The Coming of Everlasting Joy
And they crucified him…—Mark 15:24

It was the darkest day. The unbearable day. Many who had followed Jesus up to now fled from the events of Friday. And those who stayed to watch wept in horror.

The rigged trial, the mob that howled for the blood of the man who had failed to meet their patriotic expectations. The brutal beating, the savagery of the soldiers, the stumbling walk through the city He had entered to cheers five days before. Finally, the nails pounded into flesh, the tortured body jerked upright, the naked man dying as his enemies jeered.

To have it end like this, after all the bright promise! It was not just the cruel death of the disciples’ young leader, but the death of their faith, the end of all they believed in, on this black Friday that seemed anything but good.

Most of us have experienced this Friday for ourselves. It’s not the disillusionment of Thursday when our own performance falls short. It’s the blow that strikes from the outside, the tragedy that destroys our loved ones, our health, our livelihood.

We feel, as the disciples did on that terrible day, that Jesus Himself has failed us. If He were really God’s son, things like this could not happen. “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39)

There is no way around the Fridays of our lives, only the way through—through pain and death and burial. As His sorrowing followers laid Jesus in the tomb, so we lay down the wreckage of our hope.

Ahead was Easter Sunday, but on Friday they couldn’t know that. And neither can we, in the first shock of loss. We can only know that we will know. We can only know that the whole story is not yet told.

For, of course, Jesus is the Christ. He is saving us, whatever the appearance. He is bringing about our everlasting joy, in a way only God could have chosen.

If it is Friday in your life today, Easter cannot be far away.

Sherrill, Elizabeth. “The Coming of Everlasting Joy.” Guideposts, 27 June 2017, www.guideposts.org/faith-and-prayer/daily-devotions/the-coming-of-everlasting-joy. 
Reopening Survey

In an effort to conclude the development of the plan for the initial re-opening of the church, a second congregational survey has been designed and will be conducted from April 5 through April 23. This survey will be used to help us gain an understanding of congregational attitudes and behavior during the time of the pandemic and assist us in making certain that our efforts will create the safest and most up-to-date precautions to assure a healthy and safe environment when we return. Your help is solicited and valued. Please keep an eye out for the survey and take the time to respond. Thank you for your help.

The Task Force on Re-Opening
Join us for the Seven Last Words of Christ Service tonight at 7 pm EST. The service can be streamed on the Ben Hill website, Facebook, and Altar Live. Please consider joining us on Altar Live and worshipping with members and visitors on this holy evening.
Communion PODS will be distributed at the church on
Saturday, April 3rd
from 10am to 12pm
The Worship Committee and Ushers will be at the church to serve you. Please pick up enough PODS for your family’s use. The PODS are only to be used for Resurrection Sunday.

DRIVE-BY INSTRUCTIONS:
Please enter off Austin Road (BLUE LOT) drive to the awning, pick up desired pods for your family and exit on to Fairburn Road.
What is Lent? The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word “lengten,” which simply means “spring” — when the days lengthen and new life springs forth. It is a time in which we anticipate the victory of the light and life of Christ over the darkness of sin and death. The season of Lent is a time of prayer and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord at Easter.

Join the Ben Hill Prayer Ministry for the last daily prayer call of Holy Week at 12pm on Saturday led by Rev. Dr. Byron Thomas. Call-in on the Prayer Line: 712-770-4936 Passcode: 627746
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY!

Calling all kids Kindergarten through 6th grade! The Children's Ministry is hosting a virtual Easter scavenger hunt. This year, you'll need your Bible to find all the hidden clues. Click the link below to complete the scavenger hunt. If you complete the hunt and get all of the answers correct, you will win a gift card! Gift cards will be e-mailed to you directly. Entries are limited to one per person and you MUST be 12 years old or younger to be eligible. Entries will be accepted starting today, Friday, March 20 through Friday, April 2 5pm EST.
It’s our turn to roll up our sleeves and get vaccinated! It’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t know COVID-19 existed. Now when people say “virus,” we know what they mean. The impact of COVID-19 on our lives, our activities, and our freedom has affected us all. The responsibility is ours, as a community, to help stop this virus. Join us in protecting yourself, your family and friends, and our community by getting vaccinated.

We want everyone in our community to be safe and get back to hugging each other and shaking hands with our neighbors. We all play a part in this effort, and you are key. Please sign up to get your COVID-19 vaccination at Ben Hill United Methodist Church on April 5th. Appointment slots will be available from 9:50am-12:50pm. Additional time slots have been added. We are partnering with Briarcliff Pharmacy to provide the Pfizer vaccine. Time slots are limited.

On April 5th, we will only offer the first dose. The second dose will be available on April 26th. Second dose appointments will be scheduled automatically for all April 5th participants for the same time on April 26th.

