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Atlanta First Day School

Compassion In Action
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August Birthdays
and Monthly Reports

As the new school year is starting we are once again collecting school supplies for students who cannot afford to buy them. If you would like to donate supplies please bring them to the church office and we will see to it they are given out. If you are unable to shop for the supplies yourself and would like to contribute you can give a check, marked “School Supplies,” and we will buy the supplies on your behalf.

Items Needed:
• Open Mesh Backpacks
• USB Flash Drives
• Pens
• #2 Pencils
• Index Cards
• 3-Ring Binders w/ Dividers
• Binder Paper
• Spiral Bound Notebooks

• AFDS Staff In-Service Day: Friday, August 8th
• AFDS School Year Begins: Monday, August 11th
• AFDS Parents' Council Meeting: Wednesday, August 13th at 5:00 PM
• Hospitality House Dinner: Tuesday, August 26th at 6:00 PM
• SafeHouse Outreach Dinner: Tuesday, September 2nd at 3:30 PM

The Altar Guild:
Flowers For The Sanctuary

Each week our chancel area is made even more beautiful by the addition of flowers. The arrangements are sponsored by individuals or families in the church. The flowers can be in Honor of, or in Memory of someone you love. You can also honor a Sunday School class or a friend. The cost for the two arrangements is $120. If you would like more information call the church office at 404-524-6614 and talk to Cornelia Witte or Jeanne Spencer.

The following dates are available for 2014:

August 24
August 31

September 21
September 28
October 12
October 19
October 26
November 2
November 9
November 23
November 30

December 14

Midweek Bible Study

During the summer we will have a study on abiding in Christ using the vine metaphor, based on “The Vine Speaks” by Cindy Steinbeck. Come join us Wednesdays at 11:00 AM in the library for study and fellowship.

Retreat at Epworth by the Sea

Come to Epworth and enjoy a relaxing few days of worship and fellowship on the historic Epworth grounds. The dates are September 19-21, with an option to extend your stay until the 23rd. There are sign- up sheets available, but don’t delay. The deadline to sign up is August 22nd. Transportation costs will be provided by Atlanta First UMC. Prices below:

Single Room Double Room
Sept. 19-21
$223.04 $146.12
(per person)
Sept. 19-23
$446.08 $292.24
(per person)

The United Methodist Women’s group will not meet during the summer months. We will resume activities in September.

Church Family
Nelda Hill Jackie Scarborough W. Clyde Thomas
Homebound Church Family
Isobel Ginn Jack & Harriet Head Nelda Miller
Extended Church Family and Friends
Stephen Daniel,
Son of Barbara Pate

Dollie Gilreath,
Mother of Dede Gilreath

Robert Head, Jr.
Nephew of Jack Head
Erin Holcomb,
A Day School Mother

The Gideon Perkins Family,
Friends of Natalie Smith
Bruce and Susan Spears,
Friends of Carol Colly

Frannie Spencer,
Daughter of Jeanne Spencer

William Sutton,
Grandfather of Faith Butler
Active Duty Military
MSgt. Logan Cathcart,
Grandson of Virginia Cathcart

MSgt. Scott Cathcart,
Son of Virginia Cathcart
Cpt. Ben Fulp,
Friend of Patricia Thomason
Lt. Rusty Hearn
Nephew of Pat Sibley

Pvt. Matthew Ross
Cousin of Dr. Charles Gardner


Condolences to Day School teacher Nia Maston and her family for the recent passing away of her father, Spencer Marshall.

Condolences to the family and friends of Roy and Ray Fruit whose sister, Virginia Hood, passed away on Thursday, July 24th, 2014. The funeral service was held on Tuesday, July 29th in Stockbridge.

The Story of Wesley Chapel: The Bell That Tolled for Atlanta

This is the fourth and final in a series of articles about Wesley Chapel and the role of the church and its members in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.

The Meneely Bell Foundry was located on the peaceful banks of the Hudson River in West Troy, New York. Between 1826 and 1950 the foundry produced over 70,000 bells ( By 1850, Meneely bells hung in churches, colleges and city halls throughout the country. Around this time the company cast a large bell for a small church located in the Deep South in the railroad city of Atlanta, Georgia. The bell was probably just another job for the busy foundry. After the casting was complete, the bell was loaded on a train car and headed south.

