Dear Peachtree Family,
I pray this correspondence finds you well and healthy. As of my writing, I know of no confirmed cases in the church, but the danger continues to extend at this critical time of social distancing and shelter in place.
With safety and careful attention to compliance, we still anticipate our Sunday morning services to be live at 10am from the Sanctuary. How blessed it is to be able to gather even in this way for many congregations do not have the means or expertise to do so.
Per the Mayor’s instructions and the government’s recommendations, we know that the campus will remain unavailable through April 7. We will continue to monitor the situation daily, and your leaders are already making contingency plans for Easter should the likely scenario of extended distancing be continued.
Many of you have asked about our beloved staff and their welfare. To the extent of our knowledge, all are well and so grateful for your continued prayers and financial support. The session voted this week to extend salary and benefits through the April pay periods for all employees regardless of whether or not they can work from home. I am humbled by your questions of care for our families, and we will serve you persistently in the days and weeks to come.
Because we will not be having worship in person on what is our standard communion Sunday, the denomination has allowed us to extend communion to people’s homes. More to come on this, but if you have any kind of bread (or cracker) and juice (or wine) available for April 5 you will be able to participate from your own living space. We are providing you with this heads up in case you wanted to add it to your shopping list. We know that the Spirit of the living God is not confined by our current separation, nor is God relegated to the virtual realm.
Our primary efforts in the next month center around the theme of Feeding the 5000. I will share more about this in the broadcast this weekend, but our focus in response is both “food security” and tending the flock that is our congregation.
As the reported cases of our epidemic rise in the United States, one leader reported that within this week most Americans will know someone personally who has been infected and that within another week, we will likely know someone who has died of the disease. These will be days of grief for so many, a time period marked by separation and desperation for those in need.
I heard a podcast by N.T. Wright, who recently came to Peachtree last November where he offered a prayer. This prayer was so meaningful to me, I transcribed it to pray it myself and to invite you into this prayer. May it provide the launching point for our devotion to God, our solidarity with our brothers and sisters, and the activation of the church in the crisis ….
Gracious Father, on the cross your Son prayed, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” And so, I pray for all around the world who find themselves feeling abandoned by You, by fellow human beings, or by family who cannot see them. In the name of Jesus and the power of His Spirit, will you come and be not only with them but with all of us, your suffering world at this time. Give us fresh resources of faith. Give to our leaders world-wide the wisdom of faith and science, to say the right things, and to encourage people. I pray especially for the doctors and nurses and medical professionals and researchers looking for vaccines. May new ways forward be found that unnecessary deaths may be stopped and that proper care might be given to those who are inevitably dying. I pray for all who are seriously ill right now, particularly for those who find breathing difficult. Be near to them and somehow bring good out of this trouble. As You have promised, “the whole earth will be full of the knowledge and the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,” so give to us even in the present time a glimpse or a foretaste of that truth. May we live by that hope, become people of hope, through whom hope can come to your wounded and waiting world. We pray it all in Jesus name and for His sake.
With hope in Christ,