A Future Worth Believing In

A Future Worth Believing In

Published December 14, 2022

4th Sunday of Advent
Just these lines, my friends …

to say that the past week has been filled with amazement:

  • MUMC elves delivering candy to our shut-ins.
  • The Melody Makers concert on December 6 to nearly a full house. You can watch here. We had guests from all over the region. One person said, “Such a great use of our sanctuary on a drizzly day … made me proud to be a part of Matthews.”
  • Beautiful, majestic worship this past Sunday morning. You can watch here.
  • MUMCers caring for the homeless on Thursday evening with Room In the Inn. (Register here to volunteer.)
  • A packed gym for Jingle Jam during Family Worship (2nd Sunday of each month).
  • Wonderful children’s choirs singing at the 11 am service on Sunday.
  • Handbells with their array of Christmas music on Sunday.
  • A Flute Choir with the largest flute I’ve ever seen.
  • All the percussion during the 9:30 am hour and Kyle Havican as the “Little Drummer Boy.”
  • Darlene Prestbo leading us at 8:15 and 11:00 am in the Advent Litany she’d written. So powerful.
  • Our MUMC/Stumptown Brass in the Courtyard and the Balcony on Sunday.
  • Finally, the wondrous, amazing sound of our Sanctuary Choir under the direction of Craig Estep touching us so deeply on Sunday evening with John Rutter’s Magnificat. You can view here. Henderson Duke was the Chair of the Building Committee that led MUMC to move from Ames Street to our Trade Street site back in 1993. He wrote me this note last night: “Chuck, soon after we formed the Building Committee those decades ago, we began to dream big for our little country church. Move to new property, construct a large sanctuary, a two-story education building, a gym. But I never foresaw a concert here at Matthews as magnificent as what we enjoyed tonight …” Thank you Craig Estep, Kathy White and our “magnificent” Sanctuary Choir.
  • And so much more!

What a week to remember! Give thanks!

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, A Future Worth Believing In.

Financial Update & Year-End Giving Guidelines

Thank you for expressing your faithfulness through financial generosity! As of Tuesday, December 13, we need $381,869 to make our 2022 budget. That means you, the people of God called Matthews United Methodist, gave $237,556 in just 23 days. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We have a long way to go by December 31.

December is traditionally our strongest month for giving, yet the volatility of the stock market right now has us facing more uncertainty than usual. While we are monitoring our expenses and are hoping to end the year with a modest surplus, we need to finish the year strong to begin next year with confidence. Please prayerfully consider your financial support of the church this month. Know that your faithful response is deeply appreciated, and the ministries we collectively support are truly changing lives!

View our Year-End Giving Guidelines here. Financial contributions to our church received or postmarked by December 31, 2022 will receive 2022 tax credit. Contributions can be sent by mail (postmarked by December 31), online (in transit by December 31) or in-person (by December 31 at 5:00 pm). The week of December 26, the Church Office will be open Wednesday & Thursday, December 28-29 from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. All other days through December 31, you may place your contribution in the designated lockbox on the Admin Hall door at the Church Office (please enter through front doors by the exterior mailboxes between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm). To make a stock or charitable fund contribution or if you have questions, contact Debbie Fitts at 704-841-7672.

Lastly, thank you for your Estimate of Giving Pledges you are making for 2023! It is not too late to make a commitment to help support our ministries for 2023.

Campus Beautification: Tree Removal & Replacement Project

In October 2021, Roy Harrington, church member and tree expert who owned a forestry business for over 20 years, spearheaded a project to upgrade our trees on campus. After reviewing his report, Ben Rippy and Brenda Murphy, members of the Matthews UMC Trustees Committee, were tasked with further evaluating our aging tree canopy. Their findings showed that many of our trees were aging out and showing serious signs of failing, which is not unusual for trees planted in parking lots and with limited growth areas. Also, as with all living things, trees have a natural life span as well as being planted in adverse conditions.

