm coats, toys and necessities, or to host, wrap gifts or provide snacks.  All shifts are for adults 18 and up except Wednesday, December 6.

RSVP Here
  • Breathe Devotional Image

Breathe: Saturday, April 15

Saturday, April 15 | Marcia Gaddis | John 18:1-19,42; Hebrews 10:1-25

The Breath of Anticipation

Saturday was the Sabbath. Jesus had been placed in the tomb on Friday night before sundown. Interestingly, the ones who came to care for his body after death were two men who respected Jesus, but kept their distance while he was alive. One was Joseph of Arimathea who went to Pilate to ask for the body. He secretly was a disciple of Jesus, but he feared the Jews. He was accompanied by Nicodemus who had earlier visited Jesus at night and went away disappointed because Jesus’ response was not what he wanted to hear. Both men could not quite embrace this Jesus during his life, but were the first to respond after his death. I wonder why? Perhaps the miraculous events of the previous day were the tipping point. Perhaps after all that had happened, they anticipated something more. Perhaps they truly believed Jesus was who he claimed to be for the first time. Whatever the reason, there was a new boldness to identify with Jesus.

The question was asked in an earlier reading, “Will death diminish us or enlarge us?” For many of the disciples, they went back to their jobs, probably grieving their loss in the way many people grieve today. Go back to work. Diminished. For Mary, Jesus’ mother, the excruciating death of her son must have played over and over in her mind. Her grief had to be inconsolable. Death was final and this was a day of mourning, a day of quiet, a day of simply trying to breathe. Diminished, for sure. But Joseph and Nicodemus encourage me. They found something to do in the midst of their grief and sorrow. They brought the burial supplies. They persevered to do the next thing.

And we, too, are called to persevere in the midst of death. And when we persevere—and we all do it differently—something miraculous happens. Death begins to enlarge us. The gifts we bring to each other in our sorrow and suffering become a sweet fragrance of hope and love. As we find something to do in the darkest hours, there begins to shine a glimmer of promise for things to come.

Jesus gave us only two commandments; “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). Nowhere is it written that he added, “Except, of course, when you’re suffering.”

Prayerfully read the call to persevere in Hebrews 10.

  • Breathe Devotional Image

Breathe: Friday, April 14

Friday, April 14 | Marcia Gaddis | John 3:16; John 18-19

Breath for Me

I will probably never understand how the crucifixion of Jesus took away all my sins. I do not possess the mental capacity to comprehend God and his love for me, a fallen creature. But I have learned to trust the words of John 3:16 which say “For God so loved the world (me) that he gave his only begotten son (Jesus) that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” That in its simplest form helps me to understand why Jesus had to die. Simply put, God made the decision. He gives me the choice as to what I will do with His cross.

Will I embrace it or will I deny it? Will Jesus’ death bring death or breath for me? It is a question we must answer every day. The words to the song Embrace the Cross offer up possibilities for meditation and prayer today as you ponder your own response to the one who died on the cross.

Embrace the cross
Where Jesus suffered
Though it will cost
All you claim as yours
Your sacrifice will seem small
Beside the treasure
Eternity can’t measure
What Jesus holds in store

Embrace the love
The cross requires
Cling to the one
Whose heart knew every pain
Receive from Jesus
Fountains of compassion
Only He can fashion
Your heart to move as His

Oh, wondrous cross our desires rest in you
Lord Jesus make us bolder
To face with courage the shame and disgrace
You bore upon Your shoulder

Embrace the life
That comes from dying
Come trace the steps
The Savior walked for you
An empty tomb
Concludes Golgotha’s sorrow
Endure then till tomorrow
Your cross of suffering
Embrace the cross, embrace the cross, the cross of Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, today I pray that I retrace every step you took and still hold fast to you. Amen.

Christmas Eve Water Filters

IMG_1154.JPG.jpeg

Christmas Eve Offering
Water Filters for Rongai, Kenya

December 24, 2017

Each year with proceeds from our Christmas Eve Offering we blanket an entire region in Kenya with enough water filters to make a long-term difference. A $40 water filter can provide healthy, clean water for up to 10 years for a family. The momentum of this initiaive has been tremendous and with a combined effort of donors and mission teams, we have been able to give over 22,000 Uzima water filters to Kenyan families in just 2 years!  You may give any time via the new PRUMC app or at prumc/give.

Give Here

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  • Bill Confession of Faith

The Good News of Easter

April 14, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are having a meaningful Holy Week. We made a good beginning last Sunday with our Palm Sunday celebration. As I mentioned at the start of the sermon, I love everything about Palm Sunday – the sanctuary decorated with palm branches, the pageantry of the grand procession (led by our favorite donkey “Jerusalem”), and the inspirational music. The combined children’s choirs accompanied by a string quartet, the Chancel Choir, and Doxology Youth Choir thrilled our hearts as they sang “Hosanna to the Son!”

We also were delighted to welcome 32 new members to Peachtree Road, and it was a holy moment to receive 9 of them on profession of faith. I believe these new members will make a significant impact on our ministry in the days to come and hope you will join me in welcoming them and helping them get connected with others. Sunday really set the tone for this week.

You are invited to join us today at 12 noon for the Community Good Friday Service at Peachtree Presbyterian. We will gather with members from Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist, Cathedral of Christ the King Roman Catholic, and Wieuca Road Baptist as well Peachtree Presbyterian and our church for a special time of worship. I will be preaching at the service and hope to see you there.

Of course, Sunday is Easter, and we will offer four opportunities to worship the Risen Christ:
  • Sunrise service – This special service begins at 6:30 a.m. in the columbarium (the courtyard area between the sanctuary and the Rollins building where the niches are located) shortly before daybreak. For me, this service really captures the spirit of that first Easter long ago. We gather in what amounts to our cemetery here at Peachtree Road, hear the message of the angels, light candles in the darkness, and process to the chapel to celebrate the good news. If you have not attended this service before, I invite you to give it a try. We would love to see you early this Easter Day.
  • Sanctuary services – Please note the special times for our festival worship in the sanctuary:  8:15 a.m., 9:45 a.m., and 11:15 a.m. With the aroma of Easter lilies in the air, we will gather in unrestrained celebration. Each service will begin with the congregation singing Charles Wesley’s majestic hymn “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” and close with the Chancel Choir offering the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by the Atlanta Brassworks.
In the message this Sunday, I want us to reflect upon the Gospel of Matthew’s account of the Resurrection and two emotions associated with Easter: Fear and Joy. I can’t wait to celebrate with you!

We will receive a special offering this Sunday for Habitat for Humanity. During the Lenten season, volunteers from our church have been building a house for Uriel Daniel and her family. This house represents the 46th home we have built in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. I encourage you to give generously to help the Daniels’ dream come true. You may make your check payable to Peachtree Road, mark it for Lenten Offering/Habitat, and place it in the offering plate this Sunday, or you may give online. Thank you for your support. Together, we are changing lives!

I encourage you to invite others who may not have a church home to experience Easter at Peachtree Road. We are pretty good at recommending restaurants, movies, and books to others, but what about church? Think about someone who might need to hear the good news of Easter and encourage them to attend Peachtree Road.

Finally, let me offer two notes about Sunday’s logistics:
  • We will be running golf cart shuttles from our lots to the sanctuary throughout the morning, but parking may be difficult as we expect over 4,000 people for the morning services. One way you can help is by attending one of the early services (sunrise or 8:15 a.m.). Interestingly, in recent years, the largest attendance has been at the 9:45 a.m. service, and we certainly are pinched for parking between that service and the 11:15 a.m. service. In keeping with our theme this Lent, I encourage you to breathe and to be patient as you look for parking. Remember, as the lots turn over from one service to another, parking spaces do become available.
  • Overflow space will be available in both the Moore Chapel and Grace Hall throughout the morning. A live feed from the sanctuary will be available in each.
  • Also, our regular Sunday morning breakfast by Joy Cafe will be available from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. in Grace Hall. Join us between the sunrise service and our first festival worship service.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we celebrate the presence of the Risen Christ!

Bill

PS – For those who have children (or grandchildren!) aged 1 year old through 5th grade, you are invited to join us for an Egg Hunt from 10:00 a.m. until 12 noon at Bob and Becky Hill’s house at 4950 Jett Road. The schedule is as follows:

10:30 a.m. – ages 1-2
11:00 a.m. – ages 3-5
11:15 a.m. – ages 6-8
11:15 a.m. – ages 9-11 Scavenger Hunt

In addition to the egg hunts, the event features a number of other fun family opportunities. Come join us on Saturday morning!
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Breathe: Thursday, April 13

Thursday, April 13 | Marcia Gaddis | Luke 21:34-22:63

The Breath of a New Covenant

Some of Jesus’ final teaching words from Luke 21:34 say, “But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man” (The Message).

And it was around this same time, Judas conspires with the authorities to turn Jesus over to them. But this is the day of Passover and Jesus, who knows all things, presses on and sends the disciples to prepare the room. Does the story remind you of earlier when Jesus sent ahead for the donkey? This time, a man carrying water is approached and when asked, takes the disciples to the upper room, all furnished and ready for Jesus.

In this intimate scene in the upper room we see prayer and action. Jesus gives thanks and then shares the cup. Jesus gives thanks and then shares the bread. And he tells them both times they will not have this action again until the kingdom of God comes. The future is promised and hope is handed out in love at this last meal. Finally, he takes the cup again and tells them his own blood is the new covenant and in the same breath states the knowledge of his betrayer. He ventures into one more teaching opportunity where Peter questions and Jesus breaks his heart by telling Peter of his own denial. Finally, after the bickering and questioning by his own, Jesus has had it, and simply states in Luke, “That is enough.” The forthcoming arrest, the trials through the night, the praying in the garden with weary and weak followers—it just all seems too much to face. Jesus cries out to God to take the cup from him, asking if there was any other way. The human side of Jesus draws us close and we cry out to God the same thing in our own trials. Why, God? But this is not about us—it is about Jesus. Because he obeyed God, not his own will, he chose to go to his death as a sacrifice so that our own deaths would have another outcome—the breath of new life in Christ. We are given hope at great cost to God. If you need some comfort this day, take some time to read John 14-17 in one sitting. Underline the word “love” every time you read it and let Jesus remind you of his promises to overcome your troubles. It is a struggle, this life. As our church gathers on this night to share the Lord’s Passover meal, it will be prepared like the upper room—lovingly with bread and wine, somber music, and dimmed lights. I never feel more humbled than when I, too, desert the quiet, darkened room—walking away like everyone else.

Prayer: If I allowed it, oh Lord, this could be a miserable day as I read of your rejection by so many, even me on many occasions. Give me strength to stand firm with you as my example. Amen.

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Breathe: Wednesday, April 12

Wednesday, April 12 | Marcia Gaddis | John 12:35-42

Breathe on Me, Breath of God

“When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.” (John 12:36)

Some things you just have to do alone. Jesus had said just about all he had to say. He must have been exhausted from talking to people who misunderstood or denied and ridiculed his teaching. Scripture tells us many of the Jewish leaders believed Jesus, but they would not confess their faith because they were afraid they would be put out of the temple. “They loved praise from men more than praise from God” (John 12:42).

And so Jesus left and probably spent this day in prayer and fellowship with those closest to him. A silent retreat, if you will, in the midst of Holy Week. It’s probably what we all need here at the end of Lent. What does time alone with Jesus look like to you? Have you found a way to “hide” from the schedules and commitments to simply be alone with Jesus? Would you consider a few hours with your closest family and Christian friends to consider Jesus and the cross? I’m not talking about a planned church service, but a time of prayer and devotion to each other. In Jesus’ case, it was a time to say good-bye.

You see, there is a time before death when things get very quiet. We instinctively withdraw to our supportive community. Visits are tender and reflective. Words aren’t necessary. Every moment is a heightened awareness of all the senses where maybe a song is sung, or a special prayer recited. We remember the former, good times, trusting in a forever future together. We cling together in love and hope. We, in essence, are fortifying ourselves for what we know is to come.

I like to think this was a day of worship and fellowship for Jesus before his final act of love. Henri Nouwen in his excellent Lenten book Show Me The Way sums it up:

I now see clearly why action without prayer is so fruitless. It is only in and through prayer that we can become intimately connected with Jesus and find the strength to join him on his way. Prayer and action, therefore can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows into powerless pietism, and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation. If prayer leads us into a deeper unity with the compassionate Christ, it will always give rise to concrete acts of service. And if concrete acts of service lead us to a deeper solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the dying, and the oppressed, they will always give rise to prayer. In prayer we meet Christ, and in him all human suffering. In service we meet people, and in them the suffering Christ.

