Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young were not protesting. They were out picking up some food. In an instant, life changed dramatically and tragically for them. Six Atlanta police officers, without provocation, engaged in the use of excessive force against these two college students that has marked them for the rest of their lives. While Taniyah was dragged out the car, Messiah was tased and beaten, leaving him with a broken wrist, eighteen stitches in one arm, and bruises all over his body. One of the tasers would remain in his back for hours. And while the bruises to his body will eventually heal, it is the psychic trauma that will have lasting effects on Taniyah and Messiah. It is the wound to their minds that will take much longer to heal and will be more difficult from which to heal. Right now, their inability to sleep, to eat, their anger and the disorientation towards life they are feeling are real. These symptoms will eventually dissipate, but make no mistake about it, Taniyah and Messiah have been deeply injured. It is the kind of injury that doesn’t go away simply because visible bruises have healed. These two young people have been traumatized! Their wound, in all likelihood will be with them for the remainder of their lives. This is the kind of woundedness that occurs when someone has been deeply violated. My heart goes out to Taniyah and Messiah and my prayers are with them and their families.

What is also deeply disturbing is that their trauma was caused by police, five of whom were Black. It caused me to raise questions: At what point in the careers of these police officers did they begin to believe that such aggressive tactics were somehow okay? At what point did “to protect and to serve” somehow morph into “to terrorize and traumatize?” At what point did they become desensitized to what it means to be black in America to the extent that they became the instruments of a system that for far too long has propagated these kinds of injuries? At what point in their lives did they become less black and more blue? To be sure, we can no longer afford the words “to protect and to serve” to be a slogan, they must become a true motto where value is placed upon human life. A new way of ensuring public safety is necessary. If not, while today’s names are Taniyah and Messiah, tomorrow’s might be my sons and your daughters.

Peace and blessings,

Pastor Thomas
Let's Stay Connected
Over the last few months, we have not gathered together in person due to the spread of the Coronavirus. We've learned that not gathering together for in-person worship services is not the same as canceling worship. We continue to worship God because He is worthy of all of our praise. We know that church is not primarily a place but a people. And technology now gives us unprecedented options. This does not mean, of course, that place is unimportant.

We realize we are all are anxious to gather in person again but know that our staff is taking the task of identifying the necessary precautions to opening our doors as a priority. Part of this consideration comes from the results of the survey completed by members of Ben Hill. Please take some time and review the results to the survey here. While a date has not been established for an anticipated opening, we take the responsibility of keeping our members, staff, and clergy safe seriously and this aligns with your feedback in the survey. Thank you for trusting our clergy and staff through this process.
What to do if you cannot view the stream
Here are some helpful tips if you should encounter any issues with accessing Ben Hill's Live Stream:
  1. Try a different Web browser. Most browsers should work but if your web browser is not showing the stream, try a different one. 
  2. Try going to the Ben Hill UMC Facebook Page and view the Live Stream there.
  3. Try the phone app. If you do not have the Ben Hill app, download it from your app store and view the steam from there.
  4. Access StreamingFaith.com as another option to view the live stream.
On Sunday mornings, live chat is available on the Ben Hill website if you should encounter issues and need additional help.

New! Tune into the sermon by using Sermon by Phone.
 The Sunday service will be made available at 9:15am on Sundays by dialing in at:

Links to Connect on Sunday Mornings:

Join us for a week of celebrating the amazing graduates of Ben Hill UMC. While the end of their school year did not go exactly as planned, God has other plans. We will surround our students with love and celebrate their accomplishments. We invite everyone to join us for a special presentation of our graduates and scholarship winners during the Sunday service on Sunday, June 14 at 9:15am.

We will also have a Drop and Drive Through Celebration on Friday, June 19th . Members are invited to “drop” off well wishes, cards, and gifts to the students AND “drive” away. Graduates and their families will be parked in the Ben Hill parking lot near the Academy entrance and the Ben Hill UMC community is invited to drive through to show their love beginning at 5pm until 6:30pm.

We ask that all participants remain in their cars and limit contact with one another. Social distancing will be strictly adhered to. All participants must wear masks at all times. We will have security that will assist with keeping traffic moving throughout the event. We do hope you will attend!

