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Attendance & Giving

hen I walked into the pulpit of Atlanta First, on my first Sunday, I remember feeling the overwhelming presence of God reminding me that the work of ministry to which I have been called is larger than me, is not about me, and is possible only because of the power of the Almighty God! As I bid you farewell for this chapter of our ministry lives together, I am reminded that our work together has not been because of us; rather, it has been through the work of the Holy Spirit that has empowered us. Nothing that we have accomplished has been through our own power, but because of the strength of God.

While I’m not quite sure how to say farewell to you, I am certain that God will bless you and keep you. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God dwells in this place and in these people who gather at 360 Peachtree Street. I know that our time together is just a short chapter in the story of this great church and I know that God continues to have a powerful and on-going presence in this place.

As I move to my new appointment as an Associate Director of Connectional Ministries, I have but one request – do not forget that you are strategically located at the corner of Peachtree and Ivan Allen because the City of Atlanta needs you to be the “aroma of Christ” to them. Love the people that God sends through these doors. They need you to be a refuge and a place of spiritual connection for them.

May the powerful Spirit of God guide you, may the Resurrection power of the loving Christ strengthen you, may the transformational God that set you on this path in the first place continue to give you the gift of “holy irritation” so that you will not rest until the people know Christ!

I cannot praise God and thank you enough for helping me grow in ministry, for welcoming me, for encouraging me, for pushing me, and for loving me. I love you all and I will keep you in my prayers. Please do the same for me.

In Christ’s Service,

Reverend Jasmine Smothers
Associate Pastor, Atlanta First UMC

• Choir Tour Concert:Tuesday, June 7th at 7:00 PM
• SafeHouse Outreach Dinner: June 7th at 3:30 PM
• Special Sunday Night in the City Service: June 12th at 6:30 PM
• Habitat for Humanity Build: Saturdays, June 4th - July 9th, at 8:00 AM
• Hospitality House Dinner: June 28th at 6:00 PM
• Vacation Bible School: July 18-22

Kevin Murriel Joins the Atlanta First Staff

It is certainly with mixed emotions that we prepare for Jasmine’s final Sunday as the Associate Minister at Atlanta First. Jasmine has had a tremendous impact on the ministry of Atlanta First as well as the lives of our members, staff and community. We are grateful for her service among us. Jasmine will become an Associate Director in the office of Connectional Ministries for the North Georgia Annual Conference. We will be collecting a love offering to present to Jasmine on June 19. If you would like to participate, please mark your gift “Jasmine love offering.”

As we bid farewell to Jasmine, we welcome Kevin Murriel to our staff. Kevin will serve as an Interim Ministry Assistant. Among his areas of responsibility will be to coordinate our urban ministry partnerships.

Kevin was born on May 28, 1986 in Brandon, Mississippi. He is a 2008 graduate of Jackson State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, as well as being named as the 2008 Student of the Year for the College of Business. Kevin is a 2011 graduate of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia where he earned his master’s degree in Divinity with a concentration in Society and Personality. In addition to serving at Atlanta First, Kevin serves as lead pastor of Antioch United Methodist Church in Fairburn, GA – also a part of the Atlanta College Park District. He is the author of the book “Who’s Afraid of the Journey? 8 Steps to Help You Walk in the Confidence of Christ” which is a spiritual guide to help all people maintain their confidence in Christ while living everyday life. He is the younger of two siblings and his motto in life is “Live God, Love God, Follow God; and in all things, Stay the Course!”

Dr. Charles Z. Gardner, Sr.
Senior Pastor
Congratulations To All Our Graduates!

Beth Angel, daughter of Steve and Jackie Angel and granddaughter of Mickey and Dot Angel, graduates from The Galloway School this month and will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall.

Julieanne Athon, granddaughter of Betty Athon, graduated with honors from University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California on May 21st. She will be teaching in Connecticut.