If you have questions about our vaccination clinics, please contact Rev. Brenda Presha at bpresha@benhillumc.org. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit CDC’s FAQs web page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.
Attention college students, high school seniors, and parents. Ben Hill's Higher Education Ministry is debuting its scholarship portal and stepping into the 21st century. No need for pen and paper anymore because everything can be done on the online portal at BenHillUMC.org. Today is the grand opening for scholarship applications. All applications are due by May 3rd, no exceptions.
Calling all brothers. The Richard D.Winn Sr. Men's Spiritual Retreat is returning, but in a virtual format on Friday, April 23rd and Saturday, April 24th. Friday will be pre- recorded and we will start at 7:00 pm. Saturday will be live on zoom and we will begin at 8:30 a.m. We will address topics that were born out of the pandemic including depression, rage, intimacy, good health and excellence in Christian living. Our participants include Pastor Byron Thomas, Rev. Brian Tillman, Dr. Damon Williams, Dr. Aziza Platt, Dr. Millard Collier and Minister Willie Nelson. There is no cost to attend the retreat this year. However, we are seeking retreat sponsors if you would like to sow a seed of $100 to be recognized or to promote your business. We hope to see you there and bring a friend.
Since 2010, a project in Atlanta, GA, called Coins of Hope Ministries, has assisted the rural community of Mpoyi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with over $40,000 in donations to relieve hunger and provide access to education. Working with Ben Hill United Methodist Church, we have made summer trips to offer summer school to students and sponsored students by paying their school fees for several academic years. Your contributions enabled these students to pursue their dream of an education!

Our goal now is to raise $5,000 for:
Essential accommodations – outdoor kitchen and stove, toilets and showers - for visiting professionals taking solar cookers and water disinfectants to Mpoyi, to curve widespread intestinal and respiratory diseases.

The brainchild of Dr. Tshilemalema Mukenge, who is from this region of DRC, Coins of Hope focuses on community empowerment given the reality that the community of 6,300 people has no access to clean drinking water, 90% live in poverty, and parents cannot afford to send children to school. Only 50% of children attend school. Your sacrificial donations to Ben Hill for Coins of Hope can be accepted online or by check, from March through May. If you have questions or concerns, contact T. L. Mukenge 404-767-2028.
This past year we have learned to worship, serve one another, and meet the needs of our community in all kinds of new ways. Many of us have felt the loss of being physically present together. Some of us may have found some unexpected benefits to our new ways of gathering. But we are reminded that the church has always been bigger than a building. 

Recently, we launched a new way to make our online worship and fellowship even better, more engaging! It’s easy to use -- if you’ve already mastered videoconferencing, you’ll find this about the same level. The platform is called Altar Live. If you are able, please try watching the service on Sunday here or join us after service for fellowship by using the link below and just take a look around. You may want to get dressed just in case you sit down with someone but feel free to let others know and let me know your experience. We'll be working to introduce the platform to our ministries and plan on how we use it for discipleship and fellowship for our members. 
ATTENTION: The Food Bank will be closed during Holy Week,
March 29-April 3.
Donations and distribution will resume the following week.

In an effort to support the growing need for food assistance during this challenging 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. The highlighted items are needed most.

The Food Bank is in URGENT need of canned goods and plastic bag donations.

FOOD DONATION LIST
  • Breakfast food- cereal, grits, oatmeal
  • Boxed or canned milk 
  • Canned Vegetables/peas/beans/corn
  • Canned Fruits 
  • Canned Meat
  • Rice/mashed potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Tomato sauce
  • Loaves of Bread 
  • Peanut butter and jelly
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.

OTHER WAYS TO DONATE:

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

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

CHECK
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

ONLINE
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.
The Prison Ministry would like to send cards, words of encouragement, to those who are currently incarcerated. Perhaps you have a loved one or know of someone who would appreciate receiving a card. The Prison Ministry offers a safe nonjudgmental space to seek prayers and support. Please contact Gloria Parker, gloriaparker3790@comcast.net or Cynthia Holland at cythinam@msn.com with the name and mailing information of your loved one.
The Prayer Ministry will host Corporate Prayer every Wednesday from 6:15 pm - 6:45 pm. Weekly Corporate Prayer will feature a prayer of thanksgiving, a reading from the Upper Room Daily Devotional, and intercessory prayer. We will be inviting Clergy and Laity to pray the intercessory prayer. 

To attend Corporate Prayer, please call: (712) 770- 4936, Access Code: 627746. When calling in, please mute your cell phones. If you call in on a landline please turn the volume down on televisions, radios, etc. We look forward to everyone calling in and praying together. To submit Prayer Requests, please visit: benhillumc.org.
During this season, we want to remind you of the benefits of Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministry is a collection of specially trained lay people who are trained to listen and provide Christian care for people during the most challenging parts of their lives. It is confidential, one on one, and gender specific. Stephen Ministers are assigned to an individual for about an hour a week. This is especially meaningful for individuals who may be alone during the pandemic, who are grieving, who have a challenging health diagnosis, and who are finding it hard to deal with the challenges in their life.

If this sounds like you, please contact us via email: annex@benhillumc.org and we will be happy to walk along side you. You can also call the church office and ask to speak with Beverly Register or Rev. Tillman.
Sympathy
May our Lord bless and comfort you and your family during this time of grief.
Please accept our sincere condolences.

Patricia Bowers (M) on the loss of her sister, and Staci Abercrombie (R) 
and Shawn Neason (R) on the loss of their mother
Williette Neason (M)

Cynthia Holland (M) on the loss of her brother
Allan Reed (R)

Community Events and Resources
Senior Food Assistance Program
vegetable_basket.jpg
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.

Health Resources
What to Expect After Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
Connect With Us
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: