Covid-19 Updates

An Update from the Senior Pastor

April 29, 2020


Dear Peachtree Family,


While I’m thankful for the blessing and safety of my home, my heart is beginning to long for the community of this church. Preaching in an empty sanctuary certainly feels odd. Still, I am thankful that God is taking our homes and turning them into sanctuaries, even as our hearts yearn for togetherness.


The safety of our staff and congregation continues to be the priority when considering how to move forward here at Peachtree. All on-campus activities and programs will continue to meet virtually through Memorial Day, including Peachtree Gym. While our campus is closed, we will broadcast worship live each Sunday at 10am. The leadership at Peachtree will move forward by following the social distancing guidelines and directives from local, state, and federal agencies and healthcare professionals as we determine how to begin re-opening Peachtree’s campus safely. 


Unfortunately, the staged re-opening of the campus will not happen in time to host some of our most beloved Peachtree summer traditions. Our Children and Families Ministry staff are transforming this year's 'Concrete and Cranes' VBS into a safe and fun at-home experience. All registrants will receive an at-home kit to enhance the experience and encounter God in a unique and new way. If you have not already registered, you may register here until spots are full.


Our cherished summer camp traditions will adjust to ensure the safety of our students, counselors, and church staff. While Rutledge, Ducktown, VBS for Fifty6, and mission trips will not proceed as usual, our Student Ministries staff is working to ensure all our 5th-12th graders and college students stay engaged with fun events and spiritual growth opportunities.


Tune in this evening at 5pm for our Grace Moments to learn more about what our Children and Families Ministry and Student Ministry have planned for this summer. I'll be speaking with both Deanne Townsend, Minister to Children and Families, and Kevin Sheehan, Director of Student Ministries, on the triumphs and challenges that face our youth during this global pandemic and how we can respond as a church.


While this is not the spring or summer any of us had planned, we celebrate in the knowledge that the Kingdom is being built locally and globally despite church doors being closed. In the coming weeks, you will hear details from ministry leaders about their plans to move forward and how your family can stay involved and active in the life of Peachtree. My hope for Peachtree is that we continue to be a vibrant source of encouragement to one another, to our community, and for life in Christ. God meets us where we are in joy and sorrow. May we all continue taking that next step and navigate this transition together with grace and understanding.


In Christ,

Previous Updates

April 23, 2020

An Update from the Senior Pastor

April 23, 2020


Dear Peachtree Family,


I am so grateful for the overwhelming support and encouragement you have provided for the church through these difficult weeks of “sheltering in place.”  The massive effort on behalf of society both to slow and to prevent the spread of this pandemic is humbling as well as painful for so many.  No aspect of our lives is left untouched either by the direct effects of the disease itself or the residual impact of our social distancing. 


I have cried over the phone with one of you who cannot visit her loved one in a care facility.  I have listened to the bewilderment of a business owner scrambling to salvage what was a thriving small company.  I have prayed over the phone with a young adult so desiring to start a new family yet the corporate layoffs loom like a dark storm cloud.  I have spoken with the high school senior who wonders whether or not college will be really open in the fall. 


These are disruptive, uncertain, and isolating days.  There is an urgent desire and need for the lives we once shared together.  As a church, this means lifting our voices together in praise, hugging the friend you cherish, and dropping the child off for a Sunday School class or day at camp.  These activities will come, but we must be patient.


Per Governor Kemp’s executive order this week, many of you have inquired as to the church’s plan for re-opening the campus.  Sadly, my answer to that question will be a longer timeline than what any of us would wish.  In consultation with the session as well as several medical experts, our approach toward moving back to filling our pews and normal programming will be slow, methodical, and deliberate. 


This framework for decision-making is not based out of fear and timidity, but wisdom and vigilance.  The safety and health of our congregation must be paramount as we begin the process of gathering in person.  The structure of our plan includes the screening of staff, new procedures for cleaning and sanitation, and compliance with size regulations and types of activities.  You can imagine the complexity of all that we do at Peachtree – from sports leagues to support groups to Vacation Bible School to musical ensembles.  On a typical week, more than ten thousand people walk through the doors of our campus.  The need to evaluate the risk of each particular ministry is not a responsibility I take lightly on your behalf. 