Use some time this day to rest from our Lenten Journey. Find a quiet spot alone or with those you love and pray, reflect and worship together. And if words fail you, the song by Hillsong says it all:

Breathe on me, breath of God
Love and life that makes me free
Breathe on me, breath of God
Fan the flame within me

Teach my heart, heal my soul
Speak the mind that in Christ we know
Take me to Your sanctuary
Breathe on me

Speak to me, voice of God
Soft and still, inside my heart
Speak to me, word of God
Comfort, heal, restore with light

Prayer: Dear Lord, show me how to keep a balance of prayer and service. This day, I draw close to you for worship, meditation, reading your word, and prayer. There will be a time for service later. Amen.

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Breathe: Tuesday, April 11

Tuesday, April 11 | Marcia Gaddis | Matthew 21:23-26

Breathe Deeply

“By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23)

If it had been me, I would not have even returned to the temple. Jesus, however, had rested for the night back in Bethany and headed to the temple steps again. I can learn from his determination and fortitude. This day he was met with more opposition and questions. Who of us wants more opposition? Jesus, our Lord, was ready, and he spends the day teaching and answering and asking tough questions.

David Packer, author of A Journey to the Cross, puts it this way:

Tuesday of Christ’s last week was a day marked with challenges to His authority. The Herodians asked him about paying tribute to Caesar. The Sadducees asked Him about the resurrection. The Pharisees queried Him about the greatest commandment. Each came with a mock-enquirer, not a genuine searching for truth, and each formed their question around their own perspectives, biases, and concerns. The crowds observed a match of wits and of understanding. They could not trap Jesus in their silly arguments. He rose above all three and asked His own questions of them. We would expect nothing less of God Incarnate.

During Lent, we must ask ourselves if we are genuinely searching for truth. We must ask ourselves if we form our questions for God and others based on our own perspectives, biases, and concerns. We might be able to trap those around us—especially those who are closest to us. But we can never trap Jesus. And when we realize we cannot trap our Lord, it’s as though we can finally take a really deep breath and for once acknowledge the truth. A retreat leader calls it “inhabiting our hollow places.” She says we have to spend some time in those dark hollow places in our lives to begin the discovery of truth. Yes, I am sorry. No, I was not honest with you. Forgive my selfishness.

Once we take the first deep breath of truth, we begin to grow in the attitude of Christ. Philippians 2:5-11 (The Message) teaches us:

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Prayer: Dear Lord, show me the way to truth. Point me in the way that leads to understanding. Amen.

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Breathe: Monday, April 10

Monday, April 10 | Marcia Gaddis | Matthew 21:12-17

Catching my Breath

Jesus clearing the crowded temple is a stark contrast to the humility of riding on a donkey into Jerusalem. But Matthew says that the “whole city was stirred.” There was excitement and increasing tension. As homes were bulging with families gathered for Passover, there were probably long conversations into the night about Jesus and the events of the day. What would happen next? Jesus comes into the temple, angry at what he sees going on, and demonstrates authority in his actions. He turns over tables and chases out moneychangers, saying, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” What a contrast in the next verse to read that he then turns to heal the lame and give sight to the blind.

We must remind ourselves every day that this is Jesus’ final week. It is a week of grief and despair. Jesus knows that death is drawing near. His mission is nearing its end—and beginning. In his final attempts to prove his deity, we see his frustration, sadness, and anger at what was taking place in his holy house. And then within moments, we watch him look around, catch his breath, and choose to turn back to his ministry of love and healing and restoring.

Do we not say in our own anger at our personal life events, “This is not supposed to be happening in my world”? We watch as failed marriages, prodigal children, illnesses, violence, and a myriad of tragedies wreak havoc and despair in our own lives. Turning over tables suits our mood. And we get angry, weeping out our hurt and raging at our fate. But we too must learn to catch our breath.

Whether in a temple of marble and stone, or our own temple of flesh, as Christians we battle with an urgency to get things right —a prompting by the Holy Spirit who reminds us that “he makes all things new.” And as we are prompted, we begin to learn to catch our breath. We begin to look for ways to respond, always asking if our response will enlarge us or diminish us. It is a reminder for us to be confident in our faith, to face our battles, and to make Godly choices in our response. Just as the Jews celebrated the remembrance of the Passover and what God had done with the blood on the doorposts, they were required to take action and move. Once we catch our breath, we too can take action and move toward transformational change.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for setting the example for me. I, too, want to rage at the injustices I see. Show me how to stand for justice and be merciful at the same time. Amen.

04.09.17 | Palm Sunday: When Death Draws Near

Waving Palms

Palm Sunday
When Death Draws Near…Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

 

 

Two observations from the description of Jesus’ death on the cross (Matthew 27:45-54):

  1. The church needs to talk more about death in general and Jesus’ death in particular. His life, death, and resurrection place our lives in context.
  2. Jesus died as he lived – forgiving, caring for others, and thirsting for God. The fact is we all pretty much die as we live. Therefore, the best preparation for dying a Christian death is living a Christian life.

Invitation: Develop the practice of breathing deeply in God’s Spirit and praying this prayer each day: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Amen”

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Breathe: Sunday, April 9

Sunday, April 9 | Marcia Gaddis | Matthew 21:1-11

Breathing the Breath of Trust

For some of us, as we enter our final week to the Cross, we are ready to be relieved of our sacrifices, small as they are in God’s economy. For others, there is excitement as resurrection reveals signs of life all around us through creation. But for some, this is a hard week. For those who know Jesus personally and have walked with him again through these passages, it is a week of finality and despair and death. We must ask ourselves, “Will despair and death enlarge us or diminish us?”

As I read today’s passage of Jesus and the donkey, of course childhood stories evoke the waving of the palm branches, the humble little donkey, and the hosannas surrounding Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. But as an adult, I know this was a difficult, final journey for Jesus. He had taught, healed, prayed, loved, warned, spoke frequently of the future, and forgiven. His life on earth was nearly complete. He must have been exhausted, yet his hardest work was still ahead of him.

They approach Jerusalem and Jesus tells two of his disciples to go and untie a donkey, a symbol of peace during those times. Several times Matthew says, “untie.” The donkey had been tied down and was waiting to be untied for this very time in history according to Zechariah.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious is he; humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).

Do you feel tied down? Like the donkey, are you ever in a holding time, just waiting to be of use to Jesus, the Messiah?

We will never be of use to the Messiah if we remain “tied down” to this life and that which owns us. It is when we let go, we can live a life of faith free from the pressure of trying to hold things together. It is then we can breathe the breath of trust. When we are free, we can carry the burden with the help of Jesus. It is a spirit of relinquishment, of letting go of that which keeps us tied down. And when we do, the burden becomes bearable. Like the donkey, we become a symbol of peace to be used for something greater than ourselves.

Prayer: Dear Lord, in this final week of Lent, help me to “untie” myself to all the things that keep me from loving and serving you in the way you desire. Help me to carry your burden to the cross. Amen.

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Breathe: Saturday, April 8

Saturday, April 8 | Rev. Lindsay Geist | John 11:1-45

Breathing is integral to our survival. Without breath, we have no life. It’s one of the first things that emergency personnel check when they come to the scene—for our heartbeat and for our breathing. Not only does it give us physical life, but God used breath in the very beginning to give our souls life. It was in creation that the Holy Spirit was breathed into us and made us human. The very breath of God in our souls and in our lungs gave us life and meaning.

Have you ever had moments where you are short of breath? Where you might be so full of anxiety, dread, grief, or sadness that you can’t get a good deep breath? That moment can be terrifying.

I wonder if it’s the same way with our spiritual lives at times. That we feel short of God, short of the Holy Spirit. That we can’t quite get enough of God and we are taking shallow breaths only. Sometimes our breathing is only for physical life but not giving our souls life. As we prepare to enter Holy Week, the week that reminds us of God’s greatest miracles, remember to take deep soul breaths. Lean into God; take in the life-giving breath that the Holy Spirit provides but we often ignore instead of our shallow, survival mode breathing.

Action Challenge: Breathe deeply in the Holy Spirit each and every day of the upcoming week.

  • Bill Preaching

As We Begin Holy Week Together

April 7, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you and your loved ones well. As I write these words, we are merely hours away from Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. This is one of our favorite Sundays of the year here at Peachtree Road. The children entering the sanctuary waving their palm branches, the beautiful music offered by the choirs, and, yes, having our favorite donkey “Jerusalem” leading the procession at the 11:15 am service make the day extra special. I love the passage we will read at the beginning of worship:

The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:9-11)

With this triumphant passage setting the initial tone for the day, the service invites us to consider, “To whom do we shout, ‘Hosanna!’ and who do we say Jesus is?” We will bring our series of messages under the theme of “Breathe” to a close as we consider how to live when death draws near. I believe you will find this service to be helpful.

We are offering something new this year on Palm Sunday – a congregational breakfast being served in Grace Hall from 9:00 am until 11:00 am. I hope you will come and join your friends at Peachtree Road for a delicious meal and good fellowship as we begin this holiest of weeks together.

You also are invited to join us for our midday services Monday through Thursday during Holy Week in the Moore Chapel. These services begin at 12:05 pm and are followed by a fellowship luncheon in Grace Hall. The schedule for the week is as follows:

Monday | Julie Wright (preacher) and Will Green (soloist)
Tuesday | Leslie Watkins (preacher) and Clarke Harris (soloist)
Wednesday | Jamie Jenkins (preacher) and Peter Mackenzie (soloist)
Thursday | Darren Hensley (preacher) and Nancy MizeGonzalez (soloist)

Our Holy Thursday service will be held in the sanctuary on Thursday, April 13, at 7:00 pm with Julie Schendel preaching. This service features the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion as we remember Jesus’ last supper with his disciples and the stripping of the altar, signifying the abandonment of Jesus by his disciples and his prayers of anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. We will leave the sanctuary in somber reflection to close one of the most moving services of the year.

Finally, we will bring the season of Lent to a close by joining with other Christians from throughout Buckhead for a special Community Good Friday Service on Friday, April 14, at noon at Peachtree Presbyterian Church. We will join members from Wieuca Road Baptist, Peachtree Presbyterian, the Cathedral of Christ the King Roman Catholic, and Second Ponce de Leon Baptist for the service. I will be the preacher for the service and hope you will join us for these particularly meaningful times of worship as we reflect upon Christ’s love for us.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who contributed toward this year’s Lenten devotional guide. This devotional piece, centered upon the theme “Breathe,” has been both helpful and inspirational. I am grateful to Jamie Jenkins, Darren Hensley, Ed Hamlin, Deidra Harrell, Lindsay Geist, and Marcia Gaddis for their willingness to offer daily reflections that have challenged us to think deeply about our relationships with Christ and one another. We are blessed to have such gifted writers in our congregation. I also am grateful to Leslie Watkins for suggesting the creative idea of offering the guide as an adult coloring book filled with “mandalas” to encourage relaxation and an opportunity for deeper meditation upon the themes of this season. While I admit I did not do any coloring in my book, I have heard from a number in our congregation who did and found the practice spiritually energizing. Thank you to all for this wonderful gift during the season of Lent.

Finally, let me thank you for the support you provided last week for our “Sponsor a Child” emphasis. We were blessed to have Tamuna Grigolia, the program director for the children’s ministry we support in the country of Georgia, with us last week. She directs a program that changes the lives of nearly 350 children, providing them with love, support, and hope for living. Your gift of $330 supports one child in Georgia for an entire year. Please drop by Grace Hall this Sunday, meet Tamuna, and make your gift to sponsor a child for the coming year. Local and global outreach are at the heart of who we are at Peachtree Road, and our commitment to support these life-changing ministries will not waver. Thank you for your support.

Please call on me if you need me. I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we begin Holy Week together!

Bill

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Breathe: Friday, April 7

Friday, April 7 | Rev. Lindsay Geist | John 11:1-45

When what appears in our nightmares comes true in reality, our hearts can feel lost. We may feel as though we are wandering. We often weep tears of sadness in our grief. I have heard people tell me (and others) to “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and get it together. Tears are often shed in quiet, in secret, full of shame. We try to hold ourselves together and pretend that the nightmare never happened.

In times of distress, I remind myself of the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” It is a verse that sticks with us—not only because it’s the shortest but also because it’s memorable that Jesus was crying. And not just crying, but weeping, the intense tears brought on by grief, disappointment, and loss. Jesus, too, experienced a nightmare becoming reality. One of his dear friends, Lazarus, has died and Jesus arrived too late. Lazarus had been dead four days; there was no chance of revival.