Please join us in cheering on the graduates for the achievements.   
Morgan Freeman
Parents: Nicol and Lorenzo Freeman
Riverwood International Charter

Sydney Goode
Parents: Tanja & Kerry Goode
Arlington Christian School

Grace Greene
Parents: Toya and Jeffrey Greene
Alexander High School

Ryli Hagler
Parents: Audrey and Michael White
Pebblebrook High School

Mallory Hammett
Parents: Tiffany D. Hammett and Sandy Hammett
D.M. Therrell High School

Kelsey Harrison
Parents: Deirdra and Loren Henderson
Westlake High School

Emily Haygood
Parents: Mona and Barnarvis Haygood
Sandy Creek High School

George Lester III
Parents: Cynthia and George Lester
Campbell High School

Kasen Jennings
Parents: Keisha Stewart-Jennings and Vernon Jennings
Langston Hughes High School

Ginger Mattison
Parents: Karen and Johnny Mattison
North Springs Charter School

Kristen Mosley
Parents: Lisa and Robert Mosley
Riverwood International Charter School

Christopher Sparks
Parents: Felicia and Lamanion Sparks
Westlake High School
Click the booklet to read about our Class of 2020 graduates. We are so proud of each of you and pray that you experience all of God's glory in the next chapter of your lives. Congratulations Class of 2020!
It's Time to Celebrate the Dads
We want to feature fathers on our Live Stream service on Sunday, June 21, 2020. Send photos of you, your father, sons, and father figures in your life. We even encourage families to send video messages of their children wishing their father a Happy Father's Day. Please limit your submissions to no more than 3 photos. It's important that we celebrate and acknowledge all Fathers- no matter their background or stage in life. Please submit your photos and videos to Kristan Jones-Scales at  kjonesscales@benhillumc.org  by Wedneday, June 17th at 5pm. We look forward to celebrating with you.
There's still time to register for VBS! Join us this summer for a virtual vacation bible school beginning June 22nd through June 26th . VBS at Home kits will be provided to families that register by 5pm today. We are excited to bring new activities geared towards families and children alike. We cannot wait to see you and try something new! Follow the link below for registration. Please e-mail Kristan Jones-Scales with questions at kjonesscales@benhillumc.org. Participation is free for all.

Register TODAY to participate
Are you looking for a way to deepen your understanding of the scriptures? This summer Ben Hill UMC is offering online Bible studies. If you are looking for a way to connect with others, learn something about scripture, and deepen your faith, sign up today! 
In an effort to support the growing need for food assistance during this difficult and unprecedented time, the Ben Hill Food Bank is reaching out to our church ministries. If your ministry budget permits, please consider purchasing items in the food donation list below.
  • Breakfast Food -- Cereal, Grits, Oatmeal 
  • Boxed or canned Milk 
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruits 
  • Canned Meat
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Loafs of Bread 
Ministries should bring the food items to the Food Bank Drive-Up on  Wed. (10:30am-12:30pm)  or  Saturday (10:30am-12:30pm) . Donating is simple: 1) Place the food in the trunk of your car.  2) When you arrive, call the Food Bank at (404) 344-0618 X 1115 or (404) 314-2241, and someone will meet you to take the food from your car.  All donations are touchless--keeping our donors and volunteers safe.


Also, we need (lots of ) plastic bags, the type used at grocery stores. 

In lieu of donating food items, please consider making a monetary donation by check or online as follows:

Make payable to Ben Hill UMC and specify "Food Bank" in note area. Mail to
Ben Hill UMC, ATTN: Food Bank, 2099 Fairburn Road SW, Atlanta, GA 30331

Make your contribution at  benhillumc.org/giving . Click "Food Bank" under the  Select a Fund  options.

We are thankful and grateful to ALL BHUMC Ministries, Families and Friends for your support . Your generosity and steadfast support of the Food Bank and the families who depend on the essential services it provides are appreciated, Please let us know if you are able to help by contacting Vicki Callaway at (404) 314-2241 or vcallaway@aol.com.
May our Lord bless and comfort you and your family during this time of grief.
Please accept our sincere condolences.
James Wilder, III (M) on the loss of his aunt
Mrs. Oakereader Appleton (R)

Christel Jackson (M) on the loss of her cousin
Eric Lomax (R)

Carrie Shipp (M) on the loss of her niece
Natasha Ray Aposhian (R)

Dr. Joyce Irons (M) on the loss of her brother
Rev. Joe Cater (R)
Health Resources and Community Events
Be Ready for 2020
On Primary Election Day, several polling locations experienced technical difficulties and long wait times. Voter suppression is real and we must continue to be prepared for the 2020 election. Below is a suggested timeline to follow in preparation for November.
June 2020
Register/re-register to vote. A lot of voters are being purged from the system. Make sure all family members and friends have completed theirs. LET’S NOT forget about the SENIORS at home and in nursing homes.