At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Session, we determined that in the best interest of our church community, we will remain in online-only worship through Memorial Day Weekend.  We will continue to monitor the advice of our civic leaders and health professionals as we move ahead with some of the early stages of our plan.  This will not be a typical Summer as a larger society or as a local church.  As soon as we have details about the months ahead, we will share them with you. 


Thank you for the partnership we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which cannot be confined to a campus or hindered by a disease.  Hope will rise from our efforts to encourage one another and our community.  Already, hundreds of families have received food and prayers from our “Feeding the 5,000” compassion effort.  Online engagement for Easter was the largest on record for Peachtree Presbyterian.  The Spirit is at work in spite of our limitations, and one day we will gather together “face to face” beyond the dimness of the darkened mirror in which we find ourselves today.  Yes, this is partial knowing of one another but one day we shall be fully known (1 Cor 13:12).


Until that day I am honored to be your pastor and friend.


With love in Christ, 

April 18, 2020

Holy Week

We are still celebrating the wonderful worship from Holy Week, even now, as we settle into the first week of Eastertide. We estimate that more than 10,000 people joined in our online worship services on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. If you missed either of these services, you can see them here.

@home Sermon Series begins Sunday

This Sunday, Senior Pastor Rich Kannwischer will begin a new series addressing how we can develop grace, gratitude, trust, devotion, and resilience during the current stay at home policies. Titled @home, these encouraging messages can be viewed live at 10am on Sunday at

Peachtree jobs Initiative

As part of our COVID-19 response, we have created the Peachtree Jobs Initiative, a program to assist members of our church community who are experiencing employment interruption and business challenges. You can sign up here to participate in this opportunity.

Feeding the 5000

Our Easter offering was very successful, and we continue to raise funds to support our community and mission partners around the world with food security and other provisions to assist in the needs of people during this crisis. If you would like to participate in this program, you can contribute here to our Feeding the 5000 initiative.

Prayer Wall

Peachtree’s leadership and staff continue to be encouraged by your commitment to prayer. Our Prayer Wall is very active, and we hope your faithful prayer will continue long past the COVID-19 outbreak. Submit a prayer request or pray for the requests here.

This coming week, we intend to release relevant information about our plans for programming and worship in the immediate future, along with more details about schedules for the summer.

We encourage you all to stay engaged in your faith community by joining in worship and attending your group meetings and devotion opportunities via Zoom. Peachtree is remaining faithful and vibrant as we encourage one another, encourage our community, and encourage life in Christ.

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 12:2

April 11, 2020


We pray you are having a blessed Holy Week and we look forward to joining in worship online for Easter at Peachtree, tomorrow morning, live at 10am. If you are not able to join us live, the service will be re-broadcast at 11:15am. Invite your friends and family to join us in worship at

Easter Flower Cross 2019

Easter Cross

We have had many questions about our wonderful Easter flower cross at Peachtree. This year, we were not able to obtain the flowers required to create this beautiful and meaningful tradition. All local florists have been closed and will remain so until late April. We are encouraging our members who have access to flowers in their yards, to create a flower cross and share it on social media with the tag, #VirtualPeachtree.


Our virtual communities and meetings via Zoom are going great, but we are now password protecting all webinars and gatherings. If you are currently attending any of these fellowship opportunities, please get password information from your host. Our Pray the Scriptures morning devotional links have been updated with password protection and a one time registration is required. If you haven't previously filled out the sign up form, you can join by signing up here.


Our website is updated and contains information and opportunities for engagement during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is not the full website, but only the elements you need to access for current activities. Our new Prayer Wall has been very active, and we are grateful for the many dedicated members, who are praying, even now, during our Easter Prayer Vigil. You can submit your prayer requests here.

Feeding the 5000

Tomorrow during worship, you will see an update on Peachtree’s efforts to Encourage our Community. The Feeding the 5000 initiative is meeting the needs of people right here in our area, and our Easter Offering will benefit this program. You can make your gifts for Feeding the 5000 online now. Peachtree is responding with faithful generosity and truly restoring hope for many local families. You can learn more about a three-part encouragement strategy here.

Maundy Thursday

Our Maundy Thursday service this week was attended online by an audience estimated as large as 1000. If you missed this moving presentation of traditional Tenebrae scriptures, inspiring music, and a reflective message, you can view it here.

Senior Pastor Dr. Richard Kannwischer’s Easter message will come from Romans 8:18-39 and will encourage and challenge you to reflect on and respond to the power of Christ’s resurrection. Invite your friends to join us for a joyous Easter celebration.