Valerie Rochelle Bourgeois (Shelley), niece of Bob Lynn, graduated from Kennesaw State University on May 11th.

Ashley Cathcart, granddaughter of Virginia Cathcart, graduates from Salem High School and will be attending Perimeter College. Her long-term goal is to join the Air Force.

Shelley Cathcart, granddaughter of Virginia Cathcart, graduates from LaGrange College and has been accepted in the Smithsonian Curator Study program in Washington, D.C. for two years. She will complete a Masters Degree.

Natalie Ann Fruit, granddaughter of Barbara and Ray Fruit, graduates from Brookwood High School.

Dr. Charles Z. Gardner, Sr., our Senior Pastor, received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary on Monday, May 9th, 2011.

Dalton Hunter, son of Lancette Hunter and nephew of Andre Hunter, graduates from Berkmar High School on May 28th. He plans to attend Georgia Gwinnett College.

Laura Kivi, granddaughter of Ruth and Roy Fruit, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia on May 14th.

Wedding Guild

You are invited to join the new wedding guild that will help facilitate wedding rehearsals and weddings. If you are interested in participating in this ministry, contact Don Land. Call 404-275-4648 or send an e-mail to

Choir Tour Concert

On Tuesday, June 7th at 7:00 PM Atlanta First will host a concert performed the UMC Colorado Springs Youth Singers, Youth Chorale and Celebration Ringers. Under the direction of Rev. Steve Harter, Minister of Music and Arts, the 29 Junior and Senior High school students are on a 9 day tour of the South, including North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Welcome New Members!

Please join us in welcoming to the Atlanta First family Mark and Keri McKinney and their son, John Mark. They officially joined Atlanta First on Sunday, May 22nd.

Special Sunday Night in
the City Worship Service

In honor of Rev. Jasmine’s new appointment, we will have a special sending forth celebration in the form of a Sunday Night in the City worship service on Sunday, June 12th at 6:30 PM. Our Sunday Night Worship Team members will reunite for this special occasion and lead us in some of our favorite songs. You won’t want to miss it!

Helen Atherton
Luis Barrera
* Major Chuck Bowen
Margie Britt
Mary Brown
Jovita Burnell
Angela Cardwell
* TSgt. Logan Cathcart
* MSgt. Scott Cathcart
Clint Chambers
Frances Collins
Linda Cook
Lyn Dillard
Don Dilliplane
Rita Edward
Andrew Edwards
Della Edwards
* Elmer Edwards
Dollie Gilreath
Sandra Graham
Roberta Gonzales
June Harris
William Hartigan
Adelaide Harwell
Shoshana Hathaway
Harriet Head
Pam Howard
Jon & Lee Hurst
Sonia Lemons
Joyce Montgomery
Tom Pate
Joe Pemberton
Elizabeth Sanders
Les & Jackie Scarborough
Jeremy Scarborough
Brooke E. Sheldon
Betty Small
Flo Smith
Layton Smith
Ralph Steiger
Roger Stotler
Travis Swinton
Betty Tatum
Shirl Troglia
Andy Vigil
Ruby Wilkes
Billie Williams
Clarence Williams
Paula Ruiz Zwollo
The Stotler Family
Tornado Victims

* Active Military Service

Condolences to Bobby Ragan whose sister, Annie Florine Downs passed away on Sunday, May 8th, 2011 in Columbus, Georgia.

Condolences to Tasha Esco and her family over the loss of her mother, Rose Esco on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 in Canton, Mississippi.

Condolences to Ashley Rolader and her family over the loss of her aunt

Prayer Shawl Guild

Atlanta First’s Prayer Shawl Guild has been busy. Our group of 5 has two additional contributors, thanks to members of our church whose sisters are supporting our efforts. Mary Lou Karwisch’s sister, Emily Brown, and Cornelia Witte’s sister, Angelyn Bassinger, have contributed beautiful pieces and we are hoping for more. In the meantime, our members, Carol Colly, Ginny Howard, Deborah Hudson, Jan Welsh, and Cornelia Witte are working away. We meet once a month and invite any knitters and crocheters to join us. We have great fun sharing ideas and are awed by each others’ work. It is a joy to visit with church members and others when delivering shawls. Last month we gave out 9 shawls, including to some of Bertie’s family members. Here is Harriet Head wrapped in her new shawl. The shawl’s color matches her hair perfectly and she looks so beautiful!

