2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I hope December’s turn of the calendar into January is filling you with anticipation for what God will do this year. Longing is an essential part of the Christian life as we lean into a future where God is already present and waiting for us.
If you were unable to be with us in-person or virtually on Sunday, I know you’ll want to take the time to listen to Pastor Brad’s outstanding farewell sermon for us. It was a powerful day of celebration and commissioning. We were thrilled to be joined in the commissioning by Kirk Ogden (Emily, his wife), the Executive Director of the South America Mission and Brad’s new boss.
Pastor Brad has been a source of great hope and vision during these past 16+ years. Without him, I’m not sure we would have had the vision to carry gospel good news beyond the walls of our church the way we do today. I’m not sure we would have had the vision of church being so much more than a club. I’m not sure we would have had the vision of being missional. I’m not sure we would know about people like Jenna Nardella, Kathy Izard, Bishop Will Willimon and so many more. I’m not sure we would have had the vision to move toward the mess. But we do, and we will be forever grateful. Thank you, Pastor Brad for teaching, leading, and inspiring us. We are infinitely more because of you and yours.
This past Sunday, we were also fortunate to experience the smooth jazz sounds of the amazing Dawn Anthony. She was with us in our 9:30 am and 11:00 am services singing a stunning arrangement of the gospel song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus and Bono’s Where the Streets Have No Name. Then that evening she blew us away with a full concert featuring a group of outstanding jazz musicians.
You can listen to Pastor Brad’s sermon and Dawn Anthony’s Sunday morning singing by clicking here. And then you can watch Dawn’s concert by clicking here.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, “Help Us Ship the Nuts Out of Georgia.”
A Word of Update on the Virus
We are doing our best to navigate the choppy waters of the latest Covid surge brought on by the Omicron variant. We are keeping an eye on our protocols as we walk the sacred path from Advent to Easter.
I am not an epidemiologist. I do, however, think it is important to contrast this moment to where we were as a church a year ago–to acknowledge the progress we have made against this virus.
A year ago, this congregation was fully remote. A year ago, we had a number of our people in grave danger. A year ago, we lost friends and members to the virus.
Today, we gather each Sunday for in-person worship with, as best as we can tell, most everyone vaccinated. Today, hundreds of you join worship every Sunday via livestream. Your generous support and willingness to adapt with us have helped us continue to be faithful to our calling: to Reach, Teach, Praise and Serve.
Yes, it is true that, at present, there are cases of Covid all over the Matthews and Charlotte area and throughout this community of faith. In response, we are taking full advantage of Zoom meetings and being vigilant in our wearing of masks.
We’ve had several of our staff community to come down with Covid. True to the news reports you have been reading, these members of our team have either very mild symptoms or, in many cases, no symptoms at all. We are hearing similar reports from all corners of our church.
My prayer, and I know this is your prayer too, is that Omicron represents the final significant wave of this terrible virus. Again, do not worry. We will stay vigilant. I promise we will continue to respond as a church to every new development in scientifically-sound ways, but (given the nature of hope) I also invite you to join me in praying that this is how this dreadful plague more-or-less ends!
I’ll be looking for you in worship.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us this Sunday in person or online at 8:15 am (traditional – in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Exodus 4: 1-7 and his sermon title: More Equipped Than We Think.
In our morning Sanctuary services, as we remember the life of legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., my sermon is titled Can I Also Be Included from Acts 15:1-11 and Acts 8:26-38. All of us wanted to be included. All of us have flipped through the pages of the Bible wanting to find our name and to know that God loves us and desires to be in relationship with us. But there were many in the Bible who weren’t sure if they were included and probably many of us as well. Let’s talk about it on Sunday.
Please join us for these two opportunities to honor Dr. King’s life:
- January 16, 2:30 pm – Peaceful March & Program – Gather at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and in the peaceful tradition of the Civil Rights movement we will make a peaceful march to the Matthews Town Hall, where there will be a brief program at 3 pm.
- January 17, 10 am – MLKing Jr. Commemorative Worship Service at Mt. Moriah Church. We will be awarding two scholarships to High School students. And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
It’s going to be a good year,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Teddy Holt was baptized in the 9:30 worship hour on Sunday? He is the son of Michael & Rebecca Holt. Rebecca sent us this photo saying, “Teddy is clearly worn out from the day’s festivities but loving his new blanket.”
Did you know that between our four in-person services, livestream, and on-demand viewers, well over 2,500 people worshipped with us on Christmas Eve? Be sure to say thank you to our key leaders, ushers, readers, choir and praise team members, musicians, facility crew, technical team, communications staff and so many more! They were peddling so fast behind the scenes to make Christmas happen in a safe and beautiful way. And thank you for being such a nimble and gracious congregation and for the many words of encouragement you shared along the way!