Atlanta First News

Prayer List

Atlanta First History

Atlanta First Day School

Midtown Assistance Center

Compassion In Action
Mission Ministries

April Birthdays
& Monthly Reports

Holy week is the most important week in the Christian calendar, as it is the culmination of Jesus’ ministry, ending with his crucifixion and, on the third day, his resurrection. Please join us for these special worship services!

Palm Sunday: April 13th - Holy Week begins as we recall Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The children will process down the aisle and place palm fronds upon the altar rail.

Maundy Thursday: April 17th at 7:00 PM - The night before his betrayal, trial and crucifixion, Jesus had the Last Supper with his disciples. Join us as we partake in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, which first took place during the Last Supper itself. As the service ends, the altar and chancel area are stripped in preparation for Good Friday.

Good Friday: April 18th at Noon - Join us for a solemn service in which we remember the suffering of Christ upon the cross for our sake.

Easter Sunrise Service: April 20th at 7:00 AM in the garden space outside - Join us as we celebrate the finding of the empty tomb on the morning of Easter while watching the sun rise.

Easter Celebration Service: April 20th at 11:00 AM - Join us as we celebrate the victory of Jesus over death, and the cleansing of our sins. Hear wonderful music sung by our choir with accompanying instrumentalists and soloists.

Also taking place in April are some events for the whole family to take part in. On Friday, April 11th all are invited to attend the Atlanta First Day School’s annual Spring Concert. You won’t want to miss the darling children singing and performing on stage! On Saturday, April 12th we will have our annual Easter Egg Hunt, which this year takes place in Grant Park. Meet the Easter Bunny and get discounted tickets to the adjacent Atlanta Zoo!

Looking forward to May, we will once again be participating in a Habitat for Humanity home build. Look for more details to be announced later this month!

• SafeHouse Outreach Dinner: Tuesday, April 1st at 3:30 PM
• Church Women United: Saturday, April 4th at 10:00 AM
• UM Children's Home Flea Market: Friday-Saturday, April 11-12 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
• AFDS Spring Concert: Saturday, April 11th at 4:00 PM
• UMW Meeting & Luncheon: Tuesday, April 15th at 11:00 AM
• Hospitality House Dinner: Tuesday, April 22nd at 6:00 PM

Easter Lilies

It’s time to order lilies to decorate the sanctuary for Easter in Memory and Honor of loved ones. Order forms are available in the sanctuary by the Porter Place door and in the church office. Lilies are $11 each and the deadline to order is Tuesday, April 8th.

Palm Cross Workshop

Friday, April 11th at 11:00 AM, volunteers are needed to come help fold the palm crosses that will be handed out on Palm Sunday. No prior experience required. Come for a good time of fun and fellowship!

United Methodist Children's
Home Flea Market

Friday, April 11th and Saturday, April 12th, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

United Methodist Children’s Home
500 S. Columbia Drive
Decatur GA 30030

Bargain hunters will find treasures including furniture, jewelry, sporting goods, crystal, china, shoes, new and vintage clothing, baby gear, toys, books and electronics. Plants from the DeKalb County Master Gardeners will also be available for purchase.

Breakfast, lunch, and baked goods will be available for shoppers.

The sale supports the mission of the United Methodist Children’s Home. Shoppers can feel good about finding a great bargain for themselves and helping our community’s children at the same time.


The next meeting of the United Methodist Women’s group will be on Tuesday, March 18th at 11:00 AM, and the program will feature Dr. Bob Smith, who was unable to attend in February. He will give a presentation on “Angels.”

Church Family
Mark Garrard Nelda Hill

Mary Jackson
Jackie Scarborough
Homebound Church Family
Pauline Colly Isobel Ginn

Jack & Harriet Head
Nelda Miller
Extended Church Family and Friends
Eunice Dumas,
AFDS Grandmother

Dollie Gilreath,
Mother of Dede Gilreath
Kimberly Hendrickson,
Daughter of Will Whitlock

Alexandra Houska,
Daugher of a friend of Ross & Bonnie Lane
Mark Philbrick, Brother of a Day School Father

Steve Prelutshy,
Friend of Linda Gardner
Active Duty Military
TSgt. 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 the family and friends of Odean Alvarez, who passed away on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014.

Condolences to the family and friends of Helen Atherton, who passed away on Sunday March 16th, 2014.

Condolences to Bobby Ragan whose sister, Loraine Bramlett passed away on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014.

The Phoenix Flies at Atlanta Firstt

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

“August 4, 1864-Wesley Chapel continued to take more than its share of pummeling. It had been struck at least five times. After each hit the sexton came timidly into the nightmare of rubble, dust and torn prayer books and hymnals and swept up the best he could. He could do nothing about the jagged holes in the roof and walls.

The next morning he would arrive to find the plaster-smelling litter confronting him again. The missiles entered Wesley Chapel from all directions. One solid shell had bounced through ten pews like some erratic bowling ball before finally coming to rest against the altar” (Hoehling 250).

When Bishop J. O. Andrew dedicated Wesley Chapel on March 24, 1848, the congregation of the church could not have imagined the future war and the destruction it would bring. On December 23, 1847, Atlanta had received its charter as a city and Wesley Chapel was the first purpose built church building to be built in the city. The church was a sturdy wooden structure with five long windows on each side and two smaller windows on the front. Two front, exterior doors allowed the congregation to enter the building. The bell tower was built in 1850 when the bell was purchased.