Please let us know of anyone who would appreciate a shawl for comfort. Prayer shawls are a visible sign of God’s care and love and we want to share them with as many of God’s children as possible.

Harriet Head enjoying her new prayer shawl.

Our meeting this month will again focus on the many crises of Sudan. Rev. Frank Windom will be leading the discussion, and lunch will follow.

During June, the theme in the LIVE B.I.G. room is: “Great Are the Works of the Lord.” We will focus on the B.I.G. Idea, “We believe that miracles show us the power of God.”

The Nursery will explore the theme of Mary and Martha. Our big idea is that “I can choose to listen.”

We look forward to seeing you on Sundays in June! The Nursery opens at 9:30 AM. The LIVE B.I.G. Room opens at 9:45 AM. The weather is getting nice, so Mom and Dad, please don’t plan for your child(ren) to go on the playground too! Don’t forget to sign your child(ren) in and out and make us aware of any allergies. Contact Ami Moody at for more information or to volunteer.

Our tie-die shirts from May 22nd. We
learned about Lydia and her purple cloth.

Spotlight on:
The Genesis Class

We are a very diverse group of Bible students; made up of married couples, married individuals, single men, single women, various races, ages and life experiences. With this diversity comes varying perspectives which enrich our discussions as we attempt to answer each other’s questions and understand the scripture we have just read. Our discussions are integral to the class as we believe that God speaks to us through prayer, scripture and other believers. We share a desire to learn more about God and to use that knowledge to mature in our faith and serve Him better. Currently our approach is to study a different book of the Bible from beginning to end. Our class meets at 10:00 AM in room 313 at the end of the hall on the upper level. We would love for you to join us!

Atlanta First UMC Presents:
Disciple Bible Study!

DISCIPLE BIBLE STUDY is an in-depth study that gives equal time to both the Old and New Testament, emphasizing the wholeness of the Bible as the revelation of God. DISCIPLE aims at transformation, not just information, and calls on persons to submit themselves to examination by Scripture, to put themselves under the power of God’s Word, and to be changed by God’s Word. Coming this Fall...

Adult Sunday School Classes
Classes begin at 9:45 AM, unless otherwise noted

Hemphill-Rogers Class:
Main Level, The Library

MACO (MArried COuples) Class:
Main Level, The Fellowship Hall

Wesley Adult Fellowship:
Upper Level, Room 316

Currents Class:
Upper Level, Room 321

St. Andrew Class:
Upper Level, Room 318

Genesis Class:
Upper Level, Room 313 – Begins at 10:00 AM

Weekly Small Groups

Mid-Week Bible Study: Thursdays at 10:30 AM in room 316, led by Rev. Frank Windom.

Young Adult Small Group: is taking a break for the month of May. Stay tuned for more information on joining when we resume..

Vacation Bible School: July 18-22

Happy Father’s Day to all from Atlanta First Day School! What a wonderful experience it is to see a first time Daddy come to the Day School with baby in arms! He is proud, nervous, happy, sad to leave, and generally looking forward to throwing a ball, riding bikes and fishing trips!

We all look forward to new and exciting “fishing trips” with friends and family, especially during the Summer months. There’s something about warm air, lightning bugs and cold lemonade that gives us the feeling of euphoria that only Summer can bring!

Vacation Bible School is also a Summer staple that we all grew up attending. AFDS will host a VBS for both the Day School and our Sunday School LAUGH Ministry’s children the week of July 18th through the 22nd. We hope to have lots of children attend to hear God’s message this summer! Please e-mail me or Ami Moody ( for further information.