I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.

Romans 8:18-19

April 4, 2020


Please join us tomorrow morning at 10am for our online service, Palm Sunday at Peachtree. You will hear important updates on how Peachtree is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and how you can participate. Also, we will celebrate communion during the service, so light a candle and have your bread and juice ready, as Reverend Vicki Franch will lead the Sacrament. 


LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.

Psalm 16:5

March 27, 2020

This week, the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Executive Order directing individuals to stay in their place of residence except for persons performing “essential activities” is a stark reminder of the serious threat this virus presents to our community.


Peachtree’s campus and facilities have been and will remain closed through the current 14-day time period of this order, currently scheduled to end on April 7. Our worship service will continue to originate live in our sanctuary at 10am on Sunday and is being staffed by only essential personnel.


For example, the six cameras used during the telecast include just one camera person. Broadcast control, usually staffed with 5-7 people, is down to 2-3 persons. During the production and delivery of our online worship service, social distancing requirements are strictly observed. We request your prayers for the strength and health of our ministers and staff who are participating to continue this weekly worship opportunity.


As a result of the current City of Atlanta order, we will not be open for worship on Palm Sunday but will continue the online worship format. The leadership of Peachtree is closely monitoring developments and will inform you concerning Easter Sunday as quickly as final determinations are made.


We have received many questions about the compensation of part-time and hourly employees who are not able to perform their regular duties. This week, the Session approved full compensation for all of these positions through the end of April. Your generosity and faithfulness are making this possible, and we encourage you to support our on-going ministry activities by making your donations online. You can click here to do that.


Our community partnerships continue to provide opportunities for Peachtree to meet the needs of the underprivileged in our community. We are providing food and resources to those in need and will continue to work closely to respond to those who may have food security challenges. Again, your financial support is critical to continue these efforts.


Grace Moments with Pastor Rich began this week. It is a live Wednesday afternoon event that starts at 5pm. Pastor Rich is sharing encouraging content and answering your questions live. If you are not signed up to receive your invitation for this weekly opportunity, you can sign up here.


Finally, take a moment to contemplate your personal “essential activities” during this time of separation. Being alone can present an opportunity for blessing if you invest that time in deepening your relationship with Jesus. Instead of trying to find tasks to keep you busy, spend more time in scripture and prayer. Psalms continues to be Pastor Rich’s most recommended source for comfort and peace. As you practice one of our GrACE Habits, Pray the Scriptures, meditate, and pray back to God this selection from Psalms:

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:20–22

March 20, 2020

The outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 illness continues to bring many adjustments to our daily lives. The speed with which these changes are occurring is startling, and adjusting and responding quickly can be a real challenge. We want you to stay informed and encouraged. As people everywhere are stepping back, Peachtree is stepping up to share the love of Christ with a desperate and fearful world.


Although we are not able to meet in person to worship and fellowship, our communities are using innovative means to stay in touch. Our leadership is developing plans for engagement and interactivity that will sustain the relationships we so dearly value.



This Sunday at 10am, you can participate in worship with the Peachtree community during our online service at In accordance with CDC guidelines, our worship and production teams have been reduced to the minimum required to deliver the service. It may not be fancy, but we will worship God, together in spirit, and bring hope and encouragement to each other.


We are asking you to share photos and videos of you and your family worshipping at home on your social media accounts. Tag @PeachtreeChurch and use the hash tag #VirtualPeachtree.


Grace Moments with Pastor Rich

Shortly, we will launch a very unique and special opportunity to interact live with our Senior Pastor, Dr. Rich Kannwischer. During this weekly event, entitled Grace Moments with Pastor Rich, we will consider our GrACE Habits: Gratitude, Availability, Curiosity, and Encouragement. We call these our ‘mission measures’ and each one has a set of simple habits we can adopt and practice, especially during this season of pause. Download the full list of Grace Habits here. Stay tuned for the launch of this exciting event. See the GrACE Habits sermon series here.


Text Alerts

If you haven’t signed up for our text alerts, you can do so by clicking here. This is our fastest and most efficient way to keep you up-to-date on events and opportunities.


Disruptive Compassion

This week, Peachtree distributed more than $100,000 dollars in critical aid and support to our mission partners in Atlanta and around the world. You will hear more about this on Sunday. You have the opportunity to ensure our mission continues without interruption by continuing to support Peachtree with your faithful giving. We request that you participate in our online giving opportunity. It’s simple and fast and you can do so by clicking here.


