Back to School Prayer

Back to School Prayer

Published August 23, 2023

13th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say to all students & educators, bring your school bags or backpacks to worship with you this Sunday. We want to begin the new school year with a special blessing & prayer.

Sunday was such a special day in so many ways: celebrating the remarkable work and service of Rob Hunter, our Associate Director of Age-Level Ministries; beautiful music by John Woodall, John Biggers, Greg Faucette and Pastor Corey (Oh my…she can sing!) at our Contemporary Service; as always riveting music on the organ by Kathy White and our Sanctuary Choir, fresh from their retreat, under the direction of Craig Estep at our Traditional Services. My Lord, what a morning! You can worship with us by clicking here.

We also finished up our ten-week summer worship series on High Maintenance Relationships, a series primarily about changing ourselves rather than someone else. One person wrote this past week saying, “From the start of the series and still continues, I can hear myself finding all sorts of examples of when “those types” of individuals have crossed my path, or I’ve had to “deal” with them professionally. But at the same time, as I’ve listened … there is always that still small voice saying, “and is there just a little piece of that ‘type’ in you, as well?” Now that is a person open to the many places where God wants to work, shape and develop. I want to be fully and completely that kind of person as well.

It didn’t make my sermon on Sunday, but I wanted to use the following scripture lesson from John 8:10-11: “Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared.”

This is the story of the woman caught in adultery, and it places us in the middle of a drama, where two distinct cultures collide. On the one hand, we encounter a culture of shame and blame; on the other, we experience a culture of grace and new beginnings. When Jesus stoops down to doodle in the dirt, he responds to the drama with a calm, non-anxious presence. His action, and his confrontation of the woman’s accusers, creates a safe and protected place for the woman caught in the act of adultery. Cultures of blame and shame diminish the lives of all who are trapped in the culture, both the judge and the judged. Cultures of grace create the space for freedom and new beginnings.

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, A Back to School Prayer.

United Methodist Connections

We, here in North Carolina, understand the long-term consequences of a natural disaster. When we read about the fires that ravaged the historic town of Lahaina, Hawaii, we knew that the loss of life, property and historical treasures was devastating. The lethal combination of hurricane-force winds and parched landscapes resulted in one of the most catastrophic wildfires the U.S. has ever witnessed. The entirety of Lahaina was consumed, and the surrounding region was impacted. As a result, thousands now grapple with displacement and homelessness, and the fire left a wake of grief due to the loss of life. I hope you’ll consider making a contribution by clicking here. Under Fund, choose Other & enter Disaster Relief – Maui.

In the mosaic of faith communities that span the globe, The United Methodist Church stands out with a distinct feature: the power of connection. This isn’t just a word we use; it’s a principle that is deeply rooted in our mission and spirit. The United Methodist connection is a vivid testament to the belief that when we unite in purpose and heart, we can amplify the reach and depth of our service.

At Matthews United Methodist, we understand that being a part of this connection means that we are never truly alone. United Methodist generosity shows up in a variety of ways when it is most needed.

That connection was on display this past Sunday as dozens of United Methodists gathered at the Pride Parade in Uptown Charlotte to serve parade participants and observers with a smile, encouragement, water and freeze pops. It was an honor for me to join our MUMC folks as well as persons from other ten United Methodist churches across the area to love, care, serve and demonstrate hospitality and inclusion.

Upcoming Events

  • Back to School Carnival – This Saturday, August 26, 5:30 – 7 pm. More info here.
  • Back to School Blessing – Sunday, August 27 in all Worship Services. More info here.
  • Lemonade Outreach at Matthews Alive – Saturday, September 2. Click here to learn more & volunteer.
  • New Studies: The Good and Beautiful Life (In Person & Intergenerational Online Study), Luke: Gut-Level Compassion, and The Anxiety Opportunity. View all opportunities.

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join us 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 will be preaching from Philippians 4:4-8 and his sermon is titled: Keep the Right Attitude.

Pastor Corey will be preaching on our “Back to School Sunday.” Her message is from Luke 10:38-42 and her is sermon titled: One Thing. All students & education staff are invited to bring their backpacks, briefcases or tote bags to worship for our Back to School Blessing.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday, if not before. There are households all around us preparing for the start of school and looking for community. Be on the lookout and help them find their way to Matthews United Methodist, a community of grace and hope.

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

We are better … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that Rebecca Holt recently traveled to Ethiopia to visit two partners of Charlie’s Heart Foundation, which was founded by Rebecca & her husband Michael after the tragic death of their son. Read about the foundation here.

Did you know that Carol Jackson, a middle school teacher, found a way to incorporate Pastor Chuck’s quote, “Everyone you meet needs you!” from his message this past Sunday about relating to pervasively critical personalities.

Did you know that approximately 58 singers from our Sanctuary Choir attended two-day choir retreat this past weekend at Morningstar Lutheran Church Chapel? They prepared music through the fall, Advent and Christmas season. A special thanks to the New Directions Sunday School Class for providing breakfast (more info on that below). A wonderful time was had by all!

Did you know that the New Directions Sunday School Class hosted breakfast for the choir retreat at Morningstar Lutheran Chapel? This breakfast was a follow-up to Sunday School lessons from a Right Now Media series entitled One At a Time. The last lesson was entitled One Party at a Time and challenged the class to do something special for a group that contributes a great deal to the church and deserves special recognition. After an activity in which the class broke into groups to brainstorm, it was decided that the class would sponsor a special event for the choir.