When the congregation of Wesley Chapel built their small wooded church, no money had been allocated for a bell. However, around 1849, church member Zion Birdwell started a drive to collect money to purchase one. After a generous donation by member Edwin Paine, $300 was collected and a bell was ordered from Meneely (Osburn). Church lore states that a member donated 100 silver Mexican dollars to be used in the alloy when the bell was cast. Silver was supposed to improve the tone and range of the bell. When the bell arrived, it was discovered that the structure of the church would not support the weight of the bell. A wooden bell tower was constructed next to the church and the bell was installed.

At the beginning of the Civil War, churches all across the south began to donate their bells to the war effort. The metal bells that had called the faithful to worship God were melted down for cannon, bullets and other instruments of war. However, Wesley Chapel retained their bell as it was the most centrally located bell in the city. Bells were very important for communication. The bell would call children to school, workers in from the fields around the city, the faithful to worship, and let the population know of emergencies such are fires.

Sunday, July 24, 1864 - “No church in the city open… Yet church bells pealed at least once. A shell resounded against the bell of the first church built in Atlanta, Wesley Chapel, at Pryor and Houston streets. However, the belfry was not seriously damaged…” (Hoehling 151)

After the shelling of Atlanta began in July, 1864, church services were canceled by most of the churches in the city. It was too dangerous for the congregations to meet with shells entering the city at all hours of the day. Wesley Chapel, located with-in range of a union gun position, likewise did not hold church services. While the church itself was severely damaged, the bell tower and bell miraculous survived mostly unharmed. The sturdy Meneely bell even survived the direct hit on July 24.

The battle continued until the night of September 1, 1864. Under the cover of darkness, General John B. Hood and his army pulled out of the city and surrounding areas and headed south. A few of his cavalrymen stayed behind and set fire to the train loads of ammunition that the army had left behind. Then, they too fled the city.

On the morning of September 2, Mayor James M. Calhoun and other citizens realized that General Hood had left without surrendering the city. This left the city and those left in it with no protection from either army. Mayor Calhoun and a group of city leaders, including several members of Wesley Chapel, rode out of town with white flags and found a detachment of Union soldiers. After conferring with an officer, the mayor hastily wrote “Sir-the fortunes of war have placed the city of Atlanta in your hands. As Mayor of the city, I ask protection for non-combatants and private property.” (Hoehling 418). The officer sent the surrender on to Brigadier General W. T. Ward.

“By noon the bell of Wesley Chapel tolled, advance couriers had planted the flag over the Court House. Some citizens reputedly witnessed the Federal soldiers trampling and burning the Confederate Stars and Bars” (Hoehling 418).

It must have been a sad chore for the member of Wesley Chapel who climbed the bell tower to toll the bell. Yet, there was probably was a great sense of relief felt by him and all of the church members and other citizens of Atlanta. The surrender had meant the end of the shelling that had been pounding the city since July. However, there followed two months of occupation by the Union Army. Horses were stabled in churches all over town and some even turned into slaughter houses. The bell at Wesley Chapel was nearly shipped north by the union army to be melted, a fate it had escaped when the war began. Rev. L. D. Houston pleaded successfully that one bell must be left in the city for use during emergencies and the bell stayed in its bell tower (Hoehling 430).

The Union occupation lasted until November 16, 1864. The two days before saw most of Atlanta reduced to ashes. Somehow, Wesley Chapel and the bell tower once again escaped destruction. After the Union Army left, the citizens of Atlanta, including the members of Wesley Chapel, returned to the city and began rebuilding their homes and churches. Wesley Chapel was repaired and by March saw its members worshiping God within its walls (Simmons). Every Sunday morning, they were called to worship by the bell still hanging in its bell tower.