Jesus wept for the memories that he had with Lazarus and the future memories that would not be created. Instead of reminding ourselves that Jesus felt the grief too, we quickly gloss over the verse. We are not alone when we experience sadness and our own personal nightmares. Whatever scale they are, they are real and intense to us. Jesus was not ashamed of his own tears but let them flow freely. As we face our own nightmares, may we remember that tears can be healing and a way to release the heartache from our souls.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the reminder that your son felt our human emotions too. It is part of our nature to feel sadness and important to express it. We do not need to be ashamed of our own tears and grief. Help the tears to flow freely as we release the burden from our hearts. Amen.

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Breathe: Thursday, April 6

Thursday, April 6 | Rev. Lindsay Geist | Psalm 130

When we are lost in our nightmares of life, we focus on what we want God to do for us or what God hasn’t done yet. We cry out to God about our pains and our desires. We desperately want God to listen to and fulfill our pleading desires. Often we forget what God has already done for us or what God can do in those moments.

Psalm 130 reminds us of that very concept. We forget what God has done and instead remember our misfortunes more easily. But God does not, thankfully. If God were to mark all of our transgressions and keep those at the forefront, how would any of us survive? In God there is forgiveness for our own mistakes, bad choices, and even our own complaints toward God. God offers much more grace than we can fathom. God reaches out to us even in the midst of our complaints. And in that we are reminded of God’s steadfast love.

There is power in God’s redemption of even our darkest nightmares. God has the power to change anything into good. God does not cause the nightmare to happen, but God can redeem even the worst moments and create good out of them. In the nightmare, may we remember to wait, that our souls may wait and hope for the morning promises that God has offered.

Journal Exercise: Look back on your past year since Easter 2016. Write a list of all of the ways that God HAS shown up in your life and done something wonderful. It can be big or little. But use this time as a reflection on the miracles of God that are often harder to remember than what God hasn’t done for us.

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Breathe: Wednesday, April 5

Wednesday, April 5 | Rev. Lindsay Geist | Ezekiel 37:1-14

As Ezekiel wandered around the valley, all he could see were the dry bones. The Lord asked Ezekiel if it was possible for the bones to live. The lifeless bones that were scattered about were dry and displayed no signs of life. I wonder if parts of your own life feel that way—dried up and dead. Parts of your hopes and dreams feel as though they can no longer exist. Maybe this includes children, marriage, a career, friends, or housing. Many characters throughout the Bible story felt this very way—Sarah and Elizabeth each past childbearing years, Moses wondering if he was talented enough, the Samaritan woman feeling outcast. There are so many dried up bones of hopes.

It is only through the Lord that dry bones can find life. God has made the impossible happen before and the only way that it would ever happen again would be through God. The Lord responds and tells Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones that the Lord will breathe into them and give them life again. And through that, the Lord breathed into the bones and they groaned and rattled and came together.

Have you ever prophesied over your own life, crying out for the Lord to breathe into the dry bones and God did? Have you had an impossible moment in your life come together when God breathed life into it? It may not be something as obviously miraculous as having a child well past childbearing years, or raising someone from the dead such as Lazarus, but it might be a minor dream that was resurrected. Something that you believed had passed by in your life but God still breathed into that hope and dream and brought it to life. Or maybe you’re still waiting for this impossible moment of God breathing into something lifeless to restore it. Whether you have seen God’s breath of life in action or are still dreaming of it, let this passage serve as a reminder that even in the darkest moments of impossibility, life can appear.

Prayer: Loving God, sometimes we feel as though we are in a valley of dry bones already—dried up hopes and dreams long since dead. Please remind us of the past miracles we have witnessed in our own lives or the lives of others, including this scripture text. That you can breathe into anything dried and dead and bring about life. All we need to do is ask and turn to you. In your name we pray, Amen. (more…)

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Breathe: Tuesday, April 4

Tuesday, April 4 | Rev. Lindsay Geist | John 11:1-45; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11

Nightmares come in all forms. For each person it can be different. In my calling, each day I sit with someone who may be facing a nightmare of their own: divorce, depression, death of a loved one, struggling to pay bills, anxiety, domestic violence, miscarriage, loss of job, sexual abuse, or homelessness. These are some of the many nightmares we all may face ourselves. In each of these moments it may feel like it’s never going to end. We’re never going to get past it. For each person the details may be different, but they still feel very tangible and real to you at the moment.

Nightmares exist in real life. They don’t just come to us in our dreams or come to “other people.” They happen to us. We have all probably had a moment in our lives where we feel like we’re struggling for air, slowly drowning in our own nightmare. And often this happens silently, where no one hears us gasping to breathe because we won’t cry out for help. We are silently drowning.

If this is you, please seek out someone who can throw you that life preserver we all so desperately need at times in our lives. Find someone who can help you breathe in the midst of the nightmare—a friend, a family member, a therapist, or a pastor. Someone with whom you can be honest and transparent for the times that we have forgotten how to swim and are beginning to drown. Let that moment not be one of silent agony but be a cry for help to someone to be present and assist you in the crisis.

Action Challenge: Seek out someone as a support for you in the midst of the nightmares of life—either for your current crisis or in preparation for the future. This can be a friend, family member, therapist, or pastor—someone safe to talk about the joys of life as well as the challenges. If you would like names or contact information for local therapists, please reach out to church staff.

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Breathe: Monday, April 3

Monday, April 3 | Rev. Lindsay Geist | John 11:1-45

Mary and Martha are caught in what feels like a nightmare—their brother has fallen ill and they called for Jesus to come quickly, but Jesus appears to take his time traveling to them. By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus is dead. Mary and Martha are distraught. They have lost their close family member and are full of lament. Mary cries out to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She expresses what we so often feel in the midst of our own grief: anger and blame toward God. Why didn’t God heal that person? Why didn’t God stop the nightmare from happening?

Many of us have lost people we loved in our lives—some due to older age but many due to horrible illnesses and accidents. It is natural for us to cry out to God in anger. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross includes it in her stages of grief and loss: isolation and denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Psychology has found that it is in our very nature to go through that stage when we have experienced some sort of loss. Scripture confirms this through the laments found throughout Psalms and this very raw and honest interaction between Martha and Jesus. It is in our very nature and happens to even the most faithful of people.

However, in the midst of the anger, Martha also remembers how mighty God is. In the same breath of being angry with God she acknowledges his omnipotence. She says, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” She believes in Jesus’ ultimate power and reign even when she is in her darkest moment.

When you find yourself in your own nightmares, remember that anger is okay. But in the same breath, remember that Jesus still reigns. This provides hope in our darkness.

Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for listening to our cries of anger and sadness. You have heard it before and love us nonetheless. You know we are hurting and lashing out. Help us to remember amidst our anger that you are greater than all of our hurt and fear. That you will reign even in our darkest moments. In your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

04.02.17 | When You’re Caught in a Nightmare…Breathe

Bill Preaching

When You’re Caught in a Nightmare…Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

 

 

Three observations from the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-45)

  1. “Jesus wept.” Since Jesus knows our heartache, he is better able to identify with us and help us.
  2. “Where have you laid him?” Jesus demonstrates his power by venturing into a cemetery and raising Lazarus.
  3. “Unbind him and let him loose.” Jesus invites us to participate in his life-changing ministry.

Invitation: Prepare for the nightmares that are to come (and they do come!) by developing the practice of spending time with the one who knows you. Listen to his voice and breathe!

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Breathe: Sunday, April 2

Sunday, April 2 | Rev. Lindsay Geist | John 11:1-45; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11

When I think of my nightmares as a child, I remember bits and pieces vividly but often struggle to recall many of the details. However, I can tell you that they all share a similar theme: someone close to me is seriously hurt or dies. While I can’t remember each of the exact nightmares, I remember the feeling more than anything: that feeling of panic, helplessness, and terror. I remember waking up in cold sweats calling out for my parents, seeking reassurance that I wasn’t alone and for them to tell me it was only a bad dream, a nightmare.

As an adult, I still have nightmares sometimes. Again, I don’t always remember the details but I share the same feelings from when I was young. I wake up with my heart racing, in a cold sweat, wanting to cling to anything real that reminds me it was only a bad dream. As an adult I try to soothe myself the way that my parents did when I was young. I have to give myself a pep talk about how it’s not real and practice some grounding techniques. I make sure I feel the bed beneath me, reminding myself of exactly where I am. I look at the clock to remind myself what time it is and that I was only sleeping. Sometimes I even find a book to read a few pages or check my phone to focus my mind elsewhere. But most of all, I remind myself to breathe. Breathing can be a form of prayer. Reminding myself of the air that the Holy Spirit breathed into me and exhaling out all of the bad thoughts. Reminding myself that God is with me, in the midst of my fear and terror.

Nightmares can plague us both as children and adults. The details may change but the fear remains the same. Next time you wake up from a nightmare, remember to breathe.

Journal Exercise: When you experience a nightmare, what’s the first thing you do?

The Great Tree Lighting

PRUMC Great Tree Lighting 2016

The Great Tree Lighting
Sunday, December 3, 5:30 pm, Sanctuary

Begin the Advent season with all of PRUMC’s Children’s and Youth Choirs!  We’ll enjoy a special program and the lighting of the great Chrismon trees in the Sanctuary.  Reception to follow.

No RSVP necessary. All are Welcome!
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Breathe: Saturday, April 1

Saturday, April 1 | Deidra Harrell | Eph. 5:8-15

You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!

So watch your step. Use your head. (Ephesians 5:8-15 The Message)

Leave it to Paul, author of Ephesians, to tell it like it is, and Eugene Peterson, author of The Message translation, to make sure Paul’s point is delivered in plain terms! Every living person has fallen short and failed to live as God intended. At some point though, it becomes necessary to move on past the regrets, fears, guilt, or self-doubt that hold back true spiritual growth and renewal. Accepting God’s grace, allowing it to be transformative, and starting anew enables life to be lived differently, where understanding and undertaking God’s desires are foremost. Failure will most certainly come again, but this time, earnest pursuit of a Christ-centered life enables growth and learning—these missteps in a faith walk are stumbles forward.

Each January, resolutions are made to undergo desired personal changes over the coming year. For many, those resolutions are set aside before the month is over. For Christians, the season of Lent offers a new opportunity to make resolutions—this time to undergo a spiritual change over a 40-day period. Heraclitus, a Greek poet and philosopher, once said:

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the full light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny… it is the light that guides your way.

As Christians, Christ is the destiny and the light that guides the way. Thoughts and actions in line with his principles are needed to shape character. Take this season of Lent to not just make a resolution to give up something or take on something new but make a new covenant that goes beyond this period: let the past go; put aside emotional baggage; and live in the light. Use that precious gift of time wisely—now is the moment to begin.

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition – Contemporary Version
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you, praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, Let it also be made in heaven. Amen.

The Fullness of God’s Love & Grace

March 31, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the springtime weather. Sunday promises to be a good day here at Peachtree Road.

  • In worship, we will continue with our series of messages around the theme “Breathe.” Many of you have gotten that distressing phone call that has sent you to the hospital to be with a loved one. I have heard the hours following a tragedy described in this way: “I feel like I am in a bad dream and just want to wake up so it can be over.” This week’s message focuses upon the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus (John 11:1-45) and Jesus’ response. I hope you will be present Sunday morning as we ponder what it means to “breathe…when you’re caught in a nightmare.”
  • Sunday also is the day we kick-off our “Sponsor a Child” mission emphasis. You may know of our ministry with children in the country of Georgia. Tamuna Grigolia is the one who coordinates our efforts to provide love and support for 350 children in five orphanages in the country of Georgia. She will be present with us Sunday to share a word of appreciation with you for your loving kindness and support. When you sign up to “Sponsor a Child” in Georgia, you will be providing for the needs of a child for an entire year. Thank you in advance for your generosity toward this ministry. Our mission team volunteers will be available in Grace Hall this Sunday morning to share stories and help with your sponsorship, or you may give online.
  • Also, on Sunday evening you are invited to a special Lenten service in the sanctuary at 7:00 pm. The Passion of the Christ: the Musical Stations of the Cross is designed to help us remember and reflect upon the death of Christ on the cross. You are invited to participate in this very meaningful Lenten service.

Earlier this week, Beth Spencer and I had an opportunity to attend the international convention for Habitat for Humanity that took place here in Atlanta. We were guests for the keynote speech delivered by Jonathan Reckford, the CEO of Habitat. I was astounded by one statistic he shared: every 50 seconds work is started somewhere in the world on a new house built in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. This ministry, started a little over 40 years ago, is making a difference in our world, addressing the housing needs of the world one family at a time. It is a joy to partner with this outstanding organization. This is on my mind today because Peachtree Road is in the finishing stages of a house being built for Uriel Daniel and her family – the 46th house this church has built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity! On Easter Sunday we will receive a special offering to help pay for this house. I hope you will join Wendie and me in giving generously toward this very worthwhile project. I appreciate your help.