The interior of Wesley Chapel had two aisles leading from the doors between three sections of pews. Some Methodist Episcopal churches at this time separated the men and women during church. It is possible that this was in the reason for the two entrance doors and two aisles. When the church was dedicated, slabs of wood with peg legs were used for pews. There were two large stoves and a large handmade tin chandelier.

Across the back of the church was a gallery or balcony for the African American members of the church. This was reached by two sets of stairs that were near the entrance doors. According to Methodist Conference records from 1858, Wesley Chapel had 414 white members and 199 black members. That year the congregation raised $700 and the black members of the congregation began their own church. This small church eventually became part of Big Bethel AME Church.

By the time the War Between the States began, Wesley Chapel had 417 members. Many of the male members joined the Confederate Army, leaving mostly women, children, and older men in the church.

On July 20, 1864, the first shell landed in the city of Atlanta killing a small girl. After this first assault, the shelling became a daily event. All of the churches in the city ceased holding services because of the danger to the congregations. Wesley Chapel had the unfortunate luck of being between a battery of Union guns and the rail yard. By July 26, a dozen shells had struck Wesley Chapel.

On September 2, 1864, Mayor James M. Calhoun surrendered the city of Atlanta to the Union Army. The Union Army left Atlanta on November 16, 1864. In December of 1864, General W. P. Howard of the Georgia State Militia reported to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown on the state of the city of Atlanta. In his report he notes, “The Wesley Chapel remains, but horribly desecrated. It is left more in the condition of a hog pen than the house of God” (Garrett 656).

By April of 1865 Wesley Chapel was holding regular services again. There are no records for the church from 1864, but the Conference reported 227 members in 1865. The earliest remaining records from Wesley Chapel in our Church Archives are from a Quarterly Conference in March 1865.

Wesley Chapel and the City of Atlanta rapidly recovered from the devastation of the Battle of Atlanta. By 1870, the congregation was building a new church for its rapidly expanding membership. In October of 1871, the little wooden church that had survived so much finally fell to the destruction of a wrecking ball.

- Carol Colly, Church Archivist & Librarian


Forsyth, William Henry. A Memorial of Wesley Chapel, Atlanta’s First Church. Atlanta: Atlanta First United Methodist Church, 1977. Print.

Garrett, Franklin M. Atlanta and Environs, Volume I. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954. Print.

Hoehling, A. A. Last Train From Atlanta. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1958. Print.

The only exterior photo the author could find of Wesley Chapel.
Photo from the Atlanta First UMC Archives.
Interior views of Wesley Chapel, looking towards the back (L) and towards the front (R).
Photo from the Atlanta First UMC Archives.

Springtime is always a busy time at Atlanta First Day School! Exploring the out of doors, learning about plants and flowers and planting seeds is fun! We had a visit from David Chandler from The Weather Channel and he told us all about Spring weather changes and the clouds that produce rain, and we all know how April showers bring May flowers!!

Our Parent Council sponsored the Day School’s first annual Silent Auction on March 14th. It was held at the Margaret Mitchell House and a good time was had by all! A big thank you to all of our parents and friends of the Day School who contributed items for auction, bought goods, and helped us reach our goal of providing educational materials for all our children to enjoy! Hosting an event like this was a monumental task and we truly appreciate all of the hard work and efforts by everyone!

We’re all looking forward to our shared AFUMC/AFDS Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 12th at Grant Park! This will be the first year we’ll be having our Hunt off-site and it’ll be extra fun hunting eggs with our new friends from Sunday School! There will be a visit from the Easter Bunny, golden prize eggs, face painting, and a balloon artist to entertain the children and the young at heart too! Come join us!

In addition to our Day School Summer Camp, AFDS will also be hosting a Summer Adventure Camp for children ages 6 yrs – 9 yrs from June 9-July 25th! There will be Jr. Master Chefs, Scientists, Soccer Champs, VBS, as well as Engineers learning new and thought provoking themes while having fun this summer! If you haven’t chosen a summer day camp for your elementary age child, please check our website for further information or give us a call! We’d love to have new faces join us!

We’re in the process of Registering for the new school year 2014-2015 and have very limited openings in our classrooms. If you would like more information about AFDS please give us a call! Our first graduating class that were in our Infant room in 2010 are reading, speaking Spanish, have learned simple addition, have self-confidence and are very ready to tackle the Elementary grades with the tools necessary to succeed! We are SO proud of them and our wonderful staff that taught the children these first years since we’ve been open!!

Looking forward to all that Spring brings!

-Linda Evans, Day School Director

SafeHouse Outreach Dinner
Tuesday, Aoril 1st - 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.

Atlanta Hospitality House
Tuesday, March22nd - 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






Sandy Farrington
Noah Moody

Lynnea Moody

George Jones

Marcie Arnold
Danielle Moody

Bob Parris

Taylor McKinney





Steve Angel
Neil Garrard

Evie Dilliplane

Dylan Locklear

Michael Lewis

Cornelia Witte

Herbert Smithson
Margaret Medicus






Ellen Hicks

Holley Forsyth
Bryce Peterson

Kathy Locklear

Yohanne Darku

Terry Pierce

Nicole Eldridge

Cody Peterson
Week Of: March 2 Ash Wed
March 5
March 9 March 16 March 23
Sunday School Attendance: 47 - - 35 35
Sunday Worship Attendance: 121 42 130 104 114
Regular Giving: $8,360.51 - $3,280.00 $1,802.00 $3,983.50

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.