Enjoy the summer ahead with your family, friends and loved ones, and catch a fish or two!

Linda Evans
Day School Director

Help Beat the Summer Heat

As summer temperatures continue to rise, one of MAC’s big seasonal challenges becomes assisting clients with soaring electric bills. Air conditioning can become financially unsustainable for many families. As an alternative, MAC is soliciting donations of electric fans to help our clients stay cool and beat the summer heat. During the summer, our clients can save 3-5% on their energy bills for every degree they turn their thermostat up. Electric fans can allow our clients to stay cool without spending beyond their means. If you would like to help out, please contact the Midtown Assistance Center at (404) 681-5777 or

Dorothy Chandler
Director of MAC

Got a spare fan? Donate it to MAC
to help a family beat the heat!

SafeHouse Outreach Dinner

“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.

SafeHouse Outreach Dinner
Tuesday, June 7 - 3:30 PM

1st and 5th Tuesday’s 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 6:30 PM; or join in the fellowship anytime you can arrive.

Atlanta Hospitality House

“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.

Hospitality House Dinner Tuesday, June 28 - 6:00 PM

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

Habitat Mission Saturdays

Our Atlanta Habitat project, building a new home for a family in need, continues in the month of June. No prior experience is required. Lunch, tools and safety equipment such as hard hats and gloves will be provided. All you need to bring is yourself! For directions and to sign up, please visit our web page about the project.

Thurday, June 2
Crispy Fried Chicken
Creamy Coleslaw
Steamed Rice
Brown Sugared Baked Beans
Sunday, June 5
Rotini Beef Bolognaise Casserole
Baked Chicken Alfredo Fettuccini
Seasoned Corn on the Cob
Italian Green Beans
Thurday, June 9
Oven Roasted Turkey Breast w/ Mushroom au Jus
Steamed Rice
Steamed Zucchini w/ Fresh Tomato
Sunday, June 12
No Luncheon
Thurday, June 16
Beef Ala Bourguignon (Slow Simmered Beef w/ Wushrooms, Red Wine and Beef au Jus)
Garlic Scented Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Fresh Snapped Green Beans
w/ Garlic & Olive Oil
Sunday, June 19
"Memphis" Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Wet Basted BBQ Chicken
Brown Sugared Baked Beans
Creamy Purple Cabbage Coleslaw
Country Style Potato Salad
Thurday, June 23
Chicken, Wild Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna
w/ 3-Cheese Sauce
Grilled Zucchini & Red Onions
Sunday, June 26
No Luncheon
Thurday, June 30
Hand Pattied Salisbury Steak
w/ Onions & Gravy
Country Style Smashed Potatoes
Black Eyed Peas

The following Sundays are available to order altar flowers:

June 5th, 12th

To schedule altar flowers please call Mary Lou Karwisch at 770-971-9465.

We wish the following
a Happy Birthday!















Mr. Randy Edenfield
Mr. Ed Kenimer

Mrs. Joyce Fortson
Mr. Bill Squires

Mr. Harry Wells
Mr. Al Garrard

Mr. Bud Kragor

Mrs. Madelyn Mitcham

Mrs. Barbara Pate

Dahama Darku

Mrs. Elisa Wells

Mr. Robert Murray
Mrs. Jeanne Thomas
Mrs. Sarah Smith

Dr. Bob Smith, III
Mrs. Stephanie Owen

Mrs. Jackie Scarborough

Ms. M. J. Stephens
Mr. Jack Clavell
Mrs. Shannon Gardner

Mrs. Frances Riley

Mr. James Johnson

Dr. Sam Dennard

Ms. Arleen Walker

Week Of: May 1 May 8 May 15 May 22
Sunday School Attendance: 61 63 54 40
Sunday Worship Attendance: 168 164 187 148
Regular Giving: $8,141.81 $7,884.54 $6,530.77 $4,318.35

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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.