July 2020
Go out to your BUREAU OF ELECTIONS (BOE) and learn your state's voting laws and timelines. Educate the masses!

August 2020
Make sure you have proper, up to date identification. Check expiration dates, name changes etc.

September 2020
Print a copy of what your voting ballot will look like from the BOE website. Study it, learn more about the candidates and their platforms

October 2020
Determine where your polling location will be and the hours it will be opened. Lines are going to be long and systems may "go down" plan for November 3rd 2020!
Senior Food Assistance Program
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms launched the City of Atlanta Senior Food Assistance Program to support seniors with food insecurity during COVID-19 by partnering with meal and grocery delivery organizations. Seniors who reside in the City of Atlanta and are struggling to receive access to food during this time may apply to be a part of this program by completing this survey found  here . You may also contact ATL311 for information or help with filling out the survey by dialing 311 within the city limits or (404) 546-0311.

Specific program eligibility requirements are listed below:
  • Reside in the City of Atlanta;
  • Age 60 or older;
  • Low income (household income at or below 80% of the AMI);
  • Not participating in any other senior food assistance program and meet one of the following criteria:
  • Unable to leave home;
  • Unable to prepare meals for themselves; or
  • Unable to procure or utilize commercial home delivery services.
* Completion of the survey does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Coronavirus Q&A from the FDA
The FDA is working to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and keep you and your family informed on the latest developments. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions from consumers about vaccines and drugs:

Q: What is the FDA doing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: The FDA, along with other federal, state, and local agencies and public health officials across the country and internationally, plays a critical role in protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. FDA staff are working round-the-clock to support development of  medical countermeasures  and are providing regulatory advice, guidance, and technical assistance to advance the development and availability of vaccines, therapies, diagnostic tests and other medical devices for use diagnosing, treating, and preventing this novel virus. The FDA continues to monitor the human and animal food supply and take swift action on fraudulent COVID-19 products.

Q: What is the FDA’s role in approving vaccines and what is being done to produce a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The FDA regulates vaccines. There are currently no vaccines available for the prevention of COVID-19.

Vaccines undergo a rigorous review of laboratory and clinical data to ensure the safety and effectiveness of these products. Vaccines approved for marketing may also be required to undergo additional studies to further evaluate the vaccine and often to address specific questions about the vaccine's safety, effectiveness, or possible side effects. 

The FDA is expediting clinical trials for vaccines by providing timely advice to and interactions with vaccine developers. The FDA is also supporting product development and scaling up of manufacturing capacity for high priority vaccines for COVID-19.  Vaccine developers can find more info about the review process here.

Q: What does it mean to be an FDA-approved drug?

A: FDA approval of a drug means that the agency has determined, based on substantial evidence, that the drug is effective for its intended use, and that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks when used according to the product’s approved labeling. The drug approval process takes place within a structured framework that includes collecting clinical data and submitting an application to the FDA.  Learn more about the FDA’s Drug Review Process.

Q: What is the FDA’s role in regulating potential treatments during a public health emergency?

A: The FDA carries out many activities to protect and promote public health during a public health emergency, including helping to accelerate the development and availability of potential treatments, maintaining and securing drug supply chains, providing guidance to food and medical device manufacturers, advising developers on clinical trial issues during a public health emergency, and keeping the public informed with authoritative health information. 

The FDA is committed to supporting the development of new drugs, and the potential repurposing of existing drugs, to address COVID-19 by working with potential drug makers and sponsors to rapidly move products into clinical trials, while helping to ensure that trials are properly designed and safe. Read more about FDA efforts to  accelerate treatments  and other  actions related to coronavirus .

To learn more about these and other coronavirus topics, visit:

Census 2020 News
Due to COVID-19, the Census Bureau is adapting or delaying some operations to protect the health and safety of staff and the public. Visit the Census Bureau website for a full list of updates. 

Self-Response (Online, Phone, Mail-in) | Planned: Mar 12 – Jul 31|
Revised: Mar 12 – Oct 31

Nonresponse Follow Up (NRFU) |Planned: May 13 – Jul 31 | Revised: Aug 11 – Oct 31

Be Counted!
Answer online at www.2020census.gov
Answer by phone at 844-330-2020 (eng)