I do not want to miss the opportunity to offer a word of appreciation for all who participated in last Saturday’s Great Day of Service. I am grateful to Beth Spencer, our director of local outreach, Susie Hubbard and Jo Hodges, the co-directors for this year’s event, and their team of volunteers who helped lead the 25th edition of the Great Day. I especially appreciate the efforts of the members of the steering committee and project captains who got us organized and heading out to the projects throughout the city. It was a wonderful day of service and fellowship. As a lover of good barbeque, I am grateful for Jef Wallace and his crew for the delicious barbeque pork they prepared on site! If you missed out on being a part of the Great Day this year, make your plans to be a part of it next year.

Finally, do you know someone who is looking for a church home? Peachtree Road is a wonderful place, and our gatherings on Sunday morning very much have the feel of a family reunion. Maybe you know someone who is in need of an extended family of faith to help support them, nurture them, and help them know the fullness of God’s love and grace. Why not invite them to join you here at Peachtree Road? Please contact Mimi Brunson to learn more about becoming a member and getting connected.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Bill

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Breathe: Friday, March 31

Friday, March 31 | Deidra Harrell | Psalm 23

Throughout the course of the devotional, the directive to breathe is a constant; throughout the whole of scripture, the theme of grace is a constant. These two go hand-in-hand, for it is when we pause and breathe that we give ourselves enough time to recognize, accept, and experience grace. In this fast-paced world in which we live, it is too easy to become distracted with information overload and requests on us for our time. It is often our quiet, meditative time with God that is set aside and soon, when His presence is needed most, we may not have the time to seek him or feel we know how to begin. For these situations, breath prayers can be just the answer needed.

Breath prayers are just what the name indicates—prayers that are said in one breath. Simple. Easy. Short. In that breath, we are reminded to breathe in God’s grace. “Lord, have mercy” (Psalm 123:3). “Here I am” (Isaiah 6:8). “Not my will, but yours” (Luke 22:42). “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9). There’s no limit to how many and how often breath prayers are used.

Psalm 23 offers several options for breath prayers, such as:

  • “The Lord is my shepherd”
  • “I fear no evil; for you are with me”
  • “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord”

Try incorporating one of these breath prayers into your routine today as a reminder that no matter what you’ve done in the past and no matter what you face right now, the Lord is right there with you always. Breathe…“The Lord is my shepherd…” and receive His grace.

The Many Moods of Christmas

The Many Moods of Christmas
Sunday, December 10, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary

PRUMC Chancel Choir, Georgia Boy Choir, soloists, and orchestra present our Christmas classic featuring Handel’s Messiah.  Reception to follow.

Complimentary tickets available on November 19 in Grace Hall and the Dogwood.

Tickets available at PRUMC Nov 19

03.26.17 | When You’re Haunted by Your Past… Breathe

Bill Preaching

When You’re Haunted by Your Past…Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

 

 

The story of Jesus healing the man born blind (John 9:1-41) is an amazing story about the grace of God that raises these points for consideration:

  • Instead of looking for blame, look for God at work in the world.
  • The past may describe you, but it does not define you.
  • Living in fear does not offer protection. Embrace gratitude and hope – they are the seeds of joy.

The past matters, but it is past. Your fears, regrets, and sorrows only hold you back. Invite faith, gratitude, and hope to travel with you from now on.

  • Bill Smiling with Baptism Baby

Looking Forward

March 24, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. I would like to begin this week’s note with some exciting news. At last Monday night’s Administrative Board meeting, Chris Mucha was introduced as Peachtree Road’s new Director for Youth and Their Families! Chris currently is the youth director at Fayetteville First UMC in Fayetteville, Georgia where he has served for the last 10+ years. He is an exceptional leader, loves Christ, and is committed to helping youth and their families grow as Christian disciples. Chris and his wife Ashley have a ten-year-old son Dayton, and they are looking forward to joining our church family. He will begin his work here on May 1. I am most grateful to the search team, chaired by Daris McCullough, for their diligent work over the last six months. We learned a great deal through this process about growing a vital ministry with youth and their families, and we are confident that Chris will bring outstanding leadership to our staff team. We look forward to welcoming Chris and his family to Peachtree Road very soon. Please pray for the Muchas as they make this transition to Atlanta.

Also, at Monday’s Board meeting, we adopted a budget for the year of $6.85 million. The staff worked hard to create “zero-balance” budgets, but the Finance Committee determined further cuts were necessary in order to avoid another year of an operating budget deficit. As the committee wrestled with this reality, a new model was envisioned – the development of two budgets: one for the operations of the church and the other consisting of our goals for local and global outreach. In recent years, our support outside the operating budget for outreach has exceeded that which was designated within the budget. For example, last year Peachtree Road invested over $1.3 million in outreach, but less than $500,000 came from the operating budget. The difference came from the generous second mile gifts of our congregation to efforts such as Christmas Kindness, the Dogwood Gift Shop, the Christmas Eve Offering for water filters, etc. Outreach is at the heart of what we do here at Peachtree Road, and we are changing lives here in our own community as well as faraway places in Kenya, Georgia, and Nicaragua. Our Finance Committee believes this new model will help us accomplish all of our goals in a strategic and sustainable way. I am grateful to Beth Spencer and Anne French for all they do to keep outreach at the forefront of our ministry, and I am grateful to the Finance Committee for helping us make our efforts sustainable over the long haul.

In an effort to make sure that our support for outreach does not slip in any way, I am establishing a church-wide outreach initiative in which every area of the church will be challenged to help us fulfill our goal to transform lives in the name of Jesus Christ and leverage every member of our congregation in the process. I have asked our new Chief Operating Officer, Raymond Reynolds, to make it a priority of his time in the next three months to work with a group to help us fully develop this plan and the needed resources. Some of you may know that Raymond has extensive experience in the area of development, most recently as the Vice-President for Major and Legacy Giving at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. We are blessed to have him on our team! I have been encouraged by several conversations in recent days and believe this new model will enable us to grow our investment in outreach toward that $2 million goal we have set for ourselves in the future. I will give you details of the plan as it develops. Please know how grateful we are for your tithes, offerings, and second mile gifts.

I am looking forward to Sunday as we continue with our Lenten series of messages entitled “Breathe!” This week we will consider the encounter between Jesus and a man who was born blind (John 9:1-41). In my study this week, I have really been struck by the question the disciples asked Jesus: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” That question is borne out of a mindset that everything happens for a reason. Does it? That’s a question I want us to ponder together this week. See you in church!

Speaking of Sunday, this week is “Baby Recognition Day” at Peachtree Road. Each year we take time to celebrate the birth of the children who have been born to members of our church within the last year. I am grateful to the United Methodist Women who organize this recognition. The parents will attend a brunch at 10:00 am in Grace Hall, and then, during the 11:15 am service in the sanctuary, the names of our newborns will be called; they will be presented with a certificate from the United Methodist Women; and we will offer a prayer of blessing upon them. Over 60 children were born in our church last year, and we should never take for granted how blessed we are!

Also, this Sunday marks the opening of the Dogwood Gift Shop for the spring season. The shop has been restocked with new merchandise, including gifts for babies, weddings, birthdays, moms, dads, and grads. As always, 100% of the proceeds will go to support the global outreach of Peachtree Road. (Last year, those proceeds amounted to over $100,000 and helped us make a difference in faraway places such as Kenya, the nation of Georgia, and Nicaragua.) I hope you will drop by the Dogwood this week and support our global outreach ministry.

Finally, today marks the final countdown to tomorrow’s Great Day of Service. This is the 25th year Peachtree Road has hosted a day of service, and I hope you are signed up and ready to participate. If not, it’s not too late! We have a wonderful group of project captains who are ready to work with you as we go out into the community to demonstrate our love for God and neighbor in life-changing ways. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Thank you for all that you are doing in the name of Christ through Peachtree Road. I look forward to seeing you Saturday at the Great Day of Service and in worship on Sunday.

Bill

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Breathe: Friday, March 24

Friday March 24 | Ed Hamlin | John 4:25-26

Breathe and Contemplate: Slaveholder Thomas Jefferson said that when he considered God was “righteous” he “trembled.”

Consider: With Jesus, nothing happens as we expect. We would have expected the King of Kings to be born in a palace surrounded by dignitaries, not a damp cave amongst the livestock. We would have expected his baby bed to be exquisite, not a slobbery feedbox. The Jews expected a Messiah in the tradition of King David, riding gallantly into Jerusalem on a white horse, kicking Rome out the door in the process. But not this Messiah. He rode in on a lowly donkey, while loving his enemy.

The Samaritans expected a different kind of Messiah called the Taheb, a kind of restorer. They believed this Messiah would be like Moses and would usher in the golden age. He would be so much like God that anyone who believed in God would believe in the Taheb.

The woman at the well knew her version of scripture. Jesus, however, told her the truth. He was fulfilling not only Jewish messianic expectations, but also those of the Samaritan. Our Jesus is not a jack-in-the-box we wind up when we are in trouble. No, this Jesus cares only about one thing, our heart.

Call to Action: If we truly believe that Jesus took our place and willingly took the punishment we deserved (justice) while we were still enemies, what should we be doing differently in our life today?

Prayer: Lord, wipe the sleep from my eyes so I can see you more clearly, humble me with all that I do not know, and make what I do a fitting example of your love and grace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Breathe: Thursday, March 23

Thursday, March 23 | Ed Hamlin | John 4:16-18

Breathe and Contemplate: “You don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”―Timothy J. Keller, Counterfeit Gods

Consider: None of us deserve the love and forgiveness we receive from Jesus. That is why it is called grace. All of us have events that we would prefer that our grandmothers never knew. The woman at the well certainly did. She had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus knew that and broke it to her softly. He let her know that it was not her past that he was concerned with; rather it was her heart.

The text does not tell us why she has had so many failed marriages. During that time men could easily divorce a woman, but a woman could not divorce a man. She could have been divorced for her inability to provide a son. What we do know is she put her trust in men and that proved to be a bad choice every time.

But is she any different than most of us? Many of us are guilty of trying to gain meaning in our lives by placing our trust in the other gods like beauty, power, money, a perfect family, and achievement. When we love those good things God has made above anything else, we become addicted. We turn those good things into the ultimate thing. Tim Keller, famous author and Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, calls the human heart an “idol factory.” Whatever controls us is our lord.

You can imagine that the woman at the well, after each failed relationship, had to have thought, “If I can just get this next man, my life will have meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I will be secure.” But she has proved over and over, that is not how it works for any of us. When we place our trust in anything other than Jesus Christ, we will be disappointed.

Call to Action: List some of the “other gods” in your life. What do you need to do to keep God first?

Prayer: Precious God, forgive me when I try and turn gifts you have provided into things that dictate my happiness. Help me know that it is through you and you alone where I will find peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

#WorldWaterDay!

What a Way to Celebrate World Water Day!

Thanks to your generosity, Start with One Kenya, and the efforts of our most recent Kenya mission team, three islands on Lake Victoria – Sifu, Ndeda, and Oyamo – are now 100% COVERED with UZima clean water filters! That means that every man, woman, and child on three islands has access to clean water and the opportunity to live in good health. These communities have seen the love of Christ in action and received tangible reminders of that love. Their children can now attend school. Their parents can now work and spend earnings on items other than waterborne illness mediations. These communities will grow. And they will flourish.

But, we are not done! The funds you helped raise over Christmas will allow us to provide clean water to one more island on Lake Victoria. Lives will continue to be transformed and we are so grateful to you, Start with One Kenya, and our incredible PRUMC mission teams. Thank you. Thank you for all you do as the hands and feet of Christ.

Want to do more to provide #cleanwater and #Uzima water filters on #WorldWaterDay and throughout the year?

  • Spread the word about UZima filters to your friends and family. Visit www.uzimafilters.org or www.prumc.org for details.
  • Give toward these clean water initiatives.
  • Sign up to be part of a Kenya mission trip through Peachtree Road.
  • Pray for the communities in Kenya and around the world in desperate need of clean water.
  • Help raise water awareness on social media. Highlight #WorldWaterDay and #UzimaFilters today!
Kids on Omayo Island excited to have clean water!

Kids on Omayo Island excited to have clean water!

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Breathe: Wednesday, March 22

Wednesday, March 22 | Ed Hamlin | John 4:9-15

Breathe and Contemplate: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”―Mother Teresa

Consider: Water is vital to all living things. In some living organisms water makes up to 90% of their weight. For humans it is approximately 60%. Consider the places in John where water is a key instrument in Jesus’ ministry: turning water to wine in Cana (2:11-12); Nicodemus being told he must be born of water and the Spirit (3:5); and the woman at the well.

