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Fall Kick-Off Sunday: September 13

On, September 13th we will have a kick-off for the fall season at Atlanta First! Following worship we will have a delicious BBQ lunch in the Fellowship Hall. The menu includes pulled pork, macaroni & cheese, green beans and cole slaw. The meal costs $12 per person. Please RSVP to Robin King at or 404-524-6614. See you there!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Join us as we cheer on the Atlanta Braves as they play against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, September 20th. The game starts at 1:35 PM and transportation will be provided from the church to Turner Field and back. Depending on the size of the group we have, tickets will cost either $28 or $38 per person. Contact Robin King to reserve tickets at or 404-216-3564.

Fall Festival: Fun for the Family

Saturday, October 24th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in the church parking lot. Come join us and bring your friends as the Atlanta First Children’s Ministries and Atlanta First Day School host our annual Fall Festival! We will have a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, caricaturist, astro-jumps, games and food!

• Fall Kick-Off Sunday Luncheon: Sunday, September 13th at 12:00 PM
• UMW Meeting: Tuesday, September 15th at 11:00 AM
• MAC Board Meeting: Wednesday, September 16th at 4:00 PM
• AFUMC Goes to a Braves Game: Sunday, September 20th at 12:00 PM
• Hospitality House Dinner: Tuesday, September 22nd at 6:00 PM
• SafeHouse Outreach Dinner: Tuesday, October 6th at 3:30 PM

Wednesday Bible Study

This discussion group is currently engaged in a Disciple Bible study: “Invitation to the Old Testament”. This study approaches the Hebrew Scriptures by inviting participants to hear the story of God and God’s calling of the people of Israel through the many “voices” of the biblical test. Narrative, poem, history, and the prophetic utterance all have their own distinctive characteristics and purpose. A DVD will be used. The first part will be discussion of the scripture and the second part will be related historical, social, and cultural context through archaeology. Each participant will have a study book with daily Bible readings. Please join us for one or all of these sessions. 11 AM - 12 PM in the church library.

Note of Appreciation

“I am so thankful for the many expressions of sympathy (cards & calls) sent by my Atlanta First family at the time of my great-granddaughter’s death. You’ll never know how much they lifted my spirits.”

- Lucille Mitchell
The Altar Guild:
Flowers for the Sanctuary

Each week our chancel area is made even more beautiful by the addition of flowers. The flowers can be in Honor of, or in Memory of someone you love, a friend or group. The cost for the two arrangements is $120. If you would like more information call the church office at 404-524-6614. The following dates are available:

September 20th; October 11th, 18th, 25th

Join us for the fall kick-off meeting of the United Methodist Women’s group on Tuesday, September 15th at 11:00 AM. We will be working on plans for the 2015-2016 year. Bring your ideas and a sack lunch! All are invited to come.

These photos were taken at the Wednesday Bible Study Class’ celebration of Mrs. Virginia Howard’s 90th birthday.

Church Family
Mickey Angel

Christine Boteler
Nelda Hill

Jackie Scarborough
W. Clyde Thomas

Will Whitlock
Homebound Church Family
Frankie Chambers Jack & Harriet Head

Joyce M. Pair
Betty Small
Extended Church Family and Friends
Karla Jackson,
Day School Staff Member

Gail Jett and Family,
Cousin of Wally Colly

Julie Kubik,
Relative of Day School Staff
Wayne Mitcham,
Husband of Madelyn Mitcham

Rachael Rutledge,
Premature baby of an AFDS family
Sarah Smith,
Former Security Staff

Libby Taylor,
Friend of Dede Gilreath

James B. Walton,
Father of Tiffany Williams
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 Lucille Mitchell and family for the death of her great-granddaughter, Reagan Buckley, who passed away on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015.

Condolences to the friends and family of Robert Landrum who passed away on Monday, June 15th, 2015. His funeral was held on Thursday, June 18th in Douglasville, Georgia.

Condolences to the family and friends of Elizabeth (Betty) Dobbs who passed away on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 in Lawrenceville. Her funeral service was held on Friday, June 26th at A.S. Turner & Sons in Decatur.

Condolences to Dede Gilreath whose mother, Dollie Gilreath, passed away on Friday, July 24th, 2015. A memorial service was held in Cartersville, GA at Trinity UMC on Tuesday, July 28th.

Condolences to the family and friends of Marjorie Madill, who passed away on Sunday, August 2nd, 2015. Her funeral was held at A. S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home on Thursday, August 6th.

Condolences to the family and friends of Hubert Davis whose wife, Margaret, passed away on August 7nd, 2015. The funeral service was August 12th at Floral Hills Funeral Home in Tucker.

Condolences to the family and friends of Wayne and Terry Pierce over the passing of Terry’s mother, Dot Miller, on August 14th, 2015. The memorial service was at Atlanta First on August 21st, 2015.

Hurricae Katrina: A Retrospect

On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States. The storm had grown into a category five hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico after crossing Florida several days earlier. For days we saw unbelievable scenes of destruction and suffering on television across the entire Gulf area.

Very early in September 2005, the Trustees of Atlanta First recommended to the Church Council that a sum of $100,000 be donated for Hurricane Katrina Relief. In March of 2006, the Trustees and Church Council decided to give $25,000 to Action Ministries, place $25,000 in reserve, and to give the remaining $50,000 to Main Street United Methodist Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

While Katrina had caused damage from Florida to Texas, ground zero for the eye of the storm was Hancock County, Mississippi. The eye wall passed over the towns of Waveland and Bay St. Louis with 120 mile-an-hour winds and a twenty-seven foot storm surge in St. Louis Bay. The surge flowed six miles inland over the land surface and twelve miles up rivers and bays. The towns of Waveland and Clermont Harbor were completely destroyed. The “Old Town” area of Bay St. Louis was lucky in a way. Sitting approximately twenty-three feet above sea level, one of the highest points on the Mississippi coast, it was spared the worst of the surge. However, the wind and the surge that did enter the area caused major destruction.

