Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Published February 14, 2024

1st Sunday in Lent
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that our Global Impact Commitment Sunday (2/11) with you was such a joy. Our music and worship were so uplifting (hear the offertory hymn here) and Liz Clasen-Kelly was a gift. Liz is the CEO of A Roof Above and one of the brightest lights in our area. She knows more about the poor and homelessness in our region than anyone I know. If you missed worshipping with us, you can do so by clicking here. AND if you were unable to make your Faith and Life Commitments for our Global Impact efforts, you can do so by clicking here.

I concluded our time together in Sunday worship with a couple questions. I hope you’ll wrestle with them:

  1. What sorts of people (groups or individuals) do we struggle to see without judgment? Why do you think that is?
  2. Where in our lives do we need to take steps toward making love an action, and not just a feeling? What would this require and how might it change you? I’m learning in my life that the good news gospel of Jesus is always about making room. It is always about inviting others into the safety, healing, and warmth of love and grace through connection and community.

May I remind you of what our resident bishop, Ken Carter says: “Bear witness, friends, to the love of God in this world. It is a love for all people. We are on our way to becoming a church that says, clearly and boldly, that we are here for everyone, no exceptions.”

And yet, I do think it’s our human tendency to exclude. The earliest church fights really were about who is in and who is out. The earliest church conversations were: is it possible that gentiles, non-Jews, could actually be included in this fledgling faith of following Jesus of Nazareth? And throughout our history, we haven’t done all that well. We’ve excluded rather than included.

This Sunday, February 18, we’re going to continue our work on inclusion by launching our 2024 Lenten series, Embracing Disabilities: Creating an Everybody Mentality. I hope you will participate at every level: Sunday worship, Sunday Morning Groups, guest speakers, Wednesday night meals and studies, special events, daily devotionals, and so much more. We’ve been at work on this special series for nearly two years. Hunter Ross has been our point person, and he has assembled an amazing cast of planners. You can purchase the book here. Click to register for Wednesday dinners/study or the Music Together Celebration, and learn more about the ways to plug in here. Watch our video here with spoken and written words by Julie Jones and images contributed by Will Little, Ally Snider and MUMC staff. Thank you to all the volunteers who have contributed to the efforts to provide education and times of connection.

I mentioned in church on Sunday that Karen and I had just returned from traveling to California late last Friday evening. California was rainy but filled with memories for all our family as we gathered to remember Karen’s father, Bill Payne. Click here to see a video of how we honored this precious man. We made an unexpected side trip to Las Vegas, and Karen got to meet some new Kansas City Chiefs friends! Thank you again and again for allowing me this special time with my family.


As we begin our Embracing Disability Lenten emphasis, I’ve invited some of my friends to help me with my weekly devotional. Stay tuned for those videos in the coming weeks. Please click here to watch a special Ash Wednesday video from the archives.

40-Day Lenten Devotional booklets are available in the Sanctuary Reception Area. Quick Links: Complete PDF or Week 1. This sacred keepsake is filled with holy teachings of reflection and prayer from people with disabilities. Follow daily posts on social at @MatthewsUMC. Thank you to our friends at Rainbow Express Ministries!

Upcoming Events

  • Valentine’s Day 2024 – As if you needed to be reminded, today is Valentine’s Day. With or without the over-priced greeting cards, the heart-shaped candies, and the bushels of roses, it’s a reminder of our need to speak and to receive words of love. I share with couples preparing for marriage that while it’s true that words alone are not enough, love that goes unspoken often goes away.
  • Ash Wednesday 2024 – Today is also the day followers of Christ receive the mark of the cross on their foreheads as they hear the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” They are not particularly words we want to hear but I hope we’ll see you tonight at 7 pm in the Sanctuary to hear those words, repent of our sins, and enter Lent.
  • General Conference 2024 in Charlotte – The General Conference of The United Methodist Church is coming to Charlotte April 23 to May 3. I hope you take the time to read through this beginner’s guide to General Conference. You can do so by clicking here.

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join in worship 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 continues his series, Compassion Without Compromise. His sermon title this Sunday is Called by a Faithful God from 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.

This Sunday morning, I’ll begin our Lenten Series, Embracing Disabilities: Creating an Everybody Mentality. My sermon title: The Gospel is …  In preparation for Sunday, please read John 9:1-15. In addition, each week, I’m going to give you a wonderful Top 10 listing from the book, My Body is Not a Prayer Request by Dr. Amy Kenny. This is the book many of us are using to guide our learnings in the weeks ahead (click here to purchase). She writes, “Folks say these to me about being disabled to make themselves feel more comfortable with my body.” Please click here and read through the Top 10 listing “At Leasts” in preparation for Sunday.

I hope you’ll consider inviting someone to church this Sunday because you never know the hurt and pain they’ve experienced, and MUMC just might have a fresh word that brings hope and encouragement to their heart.

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and yet hope-filled days. Remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Creating an Everybody Mentality,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that we only have seven weeks left to serve guests at the Room In The Inn? We are running low on some of the items. To contribute, please consider purchasing here. If you’d like to serve on an upcoming Thursday evening (bus drivers & breakfast helpers needed too), please contact Mike Mattes at 864-276-2585.

Did you know our Hearts & Hands knitting & crocheting group delivered 128 handmade hats to students at Greenway Park this past Friday? Share your talents making hats, blankets or shawls, at the groups next gathering Feb. 29 at 10 am in Room 97/99. Contact Kim Layton at 704-815-1913 for yarn donations or to pick up yarn for projects.

Did you know that Matthews United Methodist Men hosted a Super Bowl Tailgate Party for the men at Hoskins Park? They enjoyed fun, fellowship and lots of great food! Hoskins Park is a community that gives men facing homelessness and substance abuse a chance to grow and build a Christ-centered life.

Did you know that kids and families made 600 sandwiches for A Roof Above in Family Worship this past Sunday?

Did you know that this past Saturday, over 30 people from Matthews United Methodist and Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist traveled to Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte to listen to Dr. Jemar Tisby. Dr. Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise has been a helpful tool for our Bridge Builders Fellowship in the efforts toward racial justice. If you’d like to be a part of our Bridge Builders group, please contact Amy DeVore or Howard Nussman.