When you are thirsty, the instinctive thing to do is to find water, to ask for a drink. Why is it that something so fundamental to living turns into such a big deal? Who decided it was against the rules to be polite and try to talk to just anybody? Was safety the only reason? Why is it that when I was a boy in Macon, GA, a black person had to go to a separate water fountain and could be put in jail for drinking at the wrong fountain? Why is it that 11:00 am on Sunday is the most racially segregated hour in the United States? Has the church forgotten its call to be radical for Jesus? Are we afraid that if we are, we might not be accepted in our community? How do we break these written and unwritten rules?

The woman’s life did not turn out as she had hoped. She was a lonely outcast looking for love in all the wrong places. I love to tell the stories of broken dreams that have an amazing twist like this one and stories of women desperately wanting children like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth. With each story I try to paint a picture of how our world struggles to accept the augmented dream that eventually comes true.

The “well rules” dictated that anyone outside the norm was judged to be not welcome. Have you ever been an outsider and can relate? Where do you fit?

Call to Action: Think about how Jesus is not the God you expected. He welcomed you when you were a stranger. This week look inside and outside your community for those that don’t quite fit the mainstream and do something to make them feel welcome in your circle.

Prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Amen.

“O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”―St. Francis

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Breathe: Tuesday, March 21

Tuesday, March 21 | Ed Hamlin | John 4:7-9, 16-18, 27

Breathe and Contemplate: The church is God’s social policy.

Consider: We don’t know her name or her age. The rich and powerful have names, but the invisible do not. Isn’t it interesting that the unnamed woman in today’s passage outshines Nicodemus, leader of the Jews? Nicodemus came to Jesus under the cover of darkness, but this unnamed Samaritan woman has the longest one-on-one conversation recorded with Jesus in a public place in broad daylight.

The setting for the woman at the well story, the city of Sychar, was the site of Jacob’s well. Jacob first drank from this well shortly after he had his stairway dream, which took a lifetime to unfold. That is a lesson in itself. Our tendency is to want microwavable results. More times than not, a good life takes time to cure.

At the time of Jacob, the Samaritans and Jews were still one people. They shared a common faith, a common heritage, and a common devotion to God. This was before the Assyrians, before the Babylonian exile, before so many changes. The results were finger pointing, racial slurs, and accusing other members of each group of being infidels. Sound familiar?

Jesus, like Jacob, came to this well at the hottest part of the day with a proposal. Jacob came with a marriage proposal for Rachel, but Jesus’ proposal was all about the reconciliation of all human beings to God. Pious Jews weren’t supposed to speak to Samaritans. Men weren’t permitted to address women without their husbands present. And any good rabbi had no business speaking to shady ladies such as this one. Jesus was about to change this woman’s world by changing society’s rules.

The past two years have been very difficult years for many. The lesson of Jesus ignoring gender, religious, racial, and societal bias to find the lost should give each of us hope as well as a template for how we embrace our neighbor.

Call to Action: Our church is called to be a sanctuary for all people. What can you do this week to welcome the stranger, the foreigner, the “other” into our community?

Prayer: Father, I pray that exclusivity is a word I no longer tolerate. Take from my eye the log that prevents me from loving my neighbor as myself. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Breathe: Monday, March 20

Monday, March 20 | Ed Hamlin | John 4:3-6

Breathe and Contemplate: Amish Grace

Consider: Jesus spent his whole life confined to a geographical space that was only about 120 miles long from north to south. But within that territory were three distinct divisions. In the north was Galilee. In the south was Judea and in between the two was the dreaded Samaria, the area of Israel that we refer to today as the West Bank.

Today’s text occurs after Jesus had been very busy preaching the Good News in Judea when he decided to go north to Galilee. Jesus’ popularity had become difficult to manage and his visibility to those in power had increased to the point that he decided a trip to Galilee was a good way to avoid controversy. Jesus knew his hour had not yet come. Pay special attention to verse 4 when Jesus says “he HAD to go through Samaria.”

So what is the big deal about having to go through Samaria? It would seem to be the best route, a straight shot of about 70 miles, a two and a half days’ walk. But a Jew with nationalistic pride, especially one who considered himself to be pious, would never go through Samaria even though the other option would take six days and was a much more difficult trip.

The disdain between Samaritans and Jews is the ancient version of the fight between the Hatfields and McCoys. The Jews considered Samaritans to be traitors, idol-worshiping people, and racially impure. You can only imagine the second-guessing Jesus must have received from his traveling companions when they figured out which route Jesus had chosen. I can hear Peter asking, “You mean we are going there? But why, Jesus?” But since Jesus was concerned only with his Father’s business, he would not be deterred by social convention. He had a job to do and that meant going straight to Samaria, not around it.

We Christians are called to be a unique people, set apart. We are to live life differently in a world that wants uniformity. Jesus never promised us a life without challenges. He did promise us peace and his constant presence with us.

As a unique people we are often called to offer forgiveness when hate seems the most logical reaction. Do you recall when, in 2006, a thirty-two-year-old gunman entered a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania? The killer shot 10 girls, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. He then shot himself as police tried in vain to stop the rampage.

Even while the horrors of that sad day were still being pieced together, members of the Amish community, many of whom had lost loved ones, left their grief behind and went to the family of the gunman to deliver their gift of forgiveness. They even established a fund for the gunman’s children to ensure they would be taken care of in the absence of their father.

More recently we watched another horrific killing spree unfold followed by unimaginable acts of forgiveness when the members of Mother Emanuel in Charleston went to the family of the killer and offered their forgiveness. How did they do it? Could you? In both cases, their response was: “It was our only choice.” They would not or could not let hate destroy what life they had left.

Call to Action: Today, think about who the Samaritans are in your life and what you can do to build bridges, open conversation, and create fellowship. Are there olive branches that you need to share?

Prayer: Father God, help me to see when my own pride stands in the way of forgiveness. Teach me to understand that forgiveness does not mean that I excuse the behavior of the perpetrator, but rather I forgive so I can let go and live. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

03.19.17 | When Life Doesn’t Turn Out As You Had Hoped… Breathe

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When Life Doesn’t Turn Out as You Had Hoped…Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

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Life can be full of disappointments. It often doesn’t turn out as we had hoped. The woman Jesus encountered at Jacob’s well (John 4:5-42) probably felt the same way. Two observations:

  1. The woman at the well was open to Jesus. So many times we refuse to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to others for fear of being hurt. However, when we are open to God’s Holy Spirit, we place ourselves in a posture to breathe new life.
  2. Jesus not only talked with the woman at the well but he also saw her. How many hurting people go through life with the feeling they are invisible to God and others? Christ calls us to see one another.

Invitation: As we prepare for our “Great Day of Service” this upcoming Saturday, let us intentionally open ourselves to the blowing of the Holy Spirit in our midst, truly see one another as God sees us, and encourage each other to place our hope and trust in God. In the midst of our failures and disappointments, let us breathe in God’s Spirit.

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Breathe: Sunday, March 19

Sunday, March 19 | Ed Hamlin | John 4:3-42

Breathe and Contemplate: God Loves Us Anyway

Consider: If all goes according to plan, you will be reading this as I arrive home from a trip to Kenya with the rest of the PRUMC team. Our primary objective for the trip is to deliver the gift of clean water. This week when we study the “woman at the well,” we will learn how Jesus offers each of us a different kind of water from the water we delivered to our Kenyan neighbors, superior to that, the blessed living water. In this story Jesus completely turns upside down our tendency to define our self-worth through the eyes and claims of society. Jesus shows us that those claims are simply not true. Our worth is not defined by our society unless we allow it. It is defined by Jesus who says we were worth dying for.

We often dream about what our life will look like when we are a certain age; but more often than not, our life does not mimic our dreams. This new reality can make us feel inadequate; we can feel like a failure, and we can feel that we totally missed the life we deserve. When things don’t go as planned, and when life gets hard, it is easy to get bitter and angry. Turn to the woman at the well who is about as close to rock bottom as one could possibly get. She is not only a victim of racial, gender, political, and social bias, she has made her own mistakes by consistently putting her trust in men who have failed her time after time. Jesus and this unnamed woman have some very important lessons for us.

Each day this week we will dissect a small part of this story and attempt to glean something that we can use to help us draw closer to Jesus and our neighbor. On this initial day I want you to consider this truth: It often takes time to become the best version of ourselves.

Call to Action: Read the lyrics below from Garth Brooks and then write down a couple of unanswered prayers in your life.

Unanswered Prayers
Just the other night at a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn’t help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I’d wanted for all times
And each night I’d spend prayin’ that God would make her mine
And if he’d only grant me this wish I wished back then
I’d never ask for anything again

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

She wasn’t quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me in her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days. There wasn’t much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what he’s doin’ after all

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord
For the gifts in my life

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he may not answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered

Some of God’s greatest gifts are all too often unanswered…
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

Prayer: Father, I am so thankful for the gift of time, Your grace, and unanswered prayers. I know that in my busyness, I am often blind to Your presence. Please help me to slow down, to pay attention, and to breathe in Your love. I offer this prayer in the name of the One who did what no other could or would do, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

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Breathe: Saturday, March 18

Saturday, March 18 | Rev. Darren Hensley | Psalm 121

Sojourners
In the Psalter, we find perhaps some of the most beloved psalms of joy and confidence in the Graduals or Songs of Ascent, and among these, Psalm 121 stands as a most eloquent profession of trust in God’s providence and care. It is certainly a favorite of mine. For centuries, pilgrims recited this psalm on their way up to Jerusalem, and its words are well-known by persons everywhere needing assurance and protection amidst the trials of life. Indeed, this psalm may have originated as a farewell liturgy, and so is most appropriate as a psalm of our journey—whether in life or to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Its verses carry us on our path as we lift our eyes to the hills, a place of destination or also possible danger. Seen as the symbol of divine assistance, this description affirms the sovereign power and might of God who can and will keep and deliver us in every circumstance. Yet, the psalmist claims God’s tender and personal concern for our well-being, just as the Lord accompanied the Israelites on the exodus from Egypt. This promise does not mean everything will always work out the way we want it or that there are not consequences. Yet, even in the brokenness of life—the mistakes, setbacks, and difficult choices we sometimes have to make—we can trust God is working with us, even, and especially, when we might not perceive it.

The Psalms teach us to make room so that we may discern the paths to which God is calling us, and through the power of their words, grant us permission to be honest with God. And so, as a psalm for sojourners, this psalm is an appeal to live our lives fully in the present grounded in a promise. Like Abraham and Sarah, we, too, are called to be a people “always on the way.” The orientation presented here, however, is not a summons to rush forward in an other-worldly escapism. Rather, it speaks to a sense of unsettledness where structures of social privilege and power meet divine judgment. As sojourners, we must be aware of the ways we can participate in such work. For Jesus, such confrontation led to a cross, but the good news is that God was ever there keeping his life even as God will keep ours, while we seek to follow Jesus and decide what to do next.

Prayer: God of Presence, on life’s journey, may we never lose sight of the beauty of the world around us and the gifts of family and friendship. Though we may not know what lies around the corner, we do know that You go with us. Strengthen us in Your promise. Whoever we meet, whatever tasks we encounter, show us opportunities to be faithful unto You. May we be ever grateful for those who offer us sustenance and comfort along the way. At the crossroads we face, grant us discernment, guidance, and wisdom and keep us on Your path. O Lord, grant us traveling mercies. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • Bill in Prayer

Offering God’s Light

March 17, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope this note finds you well. To those of you who have been out of town for spring break the last two weekends, welcome back! We missed you and look forward to seeing you soon.

I want to begin this week’s note by letting you know that Manfred Hoffmann died on Tuesday night. Manfred has been our church’s “Theologian-in-Residence” since his retirement from Candler School of Theology at Emory University twenty years ago. I was fortunate enough to have him as my professor of Christian Thought when I was a student at Candler, and many of you have benefited from his teaching, prayers, and friendship here at Peachtree Road. Of course, his wife Betsy was one of our beloved associate ministers until her retirement a few years ago, and this is a special and dear family to our church. His memorial service will be held Sunday, March 19, at 2:00 pm in the sanctuary. Please keep Betsy and the rest of his family in your prayers in the coming days.

