In just a few days this nation will celebrate Independence Day. Flags will fly, there will be parades, barbecues, fireworks, political speeches and more. It is a holiday that takes us back to an early chapter in this nation’s history. A time when the thirteen American colonies declared that they were no longer subject to British rule. So passionate were they about their independence that they were willing to engage in civil unrest in order to secure it. I find it ironic that a nation whose independence is rooted in civil unrest cannot empathize with those who continue to protest in order to secure a more just society.

When I was appointed to serve Ben Hill in 2013, I preached from the Book of Nehemiah from June of that year until February of 2014. These sermons were built around the broad theme of “Rebuilding the Walls and Restoring the Gates.” As I was recently reflecting on the events that are taking place in our nation, it dawned on me that we may very well be in a period of tearing down and deconstruction; not of gates and buildings, but of norms. A period of tearing down and deconstruction of norms is not easy, even if it is necessary. It is not easy because chief among many is the desire for order and stability.

However, I contend that even though the desire for order and stability is normal, the prophet Micah provides insight into a new normal. It is a new normal where, according to Micah, “acting justly” and “loving mercy” also serve to underpin a society. He is not alone as the prophet Amos underscores this emphasis when he writes, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” As such, if the norms of our current society serve to reinforce unjust laws and practices then a tearing down is appropriate. This is not a comfortable undertaking, but it is a necessary one. As such, I would encourage us to not shy away from the task of giving birth to a society where justice and mercy are core tenets. I would also encourage us to consider that if a nation celebrates Independence Day to commemorate her freedom, why would people who were enslaved in and by this same nation not celebrate Juneteenth in celebration of our emancipation, as well as be considerate as we continue to march and protest to secure what God has created us for – liberty. As we continue on a march that we have now been on for 401 years, I commend these words to you from Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

-Rev. Dr. Byron Thomas
Let's Stay Connected
Join us today for a Drop and Drive Through Celebration from 5pm-6:30pm . 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.

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!
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:

The Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) invites you to join us for a
Drive By/Farewell Care Parade
Honoring
Rev. Cynthia Jackson, Associate Pastor

Join us at
        Ben Hill United Methodist Church Annex/Parking Lot on
June 28, 2020 from 2-3PM
(Participants please position your cars on Austin Rd. by 1:45PM. You may make signs).

This is a celebration to wish Reverend Jackson a fond farewell as she begins her appointment as Associate Pastor at Lawrenceville First UMC. Gifts can be provided as well.

Rev. Jackson, we have been blessed to have you minister to us for the past two years. Your passionate style of preaching has touched our souls and uplifted our spirits. Thank you for your support and counsel to our sick and shut in and to our other ministries. We will miss You and Your Family. Please continue to pray for us as we will continue to pray for You.
-Your Ben Hill Church Family
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.
FOOD DONATION LIST
  • 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.

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.
Sympathy
May our Lord bless and comfort you and your family during this time of grief.
Please accept our sincere condolences.
 
Janie & Lorenzo Strickland (M) on the loss of her nephew
Sidney Thompson (R)
Health Resources and Community Events
Lauren Bailey, rising senior at Spelman College and life-long Ben Hill member, has a platform called “Sheakers” that highlights women who are passionate about sneakers and being a part of the sneaker community. Due to the current events of the world, specifically the killing of unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery, Sheakers is hosting a sneaker drive in honor of Ahmaud due to his love of running and being active. On Saturday, June 27th from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, Sheakers will be collecting gently used or new sneaker donations in the Austin Road Parking Lot. Sneakers donated will be going to various shelters, running clubs, and youth programs in Atlanta in honor of Ahmaud.
The Longest Day is the day with the most light — the summer solstice. On June 20, people from across the world will fight the darkness of Alzheimer's through a fundraising activity of their choice.

While participation in The Longest Day may look a little different this year due to physical distancing, there are plenty of fun ideas you can do at home to engage family, friends and coworkers.
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.
#BeReady2020.
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!
#BeReady2020
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.

June is Men's Health Month
Register today for the 3-Part Webinar Series for Men.
Join us every  Wednesday at 2:00 pm  EST from now until July 1st. Hear from leading experts on men's health. Register in advance for this webinar by clicking the link below.
 
 
Part 1:   Wednesday, June 17  -  Matters of the Heart and Brain
James Lah, MD, PhD | Aaron Anderson, MD | James Bennett, MD | Derek M. Griffith, PhD
 
Part 2: Wednesday, June 24 - Matters of Racial Disparities:  Physiological and Psychological Stress on the Brain
Monica Parker, MD | Ihab Hajjar, MD, MS | Laurence Sperling, MD
 
Part 3: Wednesday, July 1 - The Path Forward:  Improving disparities in healthcare access, policies and research for the health and well-being of diverse populations beyond COVID
Allan Levey, MD, PhD | Clinton Dye, PhD | David Satcher, MD PhD | Patrick Griffith, MD | Ambassador Andrew Young | Sheryl Heron, MD, MPH | Patrice Harris, MD, MA