Second Sunday of Advent | December 2, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that Thanksgiving 2020 felt different for the Wilson family. Every year for nearly 40 years, Karen and I have invited friends and family to sit at the table with us. We have shared the feast, prayed prayers of gratitude, read scripture and told stories. This year we went a little smaller. We ate outdoors. We prayed for you and your health. We prayed that God would speed the end of this pandemic. We gave thanks to heaven for your steadfast hearts and all the ways you have sustained Matthews United Methodist during this perilous time. It was meaningful, but different.
We all longed to gather together at Thanksgiving and then move toward the celebration of the birth of our Lord with candles and singing. We, like the parents of a child finally coming home, long to run to each other, hugging, kissing, and feasting together with dancing and music (Prodigal son, Luke 15) And yet, God speaks to us through the voices of the medical and scientific community, telling us to keep wandering about in this COVID wilderness for a while longer.
But hear the Good News: God is with us in seasons of plenty, joy, and community, as well as in these stretches of isolation, struggle, and separation. Indeed, the manger and the cross both remind us that Jesus is Emmanuel (God with us) declaring God’s presence no matter who is or is not physically close by. Let us dare to believe the Good News and open our hearts again to the coming of Jesus. Let us embrace new ways to worship and celebrate together although physically apart.
I hope you’ll watch my Wednesday devotional below: Advent Takes Us by Surprise. Just click on the arrow.
MUMC Community Update
As we enter this Christmas season, we wanted to share an update on what’s been happening with the church and our commitment to our community. As many of you know, MUMC member Lee Goldstein is leading a study group that is studying and exploring the shaping and development of new weekday children’s programs. Lee’s background includes experience as an organizational development consultant and an executive/leadership coach, and these skills are well suited to be guiding us in this effort. The study group is looking at all options for how to use our former Preschool and Lighthouse spaces, not simply how we could reopen and offer the same programs that we had to close down last spring. Lee’s group is expected to finish their work and to bring a recommendation back to the church in late 2021 at the earliest.
After we made the decision to keep the Preschool and Lighthouse closed in July, Telra Institute, a new tuition-free public school, approached us in late September to discuss a temporary lease agreement as they make plans to open in August 2021. We are pleased to share that the Church approved this partnership during our annual Charge Conference (November 23), and the lease with Telra will begin in July 2021 for an initial lease commitment of six months. The school will then have the option to extend the lease for up to six additional months. In addition to a monthly facilities fee, Telra has agreed to fund playground, technology and capital improvements for preschool and classroom spaces. Telra Institute will be hiring its own teachers and other team members for their school.
We look forward to this partnership with Telra Institute and its alignment with MUMC’s commitment to the community and our mission of children and youth outreach. If you’d like any additional information about Telra, please visit telra.org. We will continue to keep you updated on Lee’s work and recommendations. Read more including our FAQs by visiting MatthewsUMC.org/Updates.
It’s been a record-setting year for natural disasters, with hurricanes, wildfires, etc., causing loss of life, property and beloved natural spaces.
Then, there is COVID-19. Most people know somebody who has become ill, or a dedicated health-care professional who has worked tirelessly to help people heal from this terrible disease.
It’s a time when many churches are experiencing financial setbacks as a result of everything happening around them, with needs in our communities growing greater than ever.
That’s why this year, may I encourage generous individuals to consider making end-of-year gifts to Matthews United Methodist. Our work and ministry is providing hope and care for those experiencing job loss, health issues, and so much more.
As we wrap up an unprecedented 2020, may we all be reminded to finish the year strong. We could use the extra support toward our operating budget as the year comes to a close, so we are asking every member to help out as they are able. Let’s bring this remarkable year to a successful close.
Please consider the following:
- General Fund – This is the heart and soul of financial giving for MUMC. If the General Fund is not strong, then nothing is strong.
- Global Impact – For the last decade this ministry has defined our work beyond the walls of MUMC.
- Refresh and Renew – For the last few years we’ve encouraged you to consider a gift to this work of keeping up with our facility needs.
- Endowment – In 2017 we founded this new arm of giving that will fund many projects in perpetuity. You can make a gift to the Endowment and designate how you’d like for your gift to be used, or you can consider leaving a gift in your estate. For more information on the MUMC Endowment, please click here.
Perhaps you’ll consider a gift to all of these worthy opportunities for your financial giving. For more information on your End-of-Year giving, please click here.
Our special Christmas Eve Offering for 2020 will be collected not just on Christmas Eve but throughout the Advent season this year. Please indicate “Christmas Eve” on your gift. Global Impact will split the offering between three ministries: Matthews HELP Center as they continue their life-changing work by helping ease local poverty; Changed Choices as they assist women and their families in transitioning their lives from incarceration to restoration; Est/Her International as they provide hope and courage for young women to step into a new life that God has for them.
Please return Angel Tree Gifts (registration closed 11/30) on December 5, 5-7 pm during our special Drive-Thru Bethlehem event. Alternate gift collection will be today (Dec 2) from 3-5 pm on the sidewalk near the mailbox at the Front Office. We hope to see everyone there or at the encore event on December 20!
This Sunday (December 6) in Worship
I hope you’ll be with us for Advent online worship this Sunday at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish-speaking).
This week our CCH community will gather for worship at 12:30 pm and begin a new Advent worship series, The Most Awaited Return. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from I Thessalonians 5:2-8 with his message, “Alertness.” Pastor Roldan says, “I believe that the church should not live with fear or conspiracy theories, but be prepared, living a lifestyle as the Lord commands. For this we must be alert.”
In our morning services at 9:30 am and 11:00 am, on this the second Sunday of Advent we will continue our Advent worship series, The Many Moods of Christmas. This week we will reflect on the catastrophic, tragic, and heartbreaking side of Christmas. My sermon is titled “Christmas Catastrophe” from Genesis 3:13-15.
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and tumultuous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Come. Lord Jesus, Come,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Pastor Chuck baptized Sara Elizabeth Luciani on Sunday, November 30? Sara is the daughter of Luis and Mary Beth Luciani. Her siblings are Burgin, Harrison and Julietta.
Did you know that Tom Williamson’s Ride Again Bicycle Ministry, which has repaired and donated over 39 bikes this year, was featured in a video by his employer? Watch the special video here: https://atimetals1.wistia.com/medias/grbxbgyix6. Follow Tom’s ministry on Facebook at @RideAgainBicycle. Tom shows us that one person can follow their passion while making a difference in the lives of others!
Did you know that Free Covid Testing will be offered the third Thursday of each month from 8:00 am – 2:30 pm at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church at 381 Crestdale Rd in Matthews? For more information, please call 980-245-9090.
Did you know that Wendy Barall created a beautiful tapestry hanging for the Sanctuary? It adorns the front wall by the exit toward the Choir Room.
Did you know that Feed the People Ministry recently provided Thanksgiving food boxes and turkeys for sixty families at Greenway Park Elementary School? The Parousia adult class packed the food boxes and assisted in distributing the boxes and turkeys to the families during the afternoon of Monday, November 23. Thank you, MUMC, for your generous gifts to help us feed the hungry in our community!
Did you know that Drive-Thru Bethlehem was featured in South Charlotte Macaroni Kids, a leading online community for parents and kid-friendly events? Their subscriber emails and social media reach thousands of local families.