In 2014, we still ring our bell every Sunday morning and on special occasions. The men at the Meneely Bell Foundry who cast the bell and the members of Wesley Chapel could not have imagined the history the bell would have. For 164 years the bell has rang out and called the faithful to worship. Hopefully it will continue to do so for many more years. Perhaps church member W. A. Osburn put it best “May God preserve the life of the old bell from storm and violence of whatever source is our sincere prayer” (Osburn).

- Carol Colly, Church Archivist & Librarian
Photo property of Atlanta First UMC Archives.

BIBLIOGRAPHY “Meneely Bell Foundry”.

Hoehling, A. A. “Last Train From Atlanta.” Thomas Yoseloff: 1958.

Osburn, W. A. “Modest Tribute to the Old Church Bell of First Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia”. Wesleyan Christian Advocate (c. 1908).

Simmons, J. W., Recording Steward. “Minutes of the Quarterly Conference of Wesley Chapel, March 1864”. Unpublished Manuscript, Archives of Atlanta First United Methodist Church.

Atlanta First Day School is entering its 5th year of operation and some of our entering Pre-K children have been with us since they were Infants in August 2010! There are five of us staff members who have been here since 2010 as well and it’ll be so hard to say goodbye at our next graduation in 2015!

I am so proud of the school we all created and the children are thriving! We’ve honored our Mission and Philosophy throughout the years and all of our children know the Christian values that we learn daily at Chapel time and VBS too! They will be young people of integrity, have self-confidence and self-esteem and will always be a pleasure to know!

In a teacher’s perspective, even though it is 90 degrees, Summer is over when school starts and we’re all waiting to collect Fall leaves and think about all the holidays ahead!

Come by and visit any time to see and hear the children in action! They will certainly put a smile on your face and love in your heart!

Vacation Bible School!

Heroes of AFDS!!

Atlanta Hospitality House
Tuesday, August 26th - 6:00 PM

“I was sick and you looked after me…”

Since 1981 the Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House has strived to provide a “home away from home” to outpatients and relative of patients hospitalized in 21 Atlanta area hospitals.

At 6:00 PM on the fourth Tuesday of each month, we meet at the Hospitality House at 1815 Ponce de Leon Ave. to prepare and serve a meal and also to fellowship with the guests. To serve with us, please contact M.L. Purcell via email at

SafeHouse Outreach Dinner
Tuesday, September 2nd - 4:00 PM

“For when I was hungry you gave me something to eat…” (Matthew 25:35)

SafeHouse, located at 89 Ellis Street, provides practical, emotional, physical, and spiritual assistance to those living in the margins, to help integrate them back into society. On the first Tuesday of each month you’re invited to help provide hot meals for nearly 300 men, women, and children. You may meet the team in the Atlanta First UMC Fellowship Hall at 4:00 PM for meal preparation and travel with the team to SafeHouse for dinner and worship at 6:00 PM; or join in the fellowship anytime you can arrive.






Jana Telfer
Chris Shellnutt

Jim Richardson

Mickey Angel
Kathy Hicks

Jim Laird
Linda Gardner

Marjorie Madill

Dorothy Ann Turnipseed
Jim Scroggs






Bob Bowman, Jr.
Bill Sailers

Matt Cole

Ruby Darku

Natalie Smith
Tyler Shellnutt

Lynn Laird

Tasca Bodenheimer

Sam Pierce
Betty Athon





Aaron Moody

Betty Ann Rice
Coco Esco

Jordan Dillard

Michael Holton

Jeanette Watters
Barbara Fruit
Rebecca Cole

Georgianna Chatham
Week Of: June 29 July 6 July 13 July 20 July 27
Sunday School Attendance: 42 36 32 39 33
Worship Attendance: 110 95 115 99 112
Regular Giving: - $3,073.00 $4,342.00 $1,379.00 $3,178.00

June Online Giving: $2,958.00

Messenger Subscription Info

If you would like to subscribe to The Messenger or change your current subscription method, please send an e-mail to with your mailing or e-mail address, or call the church office. You can choose to receive a paper copy in your mailbox, a digital copy by e-mail, or both. All contact information is kept confidential.

Messenger Contribution Info

If you would like to submit an article, information or corrections for The Messenger, please send it in an e-mail to The deadline for submissions is the 20th day of the preceding month.