21st Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/October 21, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I loved driving by the church this weekend, and seeing all the people meeting in the parking lot. One night there were Boy Scouts and their leaders all over the place and then the next night our United Kids and their leaders in portable outdoor chairs filled our south parking lot. What a splendid display of the adaptable people of God called Matthews. We will remember 2020 for many things — COVID-19, mass protests, the presidential election — but this will be my enduring image: young people and their leaders fighting against communal breaking and following Jesus with every fiber of their being.
I hope you were able to hear Pastor Paul’s sermon on Sunday. Karen and I sat riveted on every word. It was fabulous. You can watch it here.
The days ahead will bring a couple of virtual broadcasts:
- Stories from the Endowment – Wednesday, October 21, 7 pm
- Live with Leaders – Monday, October 26, 7 pm
You can join us by clicking here.
Congregational Care at MUMC
Over the last seven months I have been reminded over and over again how difficult it is to experience sickness and grief when we are not able to be proximate. I have listened to family and friends of those struggling with hospitalizations and not being able to visit them regularly, those enduring COVID-19 tests before being allowed to see family, and others being told that they cannot touch your loved one. While necessary precautions, these realities rip at our hearts because this is not our normal way of drawing near when we are hurting. In this season of pandemic, it is hard to find the right balance between precaution and the physical closeness that can express our love best.
Thank you for your patience and grace as we seek to find ways to increase our interpersonal contact while prioritizing the health and safety of our church family, staff community, and clergy. Please be aware that currently Atrium does not allow for hospital visits, and Novant allows only one person in the room.
In addition, out of an abundance of caution for the health of our older adults we are not yet making homebound visits; however, your pastors are making regular phone calls to check in and stay connected with those we know to be most isolated. If you know of someone within our community you want added to this list, please contact the Church Office at 704-847-6261.
Friends, I know this is an extremely hard season for all of us, but it is especially hard for those experiencing loss, hospitalization, emotional pain, and sickness. Regardless of how long this season may be, we want you to know that being present with you is a priority for us. You are loved and we want to support you.
Update on Weekday Children’s Ministries
Many of you will remember that back in July we closed our Preschool and After School programs. We did so because of COVID and a host of other things, but we did so with our eye to the future.
I’m pleased to share with you that Lee Goldstein (MUMC member) is leading a focus group that is studying and exploring the shaping and developing new weekday children’s programs that will take place on our campus. Lee’s background includes experience as an organizational development consultant and an executive/leadership coach. These skills are well suited to be guiding us in this effort. The goal of the focus group is to take the time to explore possibilities and provide recommendations on what program(s) would match the vision of our church and meet the needs of our local community.
When originally asked to lead this effort, Lee responded, “I am honored to lead an effort that connects our church and our community in a new, impactful way. The focus group will be comprised of caring people with diverse backgrounds who are willing to do the hard work to ensure that our program combines education and social interaction in a safe environment.”
I’m so pleased Lee Goldstein is guiding us.
This Sunday (October 25) in Worship
This week our CCH community will gather for worship at 12:30 pm. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Philippians 4:5-8, and his message will be “Mental Protection.” Pastor Roldan says, “The place of our great battles and challenge is the mind. Paul tells us to focus our thoughts on things that are worthy of praise. Everything else we must learn to discard.” This is his fourth and final message in a series on stewardship and generosity titled Gratitude Time.
I’m so excited that we are launching our Generosity 2021 theme on Sunday titled Onward Together … With Love. In the coming weeks, you will hear about our 2021 generosity efforts and how YOU can make a pledge to God through the ministries of Matthews UMC on Joash Chest Sunday, November 15. You can watch the introductory video by clicking here.
My sermon for Sunday is titled “So You Want to Spend Another Night with the Frogs” from Exodus 8:1-10a. I’ve used this theme before, but this time I want to take us deeper. I want to point to a few areas where we might be spending an inordinate amount of time with some frogs.
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and tumultuous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Onward Together … With Love,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Charlotte Rescue Mission continues to serve 100+ men in their Rebound recovery program? These men are residents at the Mission and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there. Your generous donations to the Global Impact Disaster/Crisis Fund provide pizza and movie night twice a month to give the staff a much-needed break from cooking! The men look forward to hot pizza and a movie every other Friday evening.
Did you know that the father of Leslee Mabee (new church member and Sanctuary Choir member), Leonard Blessing, recently celebrated his 100th birthday? His church friends in New Jersey energetically organized a 40-minute Birthday Parade of cars where his friends, local family members, church members, bridge club members, and former colleagues gathered with signs, cards, and gifts to cheer him on…in the pouring rain. He even received a congratulatory letter from the UMC Bishop in NJ! Congratulations, Mr. Blessing on 100 years of life well lived!