Most of the time I use this forum to let you know about upcoming opportunities in the life of our church, but please allow me a moment to reflect upon last Sunday evening’s prayer service. I am so grateful to Scott Atchison and all who helped plan the Community Service of Prayer and Hope. It featured some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Our Chancel Choir, accompanied by members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, offered music from Dan Forrest’s “Requiem for the Living.” As I listened to the music, reflected upon the scripture and litanies, and pondered General Secretary Thomas Kemper’s first-hand account of living through a terrorist attack last year in Istanbul, I gained a new insight into what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” – Romans 8:26

“…sighs too deep for words.” That’s what I sensed Sunday evening. I felt the Spirit stirring and praying through the congregation. If you were not able to attend the prayer service, you may view it here. Prepare to be moved deep in your soul.

On Sunday we will continue our Lenten series entitled “Breathe.” This week we will reflect upon the encounter between Jesus and the Woman at the Well. One of the details about this woman’s life is that she had been married five times and was currently dependent upon a man who was not her husband. We are not told if she had been divorced five times or had outlived five husbands, but I can imagine this woman lived through more than enough heartache. So, what do you do when life doesn’t turn out as you had hoped? I look forward to pondering that question with you this week in worship.

On Saturday evening, March 18, you are invited to the children’s musical “Moses and the Freedom Fanatics” at 6:00 pm in the Harp Center. This promises to be a fun night featuring some of the most talented children anywhere. Invite a friend to come with you and support the children of Peachtree Road.

I do remind you that the 25th annual Great Day of Service is a little over one week away. I am grateful for each person who has registered for this year’s Great Day (we are approaching 1000 volunteers!) and to Susie Hubbard and Jo Hodges who have served as this year’s co-chairs. It is shaping up to be an extraordinary day as lives will be changed forever. Outreach is at the heart of Peachtree Road’s ministry. Week-in and week-out we come together for worship, study, and fellowship, and then scatter out into the community to serve in the name of Christ. As we offer a helping hand to others, it is hard to tell who is more blessed – those who are helped or those who engage in the helping. One of the thrilling parts of the day for me is to see the number of children and youth who participate. We attempt to teach our children early in life that those who serve best live a life that truly matters. If you have not registered for a project, it’s not too late. Beth Spencer, our director of local outreach, tells me there is a place for you and your family on the Great Day. Come join us! You may register online here.

Finally, let me pass along a prayer opportunity. Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson invites us to enter into a week of prayer especially for our denomination from March 19-26. I have a real sense of hope about the future and believe God is at work to bring renewal to the United Methodist Church. John Wesley once wrote:

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing by sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergy or lay; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”

I hope that you will continue to pray for our church’s ministry and one another as we seek to offer God’s light to all who feel like they are walking in darkness. Thank you for all you do in the name of Christ. I look forward to seeing you soon. Please call on me if you need me.

Bill

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Breathe: Friday, March 17

Friday, March 17 | Rev. Darren Hensley | John 3:1-2

Darkness
As Barbara Brown Taylor reminds us, Lent is a time when we put aside comforts we deem essential and allow ourselves to experience what life is like with only God as our comfort. We can expertly comfort ourselves in many guises—habits, blaming others, never being still or alone, or trying to care for everyone. Instead of fixing the empty place inside us or filling it, Taylor suggests we sit with the yearning we feel and see what we learn, for this is God’s space within us.

Like Nicodemus, we are challenged to confront dark, hidden places in our lives. Places informed by bad decisions, regret, or difficult choices we do not want to face. Darkness can refer to our “lostness,” yet paradoxically, it can also show us the way. In her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, Taylor asks what would happen if instead of asking God to deliver us, we trust our feelings and so “follow one of [our] great fears all the way out to the edge of the abyss, take a breath, and keep going?” Christian mystics have referred to such times of loss or struggle as “the dark night of the soul.” It can feel as though God is not there, but the only way out is to go through it. Instead of seeking interpretation from others, we must take back our own listening, sometimes learning to live in the darkness.

Jesus responds to Nicodemus’ questions not with answers, but with the necessity of unknowing. Sitting with our losses or hurts, we may not immediately find comfort. But, we may just find that as we let go of our need to control—and lose ourselves—we experience deeper awareness and transformation through the Spirit. So, too, we can sit with others in their difficult decisions, not to offer solutions but presence. Here, we may discover solidarity, for God is so close as to have lived through the same things we face. Once we stop seeking God so intensely we may find it is we who are sought. The idols constructed from our own thoughts or illusions have no breath in them. Can we, in faith, offer our engaged response to the sacred reality that is present—the true source of all things that gives enduring hope?

Prayer: God of all, You are the One we trust, even in the darkness. Help us know the emptiness of silence can be the place where Your Word is poured into us. In moments when we become wearied with asking, seeking, lamenting, or questioning, let us receive Your breath and be shaped by You as the God we love. In the name of Your Son, who is ever with us, Amen.

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Breathe: Thursday, March 16

Thursday, March 16  |  Rev. Darren Hensley  |  John 3:1-17

Doubt and the New Birth
Like Nicodemus, we find acceptance difficult when we are confronted by the truth. It is easier to turn away and tighten our grasp on the familiar, known things not ultimately best for us. We struggle with disbelief. What will happen by letting go? When do we hold too eagerly to human certitudes effectively wanting in the breath of the Spirit?

Nicodemus faced similar challenges when confronted by Jesus. Have you ever noticed that Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night? Perhaps he is wary of being seen by others or he feels overcome by intellectual and emotional obscurity. The darkness reflects the pervasive darkness of Nicodemus’ world and the established religion he practices. In light of Jesus’ signs among the people, Nicodemus cautiously approaches in curiosity and humility when Jesus says he must be born again.

Spiritually speaking, Nicodemus had already been born into the holiness and ritual purity of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Now Jesus tells him he must be “born from above” in Jesus, in whom God is made known. New birth breaks the restraining, judgmental bonds of unbelief, freeing us into life abundant. Like physical birth, leaving the past behind can be painful. Rebirth can take longer than expected and may come without warning. Like a laboring mother, we also have to breathe. Initiated in God’s grace, new birth requires labor on our part, acceptance, and belief—not in acceding to a system of theological truths, but in giving our very hearts to God.

Some suggest that for all his effort, Nicodemus never quite manages to undergo this new birth—that in spiritual terms, he lingers in mid-labor. Maybe he feels trapped in his current state of beliefs and cannot find the courage to step beyond his old way of living to claim it. It can seem overwhelming to let go of what we know, even if it is hurting us, and become transformed by entering into the new life, renewed in God’s image. Through grace, faith is given as it is practiced.

Prayer: Lord God, help us as we seek to fully claim our own new birth in You as offered in Your Son. Through Your Spirit, empower us as we seek to break free of the things and ways that hold us back, and enter into the new life You have in store for each of us. May our hearts be set upon You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Breathe: Wednesday, March 15

Wednesday, March 15 | Rev. Darren Hensley | Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

Faith
When we do not know what to do next, it is easy to succumb to a sense of hopelessness. Just where is God? Today’s passage affirms the certainty of God’s presence with us in all circumstances. According to Paul, the God of Abraham is the one God of all peoples, who initiates and pursues us in love, and who offers us the most precious gift of all—God’s presence living in our hearts through Christ. Dwelling in us, God’s love evokes our response as it commands us to love others. Sometimes God’s presence is literally all we have. God has experienced any situation we may face and God will never leave us alone.

Holding fast to this promise, God is found in the midst of life’s toughest decisions. If we are consumed by anger or resentment from an injury wrongfully sustained and do not know where to turn, God can break the immobilizing grip of the past as we release hard feelings. While we must live with the past, we do not have to live in it. Repentance speaks to our capacity to change and forgiveness says we refuse to be trapped by hate. Sometimes, too, we must ask for forgiveness and even allow it for ourselves. If we live in fear of failure, God sustains us in our willingness to take risks and grow, as otherwise we fail to live. Life is more than a checklist of achievements, and only the self-knowledge gained by emerging from setbacks will show us our resilience. If we despair, God enables us to get outside ourselves by doing something for others. By enlarging our perspective beyond our own discontent, we can locate the resolve to manage it. Authentic connection with the sadness, pain, or needs of the people around us can show that everyday, mundane things and simple acts of kindness are points of God’s arrival.

Of course, to do any of the foregoing is not always easy. But, it is the only way to move into the future God wants for us because God works for life in all its fullness—and God is with us, supporting and guiding us. Anytime we are tempted to reduce God to the size of our problems or to doubt the extent of God’s generosity or surprising ability, this amazing claim from Romans teaches that the God we worship is both great and good. Whenever our human failings make it seem new beginnings cannot happen, like Abraham, may we ever believe that whatever God promises, God will accomplish.

Prayer: God of possibilities, You have loved us into existence. Whatever we may face, You breathe into us the promise and hope of new life. In our finitude and shortcomings, we often lose sight of our value to You. Open our hearts to the truth that Your love is powerful enough to overcome our unloveliness, and that we are, each and every one of us, precious in Your sight. In the name of the One by whose faith we share in the eternal blessings promised Abraham we pray, Amen.

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Breathe: Tuesday, March 14

Tuesday, March 14 | Rev. Darren Hensley | Genesis 12:1-4a

Meeting the Other
We are called to interact with persons of different understandings of God, different faiths, and even no faith. Sometimes, too, people violently defend their views. In an age of seemingly increasing confrontation, how do we relate to others with integrity? In Genesis 12, Abraham’s adventure continues as he is called not only to trust in God, but also to love those persons who are different.

As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks observes in his book Not In God’s Name, the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) “combines the two fundamentally different elements of the moral/ethical life”—justice, which is universal and impartial, and love, which is personal and “utterly particular.” To be loved within family or friendship, after all, is to be known in our individuality. After giving humanity the covenant of justice through Noah (Genesis 9), God then calls Abraham to go and live as an outsider, instructing him and his descendants “to be a living example of what it is to love and be loved by God.” Here, the Bible affirms that “our common humanity precedes our religious differences,” for we cannot truly love God unless we first honor “the universal dignity of humanity as the image and likeness of the universal God.”

As Rabbi Sacks puts it, “to be a child of Abraham is to be open to the divine presence wherever it reveals itself,” and that is a truth we need to hear again today. The call to love is always meant to be in service to God and so to every other person, who also bears a trace of the divine. Seeing God’s likeness in everyone, we must be open to give and to receive.

Prayer: God of relationships, You love each one of us for who we are and bless us with individual gifts. O God, our very lives, indeed all we are, is the breath You breathed into us. Beyond the will to control or to possess, teach us to accept unconditionally so that all may live at last as brothers and sisters. In the name of the One who brings life abundant, we pray, Amen.

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Breathe: Monday, March 13

Monday, March 13 | Rev. Darren Hensley | Genesis 12:1-4a

Trust
What do we do when we reach a crossroads in life? How do we decide which path to take? God thrusts such an occasion upon Abraham giving him an incredibly demanding task. God tells him to leave his native land for that of another—to leave his kin with the wrenching experience of departing from his loved ones, cutting ties with the people who have taught and nurtured him, to go to a new place without knowing where it is, how to find it, how long the journey will take, and what dangers he might encounter. And yet, he goes. Of course, Abraham does not go alone. God sends him forth with promises, though somewhat vague, and a blessing. Have you ever felt called to go on such a journey in faith?

With his doubts and questions, Abraham goes forth. God uses Abraham’s life to offer a blessing directly unto all peoples, and Abraham’s example will enable the people he encounters to bless themselves. Abraham may never witness the influence of his living. He faces hard and sometimes adverse circumstances, but God’s purpose is more than he can ask or imagine.

During my own experience of discernment regarding ordained ministry, one of my Candler professors gave me this advice: Do not wait until you feel 100% about your choice. More often, you may feel confident about only 51%, but that is enough. Setting out on a path requires a deep breath and openness to God’s continuing guidance, for God is with you. Deciding what to do next sometimes involves working in and through others in unexpected ways producing unknown fruits.

Prayer: God of new beginnings, in You, all things have their source and so can be used in praise and service. Your Goodness is so vast that it embraces the variety of goals we might pursue. As we seek to choose among the various paths set before us, lead us to be fully available to Your living Spirit so that the tasks we undertake may be endowed with a value and purpose beyond themselves. In the name of the One who placed his will at Your disposal and is the point on our horizon, Amen.

03.12.17 | When You Don’t Know What To Do Next… Breathe

Bill Praying

When You Don’t Know What to Do Next…Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

 

We all have questions: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world? If God is all-powerful, why do good people suffer tragedies? We have questions. Three observations:

  • God can handle our questions. Our scripture reading for the week (John 3:1-17) reminds us that the best place to take our questions is to Jesus. He can handle both our questions and our doubts. In fact, doubts can be the “air-holes” to faith.
  • When Jesus teaches that we must be “born anew,” he is encouraging us to move beyond a philosophy of life based on “do’s” and “don’ts” to a life lived in relationship with Christ.
  • There is a difference between saying “I believe” which requires nothing more than intellectual assent and “I believe in you” which requires putting our full faith and trust in someone.

Invitation: Jesus does not offer simplistic answers to our questions, but he does offer to walk with us the journey of our lives. This week, practice a life lived in relationship with Christ. Each morning before your feet hit the floor, recite these words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16). And breathe this prayer: “Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Amen”

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Breathe: Sunday, March 12

Sunday, March 12 | Rev. Darren Hensley | John 3:1-17 (esp. vv. 7-8, 17)

The Life of the Spirit
Everyone encounters difficult times—the loss of a job, a dream, or a loved one. Times when a door has closed, a disappointment occurs, or a prayer seems unanswered. Times of unexpected or unwelcome news. We may ask: Why me? Where do I go from here? What should I do now? How do I make sense of an ever-changing world? Where can guidance be found?

The Lectionary Readings this week claim aid, direction, comfort, and reassurance in God’s surprising, free-blowing Holy Spirit—God’s presence among us. As we journey with Abraham, Nicodemus, and the Psalmist, the breath of our prayers can become channels for grace. Open to the blowing of the Spirit, we become freed to see that God loves the whole world—every little corner of it, including each of us—with such extravagance, and has promised that no matter what we may face, we are never alone.

Taking a moment to breathe creates the space for perspective and an opportunity to regain equilibrium. It offers time to move beyond anxiety and hyperventilation to make room for the Holy Spirit to do its work. It allows us to stop and ask these questions as we decide what to do next: What do I know and what do I need to know more about? What does my heart tell me? To whom can I turn for support or trusted advice? And, most importantly: How is God leading me in and through this situation?

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the comfort, encouragement, and inspiration of Your Holy Presence in our lives. Faced with important decisions, help us to breathe out the constricting, anxious absorption with ourselves and our problems, and breathe in the peace of Christ. So decentered, may we then become centered in You—the ultimate source of our confidence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Breathe: Saturday, March 11

Saturday, March 11 | Rev. Julie Wright | Psalm 32

Today’s poem or song by David indicates that while he knew he had sinned, he didn’t want to admit it, which caused him physical and emotional anguish. When he finally confessed and repented, his burdens were released and he felt God’s forgiveness, giving him much joy.

When you feel the burden of temptation and sin, talk to God about it. Remember that through Christ, you can withstand the mighty storms as well as the quiet temptations that creep in unnoticed. Just call upon the One who became flesh and, as The Message says, “moved into the neighborhood”…and breathe.

Prayer: Almighty God, we are grateful for your presence through the temptations we face. Help us to turn away from what causes us to sin and turn toward you, every moment in every day. Amen.

  • Bill in Sanctuary

Our Journey Through Lent

March 10, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. This week I want to begin by sharing some good news with you. On Monday afternoon, our associate minister Leslie Watkins met with the Board of Ordained Ministry of the North Georgia Annual Conference for her interview and passed with flying colors! She has been approved by the Board for ordination as a deacon in full connection at the meeting of the Annual Conference in June. This marks a major step in Leslie’s journey into the ministry, and we are so proud of her. I knew you would want to know so you could share in her joy.

On Sunday we will continue our Lenten series entitled “Breathe.” This week we will reflect upon the nighttime encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus as recounted in the third chapter of John’s Gospel. Years ago, I went to hear my preaching professor Dr. Fred Craddock speak at a conference. As usual, his message was both inspiring and thought provoking. It also stirred some questions in me. Afterward, I waited until everyone had greeted him and left, and then I pulled him aside and asked my questions. In my imagination, I think that’s the way it was with Nicodemus. He heard Jesus teach, was impressed, and then went to him privately to ask his questions. To whom do you go when you have important questions to ask? And what would you ask? We’ll consider those questions this Sunday morning in our services.

On Sunday evening, the music ministry of Peachtree Road will present A Requiem for the Living – a worship experience dedicated to all who have suffered due to worldwide terrorism. This service of hope and remembrance is set for 7:00 pm in our sanctuary, and participants will be treated to the inspirational music of composer Dan Forrest. Participants also will have the opportunity to reflect upon words of comfort and assurance from the scriptures, offer prayers of intercession on behalf of all who suffer, and light candles of hope at the close of the service. In addition, we will hear a testimony from Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, who witnessed a terrorist attack last year in an airport in Istanbul, Turkey. This promises to be a remarkable service, and I hope to see you here on Sunday evening.

Of course, Peachtree Road’s 25th Annual Great Day of Service is fast approaching. The date is set for Saturday, March 25, and over 700 persons already have signed up for the day of outreach. (I am signed up to work at Covenant House!) We will begin the morning with a time of worship in the Student Center, and then we’ll be sent out into the community to work side-by-side as we share our faith, hope, and love in tangible ways. Later, we are invited back to the church for an old-fashioned barbeque lunch. This is a fun and important part of our Lenten journey each year, and I am grateful to all who already have signed up. If you have not already done so, please register today and join us.

Two items for your prayers this week:

  • The Kenya Mission Team left yesterday morning for the islands of Lake Victoria in Kenya and will return on March 19. While there, they will work with Start with One Kenya to deliver the water filters purchased with the money you gave last Christmas Eve. Thanks to your generosity, clean water will be provided to thousands of households living on the islands of Lake Victoria. Please pray for the team members: Greg Adams, Edith Barnes, Mack Barnes, Jeanna Brannon, Kelsey Bilthouse, Ed Bilthouse, Jan Bilthouse, Aubrey Clayton, Julia Clayton, Norman Findley, Anne French, Robert French, Guy Fulwieler, Louis Fulwieler, Ed Hamlin, Catherine Inabnit, Kyle Jenks, Workman Meeks, Bob Nelson, Campbell Schnebly, Clint Smith, and Jeff Upshaw.
  • The Youth Search Process is nearing the completion of its work. We are in the final stage and hope to make an offer in the very near future to one of the outstanding candidates the search team has identified. It has been an exciting process, and I am grateful to the search team: Daris McCullough (chairperson), Matt Nelson, Adam Pannell, Katherine Reed, Erica Ross, Billie Summerour, and Scott Whitehead and our youth staff team of Luke Massee, Grace Southworth, and Ashely Zimmerman. They have led us well during this time of transition. Please pray especially for this process in the next two weeks.

Finally, let me close by reminding you that Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday. Set your clock forward one hour in order to arrive for worship and Sunday School on time.

Thank you for all you are doing as disciples of Jesus Christ. See you at church Sunday!

Bill

  • Breathe Devotional Image

Breathe: Friday, March 10

Friday, March 10 | Rev. Julie Wright | Romans 5:12-17

Coming from a Roman Catholic background, I had never heard the word “grace” in relation to God. When I heard that grace is God’s unconditional love, free to all who love God and repent, I was astounded, and then eventually, I felt forgiveness through God’s grace. That was the beginning of a great spiritual journey for me.

Despite the disobedience and sin of Adam and Eve, and our subsequent sin, which leads to death, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice allows all who believe in him to experience the gift of God’s forgiveness. When we repent—when we’re truly sorry for our sin so we will not do it again—we are forgiven! Hallelujah and praise the Lord! And breathe.

Prayer: God, we are grateful for your grace through Christ. Help us to be ever mindful of the sacrifice of your son for us. Amen.

  • Great Day Video Blog

Great Scott… and Bill… and Beth! The Great Day is Coming

Before you read any further, treat yourself to our new Great Day of Service Video.

The Great Day of Service is PRUMC’s annual community volunteer day.  At this favorite outreach event all ages put their faith in action as they serve those in need across Atlanta.  Each year during Lent nearly 1,000 church members and friends take this Saturday to make helping others a priority.  It is truly a great day of sharing our time and talents with the charitable agencies Peachtree Road supports.  We hope you can join us this year!

The Great Day of Service
Saturday, March 25, 2017, Atlanta
8:00 am  Gathering and Breakfast
8:30 am  Holy Communion with Ron Greer
9:00 am  Small groups head out to service projects
11:00 am to 2:00 pm  Meet back at the church for an Old Fashioned BBQ

Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can…  As long as you ever can.

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Register Here

03.05.17 | When Temptation Comes Your Way… Breathe

Lenten Communion

When Temptation Comes Your Way…Breathe
Rev. Bill Britt

 

 

The central word of our scripture reading (Matthew 4:1-11) is “temptation,” and our most basic temptation is the inclination to forget who we are and whose we are.

  • Adam and Eve were confronted in the Garden of Eden by the Tempter. They forgot who they were, disbelieved God, and “fell” out of their rightful relationship with God.
  • Jesus was confronted by the same Tempter, but he leaned upon the words of assurance in scripture to stand firm in his belief in who he was and whose he was. As a result, he has enabled us to be restored to a right relationship with God.

Invitation: When Martin Luther was under great stress, he would stop what he was doing, take a deep breath, and say to himself, “Martin, be calm, you are baptized.” In a similar way, when temptation comes your way in the coming days, reflect upon the words of assurance from scripture and remember who you are and whose you are. Breathe!

  • Breathe Devotional Image

Breathe: Saturday, March 4

Saturday, March 4 | Rev. Jamie Jenkins | Psalm 51

The biblical story of David is certainly one of success. The young shepherd became king. He defeated giants, lions, and bears. He was the envy of every man. Then he reached a low point in his life.

He slept with another man’s wife while her husband was away at war. When he discovered she was pregnant, David devised a scheme to hide the truth. After this effort failed, David had Uriah killed and took Bathsheba to be his wife.

Nathan the prophet came to David and told him a story (II Samuel 12:1-7) that enabled David to see himself and his sin. From that encounter with Nathan, David penned the words of the 51st Psalm. The verses of this poem demonstrate David’s awareness that knowing God’s favor is far more important than everything else. This Psalm takes on a very personal tone if we believe the Apostle Paul, that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We don’t have to wait for an “emergency session” with God to learn and apply the principles of his experience.

When David was confronted with his sinfulness, he:

  • Responded by calling on God for mercy and forgiveness (vv. 1-2)
  • Acknowledged his wrong doing, confessed his “bent to sinning,” and trusted God’s forgiveness (vv. 4-9)
  • Looked to the future and sought God’s help to be a different person (vv. 10-12)

Prayer: O Lord, help me to know where I have sinned and give me the grace to follow David’s example so that I can be right with You and do right by others. Amen.

  • Bill at Front Doors

Breathe Deeply in the Spirit

March 3, 2017

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you doing well. Last Wednesday, we held our Ash Wednesday services and began the forty-day season of Lent. This Sunday we begin a new sermon series entitled “Breathe!” During this series we will be spending time with the biblical characters as presented to us by the Gospels and learning how they learned to “breathe” in the midst of trying times. The dates, texts, and messages are as follows:

March 5 | Matthew 4:1-11 | When Temptation Comes Your Way
March 12 | John 3:1-17 | When You Don’t Know What to Do Next
March 19 | John 4:5-42 | When Life Doesn’t Turn Out as You Hoped
March 26 | John 9:1-41 | When You’re Haunted By Your Past
April 2 | John 11:1-45 | When You’re Caught in a Nightmare
April 9 | Matthew 27:45-54 | When Death Draws Near

We begin this Sunday with Jesus facing temptation in the wilderness. I imagine most of us tend to think of temptation as the impulse to do something we really want to do but know we shouldn’t. However, the deepest temptation is not the urge to misbehave; rather, it is the enticement to compromise our identity and to forget whose we are. We’ll talk about that on Sunday and learn how to “breathe” deeply in the Spirit even when confronted by temptation.

There are a couple of elements in our Lenten services each Sunday that will be a little unusual for us. These have deep meaning to our faith.

Immediately following the processional hymn, we will participate in a prayer of confession. This prayer is in keeping with the penitential mood of the season. As we approach God in worship, we acknowledge our sins, ask for forgiveness, and accept God’s grace.

Following the pastoral prayer, we will be led by the choir in singing “Kyrie Eleison.” This is an ancient hymn dating back to the early days of the church, and the words are a transliteration of the Greek words “Lord, have mercy.” Christians throughout the centuries have sung these words in the original language as a prayer of penitence.

In addition to weekly worship, I do invite you to consider practicing several spiritual disciplines during the season of Lent:

Study and Mediation – during last Sunday’s message, I invited us to “listen to Jesus.” The best way to do this is to pay attention to the words he spoke to his disciples as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You may read through the Gospels by Easter by reading two chapters each day. I like to read from a “red-letter” edition of the Bible and focus especially upon the red-letter words, the words of Jesus. Let the words sink in, meditate upon them, and live them to the best of your ability. You may also find the daily devotional guide published by the church entitled “Breathe” to be helpful. You may access a digital version here.

