Approach Toward Re-Opening will be Cautious, Deliberate, & Methodical

Approach Toward Re-Opening will be Cautious, Deliberate, & Methodical

Published May 13, 2020

6th Sunday of Easter/May 13, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that I hope you were able to join us online for our Mother’s Day celebration at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. So sorry about our technical difficulties at 9:30. If you missed the ending of my message, you can watch here. I conclude with a short one-minute video that will be so worth your viewing.

Grieving Our Losses

I grieve for the families in our Church who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. Fear of spreading the virus has suspended the rituals of mourning. Gone are the personal goodbyes, the memorial services, the storytelling among family and friends, the receptions.

I think it must be something like what families in World War I or World War II must have experienced upon receiving word that a loved one had died — and not being able to join together in their grieving.

Every day we hear the statistics – hundreds of people have died. We forget that every statistic represents hundreds of grieving family members and friends.

Granted, technology has helped. It allows us to be virtually present without being there. But social conferencing tools such as Zoom offer only sight and sound. It leaves out the sense of touch, taste, and smell. And it does little to comfort our raw emotions—loneliness, sadness, anger, depression, and fear.

What are those who are grieving to do? They cannot carry on with life as usual, and they can do little to rid themselves of their sense of loss.

Hopefully, this pandemic will end soon. Maybe then we will take the time to grieve our losses.

Re-Opening Update

Pastor Paul is guiding our efforts at re-opening. He is in consultation with our bishop, key leaders and medical experts throughout the Church. Our approach toward moving to re-opening our Church will be cautious, deliberate, and methodical (always the good Methodist).

You can read a letter from Pastor Paul here as well as a re-opening update here.

Keeping You Up-to-Date with Global Impact

Last week, Global Impact made financial donations to Changed Choices and Second Harvest Food Bank. During the pandemic, GIC has led us with donations to eleven different organizations.

At Changed Choices, 63% of the women served have either lost their jobs or significantly reduced their hours due to COVID-19. Many are struggling financially due to income insecurity which increases their vulnerability in their recovery. Several women are newly released and are coming to the transition home to live.

Second Harvest supplies food throughout a 24-county region of North and South Carolina through a network of over 800 emergency pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and programs for low-income children and seniors.

Another important ministry of Global Impact is all of the volunteer work at Greenway Park Elementary School. Watch this video and see the difference volunteering makes in the lives of these wonderful children.

Thank you Global Impact for how you guide us in our service to the world.

MUMC and the Payroll Protection Plan

In recent days MUMC, along with many United Methodist churches across the country, applied for the Payroll Protection Plan, a part of the government stimulus package called the CARES Act. We were not accepted when we initially applied in March, but were accepted during the second round in April. The guidelines call for the money to provide 8 weeks of funding for payroll, employee benefits and utility costs. All monies not spent for payroll, employee benefits and utility costs will be returned. These actions enable us to continue the tremendously effective ways of our Church staff.

Of course, this loan/grant is not intended to replace the extraordinary generosity of the people called Matthews. We have been very fortunate thus far to be financially holding our own during this global crisis, but the economic future is unknown. Thank you for how you love and serve and give.

Additional Updates

  • Just a reminder to send us your selfie to fill our Sanctuary! We have over 350 pictures of people/households taped on the pews and chairs of the Church, and we would love to have many more. We are adding pictures week after week during these days of “Shelter in Place.” Contact Beth at 704-815-1989.
  • I hope you saw our Passing of the Peace in our livestream worship this past Sunday (watch it here). We’d love to add more of you! Do you mind sending a short video of you and/or your family saying the words, “The peace of Christ be with you”? Contact Joel at 704-815-1989.
  • You should have received an email containing a congregational survey from our Faithful Next Steps Vision Team.  This team has been hard at work meeting with small groups, and requests that each member of the family – Youth, Young Adult and Adults – take this very important survey to help determine our faithful next steps at Matthews UMC. Click here to complete the survey by Friday, May 22.
  • Watch our Town Hall Gathering here for inspiration and valuable information.

This Sunday (May 17) in Worship

Our CCH community is now streaming their worship service on their Facebook page, Centro Cristiano Hosanna each Sunday at 12:30 pm. Pastor Roldan will continue with the series: The Positive Side of the Crisis. His sermon is titled, “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide” from Genesis 28:13-19.

I’m going to dig deeper into John 3:1-16 this  Sunday. My sermon is titled, “It’s Never Too Late to Start Over.” I hope you can join us at 9:30 am or 11:00 am.

I am so grateful for the ways you have attended to the life of our Church during these days – caring for one another, praying for one another, finding avenues of service, and joining in worship. May God bless you in this season of pause and bring us all into a new season of the Spirit of Pentecost!

Remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Keeping hope alive,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II