We encourage you to lean into this time of uncertainty with the knowledge that as believers, we have absolute certainty. While the conduct and conventions of mankind are being disrupted completely, the natural order and rhythms God created continue uninterrupted. The birds still sing in the morning. The flowers are still beginning to bloom. The leaves of the trees are still sprouting green. Consider His creation and know He is with us and for us. Always.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.

Psalm 19:1-2

March 12, 2020 

On Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization classified the current COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. Today, Governor Brian Kemp announced the first COVID-19 related death in Georgia.


On the afternoon of March 12, the leadership and the session of Peachtree Church made the decision to transition to online worship services and to postpone all in-person programming through the end of March. The church staff will continue to report to work and all administrative activities will continue.


The capability of communicating with you immediately and efficiently is a primary requirement for the effective delivery of essential updates. We are introducing a text update capacity whereby you can receive urgent messages on your smartphone regarding notifications about schedule changes or developments you need to know about at Peachtree. To sign up for this service, click this link. If you have already received a text from us, you do not need to sign up again. You may opt-out of this service at any time.


  • Please join us for worship online at 10 am on Sunday morning, March 15. You can find the broadcast here:

  • The Peachtree Preparedness Task Force is meeting regularly, monitoring current developments, and responding with responsible policies and procedures designed to limit exposure and spread of viruses.


Your participation in the ministry of Peachtree is vital, and together, we can be a witness to our community and the world about how the people of God respond to crises. Instead of fear, we choose faith. Instead of anxiety, we choose prayer. God is fully aware of this situation and is ready to meet our needs, both physical and emotional. Dedicate time each day to pray for our medical community, for scientists working to address the spread of the virus, for our state and national leaders, and for families in Atlanta, in the United States, and around the world who have lost a loved one or who are currently infected.


This crisis will change us and, by God’s grace, we will grow closer and stronger as a result. Stay informed by accessing reliable resources of accurate information and avoid the speculation and rumors that are prevalent during events of this nature.

March 5, 2020 

Peachtree Presbyterian Church would like to keep you informed about the appropriate steps being taken on the church campus to address concerns and minimize risks of exposure and spread of the COVID-19 virus. You will notice some minor adjustments to events and procedures on Sundays, and we request that you participate in our efforts to initiate reasonable precautions.


The following steps are common-sense practices that we would implement with any potentially contagious virus, including with our current very active flu season:


  • In worship, during our period of congregational greeting, we request that you avoid physical contact with others in worship. A warm verbal greeting can be just as welcoming as a hug or handshake.

  • We will continue to adjust the serving of communion elements to minimize physical contact and the potential spread of germs.

  • During our fellowship time in the Williams Center, we are taking steps to minimize the spread of germs. The cookie trays will now be covered, and we ask that you and your children please use a napkin, instead of the tongs or your hands, to serve yourself a cookie.

  • Our maintenance teams are actively wiping down commonly touched surfaces at the coffee and lemonade dispensers, as well as surfaces in the sanctuary, elevators, stairways, entrances, and all children and student areas.

  • Please join us for worship online if you are experiencing any flu or cold-related symptoms such as fever, cough, or runny nose.

  • The best prevention for most contagious viruses we deal with regularly is the most simple: thorough, frequent hand washing with hot water and soap. Encourage your children to make this a consistent practice

  • As a proactive measure, the leadership at Peachtree has convened a task force to address current and on-going developments related to the COVID-19 virus. This team will be communicating Peachtree Church related information, while planning for any contingencies that may be required, while certainly hoping and praying that extreme measures will not be a necessity in our community.


As we address concerns and act responsibly, please keep our values at the forefront of your actions and attitude. We are a Christian community committed to ‘Joining Christ daily in the restoration of all things.’ Let us always act with faith and love, as opposed to the world’s tendency of fear and anxiety. Christians have a 2,000-year history of caring for the ill instead of avoiding those in need.


Check back regularly for updates on our response and for more information you may need to participate fully in the vital ministry of Peachtree Church. Currently, our responsibility also includes reaching out to God in prayer, asking that He bring healing to those who are presently experiencing this illness and provide peace and comfort to the families in the United States and around the world who have lost a loved one as a result of this illness.