Fast – I will be practicing the Wesley Fast during this season by fasting at least one day each week. My goal is to not eat solid food from supper one day until supper the next day. John Wesley advocated fasting to the early Methodists as a way of making prayer more powerful and helping them to hear Christ’s voice more clearly. You also may have seen earlier this week that Pope Francis is encouraging Christians everywhere to fast – not just from food but also from “indifference to others.” I certainly encourage you to consider fasting this season.

Serve – many people “give something up” for Lent. But, what about “taking something on?” What if you added something to your regular week this season and intentionally looked for ways to do something for others? Certainly, one way to serve is to join your friends at Peachtree Road for the 25th Annual Great Day of Service. You may sign up here to be a part of this time of outreach with others.

Pray – The season of Lent especially is a season of prayer. I encourage you to set aside regular time each day for prayer. I am beginning each day by praying “Wesley’s Covenant Prayer” early each morning:

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will; rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing; put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside by you;
Exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full. Let me be empty.
Let me have all things. Let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O blessed and glorious God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.
Let this covenant made on earth be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Or, you may just want to keep it simple and remember the words of the children’s song:

Whisper a prayer in the morning. Whisper a prayer at noon.
Whisper a prayer in the evening. ‘Twill keep you heart in tune.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we begin to tune out the noise of the world, tune into the voice of the Lord, and “breathe” in the Spirit together.

Bill

  • Breathe Devotional Image

Breathe: Friday, March 3

Friday, March 3 | Rev. Jamie Jenkins | Psalm 139:23-24

I had my annual wellness exam recently. 110/70—not bad blood pressure for an out of shape old man like me. The numbers were all pretty good even without the help of medications that many people take routinely.

Annual physical checkups provide good information to help us monitor our health and be proactive about good practices. Periodic times of reflection and introspection can keep us aware of the condition of the spiritual self in much the same way as the wellness exam does for the physical part of us. The season of Lent provides opportunities to examine ourselves, to be introspective, to intentionally search our souls and nurture our spirits.

Prayer: O Lord, during these days of Lent show me what preventive measures I can take to maintain good health—mental, physical, and spiritual. Amen.

  • Breathe Devotional Image

Breathe: Thursday, March 2

Thursday, March 2 | Rev. Jamie Jenkins | Isaiah 40:27-31

In the preface to his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster tells about his first appointment as pastor to a small church in a thriving section of Southern California. He saw this as his chance to show the denominational leadership and the whole world just what he could do. He imagined that this church would become “a shining light set on a hill. The people would literally flood in.”

He writes, “After three months or so I had given that tiny congregation everything I knew, and then some, and it had done them no good. I had nothing left to give. I was spiritually bankrupt and I knew it. My problem was more than having something to say from Sunday to Sunday. My problem was that what I did have to say had no power to help people. I had no substance, no depth. The people were starving for a word from God and I had nothing to give them. Nothing.”

It is easy for us to be busy, even doing the work of the Lord, but forget to nurture our own spirits and care for our own souls. One of the pitfalls of modern living is the tendency to channel all our time and energy into our “work” and neglect our “walk.” Without attention to our spiritual well-being, the results are likely to be like Foster’s experience. We find ourselves empty and exhausted. Or we can easily succumb to the seduction of success rather than surrender ourselves to lives of significance.

Prayer: Dear God, help me not to get so caught up in my work, whether it be for You or for my own self interests. Enable me to realize that my “doing” must not take precedence over my “being.” During these days of Lent, help me to realize that my strength and purpose come from my relationship with You.

Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight
Sunday, December 17, 5:30 pm, Sanctuary

Journey through Lessons and Carols from Advent to the celebration of Christmas, concluding with singing of carols by candlelight.  Choirs, Chorale and Carillon participate in this special service.

If you would like to join the Carols by Candlelight Choir please contact Nicole Marane at 404.240.8206 or nicolem@prumc.org.  Rehearsals begin in December.

No RSVP necessary. To join the Carols Choir click here.
  • Breathe Devotional Image

Breathe: Ash Wednesday, March 1

Ash Wednesday, March 1  |  Rev. Jamie Jenkins  |  Psalm 25:4-6

You’ve probably heard it said, “Take a deep breath and count to 10.” That is good advice when you are tempted to react to something unpleasant or you are presented with an opportunity that might involve compromising your character.

The admonition to stop and “breathe” can prevent you from doing or saying something that you will regret. There are times when it is good to pause to “breathe” so you can reflect on the past and learn from it. That moment can prompt feelings of gratitude and perhaps even decisions to make changes going forward.

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (today), forty days before Easter, excluding Sundays. It is a time to focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting as disciplines that help us draw closer to God. The 40 days of Lent are a reminder of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.

Many people attend Ash Wednesday services where a minister or priest marks the sign of the cross on their forehead with ashes. As the ashes are applied the minister or priest will say, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” or “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” The ashes and the spoken words remind us of our mortality and the need for repentance. This initiates the period of self-examination and reflection that helps to refocus our lives so that we might be more like Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, help me make time to reflect on my life. Help me to see how I can become more like you. Amen.

Christmas Eve Nativity

Christmas Eve Nativity

Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant
Rehearsals:  December 17, 9:45 & 12:15 pm

Angels, shepherds, sheep, manger animals, innkeeper and wise men are needed!

Ages 4 (as of 09/01/17) through 5th grade may participate in our Christmas pageant.

RSVP Here

Christmas Eve Services

Christmas Eve
Sunday, December 24, 2017
All services webcast live here.  Complimentary childcare available at 4:00 & 6:00 pm services for ages 3 and under.

11:15 am
Christmas Service of Holy Communion
A celebration of the Eucharist.

4:00 pm
Family Candlelight & Christmas Pageant
Children’s choirs and Christmas pageant with nativity characters.

6:00 pm
Family Candlelight & Christmas Pageant
Children’s choirs and Christmas pageant with nativity characters.

8:00 pm
Festival of Lessons & Carols
PRUMC Chancel Choir and Brass herald in this most Holy Night.

10:30 pm
Festival Choral Eucharist
PRUMC Chancel Choir and Brass with a celebration of the Eucharist.

Join us! Or, watch our live webcast here.

02.26.17 | Do You Hear What I Hear?

Ministry Interns

In the Transfiguration story from Matthew’s Gospel (Matt. 17:1-9), we hear words of instruction, encouragement, and assurance from the Lord:

  • “Listen to him” – learn to hear the voice of the Lord among all the other voices
  • “Get up” – the word Matthew uses here is the same word used to describe Jesus’ resurrection; therefore, we are invited to “be raised up” and not wallow in pity
  • “Do not be afraid” – Jesus not only speaks this word but also touches us to empower us to stand against our fears

Invitation: As the season of Lent begins, you are invited to listen to Christ by developing the daily practice of reading scripture (read through the Gospels this season by reading two chapters each day) and weekly worship; hearing the Lord’s call to action in outreach by signing up for the Great Day of Service; and casting aside your fears, for the Lord is with you and empowers you. Trust God in this!

If You Are New Announcements

Harvest Sunday Special Joining Day
Sunday, November 19, 8:45 & 11:15 am
New Members are welcomed into the congregation during our Sunday morning worship services.  We will be hosting a special joining day during our Harvest Sunday festival worship celebration.  For more information, please contact Mimi Brunson at 404.240.8221 or mimib@prumc.org.

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Second Sunday Snapshot
Sunday, December 10, 10:00 am, Hospitality Suite
Join others new to Peachtree Road, as well as current members, for fellowship and the chance to discuss ways to connect and grow with this community. A light breakfast will be served. For more information, please contact Mimi Brunson at 404.240.8221 or mimib@prumc.org.

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The Impact of the “Surviving Syria – Virtual Reality Experience”

Thank you to all those who went through the “Surviving Syria – Virtual Reality Experience”. There were a total of 314 visitors of all different ages;  7 people gave financially to stand with World Vision to become Refugee Responders.

The Syria Crisis Makes Me Feel….

  • That more in the world needs to assist in the refugee crisis. This is not a Syrian problem; it’s a global problem that needs and requires God’s Love, Faith, and healing.
  • Heartbroken. We have more than enough resources to help. I don’t know why so many people are so greedy.
  • That everyone needs to see this! It is hard to even imagine how they survive these conditions – only with God’s help. I pray for these precious families.
  • Sad that kids my age have to go through more than I will ever have to go through in my life. In the video the boy was 13 and had to work and he only made $4.00 on a GOOD day. No one should ever have to see so much violence in their life. I hope the war ends soon or now.  (age 10)
  • I pray that we would all open our hearts to refugees from Syria and any situation of terror and oppression. May we be open to all in need and grateful for and generous with all that we have.

My prayer for refugees…

  • Dear gracious and loving God. I ask that you reign down your blessings and protection over Syria and the refugees who have had to flee their beloved country. Provide for them, protect them, and help bring Syria to peace so that they can one day return to their homeland. I pray that you provide them with a place to live, grow, and flourish. I pray that they know that they know that they are not forgotten.
  • Dear God, What can I do? I cannot believe the life these people are living. But for the grace of God… how can people survive in these conditions? How do you cope as a parent, a child…. There is such need- a daunting endeavor.

Get Involved!

 

 

 

  • Ash Wednesday 2017

Lent 2017

Lent 2017

Our theme for Lent this year is Breathe.  This season, take a moment to breathe as you read our 2017 Lenten Devotional. Written by both clergy and laity, these devotionals have been carefully crafted to coordinate with the weekly sermon series, reminding us to breathe in the midst of difficulty, uncertainty, and disappointment.

As you read the devotional, you will be reminded to breathe and remain focused on God.  As a further reminder, this devotional doubles as a meditative coloring book.  Just as Lent begins stark and bare, with Jesus fasting in the wilderness, our devotional begins in black and white, stark and bare.  Among the writings are mandalas, intricately patterned circles that represent completeness.  As you begin coloring each mandala, more and more life will come to those pages, representing a devotional with growing color and hope that leads us to the hope and new life of Jesus’ Resurrection.

Copies of the 2017 Lenten devotional will be available throughout the church on and after Ash Wednesday, March 1.
You may also view and download a pdf by clicking here.

Ash Wednesday Services
Wednesday, March 1

With breath and life, every ending is yet another beginning.  Be reminded of this and prepare your heart for Lent by receiving ashes at one of our services on Ash Wednesday, March 1.

Imposition of Ashes
7:00 – 9:00 am, Moore Chapel

Imposition of Ashes
7:00 – 9:00 am, Starbucks @ 1203 West Paces Ferry Road, 30327

Imposition of Ashes
11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Moore Chapel

Ash Wednesday Family Service
5:00 pm, Moore Chapel, Matt Nelson

Ash Wednesday Evening Service
7:00 pm, Sanctuary, Matt Nelson

Passion of the Christ  |  Musical Stations of the Cross
Sunday, April 2, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary
Make a pilgrimage through the Stations of the Cross, pausing to contemplate, pray and reflect upon each moment.  This sensory experience is heightened with dramatic images, music and candlelight.

Palm Sunday Festival Worship
Sunday, April 9, 8:45 & 11:15 am
Special music and procession.

Coro Vocati:  The Full, Final Sacrifice
Sunday, April 9, 3:00 pm, The Moore Chapel
Enrich your Lenten journey with music, including Martynov’s The beatitudes, MacMillan’s Miserere, Henson’s My flight for heaven and Finzi’s Lo, the full final sacrifice.

Holy Week Midday Services
April 10 – April 13, 12:05 pm, Moore Chapel
Mon    Julie Wright, preaching  |  Will Green, soloist
Tue     Leslie Watkins, preaching  |  Clarke Harris, soloist
Wed    Jamie Jenkins, preaching  |  Peter Mackenzie, soloist
Thu    Darren Hensley, preaching  |  Nancy Mize ,Gonzales soloist

Maundy Thursday Evening Service
Thursday, April 13, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary
On this evening we begin three days of remembering the significant events preceding the death of Jesus Christ.  Julie Schendel preaching.

Good Friday Midday Service
Friday, April 14, 12:00 pm, Peachtree Presbyterian Church
On this day, Jesus willingly sacrificed himself for our sins.  We commemorate this crucial tenet of Christianity in worship with our faith community.  Bill Britt preaching.

Journey Together
Wednesdays, starting March 1, 10:30 am, C104
Join us to discuss the book With Jesus in the Upper Room by Maxie Dunnam.  $15 for book.  RSVP to Julie Wright at 404.240.8203 or juliew@prumc.org.

Faith & Art:  The Broken Way
Thursdays, starting March 2, 11:00 am, Harp Center
Discuss the book, The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, then express and exp