Ben and Brenda, with the guidance of a certified arborist and other tree professionals, developed a replacement plan for 52 trees. The plan was approved December 13, 2022, by the Town of Matthews Planning Department. Our Trustees Committee subsequently voted to approve the entire scope of the project, and work could start as early as this week. We are excited for the opportunity to beautify and make our campus more safe by using native species that will thrive in a town known as a “Tree City USA” for the past 10 years, a distinction only achieved by a few communities in North Carolina. Incorporated into the proposed design are the trees donated to MUMC during the most recent Town of Matthews tree distribution events held on our campus.

We are grateful for our Trustees Committee and Facilities Staff, and for the time that our very own tree and landscape experts — Roy Harrington, Brenda Murphy, Ben Rippy and Michelle Edens — have contributed to this project that will have positive implications on our campus for years to come.

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join this Sunday at 8:15 am (traditional; in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary; in person or online here), 11:00 am (traditional; in person or online here) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan and friends are experiencing a powerful Advent journey. This Sunday, he continues with Advent themes while preaching from Psalm 146:5-10.  His sermon title is: Fundamentals to Rest in God.

In our morning Sanctuary services on December 18, we reach our final Sunday of Advent and our Advent/Christmas Worship Series, Christmas: A Feast for the Senses. The last few weeks we’ve explored taste, sight, touch, and hearing. This Sunday we come to the final sense of smell, and we ask, “Are we the aroma of Jesus to the world?” Just as we perceive the delightful odor of a scented candle, people who’ve never seen Jesus or heard Jesus or touched or tasted the reality of Jesus should be able to sense the fragrance of Jesus in us. From our every act, every word and every movement there should hang something defying analysis … invisibly, impalpably … and yet unmistakably … Jesus.

I hope you might consider inviting someone to church on Sunday who might need what only a child can bring at this time of the year through our annual Children’s Nativity. My sermon is from II Corinthians 2:14-16 and is titled, The Baby Was Heaven’s Scent.

Be sure to stop by the Nativity in the Courtyard to take a holiday photo for a great memory or gift, then swing by The Commons on Sunday 10:30 – 11:00 AM for a Special Sunday Morning Gathering with snacks & WillBeans Coffee (by donation). We ask children & teens be accompanied by an adult.

Visit our website here for the full schedule of events and worship services that will occur through the remainder of the Advent and Christmas seasons. Please note there will be only one service on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and both will be at 10:30 am in the Sanctuary.

And now, during these expectant, mysterious, longing and yet, hopeful final days of Advent, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Waiting for the Light … together.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know two of Santa’s finest elves from Matthews UMC delivered candy to 22 of our church shut-ins this past week?

Did you know our Hope for Minds and Hearts Mental Health Ministry will be awarded $3,000 from the Metro District Vitality Grant Funding? This is great news, and it will help the ministry to provide more educational opportunities outside the walls of our church. Great work to the team after submitting the application just 24 hours after learning about this opportunity.

Did you know that our United Kids & United Youth Ministries, Rainbow Express Ministry and the Faith Sunday School Class wrote 332 Christmas cards for the residents and staff at Murdoch Developmental Center in Butner, NC? These holiday cards will light up many faces with smile and enjoyment during the Christmas season.  The Micah Connection helped fund this project. Thank you all for taking the time to write notes and to Lauren Smith for organizing this project.

Did you know that Room In The Inn has served 27 guests in the last two weeks?  You and your family or small group can volunteer to serve our homeless neighbors on Thursday evenings. Sign up here on Realm. (Need help? View step-by-step instructions on our website or call the Church Office.) You may also donate winter coats in men’s sizes by dropping your donation in the cabinet in the Gym Reception Area.

Did you know that the Angel Tree provided bikes, scooters and helmets to Matthews Help Center for their clients’ shopping experience? Thank you again to all who shopped for angels!