Main Street United Methodist Church is two blocks from the bay. The small, white, Gothic revival church has sat at the corner of Main Street and Second Street since 1895. The surge flooded the newer church school building behind the church, but spared the sanctuary. The wind was not so kind. One of the antique stained glass windows was damaged and the beautiful copper clad steeple was ripped from the building and flung into the intersection next to the building. Immediately after the storm a neighbor removed the hand-forged cross from the remains of the steeple for safe keeping.

The next day a bulldozer was removing debris from the street so emergency vehicles could pass through. The driver of the bulldozer was ready to shove the steeple out of the street when the same neighbor came out and asked him to stop. The driver refused. The neighbor retrieved his .45 revolver from inside the remains of his home, and made his request again. This time the driver carefully placed the steeple on the sidewalk in front of the sanctuary. In later weeks it was discovered that when the steeple had been ripped off, it had left a large crack in the tower supporting the steeple and shifted the foundation of that part of the building. It also knocked part of the front wall of the sanctuary out of alignment.

In spite of the damage to their church, the congregation of Main Street cleaned up their buildings and began hosting some of the many UMC groups from around the country that began to come to the Mississippi coast to help with the clean-up and rebuilding. With donations from members and AFUMC’s $50,000, the sanctuary was repaired and a restored steeple was placed back in its proper place. On Sunday, August 30th, 2009, the congregation dedicated and re-consecrated their steeple. When introduced, the neighbor who had saved the cross and steeple received a standing ovation from the grateful congregation. In a letter to AFUMC, the then pastor, Rev. Heather Hensarling stated “…we dedicate this steeple to be a symbol of hope and promise and a witness to our God and the church called United Methodist! You and your gift helped make this possible and we thank you.”

Hurricane Katrina showed the mighty power of God in nature. It also shows the strength and love that His people show and share with each other. After ten years the Gulf Coast is still recovering. We need to continue to keep them in our prayers.

- Carol Colly, Church Archivist & Librarian

Top: The steeple of Main Street UMC, where it landed after Katrina’s winds ripped it off its tower.

Left: Main Street UMC during the clean-up that followed Katrina.

Right: The cover of Main Street UMC’s bulletin for a service dedicating the restoration of their steeple, four years after its destruction.

Photos/scan from the personal archives of Carol Colly.

Thank You!
Thank You From MAC!

A huge ‘Thank You’ to all those who came out to support Midtown Assistance Center’s Midtown Race for MAC! The 5k run/walk through Piedmont Park attracted 250 race registrants, and raised over $30,000. All of the proceeds from our race will go to improve the lives of low income working families. On behalf of MAC’s staff, board, and volunteers, thank you for your continued support!

Rebecca Richard
MAC Program Coordinator
MAC Testimonial

“I would like to tell you how much of a blessing your organization has been for my family. Life will always have its ups and downs, but to have a wonderful and loving place to come to in your time of need is truly a blessing. Every single time I have come for help the volunteers have always greeted me with a smile. To have so much respect given to me when I’m feeling at my lowest is better than anything.”

- A MAC Client

Atlanta Hospitality House
Tuesday, September 22nd - 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, October 6th - 3:30 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 3:30 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.






Joyce Pair

Kathy Wilson

Shirley Troglia

Faith Butler

Ann Nelson

Paul Martin



Mary Lynn Purcell
Elisha Eldridge

Virginia Howard
David Small

Nancy Whited

Jo Smithson




Johnnie Johnson
Brenda Marshall

Ethan Rolader

Cathy Clavell

Hiro Yamashita

Dede Gilreath





Jana Telfer
Chris Shellnutt

Jim Richardson

Mickey Angel
Kathy Hicks

Jim Laird
Linda Gardner

Dorothy Ann Turnipseed
Jim Scroggs

Erin Devine






Bob Bowman, Jr.
Bill Sailers

Matt Cole

Ruby Darku

Natalie Smith
Tyler Shellnutt

Lynn Laird

Tasca Bodenheimer

Sam Pierce





Aaron Moody

Betty Ann Tolbert
Coco Esco

Jordan Willard

Michael Holton

Jeanette Watters
Barbara Fruit
Rebecca Cole

Georgianna Chatham




Candi Gonzales

Marjorie Squires
Ashlynn Moody

Helen Burrus

Hannah Henderson

Wayne Pierce




Michael Vaughan

Yashana Thomas

Andrea Cutshaw

Charles Rice, Jr.
Roby-Hadley Telfer

Bobby Ragan




David Alley

Bonnie Lane

Dale Kenimer, III

Valerie McClendon

Betty Small
Betty McIntosh
Week Of: June 7 June 14 June 21 June 28
Sunday School Attendance: 32 36 34 29
Worship Attendance: 91 112 110 87
Regular Giving: $4,329.00 $6,344.00 $7,796.00 $2,239.00
June Online Giving: $5,085.00
Week Of: July 5 July 12 July 19 July 26
Sunday School Attendance: 32 35 23 30
Worship Attendance: 105 99 80 84
Regular Giving: $3,866.00 $2,080.00 $957.00 $1,474.00
July Online Giving: $2,851.00
Week Of: August 2 August 9 August 16 August 23 August 30
Sunday School Attendance: 27 32 30 27 37
Worship Attendance: 98 69 107 97 103
Regular Giving: Unavailable at press time, will be reported in next issue.

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.